The teacher. If you have specific training goals then the martial art you choose to study does make a difference, but the physical movements should never outweigh the culture of the academy. There are studios that are more sport focused and some spend more time on self defense. Some serve competitors and some are filled with families that want spend more time together. Some simply want to move people through the belt levels so they can keep kids on the mat and charge more testing fees. Ask questions about style specifics but be sure to observe with your personal interests in mind. If you want to get in shape, see if the instructors and senior ranks are making fitness a priority. A big sign in the window promoting martial arts fitness won’t help you, but being around fit people will. With the growing popularity of modern martial arts there are different types of great quality training available. The most important difference is the way the material is presented and that the environment suits the individual. The one thing all martial arts have in common is that they develop character.

Champion Taekwondo follows a 9 color belt system. The order for promotion is white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and black belt candidate. This is a common approach with modern taekwondo following the Kukkiwon style. There can be variations in the color order and look of the belts but there are generally nine levels to be passed prior to earning the level one black belt and nine levels of black belt. Champion Taekwondo has a unique system for testing the curriculum within each level. For every belt prior to the black belt candidate all students are required to earn nine colored stripes which represent different areas of curriculum. Regardless of belt color all stripes represent the same area.

White = Fitness
Yellow = Knowledge
Orange = Kindness
Green = Focus
Blue = Form
Purple = Leadership
Brown = Self Defense
Red = Basics
Black = Kicking

There are minimum times training for each level and a typical promotion rate, but all invitations to test for the next belt level are judged on skill and not time. All students are different and the curriculum is designed to meet the individual’s needs. Some levels may take longer and some may seem easier depending on the student. Skills assessment is a daily process and feedback is given often for exactly what each student needs to progress. While asking for promotions or stripe testing is not allowed, asking what a student needs to work on in order to be ready is encouraged.

Champion Taekwondo holds a rank test the first Friday of each month. Once the student has earned all nine tapes at their belt level and met minimum time requirements they will be given an invitation to test on the next available date. During the test they are required to show proficiency in each area of their level curriculum and are graded by a panel of black belts and Master Jenn. There is a $40 test fee for each color belt level. Promotions and belts are not awarded during the test. They are presented in the first class attended after passing the test.

All students are required to learn the fundamentals of sparring. Olympic Taekwondo rules and current training methods are taught as part of the general curriculum. Orange belt is the first level to practice light contact sparring with safety gear. The intensity does increase with level, but the students also gain more control over the techniques with practice. Self control and awareness is taught and expected at every level of sparring. Safety rules are followed without exception. Training for competitive tournament sparring is not part of the general curriculum. It is available but only by recommendation and would be considered private or small group instruction.

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