What style of karate/martial arts do you teach?
We teach a Korean style called Tang Soo Do. It is similar to Tae Kwon Do, but does not emphasize tournament sparring/competition. Tang Soo Do is an empty handed martial art that focuses on the betterment of the self, rather than the competition with others. We teach self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-control. We believe that if you are cordial and respectful to others, you will get the same in return.
How is your school compared to a “traditional” martial arts studio?
We are a traditional martial arts studio, one that has been in the Plano/Frisco area for more than 25 years. In order to keep fees low for our students, we have operated in conjunction with Plano Parks & Rec, and most recently with the YMCA, running two dojangs, one at each of the YMCAs in Plano. Due to the closing of one Plano Y facility and other internal changes within Y management, Black Tiger Karate, LLC (BTK) elected to move to a commercial space in mid-October 2010. This does not, however, make us a “commercial studio.” There are many (certainly not all, but many) martial arts schools that promise a “black belt in three years,” and the students in those schools test on a regular basis, and are awarded a black belt at the end of three years. This helps the students, particularly younger teenagers, with self-esteem and confidence. However, it does NOT necessarily teach a good work ethic, but rather teaches these individuals that, as long as they show up, they will be promoted. Is that how we want our youth to approach life?
Tang Soo Do training at BTK also builds confidence, increases self-esteem, and teaches self-control. But this is not done through a system of “social” promotion – testing is done by invitation, when the student is judged by his instructor to have sufficiently mastered the skill set for his or her rank. There are no black belts, or any other belts “awarded” at BTK. They are earned, from the first stripe on a white belt to the roman numeral on a Master’s black belt. Self-esteem doesn’t come from someone handing you a belt, it comes from the knowledge that you earned it, and were held accountable for your own actions.
Commercial studios have their systems in place, with contracts and frequent tests, because they are deemed necessary to continue the cash flow of the school, and thus, provide a livelihood for the owner, and keep the school open. At Black Tiger Karate, traditional Tang Soo Do is a passion, not a vocation. We will continue to provide instruction at one of the lowest fees in the area, and maintain our testing philosophy. Although we now have a “commercial” space, nothing has changed, except location, and a greater flexibility in our schedule and the programs we can provide.
When can I (or my child) start?
Anytime! Some students prefer to wait until the beginning of the month, while others start during the current month. It really depends on your individual schedule. Students can feel a bit “left behind”, if they begin while others have already been training a few weeks. We do our best to reduce any fear or anxiety often resulting from starting a new class.
Can I try class at no charge before I/my child joins?
Absolutely! We encourage you to come by any class night and watch class. We also would encourage you/your child to try a class before joining. That way you can see and feel that we are the right choice for you/your child.Can I sit and watch my child(ren) during class?
Definitely! If you have the time, and are able, we love to have parents watch. This sometimes takes the mystery out of what gets taught, and helps you see what your child(ren) is learning.
What do I/my child need for the first night?
We do not require a uniform the first night. As a matter of fact, we don’t require a uniform while a student is in the Beginner class. When he/she moves into the Advanced Beginner class, or invited to their first test, then they are required to get a uniform. We believe this helps learn patience, motivation, and establishes a goal/reward based system that will be used throughout their martial arts training.
For the first night:
We remove our shoes before entering the dojang, and train barefoot. Sandals and flip-flops work well.
Wear clothes that are comfortable to move around/work out in.
Please remove all jewelry before coming to class.
How often do you test?
For non-Black belts, we test once a quarter (every 3 months). For Black belts, we test twice a year. All testing is by invitation only. We feel that testing is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, just coming to class does not guarantee that a student will test. He/She has to attend/participate in class instruction, learn the material, practice what they have been taught at home and become adept at its application/use prior to being invited to test.
Is there a cost to test?
Yes. In addition to the monthly class fee, there is a fee charge to test. This fee covers the cost of school belts, stripes, logo patch, as well as wood (for breaking), and related test forms & supplies.
I have/My child has previous training, do I/they maintain the same rank?
It really depends on the style and organization in which you trained. If a student comes in from the same style and organization, then they would maintain the same rank. However, it becomes a bit more challenging when a student from another style or organization joins the class. The main issue here is what ranking system was used in their previous school. Each organization utilizes their own ranking system, and usually, it is different between schools in terms of the number and color of belts offered (i.e. for non-Black belts). Even if common belt colors exist, the placement of those within the ranking system may be different.
The process is essentially as follows:
For non-Black belt students – the student comes into class wearing a white belt, but would attend the class most closely matching his/her rank. They would train there until they have learned all the promotion requirements up to that level, for a student in our organization. Then they are given an “open” test, during our regular promotion testing, which allows them to test up to and achieve ranking equivalent to their previous rank. The student does not get penalized for “starting” over, but would need to learn the requirements for our organization to be credited with equivalent rank.
For Black Belt students – the student comes into class wearing no belt, but does attend the Advanced/Dan level class. They continue to train until they have learned the appropriate forms and one-steps techniques for our organization. Then they are allowed to wear their Dan belt in class. They are treated in all respects as a Black Belt, but are just not able to wear the belt from the start. The main reason is that we have teaching and school requirements for all our Black Belts, and it would not be fair/right to ask a student to perform them without having first learned the material. Students are taught in our school to feel comfortable asking a Black Belt for help with a form, one-step, etc. We don’t want newly joined Black Belts to feel pressured in this situation, so we give them some time to acclimate to our system/material.
However, there are many factors that go into this decision, and probably too many to list here in text. Therefore, please contact us directly in advance and we’ll be happy to review your situation with you to decide what is best for you/your child/ren.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email or by phone at (972)896-5520