Be aware of the rampant fraud that is found in the martial arts. Do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions before you commit years of time and money to a martial art and a martial art organization.
Masters and other instructors are usually affiliated with an international, national, or regional organization that certifies the rank issued by their particular style. Taekwondo has such organizations. In the early years of modern taekwondo, there were two major controlling organizations in taekwondo; the International Taekwondo Federation and the World Taekwondo Federation. As taekwondo gained in popularity, so did the number of organizations. As instructors grew discouraged with some aspect of their organization, they broke away, and formed their own organizations. Some organizations flourished, others failed.
Some organizations have high standards for belt promotions and require high levels of fitness, proficiency, knowledge, and taekwondo spirit for promotion. However, some organizations are revenue producing, belt factories. When the standards are high, students highly value their promotions and respect senior ranks. When the standards are low, promotions have little value and respect is low. In some organizations, students are promoted regularly if they meet certain minimum requirements; promotion failures are practically nonexistent. In these organizations, belts do not denote proficiency, they merely denote a student's time in the organization's program. The motivating factors in these organizations is keep students in the program and to make money. With so many different organizations awarding rank, rank is basically meaningless outside the organization that awarded it.
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