In our days there are countless invitations to participate in events called seminars. They are structured in a random agenda programmed by the opportunity.
Only one biomechanical, only one voice and command has to be present in hands of the conductor of the seminar. The other people with high ranks present there are assistants who must also take note about the commands to not distort the parameters established. Traditionally the seminars had a specific purpose and a well selected teacher for such an Instruction. Until the last active seminar given by Gral. Choi Hong Hi, to whom I assisted as his Spanish translator just as I did in the preceding years, he and only him, was the one to occupy such a place. This means that to conduct a seminar it’s necessary to take up a similar representation. This position demands a great responsibility and a well trained and actualized person, since the seminar is the instruction place where the technical criteria, protocol and rules will be established as the unique valid information. That information will affect the training procedures and the sport competition evaluation.
The seminar has to be offered by an authorized person designated by the Institution involved and it is this entity who delegates on him the high responsibility of unifying the technical and philosophical details.
Such a top category as a Grand Master rank must be seriously selected by the institution to fill this critical position. Even if in a particular entity there are several Grand Masters as it is the current reality, it is the institution’s undeniable duty to choose the especial one to occupy this place. A Grand Master Category is required to perform such a job due to its utmost ranking position. It’s also supposed that this rank has the required knowledge to apply with the post, but regrettably it is not always the case.
Many people are in the same rank as occurs in all and each black belt category, but not all of them have the same knowledge and equal capacity, as required in order to transfer their experience.
Another phenomenon is actually tarnishing this rank. Not all of them were promoted under the rules already established by the Founder, who never changed it or authorized such a modification.
Never was a Grand Master rank granted by only one person. It requires a Promotion Committee.
Gral. Choi wrote this rule and even him obeyed it to grant the first Grand Masters categories.
At present, this command has been regrettably broken. Nobody knows who grant such power to a single person to promote to this top ranking place in his own name.
The Grand Master category is not one level more in the promotion scale. This rank will only be occupied by those who have achieved the necessary requirements to be considered a potential candidate for promotion to this honorable place, always with ” the unanimous consent granted by a Special Committee which shall consist of 9 members who are holders of either 7th or 8th degree recognized by the Institution who rules the Art” (Page 96, book I Encyclopedia of Gral. Choi Hong Hi).
Record, minimum time required in the previous ranking, checked jobs in promoting Taekwon-Do internationally and leading an Institution with several schools and Instructors, will be necessary and will be taken into consideration by the Special Promotion Committee. If you only have one of this conditions but not the other mentioned requirements, why do you need a Grand Master category? Being an old member of a party doesn’t mean that you’ll be a candidate to occupy the president’s chair, what about your capacity?. If you think that for being an old practitioner or a longtime competitor is enough, well…there’s no problem, it is possible to grant you a pensioned title, but not a Grand Master rank.
When this ” kind” of promotion appears, no serious member of Taekwon- Do will respect it and this attitude will put in evidence the commercial opportunism of both parts, who received this incorrect recognizing title and for that unscrupulous and not authorized man who granted it. This act fools the Art, the system and all those members who follow the rules.
Nobody will demand you a special skill in the sport fighting system, nobody cares if you were a champion or if you have a breaking power ability. It is supposed that you already dealt with it in the previous levels and you got the recognition for your achievements.
Your record, leading capacity, knowledge, experience and fundamentally Integrity will be the required items to take into consideration.
Pioneer is a word many times misinterpreted and used as a convenient adjective. Pioneers are the first persons to do something, as it is established in the dictionary. In Taekwon-Do, I don’t know any pioneer alive. The only living pioneers today are the national people of each Nation around the world, who helped develop the art in their particular Countries and who founded the actual legal institutions.
Many oriental people used to call themselves pioneers but they are not. They can only be considered as old practitioners who accompanied Gral. Choi in some demonstrations in the late 60′s, but it’s hard to know if they are actualized in the bio-mechanical Taekwon-Do’s evolution promoted by the Founder in the last years or if they were close or not to him until the last moment.
Sometimes I think that Orientals are even allowed to break the fundamentals of the Art or to act with impunity just because of their ethnicity. Apparently for some kind of people, the oblique eyes is the key to such a permission. Well, definitely this is not true and the serious intellectual members of the Art will be not disposed to accept it.
The knowledge is the only condition that transcends the race, and the rules are the only way to follow.
If the category scheme, places and attributes of these ranks are not clearly established, it will be impossible to understand the difference between a seminar and a training course.
Nowadays, several countries have many Grand Masters. If everyone of them would do all as they want due to their ranks, Taekwon-Do will be divided not only institutionally but also in the information and the only common thing will be the name of the art (meanwhile you don’t write it altogether, on the contrary even the name will be different).
Today, with the institutional atomization of Gral. Choi’s style, and to avoid the problem cited above, the entities who are ruling the Art, have to name only one authorized person to occupy the mentioned place, at least to unify the internal criteria of that entity and to keep the system alive and healthy.
With the actual existence of almost a thousand Masters and countless Grand Masters, it’s necessary more than ever to apply the criteria mentioned above.
Many people wrongly believe that the rank is an all inclusive (the authorization to give seminars, especial courses, some particular training parameters, promotions without rules, etc). This is another big mistake.
When you are promoted to any Dan category you will receive a certificate from the entity where you are affiliated, endorsing you in accordance with the rules and regulations of that institution, who recognizes you as 1st, 2nd, 3rd or whatever Dan you were promoted. It says nothing about your pedagogical capacity or any special right to do what do you want in the name of Taekwon-Do or on behalf the entity where you belong.
To teach Taekwon-Do you’ll need another document authorizing you in such a topic.
To give a seminar you’ll need the authorization from the entity where you belong, doesn’t matter if you’re 7th, 8th or 9th degree. Of course you always can offer special classes for your own school or organization and in your own name, but not in the Taekwon-Do’s name.
While the use of the word “seminar” in the publicity of an event allows for higher fees to be collected for assistants, it doesn’t assure that the information transferred goes beyond a training course.
Under such a confusing and inappropriate use in the description of the event offered and the wrong frequency utilized to collect some earnings, which is the place that this army of generals conferred to the direct instructor?. What the direct Instructor will teach if the students gain all the instructions in the training courses and “seminars” offered so frequently?.
The use and misuse of such multiple events, its frequency and economical demands on practitioners, drain their capacity to fulfill the adequate fee to their direct instructors.
Only one seminar by country every two years, offered by an institutionally authorized Grand Master, would be the only reasonable schedule by Organization to keep alive the system and the direct instructors’ job. If a new information is transferred too much frequent it’s impossible to incorporate.
The rest of the black belt events which not apply the parameters mentioned above, are just training courses.
Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone
To be aware read again the preceding notes