Overview of the Kukkiwon-RIOT
Testing, Grading and Certification Process
As a proud member of the Kukkiwon the Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do all matters about black belt Poom/Dan promotion, testing, grading and certification are dealt with by the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters). Dan/Poom promotion tests are conducted according to the Regulations for Promotion Tests of the Kukkiwon.
Do I Need to Be Certified by the Kukkiwon?
Kukkiwon is the World Taekwondo Headquarters. They provide Taekwondo education and training for black belts and set the international standard for Black Belt assessment. The Kukkiwon Taekwondo training program and certification ensure the standardization of Taekwondo. In order to enter official WTF competitions and training, Kukkiwon Dan certification is required.
Many Taekwondo black belts are looking for Kukkiwon certification as it is the highest and most prestigious Taekwondo black belt qualification in the world.
Obtaining a black belt is no doubt a tremendous achievement in Taekwondo. What many may not realize is the importance of obtaining Kukkiwon Certification after the black belt has been obtained.
A Kukkiwon Poom or Dan is the only officially recognized Poom or Dan of the World Taekwondo Federation and is issued by the World Taekwondo Headquarters, Kukkiwon. Individuals who have applied for Kukkiwon Certification will be issued a certificate and will be officially registered with the Kukkiwon and recognized worldwide.
Only those who have acquired a Kukkiwon Poom or Dan are eligible to participate in major international events including the Pan Am Championships, Pan Am Games and the Olympics.
Kukkiwon Certification is also required within USA Taekwondo as per the Martial Arts policy which can be found on the USA Taekwondo website. In order to compete or coach at a National event, or attend a workshop or seminar, black belt participants must be listed on USA Taekwondo’s Kukkiwon Database. This ensures that everyone has a Poom or Dan that has been officially certified and recognized by the WTF.
Masters can apply for Kukkiwon Certification directly through USA Taekwondo which will ensure that their black belts are listed on the database. For more information on Kukkiwon or how to apply for your student’s Kukkiwon Certification please contact Master Reitenbach at the Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do.
Consumer Responses to
Kukkiwon Certification Questions
1.What is the real deal for the Kukkiwon Certifications?
2.Why is it so important to have one?
3. What makes them so valuable?
4. Does it really matter in America?
(A): “First and foremost, because when I move, I’ll be acknowledged as a certain level and won’t have to reinvent the wheel. I can go to any Kukkiwon certified school and pick up where I left off. If I choose to start a whole new art, then so be it, I’m a white belt and have no problem with that. In TKD, I will not start in a new school spending months being taught what I already know just because an instructor wants to pull rank. There are other reasons, but that’s definitely number one.”
(A): “It has a great deal of meaning if one wants to compete on the Olympic level. There is also the connection to the tradition (albeit not a very old one) with Korea. If one looks at it in terms of a college, a Kukkiwon certificate is the higher, more prestigious college than the one founded by so & so master down the street. It has more weight to it than others. Is there abuse? You bet. But it still has a great deal of value.”
(A): “Olympics aside, I think this issue speaks to all Martial Art Black Belt certification. Just as many other professions have standards of certification, and unions to protect the consumer (IE: Lawyer’s Bar Association, Certified Electricians and Plumbers, Licensed Doctors, etc.). This does not prevent all improper conduct, but it reduces the ability of a completely untrained and unskilled individual from posing as a qualified professional, and provides penalties for those in violation of guidelines.”
(A): “As to the Kukkiwon Certificates, I’ve heard some older Koreans say things like, “I was a Taekwondo Master before the W.T.F. was ever created, and before the Kukkiwon was built and established as the World Headquarters. Nobody in the W.T.F. taught me anything! What do I need a Kukkiwon Dan Certificate for?”
(A): “Well, in my opinion, unless they want the official authority to offer Kukkiwon certificates to their students, and future generations do need something to verify authenticity of the rank they claim, and credibility of the material they teach if they call it “Taekwondo.” (Most of these older Koreans have the Kukkiwon certificate, they just want to make a point that they don’t feel they need it.)”
(A): “Why is it so important to have one?” To set a standard for the quality of instructors, athletic coaches, Olympic officials, and to verify to the public that the instruction material is authentic Taekwondo. It makes it harder for amateurs to buy a Black Belt, make their own computer certificates, and defraud the public.”
(A): “What makes them so valuable?” Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art. The certification becomes more authentic, and less suspect, if it is issued by an international governing body in Korea – – “Kukkiwon Dan” vs. “Kinko’s Dan” or “Crackerjack Dan.” Joe Blow’s Taekwondo Academy Black Belt certificate should not carry as much weight in the minds of the consumer, nor the mainstream Taekwondo experts as a Kukkiwon Dan rank.”
(A): “Does it really matter in America?” I think it is important. Can a person live, learn, and even teach without it? Yes, but I believe it is to our advantage to support a system that requires certification, and removal of credentials for those instructors who claim ranks they have not earned, are not trained and qualified to teach, or who abuse their position as an instructor. This is an area where all Taekwondo credentials need improvement in the future – – like an international “Better Business Bureau” for Taekwondo schools everywhere.”
(A): “It helps but does not eliminate bad schools and bad instructors. Any idiot can start up a school or club but you need a link to the Kukkiwon to get certificates. We suggest you never train at a school that does not have Kukkiwon registered instructors. Also your ranking gets recognized if you visit clubs abroad.”
(A): “It does seem to matter. I went to visit another school within 30 minutes and without Kukkiwon certification, I would have been a white belt to a blue belt.”
(A): “My daughter had a similar problem in a school in Arizona. They did tournaments heavily so it would have been important. They asked for it, to recognize her black belt, as they didn’t know our instructor/master.
(A): “I got the Kukkiwon certifications…it does matter especially for the younger man/woman who moves to a different city and years later, rejoins TKD and the previous organization could be extinct. It’s just another way to document your rank.”
About the Kukkiwon
It is supervised by the International Sports Division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.
Kukkiwon is the center of Taekwondo instructor education, being the home of the World Taekwondo Academy, and issues official instructor and dan (black belt) and poom(junior black belt, for practitioners under 15 years of age) certifications. The organization’s main aims are:
- “Help people to develop their spiritual and physical strength by spreading our cultural asset, Taekwondo.”
- “Introducing Taekwondo’s philosophy and skills in order to enhance the national prestige abroad.”
According to the World Taekwondo Federation‘s (WTF) rules, Taekwondo competitors seeking entry into WTF-sanctioned events must hold black belt rank (whether poom or dan) from Kukkiwon. Kukkiwon has specified 21 articles in its regulations for poom and dan promotion tests.
Article 2 of these regulations notes that they apply to all instructors and students enrolled as members of Member National Associations of the WTF.
Article 4 stipulates that “WTF will support the Member National Associations to help perform the task of Dan promotion-testing-smoothly.”
Despite these efforts, according to information published by the South Korean government, one of Taekwondo’s largest problems from an organizational perspective is that “over 90% of the Taekwondo market operates separately from Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters” and there is a lack of communication-between-Taekwondo-organizations-and-Kukkiwon.
In Kukkiwon promotion test regulations, Article 8 lists the time and age limits associated with promotion between ranks; that is, the minimum time a candidate must have held a certain rank, and the minimum age a candidate must be, before becoming eligible to be tested for promotion to the next rank.
For promotion to ranks up to and including 5th dan, there are different minimum age limits depending on whether the candidate had previously been promoted into poom ranks.
Time and age limits are not inflexible; for example, under Article 17, winners of Olympic Games, other world-level, and continental-level WTF championships may receive concessions. Article 18 allows for Taekwondo practitioners with non-Kukkiwon ranks to apply for Kukkiwon rank certification.
How can you obtain a black belt
(DAN) ranking through the Kukkiwon?
To get your 1st Dan or every Dan thereafter, you will need to find an instructor who is in good standing with Kukkiwon as a registered instructor, and whose organization (school) is a member of WTF in the US (that is, the USAT), and who then fills out the necessary paperwork, and then finds out whether or not your request has been granted. Master Reitenbach and the Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do can do that for eligible candidates.
To get your 1st Dan Kukkiwon certified you will have to be active in a WTF organization for a period of years, then test for it. This test must be witnessed by no less than three Kukkiwon-registered instructors. You will have to go through a technical exam which you can find out through the above link (see articles 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 12), although an instructor is free to make the test more difficult (and typically, they do).
There are organizations who will do all of this for you, through the mail. But these organizations are often frauds, and even those who manage to get you a bona fide Kukkiwon certificate are not legitimate organizations (and they cost a lot of money). Be sure to check with the Kukkiwon for legitimate organizations.
The Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do
Is a Kukkiwon Certified Black Belt School!
The Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do was founded in 1971 by Grandmaster Jerome Reitenbach, 8th Degree Black Belt (Kukkiwon) and Master Reitenbach 7th Degree Black Belt (Kukkiwon).
Through our programs, students will increase their physical fitness and mental health by structured training and conditioning exercises, benefiting both the body and mind. You will develop confidence, self-control, leadership and self-defense capabilities.
RIOT’s inspiration and dedication is centered on our desire to help our students achieve their goals of becoming a Reitenbach Institute Black Belt. Our classes are structured to be fun and exciting as well as informative and physically demanding. Through a variety of instructions and teaching styles, we hope to keep you interested, motivated and progressing toward your goals
The benefits of Taekwondo are so plentiful; anyone can experience them, regardless of age. The only requirement is the desire to reach your potential.
There are many benefits of Taekwondo and students of all ages can work at their own levels to take advantage of our programs. Each student, regardless of age, is given personalized instruction and attention with emphasis placed on individual ability.
People as young as three or as old as sixty-five have started our program and benefited. The martial arts develop physical and mental coordination, as well as relaxation. The training and exercises involve the movement of the entire body will keep you trim, fit and in good health. Besides keeping you physically fit, the martial arts can be most effective and powerful when used in self defense.
The secret of martial arts effectiveness as taught by the Reitenbach Institute is not just strength, weight or muscle power, but a knowledge of practical techniques.
In Taekwondo, there are several principles to which students are to adhere not only in the Dojang (school) but in life. The Tenets of Taekwondo deal with the fundamental elements of etiquette. They should serve as a guide for all students of the art.
Each of the Tenets are just as important as every other and do not stand alone, but coexist with each other.
Young men and women competing in today’s society will gain confidence to cope with daily problems and situations. RIOT Taekwondo programs will help release tensions caused by constant pressures and responsibilities. Stamina will be increased and an enthusiasm will develop to deal with everyday routines. Rather than encouraging aggression, martial arts will help each individual channel aggressive energy into socially acceptable forms of friendly competition and personal competence.
We at the Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon do, we believe in Taekwondo’s ability to help anyone reach her or his potential. We teach Olympic WTF Taekwondo in modern, creative ways, masterfully interwoven with practical techniques that offer matchless skill, physical fitness and discipline.
Our experienced instructors continually strive to achieve balance of both physical and mental conditioning as we build up a student’s self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline. Emphasis is placed on focus and control with instructors working closely with students as they work towards learning new skills. All RIOT students are certified under Kukkiwon Certification.
The Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do’s sole purpose is to help members, instructors and masters continue their training in the martial arts and provide legitimate certification from an established organization.
The Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do consist of joint ventures and associations of the best martial art Grandmasters, Masters, Instructors, Referees and the Kukkiwon. Membership is limited to Kukkiwon Tae Kwon Do.
The Reitenbach Institute of Tae Kwon Do is a non-political organization. It focuses on the needs of all students, instructors and members. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the RIOT and we look forward to helping you and meeting you real soon.
Other Important Information about the Kukkiwon and WTF
Overview of the USAT and CUTA-RIOT
Memberships and Certified Tae Kwon Do Events
Martial arts is one of the best activities for young kids and teens, because it can teach them valuable life lessons, give them something to look forward to and take pride in, and will teach them the benefits of physical activity. A lot of parents and opponents of Taekwondo feel that it is all about fighting, when in reality most schools don’t even teach you to fight (in the street sense). Numerous Taekwondo schools are sport or self defense based and they don’t support going out and getting into fights. If you ask anyone who trains in this art they will tell you that real fighting is much different from learning Taekwondo. If that is a reason you are leery of letting your child begin classes then you have little to worry about.
So what can you expect from your child learning Taekwondo? You can expect your son or daughter to learn respect and self discipline. They will also learn the value of team work, how to lead others as well as follow instructions, and learn to enjoy physical activity. If you feel that these are all valuable skills that you want your child to come away with then it is time to search for the perfect Taekwondo School for your child.
The first and probably easiest way to begin your search is on the USA Taekwondo Member Clubs page on the website. Here you can browse USAT member clubs by state. Remember that not every school will have a website and that just because the site looks one way or another doesn’t mean that the instruction will reflect what you see on the computer.
Write down all the schools in your area or the ones you are most interested in. Before you decide to give them a call it is best to develop some questions for the instructor or owner so all your questions will be answered before a visit. Some good ones might include:
- What days do you offer classes and at what time?
- How much are your monthly dues and how many classes does this allow my child to attend?
- Do you require that I sign a contract; and if so what is the duration?
- How much does a student uniform and belt cost?
- Do you charge for testing?
- What is the youngest that you accept students?
- What are the fees for ending the contract early?
These are merely a few questions to ask. You may have additional ones pop into your head and after you take a visit to the school obviously more will come to mind.
Once you have called the schools you are interested in and asked your preliminary questions the next step is to go and visit each one. Some schools will let your child have a free class to see if he or she likes it. You should definitely take advantage of this. Observe how the instructor interacts with other students, his demeanor, listen to what they are saying, and see how the other students react. Is the class too strict or do the kids just play games? Is there a high student-to-instructor ratio? These are just a few questions to keep in mind. Don’t just drop your child off and leave. You will not know what the school is about and if it is right for your child. If possible talk with some of the other parents and older students. See how they feel about the class and instructor.
The final step is to pick out your desired school. It is best to look for one that has short or no contracts, because your child may be excited about training at the moment, but several months down the road who knows how they will feel. Even if you do sign a contract, do not feel pressured to stay the entire duration. Sure you may wind up losing a little bit of money, but if your child is un-happy then that is not a good situation as well. If you follow these steps you should find the perfect Taekwondo School that fits your son or daughter’s needs.
By Robbin Gray is a staff writer at the MMA Zone. She has written and trained in various martial art styles such as: Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, and Muay Thai.
Important USAT Links:
Dan & Gup Certification Program: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Taekwondo/Resources/Dan-Certification-Program
Coaching Identification & Development Program (CIDP) http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Taekwondo/Coaching
USA Taekwondo Events: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Taekwondo/Events
USA Taekwondo TV: http://www.dartfish.tv/usat
Watch Team USA on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/teamusa
Important CUTA Links:
State Association-California Unified Taekwondo Association: http://cutkda.com/
California Unified Taekwondo Association: http://cutkda.com/up-coming-events/seminars/
Call 650-992-3939 for More Details on the Certification Programs.