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Master Na's Black Belt Academy - Review by Steve B | Na's Blackbelt Academy

Na's Blackbelt Academy

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Master Na's Black Belt Academy 10/23/2007

Master Na is an excellent instructor. I would rate nothing perfect. There are no perfect people, no perfect academy's. I will say right off the bat, that though I try to be objective about everything, I am biased in favor of Master Na and his academy. Last year I made the decision for my school to become an affiliated academy of Master Na's. The main reason is that he is a great instructor, a great mentor, a good motivator of people, especially children, and has an excellent curriculum to follow. Yes, he is a businessman, and not ashamed to benefit financially from his 4 decades as a practitioner and instructor. He still charges less than many other schools do across the nation. In regards to comments about a "fake" certificate I must take exception to this. What qualifies a student as a black belt is a few or several years of training and going in front of a board of instructors and masters who then put their signature on a form stating that the student has performed to a satisfactory level the techniques and attitude of a black belt. The certificate is a piece of paper which is a symbol of the achievement. I recently had 8 of my students test for black belt under Master Na. Each one of them asked me which certificate they should go for. I tried my best to be honest with them about the ramifications of their decision. 1) go with the ITMA certificate, the advantages: a) you receive the certificate right away and do not have to wait for it. b) it supports the organization which you are a part of c) many schools, even if they are outside the organization would recognize it, d)it is less expensive than the WTF Kukkiwon certificate. Potential disadvantages: some schools you may go to may not recognize the certificate. I went on to add that there are instructors at WTF schools that would still make you start over even if you have a WTF certificate, because in their arrogance they do not believe a black belt is legitimate unless they personally handed it out. WTF Kukkiwon certificate: advantages: it may be recognized at more schools around the world than the ITMA certificate. Disadvantages: a) it is more expensive, b)it takes longer to get and you will not be able to receive a certificate at your promotion ceremony c)It supports a Korean organization that really has never and will do absolutely nothing to benefit you. d) it supports an organization that has been rotten to the core with corruption, in fact the long term president of the WTF, was CONVICTED of embezzling millions of dollars of money from WTF funds and sent to prison for doing so. The fact is I have trained long enough to remember when the Koreans had a stranglehold over the political structure of Tae Kwon Do in America. These individuals were often very corrupt, stealing money from the organization, and also put on events with absolutely no accountability. In addition, the racist, good old boy network was strongly in place. If you were not Korean, forget about being promoted to Master level. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Americans now have control of the political structure of TKD in the states. Because of this the WTF certificate is no longer quite the necessary piece of paper that it once was. I believe you can compete at tournaments without it. I am sure they will not turn away the exorbitant fees of $80 or more to enter the tournament. Master Na a number of years ago made the decision to not to continue to blindly support an organization that just continues to take and really does not benefit students. In fact Koreans (even living outside Korea) are charged a very nominal fee for their Dan certificates. Everyone else has to pay a lot more. This is why he developed an organization to award certification to students while saving them money. In fact, in some ways, it really is more legitimate than the Kukkiwon certificate because the organization that awarded it has masters sitting on the promotion board doing the testing. The kukkiwon just takes the fee and hands out a piece of paper. Believe me, I have had students come to my academy after recently achieving their WTF 1st Dan at other academies, I can tell you honestly that often their technique was worse than my green belts. Your child does not have a fake black belt or a fake certificate. Anyone that will tell you this is arrogant. If students come to my academy from another organization I allow them to keep their kup and belt level. Granted they may have to wait a while before testing again. However I am not going to take away what they have earned. To do so would be arrogant and a complete disservice to the student. One other point, the WTF certificate would probably have still been an option for these students who had received their ITMA certificate. They probably did not bother to check with Master Na to see if they could pay the balance and receive it. The internet can be a hell of place. Students leave academy's and instructors for a variety of reasons. Maybe they were kicked out for causing trouble and want to take revenge on the instructor. They can do so anonymously with no accountability. They attempt to trash a person's reputation without leaving the person any recourse. Master Na is right, that cowardly and is not the attitude of a black belt. They should have gone to him, explained the situation and tried to work it out. more
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