Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Tae Kwon Do and Karate?

“Tae Kwon Do” is a Korean martial art that translated means “the way of the hand and foot” or “the art of kicking and punching.” Learning Tae Kwon Do teaches students how to use their hands and feet to improve the mind and the body. Tae Kwon Do is one of the most popular martial arts in the world and can be found in every major country. In addition to being a popular form of self-improvement, it is also Korea’s national sport. “Karate” is a Japanese martial arts that translated means “empty hand.” Although both martial arts share similar movements, the country and customs are different.

How young do you take students?

Generally, we prefer students to be at least 6 years old. Usually by this age, a child has a decent attention level and concentration to benefit from the class.

Are students required to compete at tournaments?

It is not required, but strongly recommended that students participate in a tournament or two during their training.

Can someone compete on the State and National Level?

If someone is interested in a higher level of competition, our programs can prepare a student who has the interest, desire, and ability. In the past, students of Nguyen School of Tae Kwon Do have competed in State and National Competitions in recent years and fared very well at that level.

How are the belts ranked?

Beginners will earn their first belt early in their Tae Kwon Do training starting with white and moving on to orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, purple trim, brown, red, and finally black. Juniors, or students under the age of 16, will earn a Junior Black Belt, or Poom. Adults earn a First Degree Black Belt, or 1st Dan. Black Belts are ranked from 1st through 10th degree. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Black Belts are considered journeyman level. 4th – 6th degree Black Belts are considered Master Instructors. 5th Degree Black Belts & 6th Degree Black Belts often hold the title Kwang Jang Nim (Head of a school or an association). 7th – 10th Degree Black Belts are considered Grand Masters.

How long does it take to earn the rank of Black Belt?

Generally, it takes a student 3-4 years to earn the rank of Black Belt. Some students may earn their Black Belt in 2-3 years. It all varies with each individual student.

What is a Black Belt?

A Junior Black Belt (Poom) or Adult Black Belt (Dan) is a student recognized for their commitment to Tae Kwon Do who has achieved a high level of proficiency and knowledge in the art of kicking and punching. This proficiency includes that a student’s conduct outside the gym is a direct reflection of the art, the instructor and the student themselves.

What happens after reaching Black Belt?

Upon reaching Black Belt, a student will realize how much more there is to learn and continue their own training, advancement and individual improvement, while they also pass on what they have learned to new students. This is part of the circle of Tae Kwon Do — passing on all the training once learned by teaching new students who may one day do the same. This keeps the art of Tae Kwon Do alive for many generations and is the principle on which Tae Kwon Do and the Martial Arts have sustained themselves for over 2000 years. The knowledge and art of Tae Kwon Do is a gift that is meant to be shared with others who strive to learn and to better themselves.

What is the role of the instructor?

The instructor’s goals are to build and support the development of confident students. These students are individuals with goals, discipline, and a sense of proper direction in their lives. Students will also have needs and the instructors are there to see that those needs are met by training to help students become better human beings. The method of training, in all aspects, is a goal-oriented system which serves as a positive reinforcement to growth as individuals.

What is belt testing?

When the student has completed the required time and material training requirements a test date be set. As in any educational institution, the instructors know when a student is ready to test to, please trust their judgment. The belt exams are open for family and friends to attend and watch. The student will perform the required material in front of the testing instructor as well as the audience, then finish by breaking the required board or boards, to advance to the next level. Beginner students and children are given the assistance needed to help them fulfill the requirements to earn their belt. This helps build confidence. Advanced students are required to complete the exam with little or no assistance. Junior and adult black belt tests must be passed with no assistance.

Can a student fail?

No. If a student continues to try and persevere, then he/she will never fail. He/she may not complete all the requirements at the time of their test, but re-tests are always offered a couple weeks later on material missed for colored belts and a month later for black belts. Tae Kwon Do is not about failing, but about succeeding. Instructors will see that each student can succeed no matter what it takes. In the gym, four letter words like “can’t” and “don’t” are replaced with “can”, “do” and “try.” There is no giving up, so there is no failing.

What do the students receive with testing?

Following testing students are awarded a new belt and an advanced certification. These certificates should be kept in one place for verification at the black belt exam time. The certificates measure 8-1/2″ by 11″ and are suitable for framing. A good way to keep certificates together is to put each new certificate in the front of the frame while keeping the previous certificates in back. The Black Belts are certified through the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. Black Belts are certified and registered with the Kukkiwon in Korea, the World Tae Kwon Do Headquarters. The World Tae Kwon Do Federation is the only martial art recognized and accepted by the International Olympic Committee.

Why are students required to bow?

Bowing is a tradition in Korea used when entering or leaving the gym. It is also used when asking a question of an instructor or entering the Dojang in which higher ranks and black belts are present. It is a sign of respect for their for their experience, knowledge and commitment to Tae Kwon Do. It is also out of respect for the gym, the ranks, and the instructors. It is similar to an American handshake. When you meet someone it is proper etiquette to shake their hand. In Korea, and especially Tae Kwon Do, it is proper to greet people in this way each time they meet. This method of recognizing authority, experience, and greater knowledge helps to strengthen a student’s respect for authority in and out of the Dojang whether it is parents, teachers, police, adults or other persons of stature. It also fosters a sense of respect for the training, the goals, and the person they aspire to become.

What can students do to get the most out of their training?

The most important thing students, as well as parents, can do to ensure the best possible training available is to trust the instructors with the training for you and/or your child. The instructors work very hard to develop the best training programs they can with every step taken, every method used for a reason. Your confidence and support guarantees that you will get the most from your Tae Kwon Do training.


Location Sky Oaks Elementary School (Gym), 100 East 134th Street, Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone (612) 202-8557 E-mail Hours Tuesdays & Thursdays: Youth (Beginner - Yellow Belts) - 6:00 PM - 6:55 PM; Youth Advanced (Green - Black Belts) & All Adult (All Levels) - 7:15 PM - 8:30 PM
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