All adults are welcome to the adult classes! Teenagers can generally do well in the adult class. Feel free to contact Kobey with any questions. Kobey is not currently teaching kids' classes -- kids are encouraged to join the Rouleau-Holley Taekwondo or Brattleboro Jiujitsu kids classes.
To join, simply come to class. You are welcome to send us an e-mail to say you are coming, but you can also just show up.
Please wear comfortable workout clothes. We'll ask you to fill out a registration form when you arrive. If you have any questions before starting, feel free to contact Kobey at BrattleboroYongmudo@gmail.com
Yongmudo class will be a combination of workout, technique instruction, and technique repetition/review. Sparring and randomized self-defense practice will be added as students gain the appropriate abilities. Each class will start with about 30 minutes of aerobic warm-up, old technique repetition, and stretching, followed by a short water break. The remainder of class will be divided into technique instruction or other practice as is appropriate.
For Yongmudo classes, eventually yes, but you are welcome to participate in class for several weeks before buying a uniform. If you don't have a uniform, please wear comfortable workout clothes (that you wouldn't be too upset about if they got ripped).
We find that wearing the dobok "uniform" has several beneficial effects. Mentally, putting on the dobok acts as a threshold for a mental break from the rest of your life; Wearing the uniform means you are in martial arts mode now and you aren't stressed about that big project, upset about the argument you just had, etc. You can focus on class. Physically, we find many of our grabbing and throwing techniques are best taught while wearing a uniform that allows for good grips in order to safely control our partner. As students get better at controlling their techniques, we can adapt to situations without the strong grips available with a martial arts uniform. To this end, we will have occasional "T-shirt workouts" where we will get a chance to try our techniques on someone who is not wearing a uniform.
If you have a uniform from a different martial art, you are welcome to wear it. We prefer the thicker single-weave judo/aikido style uniforms over thinner karate/taekwondo style uniforms as we find the thinner ones are more prone to ripping. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uniforms are usually thick enough, but are sometimes tailored too tight to allow for comfortable kicking. However, any uniform is usually better than nothing.
Additionally, protective martial arts cup is recommended, but not required, for students with male genitalia. At around green belt level, you'll need sparring pads and a mouth guard so we can start strike-sparring with more force, but these are not necessary for beginners.
(To not answer the question:) Martial arts, and especially self-defense, is a life-long learning process. Ideally, we shouldn't be worried about rank or status. We should be pursuing training for the rest of our lives, always looking to improve. For this reason, we often refer to our black belts as just "certified beginners": certified to continue the training more independently. As the saying credited to Royce Gracie (BJJ legend) goes, "A black belt only covers 2 inches of your ass, you have to cover the rest yourself."
All that said, we understand that belt ranks and promotional tests are important milestones and can be good short- and medium-term goals in the career of a martial artist.
(To answer the question:) We plan to hold promotional tests for belt rank every 3-4 months. The rank system in Yongmudo has 10 ranks (급 kub) below black belt and 9 levels (단 dan) of black belts.
The colors are as follows:
10th kub - White Belt
9th/8th kub - Yellow Belt
7th/6th kub - Green Belt
5th/4th kub - Blue Belt
3rd/2nd kub - Brown Belt
1st kub - Red Belt
1st/+ dan - Black Belt
It is possible (but not guaranteed) to move up more than one kub-rank each test. The normal time-frame from beginner to black belt for students who have frequent attendance is 4-5 years. Less than 4 years to black belt is rare, but taking longer than 5 years is not uncommon.
When we decide to promote someone to any rank, it is based on a combination of their technical ability, their personal delta (improvement from previous test), and their contributions to the club and community. If a student fails a test, we never mean that as a personal affront to the student, rather only that we think that student needs more time to process and practice at that level. We won't think less of you if you fail a test. In fact, failing and still returning to keep working on your skills shows exactly the kind of grit and life-long determination that will gain you respect.
The short answer is no. If your rank is in something other than Yongmudo, it does not transfer. However, your background in another martial art may allow you to progress through the Yongmudo ranks faster.
That said, we aren't blind to previous martial arts experience. If you have experience in another martial art, we will make sure that the instruction you receive or the group you are put into is useful to you, regardless of your Yongmudo rank. If you have significant experience in another art, we may even ask you to share some of your techniques with the class so we can all learn from your previous experience.
We offer two options for black belts from other martial arts. You are welcome participate in class as a visiting black belt. As such, you can wear your black belt, however, this indicates to us that you are generally happy with your techniques and are viewing this as cross-training. We won't ignore you, but we will not focus our instructional attention on you.
If you wish to gain rank in Yongmudo, however, we ask that you start as a white belt. This does not mean that we will treat you like a complete beginner, though. Your skills will be noted and appreciated. We are always interested in comparing, sharing and adapting techniques and will most likely ask you to give your opinions and show your variations when appropriate.
In all cases, we would be happy to talk with you about how you can get the most out of your training with us, and what we can learn from you.
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