Trying a FREE Class and our Introductory Special:
Every student starts with a free class. We always offer an introductory special, which is a one-time discounted membership for several weeks. The intro special helps you determine if you and/or family members will be able to make a more long-term commitment to our martial arts program.
Expectations for behavior of visitors trying a class, current students as well as family members and guests:
Our rules apply to everyone: students, visitors and family members, both on the workout floor, while waiting for class or watching from the sidewalk.
Whether you are a child, an adult, a teen, a parent, a friend, a sibling ... if you are breaking our rules we will chat :)
- We follow the CDC, Ohio and Franklin County guideline
- We use a private Zoom link so that students may participate in class from home if they wish
- No different than our health guidelines have been for years, please do not come to the school if the person coming inside has even minor symptoms or if anything contagious
- Students must wear the appropriate uniform (clean and in good repair) to every class, whether they are participating in-person or online
- Students are expected to respond to instructions promptly and with an enthusiastic "yes, ma'am!" or "yes, sir!"
- Students are expected to be courteous to instructors and other students
- Students are expected to arrive on time (they may come inside 5 minutes before the scheduled start of their class) and be picked up right at the end of class
- Students arriving 10 or more minutes later than the schedule start time of the class may not participate today. We will have already completed the warm up to prepare students for class. The class will have been planned based on the number of students in class and their rank/age/stripes. We will be 5 or more minutes into the class activities
- All Black Belts, especially instructors are referred to by their last name with Ms., Miss, Mr. or Mrs. Even if you know an instructor from outside of the taekwondo school, they are never referred to by their first name in the school, even by parents or other family members of students.
Why are we so firm?
It's important for students to learn the importance of rules, that we mean exactly what we say and that time management is important. After all, you don't want your family members trying to find ways to avoid following your rules, getting out of chores and ignoring curfews, and we're here to help.
What happens after the Introductory Special?
The Intro Special is a one-time-use offer that gives you several weeks beyond the free trial class to introduce you to Hilliard Taekwondo Academy and to decide if this is the program for your family. Martial Arts training is a skill-building and character-building holistc "sport" that is a year-'round program rather than a seasonal activity. Respect, confidence, focus, courtesy, integrity, self-control, learning to keep trying even when something is really challenging or if you don't succeed the first time you try ... these important lifetime skills are not learned in a season. Just like physical skills that improve with consistent practice, these important character traits develop with consistent use in our program. At the end of the introductory special you choose which of our monthly-auto-billing option memberships works best for your family.
Can we sign up without trying a class first?
The purpose of the free trial class is so we can see how the potential student interacts in class with instructors, other students and our equipment as well as their ability to focus and follow instructions safely and respectfully. It also give you the opportunity to see how we work with students. Our goal is to ensure that students can participate safely in our program (for their own safety as well as that of the other students in the class), not to see how well they can do martial arts or how athletic they are. Most of our guests who try a free class ARE able to participate safely, but every once in awhile we need to acknowledge that we that we are not a good fit for this person at this time.
We are often asked if we accept students with certain diagnoses. We not accept or decline students based on any diagnosis. The purpose of the free trial class (or a mini-trial "class" we offer before the start of a next session) is so we can see how the potential student interacts in class and it also give you the opportunity to see how we work with students. We have students who have diagnosis such as autism, ADD, ADHD, etc. Our goal is to ensure that students can participate safely in class. Potential students who are considered "typical" as well as those with a diagnosis may not be able to focus well enough to be able to participate at this time.
Little Dragons & Little Ninjas, age 4 & 5
Juniors Program: Ages 6 - 12
Young Teens: Ages 11 - 17
Teen/Adult: Ages 13 - Adults
Below are examples of what is okay and not okay to wear to try your free trial class with us. We are a family-friendly program and require all students and prospective students to wear modest, appropriate clothing. We do reserve the right to not allow someone to try a class if we determine their clothing does not meet our guidelines.
Once we accept a new student into our program they are expected to wear only our uniforms to class. We provide a full white uniform, a belt and a workout t-shirt at the time of joining. You may also purchase additional workout pants (white, red or blue) and additional workout t-shirts from us to wear to class. Workout t-shirts may be worn with our white or color pants. The uniform jacket may only be worn with the white uniform pants. Students may not wear sweat pants, pajama pants, long sleeve t-shirts, etc under their uniform pants and t-shirts.
What is okay / not okay to wear for a trial class
We allow only modest clothing (loose-fitting short sleeved t-shirts and loose fitting long pants or baggy shorts that come at least to the knee; we do not allow crop tops, mesh tops, tank tops, tops that have the sides slit open or that are sheer enough to see through; we do not allow yoga pants or leggings or tight fitting running pants ... and we do reserve the right to require you to reschedule your trial class if we feel that your clothing is not appropriate. Yes, we understand that "other" places, like the gym or running clubs etc allow clothing that is on our "not okay" list ...but we are not "other" places. :)(once you become a student you must wear the provided uniform to every class):
What is Taekwondo America?
Taekwondo America (TA) is the national organization Hilliard Taekwondo Academy is associated with. TA has member schools across the United States. All TA schools, like Hilliard Taekwondo Academy, are not owned by TA, are not "franchises" and will reflect each school owner's unique personality and teaching style. While each school is required to follow the standards set by TA as a minimum for Belt Rank Testing (forms, one-steps, sparing and board breaking) and Instructor promotions, each school may include additional requirements to their program.
Why does your sign say "KARATE"?
There are many similarities between Karate and Taekwondo. Karate originated in Japan and Taekwondo is the Korean form of this martial art. Before Taekwondo became recognized as such an awesome sport that helps kids, teens and adults develop confidence physically and emotionally, few people knew what the word "Taekwondo" meant. Our Taekwondo America schools often use the word "karate" in signage because it was immediately identifiable as martial arts.
Is Olympic style Taekwondo / Martial Arts better than other styles?
Olympic style isn't better or worse than any other style of Taekwondo. It's simply the style of sparring the Olympics has decided to use. At Hilliard Taekwondo Academy we do not use Olympic style sparring for a number of reasons. Our goal is to help students feel better prepared if they have to defend themselves in a fight. The "bad guy" isn't going to keep stopping his/her attack to see who scored a hit and isn't going to stop attacking you when a set number of points have been reached. At Taekwondo America tournaments our organization uses "continuous sparring" where judges use clickers to keep track of points being scored without stopping the sparring. Also, students who have transferred to our program for Olympic style sparring schools historically have not had good blocking skills. This may be due to padded chest protectors that some Olympic style schools use during sparring. We focus on teaching students to move well and block well in addition to developing effective striking and kicking techniques.
What if the weather outside is frightful?
Sometimes we do not open and sometimes we need to close after we've already opened for classes, due to the weather.
We change our phone voicemail message and update our Facebook.com/HilliardTKD page first.
If we have already opened for classes and then need to close due to unexpected weather conditions, we update our Facebook page and our phone voicemail message, and if able will email every family.
ALWAYS CONFIRM IF WE ARE OR WILL STAY OPEN if it looks like we are open and the weather is iffy. If we need to close once we've opened, we cannot just turn out the lights until every student who is already in class has been picked up, so it's important that you confirm that we are open and staying open rather than dropping off and driving off.
When conditions are snowy or icy before we are scheduled to open, we drive around a few of the main and side streets as well as the parking lot in the center where Hilliard Taekwondo Academy is located.
We do not follow the public school decisions to open or close on a given day. Public schools may be closed due to morning weather but the roads are clear by the time we are scheduled to open. And the weather may be fine in the morning, but snow or ice in the afternoon makes it unsafe for us to encourage people to come to class.
We do not take the decision to close lightly and in the past we have not needed to close very often, but we do need to consider the safety of all our students, their families and our staff who may have cars designed for the average Ohio winter rather than vehicles with monster tires.
When should I keep my child home? (fevers, spots, tired and more ...)
When in doubt, stay home. Especially now that you can participate in class from home online via Zoom
It's difficult to have one answer that covers all situations but our goal is to do our best to try to have the healthiest environment we can for all students, and sometimes that means a student staying home so they can fully recover and so other students in class can participate without risk of becoming ill or injured as well.
One of the positives that came from our experience of being a small business through a pandemic is we found that having less family members in the lobby during classes keeps our instructors healthier, which means we can provide a better experience for our students
Prior to the pandemic, families would keep sick students at home, but sick parents and/or sick siblings were often in our lobby, and we had less than planned for instructors almost every day due to illness
Since we changed our policy to allow only one person total per family of students in the current class to be inside, with that one person being only a parent/guardian, we rarely have instructors out due to illness. Again that means more instructors available to provide a better experience for our students. We understand it isn't "perfect" but we feel healthier instructors and students is worth it.
Conditions requiring bandaging need more than just a band-aid. Students perspire and band-aids slide off. In addition to a band-aid a medical "sleeve" type item or medical wrapping gauze/tape/etc are needed to ensure bandages stay in place. If just one toe or one finger needs wrapped, the wrapping also needs to go around the palm of the hand or the foot a couple of times to keep the bandaging from sliding off. We do reserve the right to ask for a medical release from your doctor for you to participate.
What we think of as "typical" seasonal issues: mild coughing, mild colds and allergies most likely will not require a doctor's statement to return to class, but a student with a strong persistent cough, a cold or allergies who has mucus running from their nose and/or puffy eyes with tears running down their face probably isn't going to have the best experience in class and should probably be resting at home until they can participate a little more "dryly". Fever and/or flu-like symptoms: If a student currently or within the past 24 hours has had an above normal temperature, been vomiting, had diarrhea ... they need to stay home to rest and recover. If a student has an injury (typically from activities away from our tkd school) we do want a doctor statement indicating when they may participate.
Students with casts, wraps, etc MAY still be able to participate in class.
Chicken pox, lice and other contagious issues ... stay home until the full course of the illness or treatment has been completed; if there is a rash on the skin we may require a doctor's statement that it is fine for the student to return to class, and any rash site must be covered throughout class. Poison Ivy: As long as any bumps have been washed thoroughly and the area is wrapped well, the student can participate.
Warts: As long as the site has been cleaned and is wrapped well, the student can participate. Warts thrive in warm moist conditions like swimming pool bathrooms, gym locker rooms. Because we workout in very cool temperatures at our school and use a commercial disinfectant to clean, the odds of warts being transferred from one student to another in our school are extremely rare, but we still want them kept covered/wrapped. It's also good to treat warts, whether with an over-the-counter product that you've found to be successful or something recommended by your doctor.
Skin Rashes: Because rashes can be the result of so many different things (external and internal) we require students to:
● keep all areas of the rash covered once the doctor has provided a release to participate in class again (we don't want germs from other students to get in any open areas of the rash, which could lead to infection) And if the rash includes any open blisters or sores we also require students to:
● get checked out by their doctor
Too Tired: sometimes you or your child are just too tired to be able to really participate in class. It may seem like a good idea to just suck it up and go anyway, but a student who is tired doesn't make a good partner, isn't focused and probably isn't really learning or improving today. And they are more likely to injure themselves or others because they are less focused. It's probably better to stay home and rest up so they are able to more fully participate in class the next time.
Can I sign up myself or my child without trying the free class?
No. It's important to start with a trial class for a number of reasons. We understand that you or your child may have been wanting to do martial arts "forever" and just want to get started in our program right away. Sometimes a child who has "always wanted to do martial arts" reacts much differently when they walk through our front door or it's time to step out onto the workout floor for their first class. Because we are teaching martial arts, it's important for us to run classes as safely as possible and participants who are not able to focus well or not able to follow directions quickly & accurately or not able to communicate clearly & well with our instructors can pose a safety risk to themselves as well as other students in the class. It's not unusual for a student to require a small amount of one-on-one attention to learn a new and challenging skill, but our program is not designed for a student who may need almost constant one-on-one assistance to be able to participate in class safely. As much as we would love to be able to accept every visitor into our program (and probably about 99% of our visitors are able to start right after trying their free class), it's important for us to recognize that every martial arts school is not designed for everyone. We feel it's more important to be honest with our visitors if we feel our program is not a good fit than it is to accept their money when we believe they will not get exceptional value from our program at this time. In those very rare cases where we might choose to allow someone to purchase a membership as a surprise Christmas present for example, we treat their first class in the same way we do the free trial class and if we feel the student cannot participate safely in our program we reserve the right to cancel the membership.
Does this mean that everyone who visits can try a free class no matter what?
No it doesn't. A visitor may not be the correct age for the class, they may not be wearing appropriate clothing to try the class or their behavior before or during class indicates that they are not ready to participate in class safely. If class has already started we may remove a child from the workout floor and bring them back out to you in the lobby if what they are wearing or their behavior becomes a safety issue and we may suggest trying class another day. It may also be that siblings or the parents or other guests of the students are not following our guidelines while watching from the sidewalk and because of the distraction and potential safety issue, we may need to remove the child from class so you can take all of them home.
Why don't you show the prices for your program after the introductory special?
That's a great question, and there are a number of reasons we don't include our pricing on our website. We're probably not the cheapest or the most expensive program around and we don't want you to make a decision based solely on price. Have you ever bought the cheapest of something (or even the most expensive thinking you were getting the best there was) and wished you hadn't? It can be difficult to imagine the value of something you haven't had the opportunity to experience yet.
For example, imagine if a shoe salesperson asked you what is the absolute most you would be willing to pay for a pair of shoes. Okay, now what if the shoes they offered were such a great design they could be worn with casual as well as really dressy outfits; were so well made they would last 10 years no matter how tough you or your child were on them; were so comfortable they somehow helped you feel more relaxed and gave you more energy so you could focus better which helped you perform better on the job, at home or at school? Would you pay more for them than you first thought you would? Most people would because those shoes provide greater value than any shoes they've previously had experience with. However if the shoe salesperson had simply told you the price of the shoes without letting you experience the shoes first it's probable you wouldn't have even tried on those awesome shoes and would have missed out on the best pair of shoes ever that ended up being the best value.
We've had the gamut of "you were less expensive/more expensive" responses from people:
"Wow! You are a whole lot less expensive than ____ sport or activity (or even the other taekwondo program) my child has participated in!"
"You were a little more expensive than I expected at first, but I was so impressed with the positive changes in my child after such a short time in your program that it has been well worth the money!"
"Considering the number of sports my child has tried and quit right after I bought a bunch of equipment, you are a lot less expensive and I'm amazed that months (years) later my child still LOVES coming to class here!"
"Wow! I thought it was going to be just a physical sport, but my child has become more respectful at home and is doing so much better in school this year that you are worth any amount of money ... but please don't raise your prices because I said that!"
We've also had students come to us after spending time in less expensive programs (and sometimes way more expensive programs!) We used to automatically keep students at whatever rank they earned in that other taekwondo program. However, we've found it's not unusual for those students to not have the skill level to participate safely at that same rank in our program. We now evaluate the skills of potential new students coming from other taekwondo programs to determine what rank they would fit safely into our program. Imagine if you or your student were playing on an elementary school football team and suddenly found yourselves facing a varsity high school team. How unsafe and scary would that be? Or imagine if you or your child were in 5th grade and a first grader was moved into the classroom, requiring the teacher to spend valuable time teaching to the first grader to try to bring them up to the same level as the rest of the class. Imagine how bored and frustrated you would be.
We don't pressure you to sign up ... either for the introductory special or the longer term memberships after that. We understand that families live within a budget and also that not all cars or shoes or food brands (how many off-brand items did you think you were saving money when you bought them but ended up throwing away because no one would eat it?) or houses ... or taekwondo programs ... are identical.
How old does a child need to be to start Taekwondo?
At Hilliard Taekwondo Academy a potential new student must be the correct age for the class/program. A potential student may be old enough to try a class and still not be ready to participate in our program yet. Many seven-year-olds demonstrate the maturity to pay attention during a 45-minute class and follow instructions well. On the other hand, some older children behave in such a way that shows they do not have the same maturity and are not ready for a 35-minute program 2-3 times a week. It has less to do with physical ability or how bright or "big for their age" your child is than it does with willingness to try hard, be respectful and focus for a full class. That's one of the reasons we have potential new students try a free class first. We expect all students to:
- be able to focus and understand simple instructions
- follow instructions, independently, immediately and with minimal reminders
- treat all instructors, staff and other students with respect and courtesy
- be able to communicate clearly to instructors, helpers, staff
- treat the school including the lobby) and equipment with respect
- obey safety rules
- behave according to the Tenets of Taekwondo
- try hard and participate in all class activities with enthusiasm
- wear the proper uniform and keep it clean
- have clean feet, hands, face and body - keep toenails and fingernails trimmed
- keep hair pulled back so it will not be in the eyes
- do not wear jewelry post earrings can pop out and injure someone if they step on it dangly earrings, necklaces, bracelets can catch on a target partner's finger or toe and injure both
- students and rings can scratch partners holding targets or doing grabs, releases and take-downs
We also expect family members and other visitors to follow the same guidelines.
How many times a week should my child or I come to class?
Little Dragons & Ninjas (ages 4 & 5) have 2 classes a week.
Students in our Juniors Program (age 6-12) and our Teen/Adult program may participate in up to 3 taekwondo classes a week, with at least twice a week being recommended.
Setting a schedule and being consistent is important. If you ask them every day if they want to go to taekwondo today, even if they only come to class two times a week, they will start to feel like they are coming to class all the time because you are asking them every day. Students who do not come to class consistently often feel out of place, like everyone else knows more than they do and then do not want to come to class. The student who just loved coming to class will start calling it "boring and dumb" because they don't want to tell you that they feel like it's now to hard or that everyone has passed them by. However, students who do come on a consistent basis feel better and actually look forward to coming to class.
That doesn't mean a student should never take any time off. Just like you need to play hooky from work once in awhile or take a much needed family vacation, students need to take a day off from taekwondo once in awhile, especially when the weather is perfect outside. And being away from class for a family vacation won't hurt the training of a student who has been coming to class consistently.
It's also a good idea once in awhile to change up which classes they attend. Different instructors are here on different days and different students come on different days. Coming in on a different day can give a student a whole new perspective on their training.
Do you accept students with behavioral or developmental diagnoses?
We do not accept or decline students based on any behavioral or developmental diagnoses. For example we have students who are on the autism spectrum, are diagnosed OCD, are diagnosed with ADD, etc. And we've chosen to not accept students in our program who do not have any such diagnoses, but based on the trial class felt they were not mature enough or focused enough to be able to participate safely at the time of the trial class.
We make our decisions based on being able to provide value (we do not want you to spend money with us if we truly do not believe you or your child will be able to focus and participate well enough to learn and progress in our program right now) as well as safety (if you or your child are not able to follow directions well, are not able to focus, are not able to communicate well without frequent or constant one-on-one supervision, your participation might pose a safety risk for you or your child as well as the other students in class). While we wish we could accept every potential student who comes through our doors, we do recognize that not every martial arts school can meet the training needs for every person.
What are the uniform requirements?
Each martial arts student is issued a uniform (white pants and white jacket) upon enrollment and currently we are also providing a t-shirt at no additional cost to the student. All martial arts students are required to wear either their full white uniform or they may wear their white uniform pants or our color workout pants with an HTA or Taekwondo America T-shirt and their belt. (Anyone may wear red or blue workout pants, but only Black Belts may wear black workout pants. Color pants are never worn with the uniform jacket.)
T-shirts other than HTA or TA may not be worn in class. T-shirts must be tucked into the pants waist.
When in full uniform, females must wear a plain white T-shirt under their uniform jacket and males do not wear any t-shirt under their uniform jacket. Anyone with hair below their ears must pull their hair back. Jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, watches and bracelets are not to be worn during class, testings or tournaments because they can injure you or your workout partners.
Uniforms (including t-shirts) must be kept clean and in good repair (belts are the one uniform items that should never be washed).
Do you have really cool weapons classes I can sign up to take?
Nope (though we do some fun weapons drills in some of our Black Belt classes once those students learn their new pattern of moves). Taekwondo is what we have years of training to teach. Differing versions of the history of Taekwondo seem to disagree on whether Taekwondo is a weaponless art designed specifically for unarmed conflict or if early Taekwondo martial artists did use weapons. Although our instructors have had the opportunity to participate in a few classes over the years using nun-chucks, bo staffs and escrima sticks those few hours of experience don't even come close to comparing to the minimum of 3 years of training we require before even considering a Black Belt student for the our training program to become a Taekwondo instructor. Our chief instructors each have over 20 years of experience teaching Taekwondo. We wouldn't feel right charging an additional fee for you to participate in a class that we didn't have the years of training to teach with the same excellence we put into our Taekwondo program. Besides, in a true self-defense situation the odds of having a super cool martial arts weapon handy is slim ... but you will always have the hands, feet, elbows and knees we taught you to use.
Why do I have to buy your co-branded sparring gear? Can't I buy something cheaper?
Every Taekwondo America student (if you are a Hilliard Taekwondo Academy student, you are a Taekwondo America student) must have the same level of protection to reduce the probability of injury during sparring. If gear does not have the Taekwondo America co-branding on it we can't be sure what it's made of or how it was manufactured. Students with different qualities of sparring gear feel contact differently and will punch/kick other students lighter or harder depending on how their own gear absorbs impact. If we allowed everyone to purchase any gear they wanted, some parents would buy the thickest most expensive gear available and some parents would purchase the cheapest lowest quality gear they could find in order to save money and the student with the much thicker higher quality gear is going to punch and kick harder because their gear absorbs impact better so they think it's okay to hit harder. The national organization has worked hard to find a moderately priced type of sparring gear that offers value and ensures every student has the same level of protection from their sparring gear.
Can I make taekwondo items with Hilliard Taekwondo Academy's name, logo, images, etc?
No. We realize that it seems like a cool idea to create personalize, customized items with our logo, images, etc on them, but they are the property of Hilliard Taekwondo Academy. We do sell t-shirts, gear bags, etc with our logo on them if you are looking for gifts for an HTA student.
Since I'm the "paying customer" shouldn't I be in charge of my child's training and decide if they should practice at home, what they wear to class, how my other children behave in the lobby, etc?
As politely as we can respond, the answer is "No ... and remember why you brought them here in the first place." Yes, this is how we pay our bills and yet it's not your money that motivates how we run our program. We will not compromise our program or our Mission Statement to satisfy a parent or student who wants to try to bully us to get their way. That diminishes our program for all the other students. Helping each student become more respectful, confident and skilled in martial arts is more important to us than appeasing parents by letting them hold their status as a "paying customer" over our heads. Does that mean we act like harsh, mean tyrants and yell at parents? Of course not!
Martial arts is about respect and discipline, though, and that applies to parents and siblings and other visitors as well as the student in our program. After all, shouldn't you model the same behavior expected of your children and let them see that consequences don't apply only to children and that even adults can graciously acknowledge when they have erred?
We understand that in many arenas of life (school, sports, with friends) parents may feel the need to aggressively advocate for their child so their child isn't ignored and overlooked. We understand that many sports programs can tend to be solely about the the physical skills of the sport and that only the "star" players get noticed ... if a parent doesn't challenge the coaches. At Hilliard Taekwondo Academy our martial arts program is about becoming a more respectful, disciplined, focused person of integrity in addition to developing awesome taekwondo skills. That's one of the reasons we start class immediately on the minute of the scheduled class time and end classes no later than the posted time have the student tell us that when they arrive.
Ignoring our recommendations for your child to test or not, to practice at home or not, or repeatedly questioning information we have given you is disrespectful to us and models for your child that it is okay to not listen, to ignore what we are teaching them which includes: sign up to test when you get your red stripe, only certified HTA instructors may teach a student (parents, siblings, other students are not to try to teach at home), asking if a student passed testing before results are given, pay attention when we talk so you don't need to question or ask for the same information repeatedly, etc. Again, we understand that many children's program are run by volunteer coaches who allow or overlook parents telling them how they want their children coached, played, etc. Just because we do not agree with you about your child's progress, when they should test, etc, or if we tell you that you are stepping on our toes with your questions/suggestions it does not mean we are being disrespectful to you ... we are trying to let you know that you are bordering on being disrespectful to us. Our priority is the student and ensuring that they have the best opportunities to challenge themselves while at the same time not putting them in a situation where they will feel entirely overwhelmed.
You and our staff want the same thing ... for you and/or your child to become a more accomplished martial artist and a more confident, focused, disciplined person of integrity. Let's work together to make that happen.
Should students practice at home?
There's a difference between a student choosing to practice their own form at home in a safe space (which is okay) versus parents forcing their child to practice at home, the student trying to spar, do bully defense techniques, teach friends of family members, punch & kick people and the furniture (which is NOT okay). Students should never spar outside the school or perform martial arts techniques that could hurt themselves or others (or your furniture).
And again, there is a difference between a student deciding on their own to practice their form (which is okay) and parents making the decision the student should practice, or worse, trying to teach their kids based on what they've seen from the sidewalk or video taped on their phone (which is NOT okay ... the video taping or the attempt to teach). We do suggest to students, once they learn their form, that a great way to improve is to ask a parent to video them doing their form, and then to let the student watch the video by themselves. (We know it's tempting to watch it with them and point out what they need to improve/fix, but that becomes discouraging for them because it sounds like negative criticism. Let it be their thing.)
There is a great Facebook post going around that says: "Your child's success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best IS a direct reflection of your parenting."
Research indicates that the #1 reason kids quit activities is because their parents take the fun out of it. Parents try to "help" by giving constant advice, tips, sideline coaching, turning it into homework, etc.
Parents, we know how tempting it can be to watch class, take notes or use your phone to video their form and then try to "help" your child at home, especially if you feel they're not learning as quickly as other students. But that is one of the fastest ways to kill your child's desire to learn martial arts. Something they started as a fun activity has now become a chore. And we know from the sidewalk it can look like teaching should be easy. But parents who start taking class with us are surprised at how difficult it actually is to learn (let alone to do well) what look like the most basic taekwondo moves.
Yes, it looks easy when we do it because we've been doing taekwondo for so many years and we've been trained to teach it and we've been teaching for so many years. We understand that little Bobby and little Susie have different learning styles. And we've decided that we need to focus on the direction little Marcia is moving her feet and not worry about what her arms are doing right now. When you try to "help" at home, you may undo all the work we've put into moving them toward learning their form ... and building their self-confidence. As long as students are attending 2-3 classes a week consistently there is no need for additional practice at home. You may want them to look awesome right now, but we see the long term potential in your child if we can keep it fun for them and keep them wanting to come back to class. If you really want to help your child succeed in our program:
- bring them to class 2-3 times a week, consistently
- make sure they have the proper uniform for class and are on time
- make sure they are rested and have had a healthy snack and water before coming to class
- have transition time between one activity (playing with friends, watching TV, playing video games) and coming to class
- after each class tell them how proud you are of how hard they work in class
If every class ends with you telling them how they could have done better, they will equate coming to class with getting "yelled at" by you, even if you think you are just offering helpful advice; and if we've disciplined them in class ask them what happened and how they can keep it from happening again (and yes, support us), but if you punish them after they've been disciplined in class they won't want to come back.
At the higher ranks, especially Black Belt level, students are encouraged to practice their form (and old forms to work toward earning their instructor collar) at home in addition to participating in class 3 times a week. Again, this needs to be the student's decision, though. We do not want students to injure themselves or a friend in an attempt to demonstrate kicks, punches or bully defense techniques they have learned in class. Breaking boards is never to be done outside of the school until the student is a senior blue belt belt and both the student and parent/guardians have been taught proper technique by a chief instructor.
And, just in case you think it would be a great idea to have our instructors babysit or hang out with your child so they can help them with their form outside of the school, that's one of the fastest ways for our instructors to lose their teaching collar. Our instructors are certified to teach under the supervision of a Chief Instructor in our school, but not independently outside of our school.
If I feel like I (or my child) need help on with sparring or kicks or my form, can I go directly to a specific instructor and ask for extra help outside of class or private lessons?
The quick and short answer is "no." If you have concerns, please talk with Ms. Thompson. All of our instructors, both staff and volunteer instructors, are certified to teach under our guidance and they are not permitted to set up private lessons unless approved through one of us in advance. They are not allowed to meet privately with students outside of the school or to teach inside the school without another adult, preferably another certified adult instructor, inside the school during that time.
Typically, when students have approached our instructors asking for private lessons, Ms. Thompson has already answered their request for a private lesson with "you just need to come to class more consistently" or "your skill level is right where we expect it to be at your rank and you just need to be patient." In a few rare instances we have felt a student did need a little extra help to catch up because of an injury they received in another sport or a prolonged illness. Ignoring our advice and going directly to the instructors is a sign of disrespect. If students are coming to class consistently 2-3 times a week (and yes, we expect you to take vacations and a day off now and then), and focusing and trying hard while they are in class, they will develop the necessary skills at the appropriate times for their rank. Parents are often concerned if they compare their child to other students in class and feel their child isn't performing at the same level. While we do have minimum standards that students must meet within our program, every student in our program is different with different athletic ability, differing abilities to focus as well as varying levels of being able to learn and retain new information. We don't compare one student to another, but rather focus on how each student is progressing since their previous belt rank testing (or, if they are a white belt student, since they were accepted into our program) based on their individual ability.
How do I find out what is happening at Hilliard Taekwondo Academy?
We post information in the private facebook group, in the Members Only section of the website, and send emails.
What if my child misuses Taekwondo at home or at school?
Talk with Ms. Thompson IMMEDIATELY. While we understand that students can be a little over-anxious to share and show off, this can be dangerous since they can accidentally injure someone. Please inform us as soon as possible so we can take steps to correct the situation.
What constitutes "misuse" of taekwondo? Karate chopping or kicking at people, pets and things just for fun or to show off; trying to teach anyone what they've learned in class; responding to a possible bullying situation with more force than necessary ... these are all examples of misusing taekwondo.
Respectfully practicing their form or one-steps (assuming THEY have decided to do this rather than a parent making them practice) in a safe space in your house is not misusing taekwondo.
If a bully picks on them, hits them or in some way attacks them, using taekwondo blocking or other self-defense skills in an appropriate way is not misusing what they've learned. "Appropriate way" means if someone is calling them names the student uses their voice to respond rather than hitting/kicking; the first time a bully uses physical force the student should try to move out of the way and/or block; if the physical force from the bully continues or escalates and the student cannot get away or get an adult to help immediate and they risk getting injured then a controlled strike may be needed to stop the altercation.
Parents, you do need to talk with your kids about what level of appropriate response you are okay with since any physical response, even if it's the only way to keep the bully from hurting them, will probably result in a suspension if this happens at school. What do the instructors expect from the students?
We expect our students to give their best effort as well as to be focused and respectful. Technique at the early stages of training is not as important as a positive attitude and responding quickly and safely to instructions. If a student tries hard, is respectful and focused and has a good attitude, they will develop better technique over time because they are listening, trying hard and learning.
How do the students earn colored "stripes" in class?
Each stripe is earned in class for achieving a short term goal that breaks up the requirements for advancement from one belt to the next. At the higher ranks it may take longer to earn certain stripes because the form and other skills are more challenging. To better understand what the stripes are for and how to earn them use the link at the bottom of the What We Teach page. What is testing?
Belt Rank Testing is a formal event in which students have the opportunity to demonstrate whether they are ready to progress to the next level of training. What is expected of students depends on the rank, age and physical ability of the student. What is required to pass testing increases dramatically as a student increases in rank. White through Recommended Black Belts test every 2 months (if they have earned the necessary skill tape stripes on their belt). Once you reach the rank of 1st Decided Black Belt, testing cycles are longer ― 4 months, 6 months, 8 months. If a student does not pass testing, you do not pay for testing again to have them retest for the same rank. We hold Belt Rank Testing every February, April, June, August, October and December, typically during the first week of those months. Any student, including Black Belts up to 2nd Decided Black Belt, who do not pass testing or are unable to participate in testing may test at the very next testing in two months. Black Belts do not need to meet the time-in-rank requirement again. There is more information on our News page on this site explaining why it is important for each student to participate in testing.
If a Black Belt takes a break from our program, the chief instructors will determine when they have regained the skill level to be prepared to test even if they met the time-in-rank requirement before taking a break.
Black Belts who have earned the rank of 2nd Degree Senior Black Belt and are testing for the rank of 3rd Degree and higher have age requirements as well as time-in-rank requirements and are only able to test at a Taekwondo America national event (typically the September National, the January National and the Summer Black Belt Conference. Age and time-in-rank requirements for national testings are considered met if they fall no later than 30 days after the national event. For example, a student who must be 13 and have been a 2nd Degree Senior Black Belt for at least 10 months to be eligible to test could test at the September National if their 10 month time-in rank would be met in early October and if their 13th birthday fell in early October, both after the testing event, but within 30 days of the event.
How long does it take to become a Black Belt?
It is possible to become a Black Belt in about 2 1/2 - 3 years. However, it takes most people longer to attain that rank. But remember, Black Belt is just the beginning─not the end─of serious training. Black Belt indicates that the wearer is a master of the basics and is now a serious student of the art. Most people are surprised to learn that there are more forms to learn within the Black Belts than there were to reach Black Belt. From White - Senior Red Belt there are 8 forms to learn. There are 12 Black Belt forms and 17 Black Belt ranks: 4 levels of 1st Degree, 2 levels of 2nd Degree, 3 levels of 3rd Degree, 2 levels of 4th Degree and then one level each for 5th-9th Degree Black Belt. So, while it takes a minimum of 2 1/2 years to get TO Black Belt it would take a minimum of 36 years of training AFTER BECOMING a Black Belt to achieve the level of 9th Degree Black Belt if a student passed every single testing!