Rules For Testing At The Kukkiwon

        There are certain rules you have to follow to test at the Kukkiwon. The main rule is to wait 6 months living in Korea in order to be allowed to test. You cannot just come to Korea in test at the Kukkiwon for dan rank. I found out that I am NOT allowed to test until I have lived in Korea for 6 months.

        This does not make much sense to me but it is the way it is. If I want to get my fourth degree black belt I must wait 6 months now. I have already done well past my time limit as third degree, but I have to wait 6 more months unless I want to pay an American master a hefty sum of money to get my rank now. One of the things that kept me from testing was the extreme price that American masters charge. And I am talking about the Korean American masters who charge well over $500 just to get a belt rank.

        The point for me is to get an official Kukkiwon rank and have Korean training. I do not want to pay an unknown small American organization just to get a belt rank. I want it to be the most official rank you can get in that is why I came to Korea. I have trained in Taekwondo for 20 years. Even my current instructor in Korea thinks that I have the ability to be a fourth degree black belt in actually deserve it but that is how it is in Korea they have special rules for foreigners. So anyone thinking they can just take a trip to Korea and test for their belt rank needs to know the truth that it won’t happen. The only thing you can do is set up the foreign instructors course and take that and get your master teaching rank certification on the exact date they specified. I will do that next year.

        It is frustrating, but I am not worried about it. The point is to be good at martial arts and to be a good fighter to the best of my ability, and to be able to understand self defense. I am developing skills here in teaching ability and that is what really matters. Not a notch on my belt. I know I’m better than many 4th degree black belt, and can’t eat better and also fight better. The rank really means nothing except it gives you a backing for potential students and parents of students to understand you have a real training and are not a fake.

        One of the funny things is there is a current Kukkiwon scandal where officials at the Kukkiwon haven’t given the ability to skip multiple black belt rank up to 8th and 9th degree black belt if you pay $2,000. It is a way for Koreans to make money off of foreigners around the world who want to rank up fast. This was all over the news in Korea and is a complete embarrassment to the Kukkiwon. Many high ranking Taekwondo masters were protesting and angry. They must fire these cookie one officials right now if they want to save face. It also angers me because I know I’m good enough to be an official instructor and I have waited a long time and still have not tested for my proper rank. So the fact that cookie one is doing things like this angers me as well. I really hope the future of Taekwondo can be saved from such corruption, and to keep Taekwondo unified as a Korean martial art. The future of Taekwondo technique seems bright, but with such corruption scandals it ruins Taekwondo’s image more than has already been done before because of mcdojang mentality and lack of combative mindsets. Even the average Korean citizens who does not even care about martial arts is upset about what the Kukkiwon did.

I do not know of a Korean translation of the following video, but it is the news report on what the Kukkiwon did and you can see certain masters protesting against it. The famous Grandmaster Kang Shinchul is one of them. He has the long gray hair and is yelling. I don’t know who the Grandmaster with his shirt off kneeling is. From what I understand they are explaining in the video how dumb it is that the Kukkiwon is selling out for cash.


Apparently, Master Jeong told me a couple of days ago the Kukkiwon quit this stupid policy. Finally. They need to take off those fancy suits and ties, and their shiney shoes and put on a dobok. Go back to fighting skills, not marketing.

        I am just going to be patient and either wait 6 months in Korea, or just pay the ridiculous $500 to the Korean American master. I do have a job and can save up. I will figure it out.

  1. Karel says:

    I can’t agree more with what you say. Actually, kukkiwon also bothered me with this “6 months waiting” rule. Apparently, it’s not just when you come to Korea, but this rule is for any country. You can only take an official kukkiwon test if you have been living for at least 6 months the country where you want to take your test. In 2013, i stayed 7 months in Korea, but because i didn’t have a visa, every 3 months i had to go out to Japan for 1 or 2 days. Because of that, kukkiwon didn’t want to allow me to test. Finally, thanks to a master who is a friend of mine, and judge at Kukkiwon, they let me test. The funny thing is (if you can call it funny), people who want to skip dan, for them those “6 months waiting” rule doesn’t apply. If you want to skip for 3rd dan to 5th dan (or higher), it is enough you stay just 1 day in Korea.
    Anyway, i enjoy reading your articles and your efforts to keep taekwondo a real martial art. Keep up the good work!

    • White Dragon says:

      HOw frustrating!!!

      I think this rule is stupid. Especially when someone is IN KOREA WHERE THE KUKKIWON IS LOCATED! Shouldn’t a physical display of skill earn someone a rank? Why can’t you just walk in and test?
      Maybe I can understand living in another country and having to be a resident to test under that country, but for Korea at the Kukkiwon itself makes no sense!

      And yes if you want to skip a dan because of their corrupt policy they were doing you could get your dan that day if you paid for it. Now after much protest they quit doing that.

      In my life if I tested on time I would be a 5th dan right now. But no I am only 3rd still. And I cannot get 4th until 3 and a half mor emonths even though I have been 3rd dan for 4 years now. This will be 4 and a half years basically. SO now 21 year old guys are 4th dan and 24 and 25 year olds are 5th degree masters today. It really is stupid.

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