Dan-gun Grading: Zero to Hero in Two Hours

Daniel Larusso did it ... in the span of two hours he went from high school loser to one legged Karate Kid Champion. Of course I'm no Mr Miyagi and this isn't Hollywood, but there are a few things we can talk discuss to help our students prepare for their grading.

Firstly, student practitioners need to come to class prepared. This means that the student needs to know what is expected of them and overview all techniques, drills, kata, and application from their pattern in their minds. This has to happen before even starting to warm up their bodies at each session. The main point to note is that if you are preparing to grade using Dan-gun, for example, most of the apps and drills SHOULD be drawn from the current curriculum, mainly from your Dan-gun hyung.

From the performance last night I don't think students are doing enough preparation before coming to class. We train only two days a week. Dan-gun is relatively straight forward. If we can't drive our bodies, you would think that you can at least make sure the mind is sharp for when you need to perform correctly.

It's really not difficult. What was tested was done repeatedly over the last four months or more.

Feedback for last night's performance - how to improve on your performance in this grading of Dan-gun
  • Chon-ji has mid section punches. Dan-gun has punches to the nose. Make sure they strike centreline and that level.
  • Defend against a push or grab or a punch by folding for a knife hand and then unleashing the knife hand onto the neck. 
  • Defence against a kick using a low section lower block or Hardan Marki and fold, and then a strike to the neck or jaw using a rising block or Chukyo Marki.
  • When I ask for strikes, perform three at the upper level to the front and kiai on the last one.
  • The double blocks counter a strike or grab to the mid to upper section of your body - the arm is wrenched down and forward and bends the opponent over. You can push him away from here or control his head and punch him out.
  • Poker faces throughout the form. No wincing or scrunching up the face while doing any technique. If you get lost, look to the other student and continue. If you stand around looking lost I will notice that. Worse comes to worst, start over again. 
  • A front stance is two shoulder widths long. The back stance is one shoulder width long. Please allow make sure we can all see the difference between the two.
Need more advice when you grade? See Relying on What you Got in a Taekwondo Grading

Want to see a sample Taekwondo Grading Result?

Dan-gun Links on Traditional Taekwondo Blog

A few weeks more to get it right! Keep practicing!

Students finishing off yellow belt or their Dan-gun pattern should look at beginning sparring advice.


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Joan Stepsen
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