How to protect yourself from joining a fraudulent martial arts studio:
1. Research club affiliations and compliance with World certified organizations
The main governing body for official Olympic Taekwondo is the World Taekwondo Federation(WTF) and its headquarters are the Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea. All official black belt certification is processed by the Kukkiwon. If you know your instructors full name and DOB you can research if he/she is an official taekwondo black belt using this link. http://www.kukkiwon.or.kr/english/new_examination/new_english/pop.jsp
USA Taekwondo (USAT), the official National Governing Body for Taekwondo in the USA as recognized by the Unites States Olympic Committee. You should check if the club is affiliated and that instructors have completed their background checks, as there are many sexual predators/abusers in the martial arts scene.
2. Research instructors/owners on the internet
If your instructor advertises he is a multiple world champion and has produced multiple world champions,
99.9 % of the time he/she is a fraud. There are certain events organized by promoters with the name World Championships attached to it, such as the USA World Championship. Off course they are not a real World Championships, as they are mostly one day tournaments with no previous qualifications necessary to enter and 99% are USA competitors. Fraudulent promoters are trying to attract more competitors that way and fraudulent martial arts studio owners are happy to support them and sometimes even receive their high black belt degrees from the same promoters as a thank you.
The real Taekwondo World Championship is held every two years and has only been held in the USA two times, 1977 in Chicago and 1993 in New York. Only the National team member of each country in each weight category is eligible to compete at the real Taekwondo World Championship.
To compete at a World Championship Taekwondo event, you have to be number one in your weight division in the USA, and there’s only one way to do this. First, you have to be a WTF Kukkiwon certified black belt. Second, you need to place in the top 4 medal positions in the 14-17 or 18-32 year old black belt VERY COMPETITIVE World Divisions at one of the state qualifiers in the country that is sanctioned by USA Taekwondo, the official National Governing Body for Taekwondo in the USA as recognized by the Unites States Olympic Committee. Next, you need to place in the top 4 medal positions in the 14-17 or 18-32 year old black belt divisions at the US Nationals also sanctioned by USAT. Then you still need to compete at the US Olympic Training Centers’ Team Trials and beat everybody in your division. Once you’ve done this, you are eligible to represent USA at the Taekwondo World Championships. To date we are the only Taekwondo school on Maui that has produced National team members and there has never been a Taekwondo World champion from Hawaii and only a few from the USA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Championships_medalists_in_taekwondo_%28men%29
3. Research fraudulent claims of black belt certification
We have had many students and several of their instructors transfer from a Martial Arts studio on Maui, where the head instructor claimed to be a WTF certified black belt and multiple World Champion. They found out the hard way that they waisted years of training and lots of money on what their instructor claimed to be Taekwondo instruction, but was not even close to any guidelines set by any official Taekwondo federation. Needless to say, the black belt certification they received from this instructor were only recognized by his own club and in order to earn an official Kukkiwon taekwondo black belt from us, they had to relearn everything.
There are many excellent martial schools in Maui if you are looking for an alternative to Taekwondo. When it comes to Olympic and traditional World Taekwondo Federation(WTF) Taekwondo, our credentials and success in national/international competition of over 20 years in Maui cannot be matched.