The statement “Of course I’m an instructor; after all, I have just been promoted to 1st-degree Black Belt.” may well apply in some martial arts, but Kuk Sool Won (KSW) is very different.

While it is true that being a Jo Kyo Nim (1st-degree Black Belt in KSW) is the first rung on a tall ladder to becoming a fully-qualified KSW instructor, the process is dependent upon two main criteria: the amount and quality of experience gained from helping in classes as a Colour-Belt student; and the continued assessment of a Jo Kyo Nim’s performance when assisting more senior Black Belts.

All of the instructors and instructors-in-training at KSW (Boston) are subject to the following criteria, without exception:

  1. They must hold a minimum grade of 1st-degree Black Belt;
  2. They must have helped in class as a Colour Belt on a regular basis (at least once a week, during which time their teaching capabilities were assessed). Of important note here is that Colour Belts only assist Black Belts in class — they do not teach;
  3. Recently promoted 1st-degree Black Belts are only permitted to instruct lower-rank Colour Belts — under supervision (higher-rank Colour Belts are instructed by higher-rank Black Belts);
  4. If and when Black Belts are permitted to teach higher-rank Colour Belts is at the discretion of 5th-degree Master Sonny Boyall and is dependent not just on the standard of the Black Belts’ teaching but also on how well they remember the details of the Colour-Belt forms and techniques;
  5. They must teach in accordance with the WKSA-approved curriculum, which is regularly worked on in detail in Black-Belt classes;
  6. They must be an adult (18 years of age, or over);
  7. All instructors, instructors-in-training and Black Belts are taught and trained by 5th-degree Master Sonny Boyall;
  8. All adults who teach and assist in the children’s classes (Black Belts and Colour Belts alike) are DBS checked and certified;
  9. Junior (under 18s) Black Belts assist adult Black Belts in children’s classes. Once students have been instructed by the adult Black Belts, junior Black Belts work with Colour-Belt children in small groups to help them to practise what they’ve just been taught.