Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do I have to sign a contract?

No. At Lee’s we offer pricing by one-month or three-month blocks, but at no time will you be required to sign a contract. We firmly believe that people learn far more when they want to learn; coming to class only because you signed a contract benefits neither the school nor the student.

How do I pick the right martial arts schools for me and/or my children?

There are several martial arts schools and clubs in Bloomington. Visit the school/club, talk with the people there, and try it out. At Lee’s we feel that you should go to the school that is right for you, even if it happens to be a different one. Come in and try out a class at Lee’s. If you like it, great! If not, we’ll be sorry to see you go but we’ll understand. You need to find the school that works best for you.

Can I get hurt?

At Lee’s we understand that you have to go to work or school and that you come to us to get healthy, not to get injured. Instructors take every precaution to make sure you and/or your children are safe. However, despite our best precautions, accidents sometimes happen.

Why do you practice falling down?

Eventually you will fall down, whether it is during class or in your normal everyday life. If you are prepared and know how to fall properly, your chances of being seriously hurt will be greatly reduced.

I see you teach Taekwondo and Hapkido. Which is better?

Each type of martial arts has its own unique merits. For example, Taekwondo is better for defending at a distance, while Hapkido is much better at close quarters. If you are interested in losing weight, Taekwondo will help you more than Hapkido, but Hapkido can help you with breathing control and balance. In the end, Lee’s encourages you to try both styles and see which works better for you. Many people feel that learning both at the same time is best, while some solely follow a single art. In the end, the decision is up to you.

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Age Requirements

Is there a minimum age to take classes at Lee's?

Yes, we require students to be at least 8 years old to attend regular classes at Lee’s, or 4-6 to attend our Little Tigers classes. Children aged 7 will be given a very brief evaluation to see where they best fit. If a younger child can demonstrate an above average ability to maintain focus, we may allow them to attend the regular classes before age 8, however the decision is made on a case-by-case basis and the final decision is up to the instructor.

Is there a maximum age limit?

Technically, no. We welcome everybody we can! If in doubt, come on in and chat with us.

What is the age restriction for Hapkido?

In order to learn Hapkido at Lee’s, you need to be at least 18 years old. 16 year-olds with a black belt in Taekwondo from Lee’s and a parent/guardian’s permission may also be allowed. However, certain techniques (primarily falling, rolling, and escapes) are taught to all students regardless of age.

Why is there an age restriction for learning Hapkido?

There are two primary reasons. One, younger bodies are still developing bone and joint structures; improperly performed joint locks, re-grabs, and throws could cause permanent damage. And two, there are simply several techniques that are not appropriate for a younger person to know. If you have more questions, please send us an email or chat with one of our Hapkido instructors.

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Trial Classes

I would like to try out a class; do I need to schedule a trial class?

No, please feel free to come in at any time to try out a class for free! Please check out our Schedule to see what class might interest you best.

Do I need to agree to or sign anything for a trial class?

You will be asked to sign a standard damage waiver (i.e. if you get hurt doing something we didn’t ask you to do, it’s not our fault), but beyond that no, nothing else is needed. If you enjoy the class and want to sign up after, great! If you want to think about it, that’s fine too! If you know that it’s not right for you, then we’re sorry, but we’ll completely understand.

What should I wear for my trial class?

You should wear any kind of clothing that you are comfortable exercising in. Our only recommendation is that you not wear jeans or other kinds of restrictive clothing.

What are trial classes like?

A regular class! You will be joining a regularly scheduled class, so you will know exactly what our classes are like.

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Uniforms

Do I have to have a uniform?

Yes, you will need to have a uniform to train at Lee’s. Martial arts uniforms are designed to allow full freedom of movement and they also show school solidarity (and your rank).

What color uniform may I wear?

Lee’s follows traditional practices for martial art uniform colors, so Taekwondo students wear white uniforms, and Hapkido students wear black. If you are a student of both styles you may choose which uniform color to wear, though you may not mix/match the colors (i.e. the uniform must be all white or all black). There are exceptions to the rule, though. Students who have achieved special recognition may be allowed to wear a different color/style uniform, and Instructors/Masters/Grandmasters may choose what kind of uniform to wear.

Can I buy my uniform from Lee's?

Absolutely! We sell both white and black student weight uniforms at cost from Century Martial Arts. Please contact the school for current prices.

Do I have to buy the uniform from Lee's?

No, you are free to purchase your uniform elsewhere, or direct from Century Martial Arts. The uniform needs to follow the color restriction for your style and be a traditional one-over-the-other-cross-in-front kind. However, since we do sell uniforms at cost (and you don’t have to pay for shipping), we would of course recommend that you purchase from us.

I have a uniform from a different school. May I wear it at Lee's?

It depends. Generally if the uniform is close to what we wear, then it will be allowed but decisions on uniforms from other schools will be made on a case-by-case basis. If in doubt, please bring your uniform with you to Lee’s and we’ll let you know. If we decide you will need a new uniform, we will allow you to wear your old uniform until such time that a new one can be obtained.

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Ranks

How long will it take to earn a black belt?

If you come around 2 to 3 times per week, it will take around three years to earn your black belt.

What if I don't come 2 to 3 times a week?

How often you come to class is only one of the methods we use to determine your readiness to go to the next rank. In the end, it is your own individual readiness for the next rank that determines whether or not you advance. However, if you can only come once a week or can come twice a week most times but once a week others, it’s likely that it will take a bit longer for you to move up in rank. But just remember that all of us at Lee’s are there to learn, even your instructors.

What if I come more than 3 times a week?

We will take that into consideration, but it is unlikely that you will advance in rank faster than the minimum time listed on our Belts page. Part of the minimum time listed concerns maturity in rank, school, and class, and being able to be a proper role model to those of lower rank; just being able to perform the techniques is not enough.

What is a Master or Grandmaster?

A black belt who achieves the rank of 5th dan may be awarded the title of Master by the school. The title is awarded to instructors who demonstrate outstanding ability in their respective style(s) and who show true dedication to Lee’s and the martial arts. A Master who achieves the rank of 7th dan may be awarded the title of Grandmaster. Achieving the title of Master/Grandmaster takes a very long time with a lot of effort. At Lee’s, we honor that time and effort by specifically bowing to any Masters or Grandmasters who are present at class, even if they aren’t taking part in the class at that time.

I have practiced martial arts before. Will I retain my rank when I come to Lee's?

It depends on several factors. Practitioners of Taekwondo should look at our Forms page to see if we practice the same forms as your old school. If they are the same, there is a high chance that you will be able to retain your rank and continue your training immediately. If they are different, it depends on how different. If they are fairly similar then we may allow you to retain your rank, however you will not be able to move forward in rank until you have learned our forms. If they are pretty different, then we may ask that you take a lesser rank for the time being while you learn the forms. Based on your ability to learn the new forms, you may or may not be allowed to advance back to your old rank at an accelerated rate. Practitioners of Hapkido will need to speak with an instructor so we can determine how your current rank matches up with our ranking system.
For either style, you will need to demonstrate techniques applicable to your rank during class, and you may be asked to produce documentation from your old school proving your rank, or at the minimum the contact information for your old school so we can speak with them directly. All decisions concerning retaining your old rank are subject to approval by the owners, Masters, and/or Grandmasters.

Why do you bow to each other?

Bowing is a ancient sign of respect. We show our respect by bowing to the flags and picture of Grandmaster Lee who founded our school, and also to the instructors and other students. Remember, if you want to be respected, you also must show respect; that’s why as you bow, the other person bows back.

What do the belt colors mean?

The belt colors are symbolic. White signifies innocence. In martial arts tradition, the white belt became black after years of use. Modern martial artists now use colored belts to represent what level of training students are at. For example, a yellow belt represents the sun, as a new student has all the potential and promise of a new day. A brown belt represents winter, as the student has practiced long enough to achieve a high rank but now the promotional tests come at longer intervals. The red belt signifies danger, as the student is getting closer to their goal. The black belt is a combination of all the previous colors and symbolizes the universe, which is unlimited.

I am a former student at Lee’s. Can I come back with the same rank?

Lee’s has a long history in Bloomington so we welcome back former students. Students coming back to Lee’s after a long absence are allowed to retain their old rank, though you will not be allowed to advance in rank or (in the case of black belts 4th dan and below) instruct a class until you are able to demonstrate the techniques and such applicable to your belt level.

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Tests

What are the testing fees?

Please see our Belt Information page for a list of fees.

Why are there testing fees?

Testing fees primarily go towards materials used during the tests (i.e. boards, etc.), your test certificate and accreditation, and improving Lee’s in general (new supplies, building enhancements, etc.).

What are tests like?

That’s a hard question, since you won’t really understand what a test is like until you have either watched one or participate in one. But in general, tests are like a longer, harder class, where you will get to demonstrate all you have learned in front of the instructors, your family, and your friends.

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Taekwondo

What are forms?

Forms are a series of defending and attacking movements performed against imaginary opponents in a set pattern. The patterns and movements start out very simply and get progressively harder and you move up in rank. For an example of the first three forms, please visit our Forms page. If you would like to know more about Taekwondo in general, please visit our History of Taekwondo page.

What are the differences between the different types of Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a general term for Korean martial arts, like Karate is a term for Japanese martial arts. There are different types of Taekwondo and different national and international organizations that schools belong to. Some examples are the WTA (the World Taekwondo Federation), the ITF (the International Taekwondo Federation) and the ATA (the American Taekwondo Federation). The differences between these types of Taekwondo include the types of forms required, different traditions (uniforms, testing requirements) and different philosophies about training. Lee’s Martial Arts is affiliated with the WTA.

I saw Taekwondo at the Olympics. Is that what you teach?

There is a difference between Taekwondo as a sport and as a martial art. In the Olympics, you see sport Taekwondo which emphasizes point sparring. Although our students sometimes participate in tournaments, we do not teach sport Taekwondo and we do not emphasize or require sparring.

Do you have to be flexible to do Taekwondo?

Flexibility, like strength, is something you can develop over time. Some people are naturally flexible and may have no problem doing flying or jumping kicks. Others may be less flexible. We try to teach people to practice Taekwondo in a way that makes sense for your body. So while you may not be expected to perform every jump kick at head level, we will teach you to kick so that you can teach it to others. We can work to push your limits but also stay within those limits.

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Hapkido

What is Hapkido?

Hapkido is a martial art involving a set of circular, flowing movements. It incorporates techniques such as escapes, joint locks, and throws. Hapkido is a sister martial art to Taekwondo and they work very well together. If you would like to know more, please see our History of Hapkido page.

Does Hapkido have forms?

Yes, but Hapkido does not use forms in the same way Taekwondo does. While forms are an integral part of Taekwondo, they are only one aspect of Hapkido. Lee’s does not currently teach any Hapkido forms because our focus is on other parts of the art.

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