I'd just like to share with all of you an experience I had today. I am English, by the way.
Now, today at my class, a Korean turned up for a one-off class, while he was on holiday. He was a 1st Dan Black Belt. And he really wasn't much good. I'm not trying to put him down particularly, but he was quite obviously not good enough to be Black Belt.
As an example, a Red Belt in my class (who is good for a Red Belt - hard technique, good hitting, and a big guy too), was doing padwork with him. This Korean man's kicks lacked power and, while they were thrown with some speed, my Red Belt was far superior in power and equal in speed.
I sparred him myself and was not impressed at all. His awareness was appalling, allowing me to pull flashy moves I usually would never even consider. His strategy seemed to hinge almost entirely on an opening turning kick followed by waiting to see what I would do, if I would slip up. Needless to say, I gave him a quick hiding (nothing painful, mind, just embarrassing).
It appeared that his knowledge/use of hand techniques was almost non-existant. Moves were carried out with far too little power. In combat, his blocks were slow, he could not read me correctly, and did not guard his head.
What I would like to know is whether this is a common experience. Considering Korea is the spiritual home of TKD, I would have thought they would expect higher skilled Black Belts - instead I frankly considered him a dissapointment. I would have ranked him at perhaps 4th Kup. So what do you all think?
I should also just point out that he did not understand the spiritual element - he seemed to view it as only a sport. This surprises me since meditation and mental preparation are as important in my classes as physical preperation.