Taekwondo Is Taekwondo: All Aspects Of The Art Are One Thing

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Taekwondo
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Taekwondo Is Taekwondo: All Aspects Of The Art Are One Thing

*Authored by White Dragon. 

        Taekwondo is a martial art style that consists of various techniques. All aspects of Taekwondo make it the system it is. There are not different subjects of Taekwondo that are separate from one another which people choose what they will pursue like it is some major in a university. For instance, “I am doing Taekwondo and pursuing my major in the area of demos, and my friend is studying Taekwondo and majoring in applied Taekwondo-dance with a minor in twirling light up nunchukus.” If that were so Taekwondo would not be 1 thing but several separate studies. Some people actually argue that there are separate things in Taekwondo to pursue and we need people specializing in separate areas to show the full range of Taekwondo and you don’t have to be good at everything. To them I say, “How ridiculous!”

       Of course naturally some people will be better at certain things than others within Taekwondo, and physical limitations make some things impossible to do well. Such things should not be held against a person. With that being said, in general, a black belt should be an expert at everything in Taekwondo as a whole and be completely competent in displaying expert skills and be able to take care of themselves in a fight. Black belts should not just be sloppy brawlers, nor weakling ballet dancers.

        Each distinct aspect of Taekwondo simply is part of the entire Taekwondo system which makes it whole. All function together to make up the combat system. A poor analogy would be a human body. We have a head, hands, and feet etc. Each part is still the human body yet they are distinct parts of it; but they have to function together in order for the body to work completely and exist. You cannot have just a head and say it is a body and it is alive. You cannot specialize in using your hands more so than your eyes etc. It all functions together as your body. Likewise, Taekwondo has forms, sparring, self defense escaping and so forth, but these are not separated apart from one other since all of them are Taekwondo. This idea is the same for all martial art systems.

        Unfortunately, now days we have a lot of clueless people from mcdojang culture going around arguing that to be a Taekwondo black belt you don’t have to be good at everything, but just choose a part of Taekwondo to do and you can still be considered a black belt. They say we need people who focus on doing awesome demos, champion tournament competitors, expert poomsae performers, and practitioners of effective self-defense, as well as performance artists who do drama and dance. I find this to be absolute nonsense and a pathetic excuse to relax standards for what it means to be a Taekwondo fighter as well as sell out the hardcore training and effectiveness of this beautifully, brutal martial art. It takes away what it means to be a black belt. It is “fight fantasy pretend training” for people who don’t like to fight nor ever train to seriously harden their bodies and minds who have absolutely no intention of preparing for real combat if the time comes for it. It has become a silly child’s game and a “workout” for “Taekwondo moms.” Added to this you have those tool bags with dumb hair cuts going “peey peeey! peheeeeey!” when they throw kicks and do triple flips learned in gymnastics and not Taekwondo. In fact, such behavior actually is avoiding Taekwondo training more than actually training in it as they substitute the fighting art for gymnastics and dance steps. So more time is spend learning to do back hand springs than actually effectively using a round kick to knock someone out. Since people are generally superficial they will watch a flying kick routine and think that guy is soooo amazing, but when a hard striking Taekwondoin can throw a good front kick in a Kickboxing fight he will get no respect from the general popular Taekwondo world.

        One example of this idea happened to me on youtube. A black belt teenager had videos where he was doing some spinning jump kicks. All though he was not actually pulling them off well. I talked about Taekwondo with him some for fun, then he disrespected me because I do not do flying flip kicks but focus on the fighting art. He told me he had no intention of fighting and does not even care about it and if I cannot do flying kicks I am lesser quality and not a very good black belt. He also acted like it is a virtue that he does not fight and anyone who wants to train Taekwondo for combat training is wrong and somehow immoral. So basically to him a black belt means performance art and not fighting. He has no respect for the true fighters and only likes showing off.

        All aspects of Taekwondo work together to make a complete fighter who understands the Taekwondo system. You must master technique and do basics, and you must memorize forms while understanding the application for each distinct movement in the forms. Taking this knowledge you are able to use various attacks and defenses in a fight, especially in self-defense situations. There are also one-step sparring techniques, escaping from grabs, board and brick breaking, and combination striking. Along with this comes sparring, the natural movement of the body when fighting in a practice format. The point of all of this is to train the body and mind in order to move masterfully in a combat situation so that you survive. The sport sparring came into play because people wanted a route to get out their aggression and try out techniques in a full contact format. The rules were made in order for safety. Originally, sparring was just a simple outlet, not a serious pursuit but then it became the intended focus for political reasons as well as money. Originally, Taekwondo sparring allowed punching to the head with no head gear of chest guards. Later they took out the punches to the head and added chest gear. This was both good and bad for the style. The chest gear was a smart idea for such bouts but taking away face punching really weakened the art since the focus became the sport and not the system itself.

        The grandmaster I received my black belt from was a very well known 9th dan from Korea who fully supported WTF sparring, yet he emphasized that Taekwondo is a martial art not a sport. Sport is a very small percentage of Taekwondo. This was actually brought up as a question to me in order for me to pass my black belt exam. He wanted to make sure I knew that Taekwondo was a serious fighting system and not a sport. He wanted me to be good at Taekwondo in general and not one part of it. I also heavily participated in WTF sparring during my Taekwondo life, yet I understood the truth.

        If all you do is practice tournament sparring, whether Olympic or point tag; if all you do is play by rules, figure out how to score points with kicks, and last through timed matches so you can win gold medals, you do not fully understand Taekwondo. If all you do is train for sparring competitions and ignore poomsae and you never practice self defense techniques, then all you are is a game player and not a martial artist. If you only train for the Olympics then you are missing out on thousands of techniques that Taekwondo has to offer and you will never be well rounded. You will most certainly lose a fight against someone who does not play by rules and attacks you in ways you would say are illegal. Sorry, but there are no rules in Taekwondo fighting, only rules in Taekwondo sport sparring.

        With technique practice came the idea of competitions with poomsae (forms). Whoever does the most perfect technique wins the tournament. This is good for the sake of practicing proper technique, but it should not be the end all for why you practice Taekwondo. With an emphasis on sport performance and looking good, a lack of understanding of technique application and being able to use it in real life occurs. Over time the rules changed to make poomsae more graceful and pretty, and less on hard movements for combat. So now people focus on performing forms in order to please judges and not with a combative mindset anymore. Poomsae, like any “forms” in a martial art system, develops individual fighters to get better at Taekwondo and also should not be the end all of why you train. Taekwondo was created for self-defense and war because it is a martial art. If all a person does is figures out how to move the way that would make judges feel tickled enough to give you the highest score so you can win a gold medal, and all you do is practice that kind of movement every day, you slowly become more and more ignorant of overall Taekwondo.

        If  you simply think about moving in an angle to look aesthetically pleasing without an actual combat sense then you are clueless and know nothing of real martial arts. So you can kick high? That is great because high kicking is important and trains the body in flexibility for faster, stronger, and better angled kicks to knock someone out. But wait, all you do is kick as high as possible so your form looks pretty like a ballet dancer? Your leg muscles are not built nor strong and have no power? Well then, you will completely lack an understanding for how to kick in a real fight. There are all kinds of poomsae champions out there who only care about looking as good as possible when doing forms to win tournaments. That is all they do, but these people really do not fully understand Taekwondo nor can they use it for its original intention. That is to say, to harm an attacker so he stops harming you. They have simply become robotic in their movements.

        These aspects of the entire set of techniques and training devices that make up the art of Taekwondo go hand in hand to complete a Taekwondo trainee for actual use. You cannot simply train in forms only and then say you are a Taekwondo expert, and you cannot just do tournament sparring and claim you are a Taekwondo expert, nor can you just practice self-defense escapes and claim to be a Taekwondo expert and finally, you cannot just train for board breaking or doing “amazing” demos and call yourself a Taekwondo expert. You cannot be complete in Taekwondo without all of these things working together. If you are not told what a technique means, when you do your form you will lack understanding of the entire point of focused poomsae training. Then when you are attacked you won’t be able to use it to defend yourself. If you only play by rules you will never understand the more lethal techniques of Taekwondo or how to strike in various ways that provide more options. If you only kick above the waist for chest gear you will never understand what it is like to kick a leg, or avoid being kicked in the leg. Nor will you have a good understanding of the hand techniques in Taekwondo.

        Probably the worst offenders of separating Taekwondo up in parts are the “demo team experts” who simply exist to show off and act arrogant. They have completely lost focus of the real point for doing a martial arts demonstration. To show why Taekwondo is one of the best martial arts in the world and can save your life. Instead, they focus on how you can look cool to people and show off. With the lack of discipline in the fighting arts instructors have trained kids to grow up in Taekwondo without any intended combat focus. They have no clue what they are doing and think they are badasses by age 18. They completely avoid the “politically incorrect” idea of causing harm to another human and become to board with standard Taekwondo training that they incorporated dance steps, aerobics, theater dama, and singing, as well as movie fight scenes that are based in total fantasy; and they have also adopted pro-wrestling moves from lucha libre that are nowhere found in the Taekwondo system. I find it incredibly annoying that whenever there is a Taekwondo demo you cannot avoid hearing “Gangnam Style” and watching Kukkiwon certified black belt Korean men and women in full dobok attire disgracing the uniform of Taekwondo doing that dance. I am sorry but “Gangnam Style” is not a cultural presentation but idiotic kpop-pop culture. In fact, the lyrics of the song and the artists attitude in life completely contradict the tenets of Taekwondo. But nobody cares. It’s entertaining to them, and that is all that matters.

        The worst offenders of cheesy/cornball demos that are embarrassing to serious martial artists are the Korean Tiger’s; but what is sad is even the official Kukkiwon demo team does this. Yes, these elite demo teams can perform expert level movements in basic techniques and do amazing kicks which are totally cool, but they always end up doing embarrassing stuff like “Taekwondo-dance” and even add in sexual moves for the “hot, Korean, black belt chicks” to do. I do not see how this is acceptable.

Remember when your Korean master instructor would kick your butt and make you do 1,000 pushups if you wore your hat on the dojang floor? I do…apparently the Korean Tigers do not. These kpop b-boyz are master of Korean-Pop Kwan Do! Hardcore Gangam Style Black Belts!

       Contrast a Japanese martial art’s demonstration with a Korean martial art’s demonstration and there is an obvious difference. The Japanese Karate, Judo, Jiu Jitsu people show off a very serious attitude of Budo, a warrior philosophy and attitude.  They show why their martial art works and why it is a serious fighting system. That is the point of the demo, to display effective combat. When you see a Korean style demo such as Taekwondo or Hapkido you get over the top theatrics and annoying music. You have guys screaming waaaay too loud for realism and people flopping all over the place after they get hit by super-hero-Tekken like attacks. This is video game style movements that are ridiculous. Nobody attacks a person like that nor do one defend himself like that. Korean martial arts always try to be comedic and fun and popular as well as display a little too much Korean nationalism (not that it is a bad thing to promote Korean culture because I embrace that in my Taekwondo teaching). Korean Taekwondo today lost the attitude of Mudo (the Korean transliteration of Budo). Oldschool Koreans trained much like the Japanese with deadly intentions and an attitude of seriousness. Because war and self defense is a serious thing, and fighters and warriors need to have strong character to defend society. Taekwondo was created fresh out of the Korean War and went right back into war in Vietnam. Before this World War 2 had just been finished approximately 8 years prior where Japanese Imperialists surrendered to Russia and the United States. The Japanese Imperialists since 1910 had previously brutally dominated the entire Korean Peninsula through killing and fear. Oldschool Korean masters came out of this chaos, yet so many Koreans have forgotten this after only a few generations.

        It is beyond pathetic when all you want to see is one badass Taekwondo demo and you check YouTube and see a video titled “military Taekwondo.” While you are clicking it you are thinking, “Oh yeah this is going to be the REAL stuff and cool realistic fighting demonstrations!” But no, you are completely pissed off before the video ends as you see Korean soldiers in camouflage doing fantasy fight scenes like Dragon Ball Z, then randomly bust out doing Gangnam style. Is this seriously how the Korean military wants to be represented? Pair up a United States Military martial arts video with a Korean Military martial arts video and notice which one is actually badass and tough and shows the dangerous nature of their soldiers. The answer is obviously the U.S. soldiers. They always show no BS combat moves while Korea is stuck doing stupid drama shows. I long for just ONE demo on YouTube not to be extremely embarrassing and cheesy. It really makes the rest of the Taekwondo world look bad. It also has an impact on obtaining the serious students of martial arts that an instructor like me wants because when people see the name “Taekwondo” on your business card they instantly shun you, or feel afraid to hang out with you because you are now a geek to them. All of the people who want hard self defense practice, and a real martial art program always go to MMA or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools. In fact, it has long been said Taekwondo is the world’s most popular martial art in advertising (popularity does not guarantee quality though), but I honestly think today Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the world’s most popular martial art right now as well as MMA training. Also, I have heard numerous times people tell me they would rather do Muay Thai because it is real and not do Taekwondo because it is weak. When watching videos of Taekwondo guys getting their asses kicked by tough Muay Thai fighters it is understandable why people think that way. Only a few videos online show Taekwondo fighter’s beating Muay Thai fighters. This should not be so.

        This is why so many mcdojos/mcdojang’s of Karate and Taekwondo gyms are desperately trying to impress older students by creating “Grappling/MMA/Kickboxing programs.” Some Taekwondo mcdojang’s even use Krav Maga for self defense instead of Taekwondo, as if Taekwondo does not have self defense itself and we need another style to replace it. The world is considering Taekwondo to be a joke and believe it’s for children to pretend fight with; not a serious, mature, self defense system. And no one seems to care but a select few! People like Grandmaster Hee Il Cho, who emphasized modern training, self-defense, and boxing in their Taekwondo were not embraced by the larger Taekwondo community. Grandmaster Cho thus created his own Action International Martial Arts Association.

        When the cheesy nature and pointlessness of such demo people are brought up you hear the cries of many a mcdojang teenager or disgruntled Korean who realizes Americans are ditching TKD for MMA. McDojang teens will say, “Taekwondo has many parts! Not just fighting! We have demo experts, sparring people, and you don’t know!!!” Then the Korean instructor would say, “I am Korean. I am a master. You must stop being disrespectful I am higher rank than you blah blah!”

        What really sucks is originally in the early days of Taekwondo it was trained for serious fighting always, and trained men and women to be confident with a better quality of life through their martial art. Taekwondo was effectively used to kill many Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. The Tiger Division was a complete Taekwondo combat unit where Korean soldiers trained Taekwondo all day on base, and even wore white doboks with black belts. They went out and hunted Viet Cong and killed them. This is a rich history that so many mcdojangers have no clue about! The poomsae we do is full of many brutal techniques that children shouldn’t even know about, yet these forms are taught to them and the kids are given child black belts. But these kids don’t have any clue what the technique means except for the fact it looks cool. Children should not be allowed black belt ranks! Period! This is why the Kukkiwon officially only gives out poom rank or junior level grades to acknowledge the student is still immature and not with full knowledge or power of Taekwondo.

This crap will never happen in my dojang or else…

        Taekwondo is a martial art style. Martial arts are various systems of combat used for self-defense and also times of war. The dictionary says that “Martial” means:

“military; inclined or disposed to war; warlike; of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces; characteristic of or befitting a warrior.”

And the term “Art”  means:

“the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Skills and techniques of such.”

So martial arts express and display such military and warrior-like skills. Taekwondo is a form of military-warrior-like-skill. Taekwondo is not a game, a sport, or a dancing style. Unfortunately, some people do not understand this, and this is a problem.

__________________________________________________________________________________________ White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

  1. Alison says:

    I am a 20 year old Taekwondoin from The Netherlands and I totally, no wait, TOTALLY agree with and like your blog! I started at a young age, so I’m really happy I started to love Taekwon-Do at the club I found by accident. I could easily have experience Taekwon-Do at another school, but the philosophical aspects would be nowhere near. I was so lucky 😀 My teacher is ruthless and intimidating, but also the best friend I think I ever had. He taught me through Taekwon-Do what life is about, how I should handle things and how to express and be myself. The moment I found my teacher didn’t earn a single penny from his club, made me realize what Taekwon-Do is really about; passing it on! I have the 2nd dan now, and I don’t care if I maybe will never get a higher grade. I just want to train and teach others, and have a good time doing it! II want to stay there forever xD All the money of contribution simply goes back to the students in form of the rent for the gym, coffee for the visitors and parents on the bench, or after a time we can buy something bigger for the club, pads for example, or a new clock so we can keep track of the time (yes we forget time alot xD).

    I think your view and opinion about ‘real’ Taekwon-Do and Mcdojangs is extremly right to the point. And I was wondering, could you maybe do a article about the difference between WTF and ITF Taekwon-Do? The style of our club is the ITF, and throughout the years I came in contact with a couple of WTF people, and I really adore the dynamics in the kicks and movements in sparring! I definitly don’t think one style is better then the other in any way, they are just different. I am just wondering what your opinion is about them 🙂

    • White Dragon says:

      Great enthusiasm! Over time you will find more information about the differences between the ITF Taekwon-do, and WTF Taekwondo. As you can see this blog leans towards the WTF Kukkiwon and not ITF. We have issues with the political structure and history of ITF and some of their ideas about their forms but it is not to say ITF fighters all are bad.

    • Grey Wolf says:

      Hi Alison!

      Thanks for reading and posting on this blog. I really love your attitude and I think it’s great that you’ve found a great Taekwondo club!

      Neither one of us are experts on ITF mechanics, but I do come from an ITF/Oh Do Kwan descendant background (Songahm Taekwondo). I also know an ITF guy. I’ll do some research on it in my spare time and try to write a comparison later, but I can’t make any promises. I know some superficial differences already, but I’m sure you’re looking for more depth.

      Thanks again for commenting!

      • Alison says:

        Oh, thank you! And you replied so quickly 😀 I have seen many videos of WTF sparring and patterns, and like you explain, there is a huge difference in the quality of the Taekwon-Do. I can assure that difference is of course also within ITF. Of course I can’t change the issues you have with it, because well, we’re humans! Differences are inevitable. I just hope you will enjoy the things you learn and the research will work out.

        I’ll keep an eye on your blog! 😀

      • White Dragon says:

        One thing we absolutely dislike about the ITF is the “sine-wave” and think it is bogus and also looks dumb. There is no value to it and it goes against the laws of physics. Why on earth would General Choi add that later in life? Bouncing? really? uuugh.

        That is just one issue I have against ITF.

        But we do acknowledge there are nice ITF people as well as really good ITF fighters who know self-defense. But the cult of personality that is Choi is really annoying to us. We will look into this more and hopefully have an article talking about the problems with ITF history and Choi worship. We do not believe he is the father of Taekwondo nor did he single handedly create the style. We believe the KTA linage goes into the Kukkiwon as the KTA fully supports it and did not follow Choi as they let him leave and start his own group independent of them. Hopefully future articles will enlighten you.

        We are glad that you do believe that Taekwondo is a self defense art and the mcdojangism has got to stop.

    • Grey Wolf says:

      No problem, Alison!

      I don’t disagree with your assessment of the Sine-wave, provided that you’re rising and falling from where you stance is. My understanding of General Choi’s Sine-wave, however, is that you actually dip down before rising and then falling again. The physics behind Choi’s sine-wave are pseudo-science and a misunderstanding of the real sine-wave equation. This motion almost never happens in sparring, and if you were to make it happen, it would amount to wasted, telegraphic motion.

      My ITF friend said he practices it simply as a rise and fall; that is, he does not dip (bend the knees) before rising and falling. In this case I have no issue. While I would not to do it throughout the entire form, controlled falling is a legitimate way to generate power.

      A Karate blogger named Dan Djurdjevic explains this wonderfully here: http://dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com/2010/03/rise-and-fall-sine-wave-theory.html

      Please read! Even if you don’t agree, it explains why our objection to the sine-wave is not merely aesthetic. It’s scientific and practical.

      WTF form execution might seem weird to you, but ITF is weird to the rest of the martial arts world. The bouncing motion is unique to ITF. All other martial arts use hip rotation or leg springing motions to generation power, usually a combination. Many ITF practitioners criticize ITF poomsae executions because it often excludes hip rotation for power.

      You’re absolutely right that the quality of Taekwondo differs from dojang to dojang. I’ve taught in a mediocre Kukkiwon/WTF dojang. I’ve seen ones even worse. But I’ve also seen really sharp ones, that show how all WTF/KKW dojangs ought to be. I assume the same is for ITF.

      I could talk about Taekwondo all day, too! Thanks for the conversation,

      Grey Wolf

  2. Alison says:

    Oh, I want to make clear with that I said I’ve seen many videos, I didn’t want to imply that I suddenly know everything about WTF because that would be, bluntly said, bullcrap. I’ve never experienced WTF, so I can’t judge of course. I’m just excited when I recognize some techniques I have to practise myself too :]
    Have a nice day further 😀

    • White Dragon says:

      I have practiced at an ITF dojang before merely visitng because I knew one of the guys. He was very cool back then. I also have at one point learned all of the ITF forms up to Choong Moo. I think I have forgotten various forms but I still know Chon Ji, Dan Gun, Hwa Rang etc. Oh and I know Kwan Gae. Problem is I refuse to do sine-wave and practice them in a regular WTF style way if I feel like doing them.

      Also I understand and think its cool you notice such things.

      In my experience ever ITF gym has only practiced light contact sparring. They do allow punches to the head but it was still light contact just like sport karate. Only later have I seen some European ITF guys allowing full contact fighting with punches to the head.

      The problem is, its still a sport and there are no leg kicks. It still does not transfer well into self defense without leg kicks and also the fact it is still a point scoring system so points are the goal
      My experience was point and stop matches. They score and stop the match and call out a point. Later on youtube I saw some continuous full contact fighting but I am not sure it was ITF sanctioned.

      By the way there are 3 groups all claiming to be ITF so who even knows which one is the right one or what they all think of full contact sparring.

      WTF is full contact and continuous and alwasy has been despite the fact they do not allow punches to the head. In the old days of Taekwondo punches to the head were legal and no one wore gear. They stopped this due to safety and then embraced the sport over fighting art.

      What kind of sparring do you do?

      • Alison says:

        I have done alot of sparring competitions, I started when I was ten, as a yellow belt. (Aaah I remember it well xD) As far as I’m familiar with the competitions I’ve been to, these rules were always the same: The people are first divided in a B-class (white up untill blue belt), or A-class (blue belt and higher). B-class always uses the point-stop system in sparring, and the A-class is always continuous (which I find more fun because of the combinations you can make). Then there are different age groups of course, but in which one your are differs per competition. Mostly it’s divided in Youth, Junior, Adult and Senior. Adult is always 18+. The there are the weight categories who mostly go up per 5 kilograms. (-50, -55, -60, etc.) The standard gear are handprotectors, feetprotectors, shinprotectors, a mouthgard and a toque for the males. Headgear is obligated with the Youth, but within the other age categories the rule if a helmet is obligated is always different per competition. Mostly with the Adults it’s optional.
        With the pointing system, I DO think WTF sparring is way more honest, because you’re not depended of 5 judges. But well, I can’t change the way competitions are organized, I just enjoy them. I’ve experienced terribly unorganized, unfair competitions, but also extreme strict, fair competitions.
        How I experienced my spar matches, it was always full-contact. But how I see sparring is not fighting for a K.O., defintily not. How can you enjoy a match if your opponent is knocked out? It’s about the points, but yes, K.O.’s are inevitable, but I think it’s only acceptable if you do them with a correct and controlled technique. Sadly there are many people who just blunty hammer their fists and legs into their opponent and sadly their will always be ignoring judges who will count those as points. But everyone will see when a sparrer knows what he/she is doing and has control of the techniques. Some opponents I had, shouted whenever they attacked me in a match, but their technique itself was useless and stupid, and the screams made it hilarious. I was like ‘really? this is not cool’. It’s always sad to see people who think they’re good while they have no understanding of the art they’re doing. But this is seen in every sport in the world I think. I just hope I meet many more good sparrers and Taekwondoins in the future.

        I think it’s really funny, because I can’t imagine doing my patterns without the sine-wave! It feels natural to me 🙂 I completely agree with you that it looks like a weird ‘bounce’, it’s exactly what I thought when I learned it first x] It’s actually a simple rise and fall of your body during the technique, in which you use the fall for power. You have to make it one flowing movement, although I see many people making it look weird and forced. In my eyes the WTF style of patterns look really weird and static (exept from the kicks, OMG we never kick that amazingly high in ITF patterns, it would be so cool!). We’ve learned to feel comfortable with two totally different ways of doing it, and have our own logic behind our doings. And yes, my teacher decided to use and hold on to the teachings from Choi. That doesn’t mean it’s better, it’s how we learned it from our teacher.
        I’ve sadly never had the chance to meet Choi, I’m not going to ‘worhsip’ anybody. I do agree with you that there are LOTS of people out there trying to get higher up by being fake and ‘nice’, the make me sick. I just love the way I practise Taekwon-Do and to become better in it, I have to respect and stay true to Choi’s rules. I hear many different things on how and why Choi became president and such, but I’m not going to rely on assumings (is ‘assumings’ even a word? Ah well, you know what I mean). Practising and meeting new people is the best 🙂

        See how we ‘grew up’ in Taekwon-Do in totally different ways, yet it brought us toghether here on the big ol’ Internet?
        I love Martial Arts 🙂 I think it’s awesome you tried some Tuls (does WTF call them Tuls too, or was it Poomsae?) in your own style! It says alot about you as a Martial Artist. I would be honered to be taught patterns in WTF style someday, and then I will try them later in my own style as well. If you can apply what you taught into different things, I think then you’re being a very good practioner.

        Whoooow long message. Well, I hope you like to read xD I can go on and on and on when it comes to Taekwon-Do.

      • White Dragon says:

        I have only had bad experiences at point tournaments. It pisses me off to no end and I refuse to go to them. I hate them so much. It is the most childish, stupid, fake, unrealistic, bullcrap style of tournaments. Most judges are always biased to their friends nad NEVER call out points for you. Then they call out points for everyone else. Relying on really fat lazy judges who hold flags is an illogical way to run a fight. The ref is never even close to the fighters nor there to break them apart like in WTF rules sparring. They just yell and you cant even understand them. Then if you score an obvious point their excuse is “We didnt see it!” So then these jackasses who throw flippy foot fencing kicks think they are better than you and all you want to do is knock them out and get DQed bc you get so pissed.

        Full contact is the only way to go to show real Taekwondo skill. WTF at least has that. Continuous full contact.

        I think knocking someone out would be really fun, but I dont want to get knocked out of course. But if the rules say you can then do it. Its the best way to surely win.

        About sine-wave, you may like it because thats all you know. But looking at it scientifically it does not work or add power and is self defeating. It makes no sense from a physics perspective. WTF forms make logical sense as they use power from strong stances and hip rotation as well as opposite motion from shoulder and arms moving in opposite directions as you perform techniques. Choi originally had the tuls, (he only made a few, the rest were made up by friends and high ranking students) moving in the typical Karate way which makes sense and looks better. Then he came up with this sine wave idea and I think he was senile by then or something.

        You can learn WTF poomsae on youtube by looking up videos.

        I dont doubt that some ITF guys are good fighters and I dont doubt you have some skill so good job and the fact you enjoy sparring is great.

        Evebn though I think WTF sparring is better than ITF I still think you should spend a significant amount of time with kickboxing rules sparring or maybe MMA sparring to have more confidence you can use your technique in a real situation.

  3. White Dragon says:

    An up motion is not going to be that powerful and it wastes energy. But a down motion would only be powerful if you were also going forward at the same time. The down motion would have nothing to do with the power, only the forward motion would have power. Thus, bouncing or dipping is useless. I do not agree that any generation of power is caused by the downward falling motion if your strike is forward motion. I would disagree with Grey Wolf but he has his own opinion and reads too many Karate blogs (just a joke! We think Karate is great!).
    What I have seen of ITF tul is they fall when in a still stance, even for combinations each strike and block is bounced. Makes no sense, how can you work o speed for double punching if you bounce each time?

    • Alison says:

      I’m so enjoying this! I’ve never met people like you two and was never able to talk like this about it xD
      First off,Grey Wolf, thank you very much. I look up to your attitude, you’re awesome! Maybe you could teach me more about WTF style in real one day! I’d have a very good reason to go to the place you are setteled. (America?)
      After reading the blog Grey Wolf sent, it made me feel very contradicted and made me think alot, thank you. Because I think the sine-wave is indeed NOT logical when it’s explained like that on paper, yet I’ve been doing it for a very long time and it feels good doing it. I think I know why. When I started we didn’t do the sine-wave at all, but after my teacher finding out more and more about it’s depth and details, he wanted to introduce it in his school because it was in the books of Choi. But in 2002 he passed away, and lots of things began to change. We still change our style, depending how the son of Master Choi, decides it. Now after going through all the patterns for myself, I figured out I don’t dip at all now when going to your next stance. When I’m for example in L-stance, I am already low, moving forward to my balance point, rise and fall foward in the next technique. Describing it like this is really hard, I wish I could show what I mean, it’s easier explaining while showing it 😦 But I totally agree that the first dip of the original explained sine-wave is indeed really useless and we don’t do it at all in our club now, and we DO use ALOT of hip movement to generate power as well! I’ve been doing that from the start! Again, I could show you alot of parts of patterns where we do this. Yet, I also see that the earlier said blog is from 2010, and alot of details in the patterns have changed already. For example, there are different motions (fast, connective, continuous, slow for example, there are more), and you have to apply the sine-wave in a different way to each, also depending on the technique you’re making. The most common is fast motion, taking your example of a double punch performing while standing in the same stance. Now, we DON’T dip AT ALL before we start. from your previous technique, you fall foward in the first punch, standing in a walking stance, so you’re standing low. Then you only rise by stretching your legs and indeed go down and make the second punch, ‘dropping’ yourself in the walking stance again. It’s called fast motion, because you are supposed to perform this in the fastest way you can, yet still controlled and correct. Oh maan…it sounds really unclear on paper, I really wish I could show you.
      About the sparring, I’m very very VERY sorry that the only matches you experienced were such horrible ones 😦 I have been to many of those as well, and indeed, it sucked BAD. But I promise, and assure you, there are really good and fair originazed competions as well, and it is so much more fun! But I can’t deny there are indeed horrible competitions within ITF.
      White Dragon, I understand you don’t approve of the ITF style, but I think that doesn’t mean you should look down on us. I definitly look up to you guys and your knowledge, and hope we can learn from eachother, and maybe in this it would be one-sided, I learn from you two. But I can’t change the material and rules of the patterns, only Choi’s son can do that now (also called Choi, bit confusing sometimes), because his father isn’t around anymore. You have to realize that the ITF is still making changes to the way we do things, to improve them the best we can. Maybe that does mean we eventually take things from the WTF and apply them! Grandmaster Choi isn’t in charge anymore. And I think when I would have been told to do the sine-wive with a dip first, I agree with it being useless. I heard the son of Grandmaster Choi never got along with his father’s views and opinions, and maybe his son saw his father’s illogical material he was teaching and now he is in charge he and the rest of serious ITF schools are making so much changes? I don’t know. I just like training and improving.

      And you have no clue how I try kickboxing and MMA as much as I can, I love them! 😀 And yes, I agree that Taekwon-Do is definitly not the most functional and practical Martial Art to know on the street. And yes, kickboxing and MMA are WAY more tougher and harder when it comes to fighting. But that doesn’t make me love Taekwon-Do less! It taught me confidence and made me more me. I trained very hard for what I know now, and I know you did too. And I’ll always keep learning. I have wonderful clubmates and teachers who give me a terrific feeling no matter how crazy the trainings are. I can only hope I can give this joy, love and knowlegde to other students as well (Gosh I’m going deep here, but I mean it though). And that you don’t agree with the sine-wave and that you think it’s useless, Ok. I get it. I can’t change your opinion about that. I couldn’t care less if you’re only looking down on and critizing it. Perhaps you could try and explain how I SHOULD try and do it, and I could try to explain that to my teacher and masters. Again, maybe in the future the ‘useless’ sine-wave will be gone! At least the dipping part is mostly already gone, and I know things will be always be changing when someone else comes in charge. At least I already have the feeling we’re improving thanks to the son of the founder.

      By the way, please never call someone senile for having an idea an applying it. Even it was a illogical idea, without him we probably never had experienced Taekwon-Do so far and weren’t we who we are right now, right? And now I’m really sleepy so I’m out. Good night, kind sirs.

      • White Dragon says:

        When i said Kickboxing and MMA I did not mean them as different stules. I meant use your Taekwondo and spar in a Kickboxing and MMA format with your dojang buddies. Thats what I mean. More of a self defense idea of sparring. not only tournament rules.

        Well i do not believe Choi created TKD and I think even without him we would still have TKD today.

        I am glad you are so enthusiastic about training and enjoying this blog. I do not look down on ITF individuals because many are very good fighters. ITF is the lesser of the 2 Taekwondo styles. I believe Kukkiwon is the best and true style but ITF comes in next before any other group or organization. I just do not think ITF propaganda about choi and the sine wave and their idea of TKD history is accurate. Other than that ive met nic ITF guys and even visited a Masters gym who was ITF back in the day and we did alot of self defense stuff and hard sparring.

        The point tournaments I went to were not ITF. They wre some local Karate circuit. Never go to those! They will always be bad for an outsider.

        Anyway have a great day and maybe Grey Wolf if you come visit the USA will personally show you some WTF Taekwondo patterns.

      • Grey Wolf says:


        Thank you very much!

        Sounds like you’re definitely in his son’s lineage! Choi’s son is call Choi because Choi is their surname (a “last name” in the West) LOL! In Asian cultures the surname comes first, and the personal name last. Choi’s personal name was Hong Hi. His son’s name is Jung Hwa, I believe. The other two ITF splinters don’t usually practice hip movement, but Choi Jung Hwa seems to be more progressive and wants to use hips for power generation, too.

        Yes I’m in the United States. It would be cool to train sometime! I’d be glad to show you Kukkiwon/WTF style Taekwondo sometime in the future maybe!

        I’m glad you don’t practice the extra dip in your sine wave; definitely wasted motion. I think I understand what you were writing. It is hard to write down, but I think you captured it: only sinking/falling to generate power if you’re already upright. It feels good to you because you’ve done it so long it feels natural! I’m that way with hip movement. You hardly even see my hip movement anymore because it’s so subtle from practice over the years! But my falling step would be awkward and stiff probably lol.

  4. MesYang88 says:

    White Dragon, maybe we could come up with a blog about the “true history” of TKD. Including important points and dates, such as “the nine original kwons”, April 15, 1955, when the KTA was founded, when it was refounded, when the Taegeuk, Palgwe, and Yudancha forms were created, etc.

    • White Dragon says:

      Oh yeah that is one main project we plan on doing. Grey Wolf is going to work on it soon. I will do some stuff too. It will really show the difference of ITF and KKW and why this blog believes KKW is true linage and historic TKD and ITF is a separate thing never accepted by the rest. The minutes of the KTA meetings show a lot about how Choi acted and what he was doing.

    • Grey Wolf says:


      True history, as in 100% accuracy, will be impossible, since a lot of it is conflicting personal accounts. I think one thing that ITF guys might be chagrined about is Choi was involved in the founding of the KTA, which predates the ITF, and that Taekwondo was originally a joint effort to unify the martial arts of Korea under one name, and finally one curriculum. Whether they like it or not, ITF folks should recognize KTA and Kukkiwon as legitimate because of Choi’s involvement and the nature of the formulation itself. He was expelled from KTA for being dictatorial, but they let him start and promote his ITF. He seems to have been viewed as a megalomaniac and a dishonest figure to some of the other masters at the time.

      Anyway this will be a big undertaking so it will take me some time! I am also a full time student with a part time job besides writing for this blog and other venues!

      Grey Wolf

      • White Dragon says:

        If you write this blog article you will be famous! I look forward to it.

      • MesYang88 says:

        I think even a history that’s 80% accurate would be great. After all, some people still think that TKD’s history spans 2,000+ years, which I’m sure we all know is bologna. In reality the word Taekwondo doesn’t go back farther than 1955, and the first Kwon in Korea that lead to TKD was founded around 1944 (though the Song Moo Kwon didn’t get government recognition till 1946). As far as Choi, I think the name of his first style (Oh-Do-Kwon, 1953) gives perfect insight into his mentality, “School of MY Way”. Though I think it’d also be silly (read: stupid) to neglect how involved Choi actually was in TKD’s development in South Korea up to 1967.

      • White Dragon says:

        Yeah man! I hope to have a blog post like this sometime in the near future. That means Grey Wolf has to start it up because he knnows a ton more of the history of early TKD than I do. I have looked into it but I forgot the sources I saw information from. he has actually read the minutes of the KTA that are posted online. They also say alot about Choi’s mentality and how the ITF started. We can figure this out. If you know alot of acurate sources you could tell him to check them out. Also TKD was also called Tae Soo Do before Taekwondo. Then it changed to TKD then changed back to TSD and then Choi came back and got pissed and caused people to vote to change it back to TKD again. But then he started being lame and spelling it Taekwon-Do like a nerd.

  5. MesYang88 says:

    White Dragon, no offence but I’d be willing to say I know more about TKD’s history than you do as well. My favorite resource for history is actually the book Taekwondo Black Belt Poomse Koryo and Original Koryo by Richard Chun and Doug Cook. Besides that I simply use internet sources that give the same information.

    The Korea Tae Soo Do Association was simply a name change. The KTA was founded in 1959, then when Choi went to Malaysia in 1962 the remaining members changed the name to Tae Soo Do. Upon Choi’s return in 1965 the name was changed back. Granted Tae Soo Do was one of the names discussed at that famous meeting.

    Also prior to the April 1955 meeting the most common names in use were Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do, and Kwon Bop. Of the 9 original kwans all 9 taught at least one of these three styles. Of course Kong Soo Do and Tang Soo Do simply translate to “Karate-Do” and Kwon Bop translates to “Chuan Fa” in Chinese or “Kenpo” in Japanese. When Choi visited the USA in 1949 he was using the name Kong Soo Do and still teaching the Japanese Shotokan forms.

    • White Dragon says:

      I knew most of that about the name change and original martial art names. But I did not know Cho used the name Kong Soo Do in 1940, interesting. And yeah you might know more about TKD history than me.

    • Grey Wolf says:


      My you do know a lot! I am aware Tang Soo Do is a translation of the Okinawan renditions of “karate-do” which means “China Hand Way” (Tang, of course, being a reference to China’s Tang dynasty). I was also under the impression that Kong Soo Do is a transliteration of Karate-do as well. I also knew that kwon bup was a transliteration of chuan fa (and kenpo), an obvious nod to the Chinese kung fu roots of Taekwondo. A fun fact is that before Karate became a standardized term for Okinawans to describe their indigenous, Chinese-influenced striking martial arts, kenpo was a popular generic term for it. Some Karate styles still call it kenpo.

      I’m also aware of the KTA name change. Choi was pissed off when he came back and his suggested name wasn’t being used anymore. The reason why was because they accepted it the first time only out of political pressure from the government. It wasn’t until the second time that it was more amiably agreed upon.

      I agree 100% with the meaning of Oh Do Kwan summarizing Choi’s mindset.

      I’m gathering sources. I don’t have access to any significant print works and am working on a college kid’s budget, so do you mind posting all the internet links to sources that you use? I’d greatly appreciate it!

      • MesYang88 says:

        I suppose sources will all depend on how in depth you want your summery of history to be.

        If you want information on Yoon Byung-In your best source is Grandmaster Kim Pyung-Soo. Yoon’s students included Nam Suk Lee, founder of the Chang Moo Kwan (1952), as well as Chul Hee Park & Hong Jong-Pyo, the founders of the Kang Duk Won (1956). GM Soo has also written quite a bit about Chun Song Sup, founder of the Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu (1945), which became the Jidokwan under Gwe-Byung Yoon and Lee Chong Woo (1954). Also as far as I know Yoon Byung-In was the only instructor using the term Kwon Bop prior to August of 1950 when Yoon Byung-In and Chun Song Sup was abducted from South Korea and brought to North Korea.

        Try looking through the articles on his site. http://www.kimsookarate.com/
        This article in particular. http://www.kimsookarate.com/intro/CMK_History_Rev2012.pdf

        These are the three original Kwans that I’ve spent the most time researching because they are the three most directly tied to my “Taekwondo” lineage.

        Information on Choi is extremely easy to find, so I won’t give you any links on him.

        I’m not sure how much this article will help you but I thought it was a fun read. It’s about Byung Jik Ro.

        Like I said I don’t know what all you want to include or how far you want to go with your history blog. My advice would be to break it into parts same as I advised on the McDojang article you wrote. Possibly write one article about founding the 9 original kwans. Then decide what direction you’d like to take it from there. I think this would be best because we have to remember that the Kwan system held firm till 1978 (the 10th Kwan being the Kwan Ki Kwan).

      • White Dragon says:

        I like your ideas man! I thnk grey Wolf will get something good done. A series of historical knowledge about TKD and the correct historic linage will be very fun.

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