Archive for May, 2014

General Choi Explaining He Has No Understanding Of Physics

        Here is a video of General Choi Hong Hi explaining that he has absolutely no understanding of physics. He claims in this video that you should never twist your body but simply come up and drop down as you punch.

It is beyond me why thousands of ITF students do not call BS on this sine wave that Choi created before he died. There has to be some scientist occupational people within ITF rank world wide that realize this. This is just one reason I do not support the ITF or think of it as an effective martial art style that teaches intelligent or effective combat movements.

WTF Olympic Sport Taekwondo Is Boring

        In this current age of Taekwondo sport competition, the WTF Olympic sport fighting has become extremely boring. Many criticize it as ballet and foot tag.

When Taekwondo sparring first started there was not many rules except striking and blocking. It included face strikes as well and they didn’t even wear any protective gear either. I am not sure how often leg kicks were used though, if at all for tournaments. Later, they took out face punching and limited hand strikes to punching only the chest. During my early years training in Taekwondo my instructor’s would tell me they took out face punching because people got hurt too bad and too fast to have a good match. This seems like a plausible reason, to make things safe and easier. They also told me punching the face is too easy and kicking takes more skill (this is a fallacious argument as anyone knows boxing is incredibly skillful and they only hit the face with no kicks). Taekwondo masters may actually have thought face punches did not take much skill, but I assume they also thought to train them back in the day. Now days many gyms never train face punching at all simply because all they care about is sport sparring. So whatever the reason, Koreans took out punches to the face.

The Jidokwan invented the hogu which is the chest gear/protector used by Taekwondo sport competitors. This shows they found out that people could last longer with chest protection as well as allow for less injuries which make tournaments safer and more people willing to compete. Even so, when the World Taekwondo Federation first started out the only protection they used was the hogu. They did not even have shin and in step guards or arm guards yet. They developed these later. Of course they did wear a groin cup and mouth piece. They also did not have head gear! Sparring was really dangerous even in the sport format where kicks limited to above the waist on the chest gear and head only. In the past Taekwondo sparring, even under Olympic rules (when it was a demonstration sport from the 80s-late 90’s)  actually looked like a fight. People literally threw kicks with serious intention at each other and used way more punches to the chest than they do now. Now days you barely see anyone punch. Back in the day people punches constantly after kicks and when people got in close. People kicked full contact to both the chest gear and the head (with no head gear on!) People got knocked out very fast and suffered injuries on the head. Later, they developed the head gear and made it mandatory for sport competition. Here is a 1980’s video showing early Taekwondo sport techniques as well as providing history and facts about Taekwond and the WTF. Watch the first few minutes for the sparring footage.

The beginning of that video shows actual tournament footage with no head gear worn and people getting kicked in the face as well as people punching the chest gear a lot. Back in the older days from 80’s-90’s all scoring was only worth 1 point exactly. No matter where you hit them with a kick or punch it was 1 point. Kicking the head was 1 point, spin kicks to the head was 1 point, flying and jump kicks were 1 point. This made competition way more realistic and combative where people only did wild moves when necessary to counter or to trick opponents. everything was rougher and looked like a fight and people won by either more damage or knockouts, or by full powered kicks that score more than the other guy.

Now days the point system is crazy with 1 point for chest gear kicks, 2 for turning kicks, 3 for any head kick (even a crescent/axe kick to the head from in close which takes little effort) and a turning kick to the head is 4 points. A flying or in the air jump kick I believe is 3 or 4 points but I am not sure. So now you’ve got Olympic athletes attacking each other with foot fencing strategy and twirling toward each other like ballet dancers. This has serious made WTF sparring so boring!

Apparently in South Korea some guys got together in 2012 and decided to spar without head gear, this is the result:

Notice how cautious the fighters are where instead of just twirling and sticking a front leg sidekick out to tag for a point they are slowly feeling each other out. This is because without the points and also no head gear it is very dangerous and you can get hurt, as seen with the knockouts in the video. Taking away the stupid WTF gear such as gloves (which are absolutely unnecessary since you can’t punch the face, and chest gear is padded anyway! No one ever needed gloves in the early days of Olympic sparring, neither did I when I competed as a teenager and early 20’s because punching a chest gear does not hurt and a bare fist on chest gear does no more damage than if wearing silly gloves), adding electronic hogu that register scores, and head gear then you will get a more serious fight and a lot more action that looks exciting.

Here is some 1980’s sparring footage without head gear, and then the very end shows some head gear worn. The fighting looks more realistic and combative:

I remember when Olympic sparring was really respected since it was full contact and knockouts are legal. People would call sport Karate foot fencing. That is point fighting where you can only lightly touch each other and they stop the match at every point so no one can counter. This is because people would stick out a lead leg to touch for a point before the other guy could touch them first. It is really a stupid sport and one a disdain and have absolutely not shred of respect for. Even Shotokan light contact sparring is somewhat combative with only crisp technique scoring and combative movements (even that is boring to me). Now days with the point system of large points scored for head and turn kicks, no emphasis on punches scoring, the gloves, the electronic hogu (I guess head gear is okay and does not take too fun away and in a way is necessary for young people) Taekwondo sparring has simply become continuous foot fencing and it sucks. I really hope they change the rules because Taekwondo is going out of style fast, is no longer the world’s most popular martial art, and Taekwondo sparring almost got kicked out of the Olympics (instead they kicked out Wrestling, which is another issue in itself). If Taekwondo wants to remain relevant it has to adapt to more combative formats of competition and make them available. Sport competition needs various rule formats for Taekwondo for different types of sparring events: Olympic sport, Kickboxing etc. and whether knees and elbows are included or not; as well as an emphasis on self defense over sport.

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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. 

 

Large Taekwondo Demonstration By Korean Military

        This is a huge Taekwondo demonstration in Korea from 2013. The military displaying their Taekwondo for the President. It is better than most Taekwondo demos as there is a total lack of Taekwondo-dancing. Thank goodness! Listen to the Korean Taekwondo girls scream!

The cameraman should be fired though.

The Most Bastardized Version Of Koryo I Have Ever Seen

        Thanks to things like XMA people constantly make up their own versions of traditional forms and perform them in the most stupid, illogical, pointless, and over-acted ways possible to where it looks like a hystrical and emotional lunatic screaming as crazy as possible. The idea of XMA had people make up their own forms and perform things to look as showy and dramatic as possible and also doing tricks that have nothing to do with martial arts. They have gone farther not soon after that by taking traditional forms and customizing them by adding and taking away things for a person to perform. It is always done in a crazy way with intense screaming and exaggerated stances that are so ridiculous and have absolutely no martial value at all. It is basically performance gymnastics with terrible kicks and hand movements. Check out the most bastardized version of Kory I have ever seen:

That sucked so bad I cannot even describe it. Even a little child is 100,000,000 times better at Koryo than what that teenaged girl did if you can even call what she did Koryo:

There is no point in training poomsae or martial arts in the way the crazy teenager did. What does a black belt mean? They can show off and scream and say stupid things like “sa too kaa shaaa” in between moves to impress other dorks? Training in the way the child did sets him up for perfection for understanding proper body mechanics, and the fact he is already so flexible gives him a head start to understand self defense applications and accurate striking and control of limbs. He is a junior black belt (poom rank) but when he is older he will be even better. Hopefully he practices self defense and not only sport performance. Either way this kid is better than the bastardized Koryo version chick.

 

MMA Gyms Are The New McDojo’s

        Popular martial arts culture is in a post-karate, and post-taekwondo phase. Of course, the most popular mcdojo/mcdojangs are still Taekwondo and Karate gyms but they are definitely being seen today for what they are, glorified daycare centers. The reason is that the UFC popularized the sport of MMA, the most free range combat sport we have today. The sport that allows for the most realistic fighting possible while still being safe, and still mimicking a street fight by about 95% (my own opinion). This has opened the eyes of so many people to see that many of the Karate, Taekwondo, and Kung Fu gyms people have often thought of as places to learn deadly fighting techniques actually are fake and untested with really awful techniques that just don’t actually work. This is not to say the true martial arts of those 3 umbrella styles are fake or do not work. It just so happens so many of the gyms were over time have been established by people who have no clue about real fighting and exist just to make money. The fact many Taekwondo, Karate, and Kung Fu gyms actually do have top quality self defense instruction and promote their true martial arts for the sake of actual combative self defense is besides the point of this article.

        With the new focus on realistic fighting and practicality and the popular sport of Mixed Martial Arts widely broadcast on TV many other fraudulent and embellished instructors have thought to cash in on this MMA craze. The new mcdojo is the MMA gym! MMA is the new “karate.” Instead of people saying “I do Karate!” like they did in the 60’s-90’s they now say they do MMA, or even worse, “train UFC.” Have you ever met a guy or gal who just HAS to let you know that he trains in MMA and wants to correct your kicks or tell you how you need to re-learn how to punch properly? Seriously, not just men act this way but women too who think they are badass grapplers and can take you out. One time I was training at a Gracie Garage program downtown and some girl from one of the local MMA gyms showed up and did not even introduce herself and says, “Hey wanna roll?” She acted macho just the same as a guy. I got a kick out of it and I was wearing a gi and white belt, she had on a rash guard and MMA shorts. I ended up owning her hardcore and making her quit. She just got up and walked off the mat like an idiot without telling me anything or even that our sparring session was over. So during our roll she just randomly rolls away and stops, then walks away and does not say “hey hold on I need a break or thanks for the roll.” Nothing! Then later she proceeded to tell me how to correctly kick the heavy bag and throw elbows. I just pretended she was good and better than me and laughed inside my head. Some of the best ways to ignore egotistical idiots is to let them think they are better than you, ask them about techniques they learned from their teachers. You may or may not learn a new idea (even if they can’t do it well themselves they might have someone who taught a theory or idea you might benefit from) then you will know their weaknesses and end up owning them if you spar.

        Just because you train at an MMA gym does not make you an automatic badass or even a good fighter. It does not mean you are learning anything realistic that you can actually use. Many Karate mcdojos and Taekwondo mcdojangs have converted into MMA mcdojos by adding in craptastic programs such as “grappling class” or a “Muay Thai program.” This is obvious and is especially true of large chain martial arts franchises, but even more deceptive are the independent MMA gyms owned by high school wrestler jocks or other big looking people who really have no martial arts mastery. In the Southerm United States where I currently live there are plenty of redneck MMA gyms or hick/hill billy MMA gyms opened by average “billy bob’s” who maybe wrestled in high school and bought a heavy bag to hang in their garage. These people have absolutely no true martial arts instructor certification and are usually ex-high school wrestlers, and sometimes ex-Karate point fighters or Taekwondo guys (usually from a low grade no-name TKD organization no one knows about except 10 people). These people then claim to teach Muay Thai because they kick and punch and watched some YouTube videos. Some of them even go to random seminars by other frauds who claim to certify people in Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or even yet, claim to give out “Sambo black belts.” There was one MMA gym in a small town I knew of that claimed to teach Sambo. The owner claimed he was a Sambo black belt. It turns out he really just got some random MMA fighter guy who held a seminar claiming to teach Sambo and sold him a black belt. The owner of this MMA gym also claimed to teach Judo, MMA, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as Sambo. The kid maybe had 2 fights he claimed were pro. Pro meaning he went to a low level promoter and got paid to fight twice while still sucking and thinking he is a badass. His gym lasted less than a year and closed. It was a fly-by-night operation. All of the Sambo and MMA belt certifications the local town people tested for, if they meant nothing before they gym closed, even more so, mean absolutely nothing now that the gym is non-existent. They paid fee’s to test!

        Still yet there are MMA mcdojo’s that have a lot of success because they started off from a rich guy who had money to buy a location and build a cage or set up a ring. These types of owners find people to teach classes. Most likely will hire a blue belt, or a fresh new purple belt in BJJ and then the owner might claim to teach striking for MMA because he had a Taekwondo black belt from a random organization and he wrestled in high school. These groups become popular and get people to fight in local promotions featuring low level talent and then claim they are a real gym for real fighting. Fact is most MMA promotions allow really low skilled “jobbers” to fight each other. Big fat guys or craptastically skilled football jocks who rely solely on athleticism. You can in fact usually call a phone number if you want to fight in an event and they will sign you on the card to fight another random guy who thinks he is tough. It is very easy to get liscenced to fight by the state athletic commission if you simply pay a fee and pass a physical. It has nothing to do with years training or ranks in a martial arts style at very low level MMA events.

        There are even chain MMA gyms that are nothing but glorified yoga and cardio kickboxing studios. For example there are even MMA gyms in Walmart now:

You wanna train there while people at the checkout watch you hit the heavy bag and look cool? You could also buy an MMA Elite t-shirt at Walmart (I actually have some MMA Elite shirts (hey they look cool ok? shut up! Seriously, some look badass with samurai guys and stuff on them!)

Often times, it is actually better, smarter, and more economical to train at a traditional martial arts gym such as Karate, Taekwondo or Kung Fu where you learn a systematized combat art with levels of progression that work on skill perfection instead of brawling. In reality, it takes a lot of time to perfect a skill and it is smart to train in a specialized style instead of a place that is average in everything. A skillful person usually beats an average joe who has slopped through an MMA stew instead of specific skill instruction in one area.

Now I want to make sure people know that is it obvious there are actually legitimate MMA gyms with dangerous fighters, but they are more rare than people think. More often than not your average MMA gym is a terrible place to train with a negative macho man environment where everyone is trying to prove something and people get injured. Just go train at a boxing gym instead, or a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu  Dojo! Or just take Taekwondo or Judo! You can mix and match later once you actually get good at something. Beware of the current popular trend of MMA McDojos!

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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. 

What It Takes To Be A Grandmaster

        Now I know what it takes to be a grandmaster!

I am so inspired! His cool taeguk purple dobok is siiiick! Now that I know I will try to be badass like this:

Totally rad!

McDojangs Create An Entitlement Culture

        Jimmy, 6 years old, is going to test for his black belt and you better dang well expect him to pass…or else (angry parents)! He has never failed one promotion test ever, even that one time he completely forgot his form, and that one time he never broke a board and the instructor had to pretend he broke it by snapping it for him…he is after all PAYING money and DESERVES to test for his black belt! After all we are all about encouraging kids and giving them tons of self esteem and want to reassure them that they are CHAMPIONS even if they still cannot do a proper back stance or kick past their waist.

I’m testing for black belt and I already got my cool black belt style dobok in advance! My mom paid tons of money!

        Much like the current government welfare state, mcdojang’s worldwide have created an entitlement culture within martial arts. A gimme, gimme culture of belt ranks and affirmations for people who believe they absolutely deserve to be the next belt rank up, even to black belt, or just assume they deserve to be a black belt. After all they paid money for it and the instructors want that money so they encourage everyone to test, even those who are clearly not ready to test. And everyone passes! No one fails. The greed of so many instructors and martial arts organizations, especially those masquerading as Taekwondo but actually are a completely made up system marketed solely for profit and not a martial art, has been disguised as “self esteem building” or “confidence” instilling programs. This is nothing more than spoiling the already spoiled brats who sign up at your average mcdojang because of their rich parents who have no problem paying an extreme amount of money to get their kid a black belt (within 1 year of course! Not that extremely long 3 years crap you hear at that other gym where they waste your time training hard).

        This current Taekwondo climate has made it very difficult for true instructors of the Taekwondo martial art to keep students. Both because people assume Taekwondo sucks and your gym is a belt factory and daycare center, and also the students who actually still want to take Taekwondo refuse to stick with you because they are not automatically given belt ranks unless they have the skill to match.

        Being a Taekwondo instructor in this day and age and wanting to be legitimate and given the proper respect any other serious combat gym is given is very tough. This entitlement culture has many school aged kids as well as young adults competing with each other about who and who is not a black belt. Kids go to school and talk to other kids who go to other various dojangs or dojos and kids who go to the mcdojangs will say “I am a black belt!” and boast about it to other kids who might only be a green belt at a legitimate martial arts gym which passes students based on skill. Kids often are belittled by the spoiled mcdojang brats or influenced to quit a legitimate school to go to another school where their friends are for a fast pass to black belt. Other times kids who previously went to those mcdojangs realize it is too expensive then come to your gym to try it out. They are very turned off once they realize they cannot wear their brown belt in your gym and are going to have to start over since your style is completely different with different forms, self defense techniques, and overall standards especially in the technique and skill department. Of course some of these kids have enough experience to learn your curriculum fast and promote faster than a student who is completely new to martial arts training, but they become impatient even at that thought, and quit your program and go back to their mcdojang or find another one who will let them keep their rank, or even test into a higher rank right away.

        There is some hope though, some parents do see the marketing gimmick and money making schemes mcdojangs use to trap parents into coughing up cash every month. If you market your martial arts teaching to the enlightened parents, even though there seem to be few, you have a high probability of keeping your students. If you also look for a particular quality of student and parents where you know they want their kid to learn a real martial arts style and learn skills, you will do better than just allowing anyone to enter your gym and train. Once you do keep students make sure you emphasize fighting ability over belt colors. If right away you encourage kids about learning to fight over belt colors, you have instilled in them martial arts values that will last a long time, and none of the mcdojang madness outside of your gym that tries to entice them will influence them.

        Steps to take:

1. Advertise realistic fighting, be able to prove it and have full confidence that your abilities are decent and worthy. You better make sure your students get good too.

2. Look for the enlightened parents who want their kids to actually be good at something and know self defense.

3. Only allow high quality students to join your gym with good parents. Make them audition to join your gym by interviews and testing their behavior in a couple of free classes.

4. Instill in students their first day of class that learning to fight is the purpose and valuable self defense techniques are why they are joining. Not to wear pretty colored belts until they get a cool black one.

*One way to do this is take off your black belt, tie it onto one of the students and talk about how awesome the kid is as a black belt to the other students. Ask them if they think he can kick your butt in a fight. When they say, “NO WAY!” Then say, “But dude he is a black belt!  And try to make them question their logic. Then say, “Ok let’s see! Fight me! beat me up hit me!” But do it playfully in a fun way. Not a serious or scary way. The kid should laugh and attack you with whatever he can make up, then you should grab him and do a sweep or some fun silly move or throw fake strikes that show you would obviously destroy him. The other kids will get the point. Then talk about how a belt color has absolutely nothing to do with skill. Anyone can buy one, tie one on, or go to another gym and be given one. It does not mean they can fight. A piece of cloth is not magical power. Then go on to talk about how belt ranks are given only to those deserving and are not paid for with cash. They are also not a status symbol to show off, but simply given by an instructor to know who is more advanced then other students. If the kids enjoy it, tie the belt on a couple more kids and fake fight them. This drill will show that belts do not matter but skill matters. From that point on instead of belt chasing they will be skill chasing and will practice hard to learn how to fight and master the martial arts. 

        It is sad that Taekwondo and many martial arts are full of an entitlement culture, and the vast majority of people only want to show off and have things over another person and status than actually sweating hard, getting in shape and obtaining fighting skill. But don’t give in! And have encouragement. Market yourself for skills, not superficial things backed by a silly pyramid scheme “taekwondo” organization. Get legitimate certification in the true martial art and base it on your skill and proper qualifications.

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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. 

My Life Was Strengthened By Taekwondo

        My martial arts journey started around age 5 watching the movie “The Karate Kid” with my parents and being totally inspired. I thought it was so cool and wanted to learn Karate just like Daniel san! Karate was so mysterious as well! During this time I also would watch pro wrestling and root for Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. I spent many afternoons with the neighborhood kids wrestling in the front yard of someone’s house and pretending we are certain wrestlers. In actuality we would do kicks and punches and pretend wrestling moves so it was more like play-karate-pro-wrestling. Doing this activity we figured out front kicks, side kicks and roundkicks on our own. But we called both roundkick and sidekick “sidekick” because we thought it was the same kick just done different. As I got older, other times we pretended we were ninjas or Karate guys, or even the Ninja Turtles or Batman from Nintendo games we played and fought in the front yard.

At age 6 my mom enrolled me into a neighborhood Karate class that was being held at the local middle school. My dad would walk me to the school for my classes. I probably stayed in that class for 1 month before quitting because it was so boring. I believe it was Shotokan and the Sensei had absolutely no clue how to teach kids or even pay attention to us. He was focused more on the adults. Also, we never actually punched or kicked anything. I wanted to punch pads so bad and we wasted time doing slow motion things almost the entire time because he could not seem to teach well. I was extremely bored so my parents let me quit. In some ways I wish I had not quit because if I stayed I could have been really good, yet my life turned toward Taekwondo later and I am thankful and satisfied.

Later in life in 4th grade I enrolled in my private school’s youth Wrestling program and spent 1 season competing as a youth wrestler. I only won 3 matches the entire year and lost everything else. It was annoying because there was no skill levels, just weight classes. So I was always wrestling kids who had years experience and I could barely ever win because I had only been training for a couple months. After the season was over I did not pursue wrestling again. I also wish I kind of did just like my prior Karate class because I would have been good but I switched to homeschooling the next year anyway and never thought to find wrestling. I honestly did not understand the power of grappling as this was pre-UFC days and felt I needed to learn how to kick and punch. So a few years later in 8th grade, at age 13 I joined a Taekwondo gym.

But before joining that Taekwondo gym, in my life, I had always been picked on by bullies. Bullies in the neighborhood would always harass me and scare me. Older mean kids would chase me when I was riding my bike, and other kids threatened to beat me up. Some would grab me an scare the crap out of me. Around age 11 or 12 I always had one mean kid from another neighborhood show up to some girls house on our street who was a tom boy. This kid would always harass me and threaten to beat me up and tried to get me to fight him. He was a really bad kid with a dysfunctional family, and he also smoked. Apparently, his sister was on a popular 90’s talkshow for sleeping with a large amount of men and people would bring it up to him and he would get mad. That tells you about his family. He was absolutely crazy. One time he even came to my house at night and smacked my bedroom window in the middle of the night to scare me. I was always so scared of this kid because I had never been in a fight before and was afraid I would get beat up. I knew I needed skills, strength and confidence to face my fears. I was probably around 10 when this kid started bothering me and it lasted through to age 13 off and on. This kid talked like he was some gangster and would quote Death Row Records lyrics from various rappers like Snoop Dog. He used to scream “Bowowow yippy yo yippy yay! Death row’s in tha mutherf***g house!!” He was a very strange and disturbed kid. When he would yell at me he would flip his shirt up and I never understood why he did that, like it was some gangster rap thing. The tom girl told me he was doing it because gangsters do it to show they have a gun in their pants. But he had nothing, he would just flip it up and I would see his stomach or belt. Made no sense.

This kid was always threatening me, and I don’t know why he mainly singled me out and not anyone else I knew as much. Well he did harass or have insult matches with some of my friends but he mainly targeted me, probably because I was outside more than the others who were playing Nintendo all day, or because I was shy and easy to pick on. My friends would go to 7-Eleven and play Mortal Kombat and I would watch and one time this mean kid found me at 7-Eleven and began insulting me and harassing me and came behind me while I was watching my friend play Mortal Kombat on the arcade machine. He pushed me trying to get me to fight him and he was flicking my ears and laughing in my face, and this lasted for a few minutes. It was extremely humiliating and I was afraid he was going to punch me, but he didn’t. Another time after playing Mortal Kombat at 7-Eleven my friends and I were riding our bikes back to our street and we saw that tomboy girl and one of my dumb and inconsiderate friends decided we should each scream out a fatality move from the game as if we would do them to this bully. I was coaxed into doing it with them and as we rode by one kid said, “I’m going to blow his head off!” (like Raiden’s fatality where he explodes the head with lightening), the dumb and inconsiderate friend who made up this stupid idea said, “I’m going to rip his head off!” (like Sub Zero’s fatality where he pulls off the head with his bare hands), and I finally said, “I’m going to knock his head off!” (like Johnny Cage’s fatality where he knocks the head off with an uppercut). So we rode by her and it was something like this:

*Tomgirl is walking towards us going to the bully’s house in the other neighborhood*

*we 3 ride by fast and yell our fatalities*:

“I’m going to blow his head off!”

“I’m going to rip his head off!”

“I’m going to knock his head off!”

*she smiles and laughs and walks on and we ride off*

WOW THAT WAS SO COOL!!! And we laughed…but unfortunately that only pissed off the bully, and for some reason he ignored what they said and only focused on me saying I will knock his head off. Then he came to my neighborhood and started screaming and going nuts and calling me out to fight. Even my parents heard him and knew he was out there, and my dad said I should fight him. But I was still so afraid. I would like to say that the story ends with an epic fight where I beat him but no it does not. There was never a fight, I never once got to fight him ever. I was too afraid. Eventually this kid moved on and stopped harassing me for some reason but there was never a reason given. He got bored and moved on. He became a cowboy after this and no longer acted like a gangster rapper. He never bothered me again and I would see him with a huge cowboy hat one and he would just not care I was outside and would walk on. Something changed him. Who knows, but I was just glad he did not bother me anymore even though I was full of anger toward him for his bullying. When I started Taekwondo training I knew that if I did have to fight him I would beat him easily. I got over it and also moved on and no longer thought about him.

Around this time in my life and during times when the mean bully from the other neighborhood was not around or was doing other things and it was during a cycle where he was not hanging out with that tomgirl so much I had other issues to deal with. Another couple of bullies was that tomboy herself and 2 mean male twins who lived at the end of my street. The tomgirl would get them to pick on me and call me names and threaten to beat me up. A couple of times I had confrontations and I then finally had my first real fight! The tomgirl and the 2 evil twins confronted me and a friend who were picking grapes from a persons grapevine that hung over a fence. Eventually through all of the threats and insults I got so pissed off. The girl was behind the twins, the older one was in front of her towards me and the younger twin was sitting on a fence and all 3 were insulting us and threatening me and my friend. I got so mad and fed up I just punched the older twin in the jaw, grabbed the back of the other twins shirt and pulled it and sprang him into a punch to his back while I was still holding his clothes which knocked him off balance on the fence. Then the tomgirl, who was very big and strong I might ad (bigger than me), attacked me and I started clinching the older twin and they tackled me and I fell on my back. The tomgirl began to jump double feet onto my chest over and over. My friend pulled them off and then grabbed a metal yard sign and began to attack them. Then some drunk guy across the street came out and said, “You kids get outa here! Stop fighting here!!!” and then me and my friend ran and jumped over a fence and the tomgirl followed in persuit and said, “You may be faster! but I have good balance!!!” We were fighting in someone’s yard on a street corner. Then she proceeded to jump over a fence and when landing on the street she slipped with her shoes on the pavement and skinned her knee. Then I began laughing soooo hard and mocking her about “Ohhh suure you have good balance!” and we ran away. They stopped following us because her knee was bloody. Other times I had confrontations with her and these twins and 3 more times I punched the same older twin in the face on the same spot and would run away and get away. It was a hit and run each time! Over time though, these twins moved away and seemed to calm down and were not under her influence anymore and all 3 stopped bothering me. It was one of those things where you have neighborhood kids who one day are cool with you, then hate you and fight you, then are cool and friendly again later etc., or just plain forget about you. Anyway after this even more problems occurred.

Still there were other mean kids who liked rap music and claimed they were gangsters and would yell “Westsiiiiide!” because of all the Los Angeles gangster rappers like Tu Pac, Ice Cube, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, Westside Connection etc. were popular on MTV. That was the popular music and all the crazy mean white kids who had a troubled family life would pretend they were Crips and try to beat people up. They hated anyone who did not listen to rap. If you were into rock music or skateboarding or punk you would be targeted. It was gangsters vs skaters in this period of time. Skaters were always the victims of their hate. I still knew I needed to take martial arts classes.

During 6th and 7th grade I talked with some kid in my homeschool group who said he was a black belt in Taekwondo. I thought he must be a crazy awesome fighter. He told me how Taekwondo is the worlds most popular martial art and the best because it focuses on kicking. I thought kicking automatically was the best thing you could do and that’s why martial arts won fights. I did not know that Karate focused on the hand, and of course I thought ninjas were cool growing up. This Taekwondo kid was an ATA student. His instructor was a Vietnam veteran, so he told me that he studied “Military Taekwondo” and there is a camo belt because of it. He acted like he could win any fight and was not afraid to fight anyone. I thought it was so cool. One day my mom found out about a local Taekwondo tournament and she took me to go watch. It was a WTF tournament, but I had no clue about that. During the intermission they had a Filipino martial arts demonstration with sticks I thought was cool. 2 guys were showing self defense techniques doing them so fast and then doing them again in slow motion. It was all about fighting and self defense. With this attitude I assumed Taekwondo was also exactly like self defense and serious fighting techniques. I thought it was so cool kids were fighting and even girls were fighting! I saw a brochure by the host dojang who was running the tournament. The dojang was owned by a Korean master. He taught 3 martial arts: Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Judo. The brochure explained each martial art: that Judo focuses on throws and some joint locks, Hapkido focuses on joint locks with kicks, punches, pressure points, and throws, but Taekwondo focuses on kicks, punches, joint locks, pressure points, knees, elbows and is able to fight multiple opponents. So I thought Taekwondo was the best of all 3 and included every move the other 2 had plus tons of amazing kicks and strikes and was a serious fighting system! I thought Taekwondo contained every move of all fighting basically.

After being totally confident that I needed Taekwondo specifically, I told my mom to let me join Taekwondo and that I need to learn how to fight. I had no clue about Taekwondo being a sport and only considered it as a true fighting art that even Korean soldiers use and it gives you skills to fight in real fights including deadly killing techniques. I told my mom that I am 13 so I need to learn now before I get older. So she enrolled me in a WTF affiliated Taekwondo gym certified by the Kukkiwon. She didn’t understand that stuff and neither did I and had no clue there were other organizations etc. I thought a martial art style was simply a martial art style. But my mom saw the advertisement and went to this instructor’s gym with us and he met with us and told us all about his program. We were sold!

The instructor who ran it was a 3rd dan and eventually got his fourth during my time there. I received my black belt under him, but he took us up to see his teacher who was a Korean grandmaster in another city. I tested under that Korean grandmaster to earn my Kukkiwon ranked black belt at age 16. Before earning my black belt I had experienced various tournaments, lots of Taekwondo training and learning self defense, and even competed in a national tournament. Taekwondo gave me tons of confidence and I felt strong, skilled, and ready to fight anyone who attacked me.

Way before black belt though, I had went through 3 years of training and during that training the problems in the suburban streets did not stop. As mentioned earlier there were all those wannabe gangster kids causing problems everywhere. On occasions they would start fights at their school and also ride together on BMX type bikes in packs and threaten to beat people up. Multiple occasions these kids would ride to my street or I would be going to 7-Eleven or some store and they would stop us and threaten to beat us up. Often times we had to ride our bikes super fast to get away or run. One time me and 2 brothers I knew were riding bikes back from 7-Eleven and a car full of these guys drives by and says something which sounded like “Brazil.” But it made no sense. They were listening to loud rap music and then stopped ahead at the corner of this street. They immediately poured out of the car and flashed the “W” hand sign for “Westside.” They began chasing us and we all had to ride our bikes fast and get away. We were lucky because they were going to beat us up. I think at least 7 guys were in that car.

All of this time in Taekwondo training I was being given a lot of confidence and gaining physical skills and learning self-defense techniques. During my training I often did tournament sparring and a lot of our training was sport specific Olympic rules training. I knew there were all kinds of moves like face punches, knife hands, palm strikes, knees etc we were not sparring with but only did them if there was a self-defense technique for the next belt level we had to learn. We never free flowed with such techniques, nor used much live grappling training. We sometimes did hit targets with them for practice, but no sparring. But we did train for multiple opponents a lot and did drills simulating 5 or so people attacking you as well as sparring 2 or more people at the same time. Unfortunately, my training was not enough.

Around blue belt, and after fighting in a national tournament I got disqualified in for kicking someones head too hard, I was attacked by a local gang made out of the wannabe gangster kids. At least 15 guys and a girl or two were at this park. By this time at age 14 I took up skateboarding and listening to hardcore music. I went to a private Christian school in 8th grade and that ATA Taekwondo guy went to my school as well. So after 8th grade we had remained friends and would skateboard together sometimes and talk about martial arts. He had ninja books and various martial arts books I thought were cool. He was the type of kid who said he wanted to be in special forces when he grew up. At age 15 and a blue belt in Taekwondo I spent the night at his house and we skateboarded and even sparred Taekwondo style in his backyard. It was then I knew he sucked and I could beat him easy. He was extremely slow and I was super fast because of my Olympic style training. Later, we went to this middle school to skateboard not too far off and wanted to come back home around 8pm. By this time it had gotten dark and we had to go through a local park to get to his house. It was dark now and as we skated through the park we came out from a clearing in a pathway with trees to the main parking lot. In the parking lot, just our luck, over 15 or more of those gangster wannabe kids were all in the parking lot hanging out. The baddest of the bad of these kids were all there including people I had never seen before. All of the kids were White kids except one Asian kid who seemed afraid and worried and didn’t want to be involved with violence against us. The entire gang followed us and ran after us and eventually surrounded us because we were too dumb to run because the ATA kid had no clue they were following us. When I informed him he says, “huh? what?” and stops and goes to look (what an idiot) and by this time they showed up and surrounded us walking and circling on on both sides looking so menacing. They repeated, “We hate skaters!!!” and began to threaten us and how they are going to kill us. What ended up happening was the very first and so far only serious beatdown of my entire life. It was a huge wakeup call.

It was me, my ATA black belt friend and his little brother with our skatebaords surrounded by a White wannabe Black suburban hip hop gang in the street in front of the park we skated through. The little brother was able to break through and run away. Me and the ATA black belt remained. One gangster kid says “We hate skaters!!!!” and proceeds to walk towards me saying “Give me your board! Now!” and I said “NO! ITS MINE!” He kept demanding it and I was backing away and kept saying no, and I felt threatened and held my skateboard behind me and I then swung my skateboard at his head the hardest possible way I could and…..ting! It was an “oh no” moment realizing my skateboard only half hit his head only knicking the top of his head as the board turned at impact instead of the hard knockout thud I was aiming for where the full board was supposed to smack him in the head, wheels, trucks and all. Right then 5 guys bulldozed me and took me down to the ground punching me like vicious animals. As I landed on the ground I looked up to see a white high top sneaker heading straight toward my face and *BAM!* I was kicked right in the forehead followed by multiple blows from fists and stomps and kicks all over my head, neck, and back. I was recieving an incredible beatdown that lasted what felt like an eternity. Tons of sreaming and cussing and blows from the gang all over me. It could have been anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 seconds long. Either way it was brutal! Somehow the ATA black belt kid threw them off of me and they left beating me up and then attacked him. I got up extremely dazed but I was not knocked out. Right then the kid I hit in the head with the board came up and I was terrified he was going to kill me and get revenge and he demanded my board. Realizing he could turn it into a weapon I threw it over a fence instead. I was then being punched from every direction on my head and face. My ATA black belt friend was being punched too and ended up fighting 1 or 2 guys in the bushes on his back. The sole Asian guy with these White kids was saying “Hey cmon guys lets just fight them one on one ok!” and trying to get them to not attack us because I guess he had some sense even if he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Anyway, then some gangster wannabe chick appears after we are being beat up and complains that her boyfriends sunglasses were broken. But he had broken them himself beating us up. How annoying! After all this I finally got to a random house and they called the cops and the gang ran away. Apparently, all of the notion I had about Taekwondo being able to defeat multiple opponents did not work in this case.

The next day we were pissed off and mad we got beat up. We talked to the police the night before and our parents both allowed me to stay over at his house anyway. The next day we went skateboarding to defy the gangs orders that we can’t skateboard there anymore. When we were skating down a road a pickup truck with 3 older guys drove by and parked ahead of us at the corner near a stop sign. We thought they were going to attack us because when the truck drove by it swerved toward us. When we stopped going in their direction the driver flashed the “W” sign for “Westside” out of his wonder and we knew they were going to beat us up so we ran behind a fence. The truck turned around screeching and we ran into a random backyard of some old guy’s house. The guys stopped their truck to look for us and got out and they were really huge white guys. We knew they had been told about us and how we got beat up and they saw us skating and were out to stop us. Luckiyl the old guy saw us in his backyard and said “Hey you kids get out of there!!!” and then we told him we were running from guys trying to kill us and then he saw them out front and said “Whats your problem?” and they said nothing and drove off really fast. We ended up talking to the police about it again. We honestly felt these guys including the 15 guys the right before wanted to literally kill us, no joke.

After such instances I realized I need serious fighting skills for self defense for any situation on the streets and I was wondering why me being a Taekwondo practitioner did not save me in this situation. I was a little angry and my mom was also upset at my instructor since nothing I learned helped me. A lack of emphasis on self defense and more on sport started to be promoted at his gym. The understanding I got disqualified for kicking too hard at a national tournament and then got my ass kicked by a gang really made my mother mad. My mom told my instructor, as did I, that I want to know how to really fight! I want real self defense. Otherwise there is no point to train. My instructor then started to teach us more realistic self defense including takedowns and other various things. Honestly it still was not enough but it was better than before. From that point on I realized Taekwondo has to be serious, it has to be full contact, and it has to be about real world fighting and self defense. Not a sport. The sport is just a side thing for fun but not the main goal of training. That is how I felt and still is my opinion today.

Over the years I kept up my Taekwondo training even though the UFC started taking off in popularity with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu claiming to be the only effective martial art in the world as well as Muay Thai guys making fun of Taekwondo. I was able to train under another Korean grandmaster and paid attention to various self defense and even sparred in a real world sense with people who would let me. Over the years I took classes in various other martial arts styles to understand their theories and supplement anything Taekwondo was lacking. I still train in random styles today especially BJJ and boxing. Only one other time did I get into another serious and scary fight. It was before college and I got attacked at a hardcore punk show by some thug and ended up sending him to the hospital. In this instance my Taekwondo saved my life, or at least saved me from serious injury.

With my determination to train Taekwondo realistically for self defense and try my best to perfect it as much as I could for my own bodies abilities and set my mind on serious combat and crisp technique I want to express it to others. I teach Taekwondo to help other people’s lives and give them the same skillset and abilities I have so they can save their lives in self defense situations. I believe Taekwondo is a martial art and is deadly and effective for self defense and should be promoted for such. Otherwise we are falsely advertising our martial art and going to let down a lot of people if they cannot use anything they learned in an actual fight. Taekwondo made a man out of me and greatly strengthened my life and I know it can do the same for my students. Without Taekwondo I would not be who I am today and have a lower quality of life.

The fact popular Taekwondo culture has profaned the martial art of Taekwondo, and has sold out for money and other silly pride inducing things such as showing off with backflips and TKD-dance recitals, really makes me feel sad. Taekwondo was and is a truly hardcore fighting art and this concept is being lost. It should train you to fight bullies and defeat them, handle multiple opponents such as a gang, and other thugs on the street who want to attack you. It should train you to save your life in a fight. So many people will not train in Taekwondo who want to learn self defense or know how to fight, and will thus skip out on a wonderful life experience and instead go to an amoral gym that teaches MMA or whatever the latest combat craze is. Instead, the wrong kind of people will join Taekwondo classes, spoiled brats, egotistical show offs who want to impress people, and other types. Instead of building confidence and strength in a weak person, it will instead poof up the pride of already arrogant kids. The 5 tenets of Taekwondo and the warrior mindset Taekwondo instilled in me is not going to be expressed much in future generations, including those in Taekwondo gyms today since the combative and warrior mindset is not taught and is traded out for dancing and acrobatics and movie fantasy nonsense and sport Taekwondo with its limited techniques. I hope by reading this story someone can be inspired and to train hard in Taekwondo, love the art, and learn self defense; and somehow a remnant will save Taekwondo from the pop-culture masses that have nearly destroyed any worth it has for real fighting. It also has lost respect and its dignity because of this. Even so, I know there are others who love Taekwondo for the truth and just as Taekwondo has strengthened my life, it has and will strengthen theirs.

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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.  

 

So Apparently The Taliban Has Been Learning Taekwondo

        No, these are not ninjas nor ninja-wannabes. They wear masks to conceal their identity as they are terrorists and the headbang is a jihadist saying praising their god Allah. Apparently, the Taliban has been training in Taekwondo and has what looks like black belt level type of guys. Who taught them Taekwondo? I would hope no sane person and no innocent Korean master taught them thinking they were doing goodwill. Most likely a terrorist went outside their country and took up residence somewhere else and learned Taekwondo at a local dojang. But then…could it be the Afghanistan Olympic Taekwondo team teaching them, or could these members possibly be part of that?

These techniques are definitely Taekwondo. I want to assume if anyone was dumb enough to teach a terrorist Taekwondo it was probably an ITF’er, but then it could been anyone. Those last techniques look sportish. So the Taliban and probably Al Queda are learning Taekwondo at worldwide dojangs…maybe they are at YOUR local dojang. Better background check your new students who come fresh from the middle east…just saying…

Of course none of these techniques scare me and are more demo and silly than realistic. I think I could beat all of them up. But still it is annoying to know Taekwondo is being used by terrorists.

 

Old Australian Guy Says TKD Looks Like Ballet

        Some Australian talk show had a segment where some old guy had apparently said Taekwondo looks like ballet is is the most ridiculous thing he has ever seen. I personally believe his opinion is extremely popular among almost anyone who has seen it and thinks about what is and is not to be expected in martial arts or combat. I also think the old guy’s opinion is valid. I believe this segment was obviously staged as well and it proves nothing really, except that some old guy who totally sucks and acts like a jackass can get kicked really hard in chest gear.

I do not think this segment redeemed WTF sport Taekwondo or even improved Taekwondo’s image for the average person and our current UFC loving culture. It was pretty corny and the Taekwondo athletes acted really arrogant and hot shot style. Possibly the old guy agreed to get kicked and even rehearsed it before going on TV. Sure it could have hurt some but he touched it out and I really think the girl’s back kick on his chest gear was totally fake as he jumps backwards to fall. Sure the sport actually does hurt and it is somewhat dangerous and serious, but that does not stop it from looking incredibly ridiculous since spinning head shots are worth 3 points and both athletes in a tournament fight will spin toward each other like ballerina’s trying to score. Something has got to be done with WTF rules to make it more like a fight and less boring to watch. The WTF sport emphasis of most Kukkiwon Taekwondo gyms really leaves behind the wealth of combative knowledge and special techniques that Taekwondo has to offer and I find it frustrating. The Kukkiwon textbook is full of serious self defense techniques and theories that these sportists have no clue about.  I doubt the same result would happen if a typical guy who was not so old felt like insulting Taekwondo. I doubt such a dude would fall over when getting kicked with a chest gear on. I do not believe this segment changed popular opinion that Taekwondo looks stupid in the eyes of the average person who does not know much about martial arts. It’s going to take a lot more than a silly segment on TV to change such an opinion and I really hope more people start changing the negative view of Taekwondo in the eyes of the martial arts world.