Archive for September, 2014

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (Part 5)

*This is the final part of the series 

 

V. A Taekwondo Self Defense Program Can Run Better than an RBSD Program

             Original Taekwondo is itself a reality based self defense system in its own right if it is taught properly with a self defense mindset. A Taekwondo program can be changed to fit any business model or self defense program for any company.

 

Uniforms or special clothing is not important

Taekwondo may wear a white uniform whereas most RBSD guys wear camouflage pants or athletic attire, or just stylish black clothes or a polo shirt. This is not important. With or without the dobok Taekwondo can still be trained effectively. Belts do not even have to be worn and the grades and degrees given (geup and dan) do not have to be literally visible things a student wears. It could just be a verbal or shown through a certificate that someone has attained a certain geup. Students simply would have to wear athletic type of clothing that is easy to move in and loose fitting and comfortable. It is not mandatory to run a Taekwondo self defense program with traditional uniforms.

Even so, if one wants to go full traditional style then of course wearing the dobok and wearing the physical belts is available. Uniforms serve a purpose such as uniformity in class, that all people including men and women both are equal in class, wearing a uniform makes someone feel important and focused, and most importantly the uniform is a very great training suit. It is durable and strong and no one will have to worry what clothes to wear to training each day.

 

The progressive structure of Taekwondo motivates students

With the progressive structure and ranks given Taekwondo motivates students and encourages them to train harder to get to the next level. With a written curriculum handed out to students for each level of training, students can know what they need to know at a given time. A Taekwondo instructor should hand out papers with new techniques and knowledge that the student has to know. Each rank they can keep a binder of syllabi as references they can go back to.

Formal testing is also a positive thing for students. It gives a good amount of stress which can simulate distressing circumstances a self defense situation would bring up. It also stresses importance of skill with each rank’s techniques. If one cannot perform movements properly they do not pass. The ability to fail a test is very important as it will encourage students to train harder and make sure they have learned what needs to be learned. Rank testing does not have to cost extra money either, or if you do charge it does not have to be expensive. The commercialization of Taekwondo has brought about many people who just want to make easy money. Charging for testing and then encouraging students to test gets people rich. Exchanging money for a test usually pushes the instructor to pass less than deserving students to the next level even if they should have actually failed. This is a problem. It is recommended that testing fees are very low with the possibility of student’s to fail, or cost nothing at all.

During a test students will display every technique they learned and show applications for movements as well as live sparring with mild contact. This will present realism and test if a student can actually apply his knowledge in a simulation representing a real threat. Testing should be done every 4 months or more.

 

The purpose is training effective fighting techniques first over everything else

Most RBSD programs encourage practitioners to pay into their system’s founder’s pockets by certification fees, seminar fees, annual membership fees, DVD purchases and t-shirts, special requirements, and other unimportant things. This is because most RBSD systems exist solely off of marketing gimmicks and seem to mostly exist for the sake of promotion of the system itself rather than training fighting techniques to students. Taekwondo should not be this way. Taekwondo should exist first for the training of fighting techniques for self defense, and everything else such as promoting Taekwondo as a wonderful art after the fact. The program should not exist just to market the program. Taekwondo does not exist just to market Taekwondo. First teach proper combat and promote self defense, then worry about members or a student brotherhood in the system. If the product is good then many people will follow.

 

Conclusion

            Taekwondo has everything RBSD has with methodical training practices. A self defense minded Taekwondo instructor will be able to teach anything an RBSD instructor teaches and instill dedication, masterful skills, and an aggressive mindset for self defense in his students. RBSD programs are unnecessary and they cause people to overlook the value of traditional martial arts styles such as Taekwondo. There is nothing truly new or innovative that RBSD teaches that is not already taught by legitimate traditional martial arts instructors. RBSD instructors spent a lot of time belittling the traditional martial arts, especially Taekwondo. This is because of mcdojangism’s influence on Taekwondo culture. Yet, this is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo itself as a whole.

Taekwondo is a very good martial art style to use for a proper self defense program. It was birthed from the aftermath of a brutal Japanese regime in Korea and further developed within war. Taekwondo has been proven in war on the battlefield and used by the U.S. Military and government agencies. Taekwondo has lethal striking techniques which are the basis for very effective self defense. It is a complete stand up striking system that has combat effectiveness. The live sparring and training drills and focus on mastering techniques enables any Taekwondo practitioner to obtain and retain realistic self defense knowledge. The fighting spirit that Taekwondo offers and complete fitness can be trained with total aggression and a “will to win” attitude that will give people true confidence and not a false sense of security that most RBSD programs give. Taekwondo is an excellent self defense art.

 

Works Cited

        (2009). Training For Black Belt: Grandmaster Tae Hong Choi. Posted on March 17th, 2009 at http://trainingforblackbelt.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/grandmaster-tae-hung-choi/date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Cho, H.I. (1988). The Complete Black Belt Hyung W.T.F. Hee Il Cho: Los Angeles, CA.

CrossFit Defense. (2014). The Philosophy. Posted at http://crossfitdefense.com/overview/the-philosophy/, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Department of the Navy. (2011). Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). MCRP 3-02B. Department of the Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps: Washington, D.C. Posted at http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCRP%203-02B%20PT%201.pdf, date accessed September 24th, 2014.

Dougherty, M.J. (2010). Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide: Hand-To-Hand Fighting Skills from the World’s Most Elite military Units. Metro Books: New York, NY.

Hamic, R. (2010). Press About: Press Release Distribution: Moni Aizik and Combat Survival are Sued in Multi-Million Dollar Class Action Lawsuit for Fraud and Misrepresentation. Posted by SARAVANAN2, on August 24th, 2010 at http://www.pressabout.com/moni-aizik-combat-survival-sued-100038/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

Human Weapon. (2007). Season 1, Episode 8. Marine Corps Martial Arts. First aired September 27th,  2007 on The History Channel. Quote starts at 3:09 into the episode.

Integrated Combat Systems University. Krav Maga Principles. Posted at http://www.victorvillekravmaga.com/22.html, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Jung, H. (2009). The Oregonian: Portland-area tae kwon do grandmaster pioneered sport in U.S. Tae Hong Choi, who established schools and taught thousands of students, dies at 7. Posted March, 11th, 2009 at http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1236745615165110.xml&coll=7, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Kim, S.H. (2009). Taekwondo Self Defense: Taekwondo Hoshinsool. Turtle Press: Sante Fe, NM.

Morgan, F.E. (1992). Living The Martial Way. Barricade Books, Inc.: Fort Lee, NJ.

Sylvester, M. (2012). Matthew Sylvester: Father, Author, Martial Artist: Tony Blauer: It’s not who’s right it’s who’s left. Posted May 7th, 2012 at http://matthewsylvester.com/2012/05/07/tony-blauer-its-not-whos-right-its-whos-left/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

Swift, J.E. (1968). Black Belt Magazine: Budo Demolition: The Famed Tiger Division of the Korean Army in Action! Sine Pari, Kidokwan Martial Art International. Posted at http://www.kidokwan.org/historical/historical-articles-1960s/budo-demolition-the-famed-tiger-division-of-the-korean-army-in-action/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

The Pentagon. (1980). Hand-To-Hand Fighting (Karate / Tae-Kwon-Do. ST 31-4. U.S. Government Printing Office: Fort Bragg, NC. Reprinted by Militaria Press.

Thomas, B. (1994). Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit: A Biography. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA.

Urban Protection Solutions/ Self Defense Classes. Posted at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/urban-protection-solutions-self-defense-classes-tickets-2779871671?aff=eorg, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

 

Go back to Part 4                                                                        Go on to Part 1 (First Part)

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

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Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (part 4)

IV. Taekwondo is Proven Effective In Full Contact Fighting

            It is said that a true martial art that works must prove itself in fighting. Taekwondo has not only proven itself in war, but also in current modern combat sports such as Kickboxing and MMA.

 

Taekwondo is effectively used in Mixed Martial Arts fighting

Mixed Martial Arts competition is considered by the general public of fight fans and people who are aware of martial arts as the current proving ground for effective fighting. Various Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters use Taekwondo techniques, including elite MMA fighters who fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship such as Cung Le, Anthony Pettis, Edson Barboza, Benson Henderson and others, to win high level bouts with knockout power and Taekwondo tactics. The Taekwondo round kick, Taekwondo footwork, the back kick, and even the spin kick have all been used with total success in MMA by such fighters as Dennis Sever and Conor McGregor.

Taekwondo spin kick in the UFC

Spin kick knockouts are not uncommon now as well as devastating back kicks. These are typically “fancy” techniques seen in movies that have now been proven effective in combat. MMA is the closest people can get to an actual fight while still remaining in the bounds of what is legal by the law as well as remaining typically safe because a referee and corner men are present and there are rules in place; yet a lot of techniques are allowed. If a combat sport avenue such as MMA has  allowed Taekwondo to demonstrate itself as effective then Taekwondo seems like a decent striking system and can definitely be incorporated into a self defense program.

Same technique as in MMA

Sport does not negate street effectiveness

The claim that sport is never realistic or learning a sport is not good for self defense is not 100% true. While if a person only trains for a sport with rules and never for self defense outside of his combat sport format, then the fighter will not have the best combat sense on the streets. This is even true for MMA. No one who is logical would ever claim Boxing is not an effective martial art that would not work on the streets. Boxing has always worked on the streets and just because people train within the rules of boxing does not mean they cannot use their boxing effectively for self defense. Of course a boxer really should take another martial art that allows for more techniques, but boxing in itself works. Likewise MMA of course works. It is the mindset of the practitioner. If he simply focuses on winning rounds and tapping a person out he will not do well on the streets. But if the same fighter takes his knowledge of MMA with a self defense mindset he will destroy the average person!

Taekwondo also has a sport aspect to it. The kicks and footwork from Olympic Taekwondo competition can also work in self defense. There are a variety of combinations and footwork that allow for quick speed and powerful attacks. Not every fight happens in close quarters and there are times when a self defense situation will demand an exchange of strikes. Taekwondo is the first and only martial art to extensively work on special footwork with unique foot switching and fakes with fast kicking combinations. Training to do these techniques well takes an incredible amount of fitness ability and will only aid in a persons personal self defense. Reality combat expert Martin J. Dougherty (2010) states,

“[Sport fighting] does not make Taekwondo bad. Far from it – it is an excellent sport for building fighting spirit, developing balance and fitness, and learning some powerful kicks.” (p. 26)

Of course there is so much more to Taekwondo than Olympic sparring, but the fact elite athletes with incredible fitness train in Taekwondo for the Olympics should only reinforce that someone studying Taekwondo will get overall competent fitness. It was not allowed into the Olympics because it was simple or easy. It is a dangerous full contact combat sport. Physical fitness is a very important part of self defense and Taekwondo offers it immensely. And it is evident that a Taekwondo self defense program will not focus on Olympic sparring competition, but instead self defense with all of the techniques that are not allowed in the competition.

 

Go back to Part 3                                                                                               Go on to Part 5

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.  

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (part 3)

 

III. Taekwondo is not inferior to modern RBSD programs

 

A punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, and a throw is a throw. There is no difference between a Taekwondo punch and a RBSD punch. It is the same. There is nothing new really being said in RBSD circles that has not been stressed within traditional martial arts circles already.

 

Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer

Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer, plus the focus on mastering technique and dedication to hard training makes a practitioner more able to defend themselves. It is often said Taekwondo is not effective for self defense and that the techniques are outdated and inefficient. The truth is that any technique an RBSD

program uses is already in Taekwondo. What RBSD programs do is claim all traditional martial arts are slow, ineffective, and would cause the student to be forced to learn 100’s of moves which is “too difficult, a waste of time, and out dated.” Hypocritically though, the founders of such RBSD systems will list their credentials for knowing how to teach self defense which most always consist of traditional martial arts styles. Take for example, “Urban Protective Solutions” founded by a husband who uses his wife to advertise that he,

 “…took his 25 years of martial arts, Commando krav maga (sic), ken po (sic), and brazilian jujitsu (sic), and simplified it to a woman’s needs” (evenbrite.com)                                                     

Also, she states, “This is not some complicated course where you have to learn hundreds of moves” (eventbrite.com).

There is nothing unique about this RBSD elbow strike compared to a Taekwondo elbow strike

So, someone who thinks martial arts are too hard to learn for average women and are a waste of time to focus on has hypocritically listed that it is important for us to know he did 25 years of traditional martial arts training prior. Now with all of the styles he listed it would be impossible within that time frame to master them all at the same time. So that shows it is apparent he is probably not an instructor or master of any of these styles and has thus, proclaimed he is now the instructor of his own made up system that is somehow better than his 25 years of training.

          

This Taekwondo elbow strike is the same technique as above

It leaves one to ask why he didn’t just quit all of the martial arts after he learned the very few, easy to memorize, techniques in his current system. It is also apparent that his wife, or he, cannot spell the names of such martial arts styles correctly such as “Kenpo,” “Commando Krav Maga,” and “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.” If one was a master or advanced in a style it would seem obvious he would know how to spell the names of the styles he trained in correctly and not advertise with such errors. Besides this, Commando Krav Maga is a fraudulent organization and the founder, Moni Aizik, was sued in a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the true founders of legitimate Krav Maga (an Israeli RBSD system). Jamic (2014) claims,

“Moni Aizik and Commando Krava Maga AKA Combat Survival have finally been served with our large class action lawsuit for fraud, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, fraudulent inducement, or tortious interference with business.” (pressabout.com)

This is a common problem with a lot of RBSD systems, many are founded on false concepts and groups who are fraudulent or embellish their credentials.

 

It is a myth that you do not have to learn a lot of techniques

No matter what style of martial arts you train in you are going to have to learn a lot of techniques to be effective at defending yourself. This is true even with RBSD styles. The claim you do not have to learn 100’s of moves is a lie. For example, boxing has about 4 or 5 punches, and maybe 8 or 10 blocks depending on what boxing coach you train under. Yet with such a small amount of techniques there seems to be an endless way to combine them together including footwork and torso movement. A boxer memorizes 100’s of techniques. Likewise, RBSD which claims to be simple and effective is going to have you learn most likely 100’s of movements with sweeps, trips, joint locks and strikes. Traditional martial arts already have all of that in their 100’s if not 1000’s of techniques. Along with many techniques and ways of movement and combining them together, much time needs to be spent on repetition over and over to make this instinctual. 8th dan Taekwondo master and qualified self defense expert Sang H. Kim (2009) explains in his book “Taekwondo Self-Defense,”

“Taekwondo training is an education of the mind and body. It is a process of learning and remembering things by which neurological networks in the muscles and brain are linked. Training requires a significant repetitive amount of practice and time to make those neurological wires function properly. This type of learning is an artificially acquired process whereas instinct is an innate behavioral mode.” (p. 18)

Knowing more techniques is always better than not knowing as many. This is common sense.

The basics of Taekwondo are simple to learn and easy to apply. They can also be trained with pressure and live sparring. Many self defense drills and scenario training can also be applied just like any RBSD program. Often times RBSD instructors do not have their students spar live. They instead just do slow motion based movements such has countering a punch and sweeping someone’s feet or locking an arm. The idea is that it is too deadly to spar with, and martial arts sports such as Olympic Taekwondo with their live sparring are not “street effective.” This is ridiculous as Taekwondo sparring instills fighting spirit and a free range striking sparring can be done safely and in order within Taekwondo techniques that do not comply with Olympic rules. Taekwondo can be sparred with or without rules under the safe guidance of a qualified instructor.

RBSD styles are actually founded on proper martial arts techniques themselves from various styles. This is because the founders of practically every RBSD system has a traditional martial arts background. The RBSD instructor Tony Blauer, who founded the SPEAR System (SPEARS) popular in RBSD circles, as well as the one who created the “Crossfit Defense” program for Crossfit actually started out in Taekwondo. In an interview by Matthew Sylvester (2014) he even claims he created his own home dojo and was teaching students (matthewsylvester.com). He developed his own way of training later that uses techniques already available in the Taekwondo he trained in. He just used certain marketing tactics to get himself known and continues to use sensational advertising. If Tony Blauer, an ex-Taekwondo instructor can teach self defense then any current Taekwondo instructor can.

Tony Bluaer demonstrating a technique already found in Taekwondo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sang H. Kim demonstrates a Taekwondo technique the same as Tony Blauer’s SPEAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBSD uses overly technical language to fluff up its image

Most RBSD systems use acronyms such as SPEARS which stands for “Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response System.” Why couldn’t it just be called fast reaction fighting? Using overly technical sort of “politically correct” words to describe a fighting system is just a gimmick to sound extra smart. Like they have one over the traditional styles such “Way of smashing with the feet and hands” (Taekwondo) or “Way of empty hands” (Karate) that use common sense, straight to the point names for their martial systems. People like Tony Blauer claim they doing something innovative and unique such as his spontaneous protection ideas with their claim of accelerated response. It seems as if he just thought up a cool sounding acronym and forced in technical words that could be used to describe self defense. Possible, he thought SPEARS sounds so cool and had to force in his technical jargon. Really though, he is not providing a unique or new concept. Such technical jargon can be summed up by saying “train to react fast and effectively.” We don’t need a SPEAR to do it. Sang H. Kim (2009) simply expresses,

“There is no single way in self-defense. You can survive only through spontaneous responses that arise from the situation you are in. Avoid becoming attached to a particular formula of defensive maneuvers.” (p. 49)

All of this has already been known and taught within traditional martial arts. There are a number of other RBSD programs with their own founders who use various acronyms with overly technical language which will not be delved into. If someone wants to find out more about RBSD styles one simply has to use Google.

On the other hand, some RBSD systems that have good techniques are actual martial arts styles like Krav Maga which was founded by the Israeli Imi Lichtenfeld. Krav Maga literally means “Contact Combat” in Hebrew (a very simple name). The Israeli military developed his style further. It is an incorporation of traditional martial arts techniques from Karate, Kickboxing, Savate, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu and others. The fact is every technique that styles like Krav Maga have is also found in traditional martial arts styles like Taekwondo. Throat strikes, hammer fists, blocks, vital point strikes, knees, kicks etc., are all in Taekwondo and can also be trained with aggression. There really is nothing special, new, or unique about what they do. It is just the way they talk about techniques and training and their extreme claims of total effectiveness that impresses people. Good old fashioned martial arts are good enough. The only problem is finding a Taekwondo teacher who is skilled, qualified, and teaches for effective realistic self defense.

 

Mcdonangism is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo

It might be somewhat harder to find an instructor who cares about real self defense applications and uses hard training to make his student’s good at fighting when looking at the majority of Taekwondo gyms around. This is the mcdojangism of many martial arts schools. Mcdojang means low quality, poor, silly, and gimmicky martial arts and quickly earned black belts, such as how fast food places like McDonald’s serves low quality food very fast. One ironic issue is that many RBSD people will mock Taekwondo or Karate for giving out black belts really fast to people who have no skill. At the same time these RBSD instructor’s claim their system can be learned very fast, through DVD’s, at seminars, within a couple of months for “total effectiveness.” Often times a certificate of completion is given to the student after attending a seminar. They are guilty of the very mcdojangism they claim is promoted by Taekwondo, they just do it in military fatigues instead of doboks. The problem with over commercialization of civilian martial arts schools is not specific to Taekwondo nor is it a good enough reason to claim that Taekwondo is not effective; or that is cannot be used to properly teach self defense. There are people who do know how to teach proper Taekwondo and understand the applications for movements and are qualified to create self defense programs using Taekwondo techniques. A person just has to look for them and make it a point to find them. While, it is less popular to be a combative and serious Taekwondo gym, there are good instructors out there and a fine quality self defense program can be created using Taekwondo.

RBSD instructors often use straw man arguments against traditional martial arts mocking the way they train techniques. They do not understand the logic or reason for training exercises or techniques like the chambered punch. They fallaciously argue that no one punches with their hands down. This is not true and a chambered punch is a technique for a specific purpose. Taekwondo also has punches from above like a boxer as well. Learning various ways to punch is better than ignorantly assuming a Taekwondo fighter will stand in a wide horse stand with his hands at his hip when attacked. This is a flat out lie. Much of why an RBSD program might stay in existence is through constant belittling of Taekwondo and other traditional styles. Instead of providing much new information or their own doctrine they waste time making fun of Taekwondo techniques and telling their students why every other style is wrong but theirs. This is the same kind of behavior many cults use on their followers.

 

Go back to Part 2                                                                                              Go on to Part 4 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.  

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (Part 2)

II. Taekwondo is proven in war and used by U.S. Special Forces

War is a proving ground for what tactics work in an unpredictable chaotic environment. This of course goes with various weapons and vehicles, but even more so for unarmed combat. Taekwondo has been shown effective in this arena. Morgan (1992) states,

As anyone who has faced the army of the Republic of  Korea can testify, Taekwondo can be a devastating method of unarmed fighting” (p. 53).

 

Taekwondo was proven battle effective in the Vietnam War

Taekwondo is used by the Korean military to train troops for combat including being used in actual combat in the Vietnam War. Korean Special forces currently of course, train in their nation’s martial art of Taekwondo. Korean Taekwondo masters even taught the U.S. Military and South Vietnamese the art of Taekwondo during the war in Vietnam. Korea had special combat units that specifically trained in Taekwondo. They even spent a monumental amount of time training on base in Vietnam. They wore full dobok (Taekwondo uniform) attire. In a November 1968 article in Black Belt Magazine written by Jack E. Swift titled “Budo Demolition: The Famed Tiger Division of the Korean Army in Action!” it is explained how hardcore the special Korean Tiger Division was at fighting while using Taekwondo and how they killed many Viet Cong soldiers using brutal hand to hand combat (kidokwan.org/). Their effectiveness led to the interest of the U.S. military noticing that the Korean’s martial arts abilities would be useful for U.S. soldiers to learn.

 

The U.S. Military adopted Taekwondo techniques into their combatives programs

Consulting with Korean Taekwondo masters the U.S. government incorporated Taekwondo into the U.S. Military combat systems. U.S. Army Special Forces previously used Taekwondo and Karate for their combat studies and even have a military combat manual originally printed by the pentagon in the 1980 called “Hand-To-Hand Fighting (Karate/Tae-Kwon-Do)”(ST 31-204). This manual even outlines a timeline for a Taekwondo/Karate training program which included traditional forms practice. It should be noted that during this time the word “Karate” was used interchangeably for both Korean and Japanese martial arts. The U.S. Special Forces manual mentioned above also mentions that Taekwondo is the Korean style of Karate (p. 4). The current U.S. Military has incorporated Taekwondo techniques into its branches combat systems for training soldiers in hand to hand fighting. On an episode of Human Weapon featuring the “Marine Corps Martial Arts Program” it is explained that the military martial arts program of the Marines features kicks, blocks, and open handed strikes from Taekwondo and Karate (3:09).

Marines since the Korean War have also been stationed in Korea where they picked up “Korean Karate” techniques from Tang Soo Do (which was incorporated into Taekwondo along with 9 other martial arts schools to form Taekwondo in 1955) and Taekwondo. The Marine Core Martial Arts manual (MCRP 3-02B) mentions that far eastern martial arts such as Karate developed into the MCMAP system, which would include Taekwondo (Korean Karate). Taekwondo was also taught to CIA and other operatives from the U.S. government by grandmasters such as Grandmaster Tae Hong Choi (1935-2009) of Oregon who also taught U.S. Forces in Vietnam. In a newspaper article in the Oregonian Jung (2009) states,

While in the Korean army, he fought in the Vietnam War and taught hand-to-hand combat skills to Korean and U.S. special forces. That got him his next job of instructing hand-to-hand combat for top-level U.S. security agents, his family said, and he moved to Washington, D.C., in 1971.” (oregonlive.com)

A pamphlet at his memorial service in 2009 states:

…in the mid 60’s he found himself stationed in South Vietnam as a hand-to-hand combat instructor to the US Special Forces and South Vietnamese Army. His Eventful life continued as Grandmaster found himself training secret service agents, presidential bodyguards and CIA operatives.” (trainingforblackbelt.wordpress.com)                           

Grandmaster Tae Hong Choi

There were a variety of Taekwondo grandmasters sought out to teach the military and government agents hand to hand combat techniques.

 

The Military and CIA shows Taekwondo is good for civilian self defense

If the U.S. government’s military and CIA operatives thought Taekwondo techniques were effective for serious life or death combat and included it into their training for elite soldiers and operatives, then it is plausible that Taekwondo itself is an effective martial art to use for modern self defense studies in and of itself. The military creates combatives programs that will train an unlearned soldier from basic training in order to learn fast and simple fighting techniques as well as train mental discipline to instill a will-to-win and extreme aggression for survival in a real fight. There is absolutely no reason why such things cannot be taught within a Taekwondo program using the martial art’s specific techniques. Even more, a serious martial arts student trains for mastery of martial arts and becomes more advanced than the average unlearned person who simply passed a combatives course in 2 months.

Contrary to how it plays out in some commercial schools, not every student in Taekwondo or any other traditional martial art deserves to earn a black belt or even will get good enough to earn it. Some people might train for awhile and learn the basics, yet effective, for self defense. The serious student will master the basics, earn a black belt, and apply very advanced techniques far beyond even a military combatives course. Martial arts focus on mastery of skills which is better than taking a seminar from an RBSD instructor that lasts only 3 hours (or even a 2 week course or what have you). Real self defense success takes a large amount of time to earn through methodical learning.

 

Go back to Part 1                                                                                                Go on to Part 3

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (Part 1)

*There are multiple parts to this article and each will be posted over time on this blog. The sections come from a research paper I wrote about Taekwondo being effective for self defense and better than a reality based self defense course. All Works Cited will be listed at the end of the final part of this series. 

Abstract

            Taekwondo is a great martial art for any self defense program and is better than the average reality based self defense (RBSD) program. RBSD discredits Taekwondo and traditional martial arts by saying they are outdated and ineffective because they are not based on reality. This is not true and is just based on straw man arguments. They claim their techniques are easy to learn with “total effectiveness.” In reality, Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program has to offer and in fact can be trained better with a properly structured program that allows for masterful combat skills. Most RBSD instructors have a traditional martial arts background to begin with and base their credentials on being able to teach self defense on their training history. If an RBSD instructor who started out teaching Taekwondo can then create his own program and teach self defense, then any Taekwondo instructor can teach self defense using Taekwondo itself. RBSD is unnecessary and nothing RBSD instructors present is truly innovative or new knowledge. Taekwondo has been proven in war, modern combat sports, and is a very effective fighting system and good enough to use for a proper self defense program.

 

 

Taekwondo is Effective for a Self Defense Program:
Why Taekwondo is More Effective than a Reality Based Self Defense Course

 

Outline

Introduction

I. Taekwondo is a fighting system

  1. Taekwondo is a full striking system
  2. Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, and vital point attacks
  3. Taekwondo’s methodical training will help a person retain knowledge and skills

II. Taekwondo is proven in war and used by U.S. Special Forces

  1. Taekwondo was proven battle effective in the Vietnam War
  2. The U.S. Military adopted Taekwondo techniques into their combatives programs
  3. The Military and CIA shows Taekwondo is good for civilian self defense

III. Taekwondo is Not Inferior to RBSD Systems

  1. Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer
  2. It is a myth that you do not have to learn a lot of techniques
  3. RBSD uses overly technical language to fluff up its image
  4. Mcdonangism is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo

IV. Taekwondo is Proven Effective In Full Contact Fighting

  1. Taekwondo is effectively used in Mixed Martial Arts fighting
  2. Sport does not negate street effectiveness

 V. A Taekwondo Self Defense Program Can Run Better than an RBSD Program

  1. Uniforms or special clothing is not important
  2.  The progressive structure of Taekwondo motivates students
  3. The purpose is training effective fighting techniques first over everything else

Conclusion

—-

 

A properly taught Taekwondo program is effective for realistic self defense studies. With proper knowledge from a qualified instructor the techniques can be taught effectively, and are valid for today’s modern standards of self defense.

 

Introduction

Often times people claim that traditional martial arts are not good for learning effective self defense. Some critics claim that it takes too long to be able to use any of the techniques of traditional martial arts in a real self defense situation and that they are outdated and unrealistic; therefore the traditional martial arts are insufficient for learning real life self defense. Some claim learning Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD), from a number of various programs, is better and will actually work, and can be used within a very short time frame without many years of training. Such programs are very trendy and popular among many urban dwelling folks. It is the current trend to belittle traditional martial arts, especially Taekwondo, without much knowledge on the subject and follow any number of RBSD proponents with varying credentials (some of them not that great).

This paper argues that traditional martial arts are a better option for learning self defense, and specifically, Taekwondo is an effective martial art style for learning self defense and better than an RBSD program. It will also explain why some RBSD programs are typically not effective for training realistic self defense and suffer the exact same problems that critics of traditional martial arts claim. RBSD is a quick fix method that uses overly sensational advertising and overly technical words (usually stated in acronyms for the name of their style which becomes ridiculous) and often times gives a false sense of security to practitioners (which is the claim RBSD would make against Taekwondo but is actually the opposite if given a proper Taekwondo program as RBSD constantly uses straw man arguments against traditional martial arts). This paper will also briefly explain the issues of mcdojangism within the Taekwondo community and how such problems have clouded the judgment of people interesting in learning martial arts who would reject Taekwondo study. It will also express the fact that Taekwondo is proven in war, was used specifically by the military for training special forces (along with Karate as both Taekwondo and Karate were blended together), was trained to CIA operatives, has every technique any RBSD program uses, as well as the fact modern MMA fighters, including fighters in the UFC use Taekwondo to win fights or incorporate Taekwondo techniques into their martial arts arsenal. Also, the fact Taekwondo is an Olympic sport trained by elite athletes and is overall great for physical fitness which will aid a person in self defense success.

 

I. Taekwondo is an Effective Fighting System

For nearly 70 years Japan had occupied Korea from 1876-1945 destroying much of their culture and forcing Japanese culture onto Korea including the banning of the average person studying martial arts. Any martial arts Koreans practiced before Japanese occupation had been nearly forgotten or wiped out completely. Only a select few upper class Koreans were allowed to practice Japanese martial arts inside Korea, or were given the opportunity to travel to Japan to study at universities or travel to China. Koreans who went abroad were able to also study Japanese or Chinese martial arts. The Japanese government allowed some who went to Japan to run Japanese martial arts schools for privileged Koreans. In 1945 Korea was freed from Japanese occupation. Koreans who learned Japanese or Chinese martial arts were then able to freely start martial arts schools using their knowledge and skills gained abroad. There was a 10 year gap from this time until 1955 when five martial arts schools in Korea unified to birth the martial art of Taekwondo. Not much time later 5 more schools associated with the original five were annexed together to consist of 10 total schools combined to form Taekwondo.

The early martial arts styles that combined together to form the Korean art of Taekwondo was a mix of Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, various Kung Fu styles, and Taekyeon. It was a mix of mostly Japanese and some Chinese martial arts, as well as their theoretical view of what indigenous Korean martial arts (mainly Taekyeon) they could remember from history and archeology, since before Japanese occupation. Korea has a history of fighting in war, especially since the last century. Within the 20th century Korea had been invaded and taken over by Japan and suffered through a brutal regime, after liberation from Japan post-WW2 Korea had to fight the Korean War with the United States help against the communist regime of the North supported by China, then later South Korea entered into the Vietnam War to help the United States against communists. Korean martial arts were birthed and continued to develop within a state of conflict that provided much opportunities to figure out effective unarmed combat techniques.

Taekwondo was born out of this mindset of serious fighting and state of alert. Only later has Taekwondo lost some of this mindset with the current generation of Koreans who did not have to suffer growing up, and always had enough wealth in their nation to feel secure. The combative attitude has subsided somewhat. Even so, Taekwondo still remains with its original techniques including further developed ideas for martial arts effectiveness. The official Taekwondo Textbook put out by the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters) lists various brutal techniques to use for self defense. One can pick up a copy through Amazon and see for themselves what specific techniques exist in the Taekwondo system. Taekwondo is a fighting system and true self defense is only learned through fighting.

Taekwondo Grandmaster Hee Il Cho (1988) explains that “physical confidence can only be gained by learning how to fight and knowing how to take care of yourself in a real situation” (p. 52). That is the goal is true Taekwondo.

 

Taekwondo is a full striking system

Taekwondo has a full range of striking techniques as well as blocks. Kicks, punches, elbows, knees, head butts, and various open handed strikes. Some techniques are brutal and can kill which was proven in the Vietnam War when the Korean Tiger Division fought Viet Cong in brutal hand to hand combat when the fighting became close quarters. They used deadly striking techniques to the throats, eyes, groin, various joints and breaking necks to kill the Viet Cong. Dougherty (2010) claims that a person may be better off striking an opponent than fiddling about with another technique (p. 183), and also that “[most attackers] will not roll about looking for joint locks or complex techniques” (p. 298) . Striking techniques are the basics for self defense, and Taekwondo has everything a person needs to know for a wide range of destructive striking options.

 

Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, and vital point attacks

Striking is not the only option in Taekwondo. Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, vital point, and pressure point attacks. It is a full range combat system for stand up fighting. All of these kinds of techniques are also listed in the Taekwondo Textbook put out by the Kukkiwon. The traditional forms, or patterns memorized by Taekwondo students, contain various self defense and close quarters combat techniques. There are a variety of options for each movement in Taekwondo.

RBSD claims their self defense ideas are better than traditional martial arts, but the same ideas and techniques are already in Taekwondo itself. Throat strikes, chokes, joint breaks, groin shots, eye pokes etc. All of that is within the Taekwondo system and any good instructor would teach them and explain Taekwondo movements and how they work in a fight.

 

Taekwondo’s methodical training will help a person retain knowledge and skills

Traditional martial arts are officially systemized curricula of collected techniques. They are taught with a progressive structure until a student has mastered each level of knowledge until they become experts. This is the way almost any kind of education is taught. People go to elementary school and pass grades in order to go to middle school, to high school and some will eventually head to college. Any teacher worth anything knows that proper structure is important for learning. You cannot just lay on a student a bunch of random facts or too much information at one time. Even if such information is somewhat simple it needs to be studied or practiced for a proper length of time before one can move on to the subject of any given topic.

Taekwondo is taught with separate subjects within its system that allow a student to progress smoothly in self defense. There are basic strikes and kicks, blocks, escapes from holds and restraints, punch and kick defenses, combination striking, vital targeting, forms, and sparring tactics taught in this deadly art form. Taekwondo is taught within 10 grades which are called geup in Korean Hangul (Korean language). 10 grades are displayed on the student with belt colors. Different Taekwondo gyms use different belt colors, but typically in Korea the colors are white, yellow, green, blue, and red. Each belt color having 2 grades within itself. Other Taekwondo masters might use another color set such as: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, blue, brown, red, 2nd red, pre black belt. This is still 10 total geup ranks. The next color of belt after geup ranks is black. For black color ranks there are dan grades or “degrees” of black belt. The advanced student has opportunity to master Taekwondo after black belt rank by continuing his studies with the intricacies of Taekwondo movement and applications. Realistically, not every student will become a black belt nor needs to be in order to learn very effective, realistic self defense. Some will remain color belts and quit studying Taekwondo, and some will just never physically train enough to obtain high quality black belt ability for various reasons, but even that is enough to have a firm understanding of self defense and combat for those less serious about martial arts pursuits. Even so, there should still be decent amount of black belt students who stuck with training and ranked up if given a proper program with a good instructor.

Contrary to how it plays out in some commercial schools, not every student in Taekwondo or any other traditional martial art deserves to earn a black belt or even will get good enough to earn it. Some people might train for awhile and learn the basics, yet effective, for self defense. The serious student will master the basics, earn a black belt, and apply very advanced techniques far beyond even a military combatives course. Martial arts focus on mastery of skills which is better than taking a seminar from an RBSD instructor that lasts only 3 hours (or even a 2 week course or what have you). Real self defense success takes a large amount of time to earn through methodical learning.

Unlike Taekwondo and other traditional martial arts, RBSD programs do not usually provide a clear structure, and teach movements at a very fast pace. They also seem to spend a lot of time quoting crime statistics and other trivial knowledge. The structure of RBSD most often will throw out various techniques, and quiz people on crime statistics in a seminar format or DVD program for home study. Sometimes RBSD is incorporated into a program for a company such as “CrossFit Defense” created by Tony Blauer for CrossFit, an internationally recognized fitness company with gym locations all around the world. CrossFit Defense’s website states the claim:

“Coach Tony Blauer created a physiologic and instinct-based system that is the seamless interface between the high-intensity CrossFit protocol and the human in-grained self-defense system. Coach Blauer’s S.P.E.A.R. System is the only personal-defense system in the world based on the bodys (sic) physiological response to danger what the body wants to do prior to any training. This makes the S.P.E.A.R. System easy to learn.” (crossfitdefense.com)

The website then makes the claim, “Participants will leave with skills to put into practice immediately” (crossfitdefense.com). This is not true. No one can learn a self defense concept in a 1 hour class and then expect to immediately be able to use it effectively without repetitive practice. Such a claim communicates the idea that a person instantly should never be afraid of an attacker, and should expect to win a fight.

The language used to explain CrossFit Defense (SPEAR System) sounds really technical and smart, like some academic scientific claim, but it is really fluff. All that description is saying is that a person will learn to use natural reactions to attacks. This concept is not new, and therefore the statement that SPEARS is “the only personal-defense system based on the body’s physiological response to danger” is not true. Bruce Lee actually made this idea popular with his Jeet Kun Do philosophy he developed in 1967. Bruce Lee also taught that natural instincts are good to use when fighting. Thomas (1994) quotes Lee as saying, “when the opponent expands, I contract and when he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity I do not hit—‘it’ hits by itself” (p. 188). Thomas also claims that after the Hollywood columnist Joe Hyams asked Bruce Lee what he would do in a serious attack where someone wanted to kill him that Bruce Lee explained,

I throw a ball and you catch it. You walk into a dark room and without conscious thought you turn on the light switch. A child runs in front of yours car and you jam on the breaks. You don’t think about these things, ‘It’ just happens. If someone tried to hit me I wouldn’t think about it, ‘it’ would happen. I would do whatever was called upon to be done without conscious thought” (p. 188).

Maybe Bruce Lee never mentioned the words “physiological” and “fear” in those sentences but the concept is still the same. Fear is an emotional response. The military combatives system of Krav Maga also makes a similar claim as what CrossFit Defense claims SPEAR is based on. One Krav Maga school on their website states that one of Krav Maga’s principles is “based on the body’s natural reaction.” It states,

Krav Maga is different from other martial arts since most other systems attempt to reprogram your natural reactions so that you can perform the techniques under the stress of an attack. This is why it takes so long to become combat proficient at other systems, since you have to relearn everything – walking, blocking, striking, etc… In Krav Maga we begin with the body’s natural reactions to stress then build techniques and combinations from those reactions. The result is Krav Maga feels more natural and students are able to learn the movements faster.” (victorvillekravmaga.com)

That sounds very similar to the claim Tony Blauer makes for CrossFit Defense and his SPEARS program. The idea of being “able to perform techniques under the stress of an attack” is the same as “physiological responses to fear.” The idea of it taking so long to become proficient in other martial arts systems and learning their style helps them learn self defense faster is also apparent. Imi Lichtenfeld developed Krava Maga was after World War 2 during the 1940’s. SPEAR System was developed by Tony Blauer in the 1980’s. This shows that the SPEAR System really is not an original self defense concept and the claims on CrossFit Defense’s website are false. In fact, the SPEAR idea that one should focus on fearful reactions of the body which are untrained techniques is very bad. Training is always better than not training. Developing skill through repetition, study and practice is the only way a person can become great at something. If someone wants to become great at self defense they must practice technique and train hard learning movements; because a fight really is just movement between two parties and one needs to learn to move effectively. Also, the claim that SPEARS uses untrained techniques of the body’s natural physiological reactions is silly since taking a SPEARS course itself is training. Watch any video of Blauer and you see him teaching students who are training a technique and practicing. It is a false statement and a contradiction to say that someone can learn untrained things. Or more simply train to develop untrained movements. That is illogical.

The results for these types of programs are to give someone a mediocre understanding of self defense knowledge and skills gained at a fast rate, and not true mastery. Taekwondo and other traditional martial arts provide an opportunity of self defense mastery because the way they are trained is structured with more intense focus emphasized. The fact is true self defense skills take dedication and time. It will not happen over night, and it won’t happen in a few seminars or DVD programs and it definitely will not happen “immediately.”

 

Go back to Part 5 (last part)                                                                          Go on to Part 2

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

 

Trickers Suck At Real Martial Arts 

        A very popular type of martial arts video all over youtube is the typical “Tricking” videos where kids just do flips and breakdancing and throw weak kicks and hardly any punches and call it martial arts. Most popular of all are the “inspirational” videos where rich kids who’s parents bought them iphones and HD digital cameras film clips of various movements and edit them together to music. The best way to get views on YouTube is use sexy girls in short shorts who kick super high. Here is an example:

Seriously, the only reason it has alot of views is the thumbnail of the tan Asian chick with her leg up in the air and the other chicks in the videos with way too short shorts. Who wears short short?! They wear short shorts! 😉

But ever notice that your average “tricker” totally sucks at real martial arts movements? Weak kicks, no serious impact ability, horrible punches, all they are good at is posing. They do gymnastics and mix it with breakdancing moves then call it “Capoeira” when it isn’t even that! It is just tumbling and cartwheels and flips with wannabe breakdancing. It is posing, it is performance and drama, it is not martial arts or anything real. And no nothing in this video makes any of these people good fighters or experts at self defense. It is just show and more nonsense. Do you train to show off and act sexy for the internet? Or do you train for real fighting and self defense? That is what matters. Tricking is poser martial arts for people who suck at fighting and are too afraid to take a hit in sparring. It comes from mcdojangism and the “Xtreme Martial Arts” crowd. People who train in this lack fundamentals of movement for real self defense and fighting. They are not good for proper form and technique for true martial arts. Yet they get all the accolades because ignorant people enjoy superficial things and trendy things. And such people would be given martial arts instructor positions at an average mcdojo, but it is upsetting that what they teach will be called self defense, and less than qualified self defense instructors will be teaching people who do not know much to understand the difference.

I am not sure how long this trend will last. Let’s hope not very long, but it seems it probably won’t go away soon. Even so, the real martial artists need to just keep busy at perfecting fighting skills and the fundamentals of martial arts techniques.

Learn how To Fight Bats With Taekwondo Kicks

        You never know when you could be walking around outside at night, or xploring a cave and then a swarm of bats might attack you. This is one of the most helpful videos I have seen for Taekwondo self defense against bats, as well as a swarm of wasps or deflecting snowballs flying at you from every direction.

AWESOME DUDE!!!

No, seriously what the heck is the point is doing this? When will you ever pivot on you base leg in a full 360 degree turn unless you are going to perform figure skating or some ballet? It’s cool to kick high sometimes, but this is over doing it. Plus the rapid knee extension kicking is pointless as none of those kicks would hurt a fly thy are so light. They are not even fully extending their legs when they do the rapid circling kicks.

 

I will never understand why people think this is cool or how it makes someone really badass or a good fighter…this is XMA stuff…KICK THOSE BATS!! KICK THEM!!!

Question: Would you be intimidated if someone slid toward you on one leg rapidly flapping their foot toward you in the air and coming closer and closer and closer? Answer in the comments!!

Tiger Rock’s Claim Of Accredited Instructors Is Meaningless

        A popular tactic of mcdojangs is to claim they have “accredited” instructors. Or that their instructors must study and take a test every year to make sure they have all the latest teaching methods and techniques in order to make sure their instructors stay skillful and up to date. This is just fluff and hype. It is utterly meaningless to claim your instructors are accredited if they are simply evaluated by their own group without outside critique. The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) and Tiger Rock Martial Arts (ITA) and various other mcdojang organizations do this. The ATA started it and everyone else copies it. Notice the Tiger Rock Martial Arts advertisement I received in the mail the other day:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wow! Accredited instructors! That must mean they have the best martial arts instructors in the entire world!!!!

In the words of Dwight Schrute:      “False!”

No, they do not. Accredited does not mean anything in this context since the only people who evaluated the instructors is Tiger Rock itself. It would be as if I affirm people, send them off to represent everything I teach and my company. Then those 5 stand with me and affirm another 6th person and 7th and 8th and so on and then claim we now have accredited instructors. It means nothing. It is an incestuous accreditation.

If one looks up accreditation on Wikipedia it explains that,

Accreditation is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.

Organizations that issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards are themselves formally accredited by accreditation bodies (such as UKAS); hence they are sometimes known as “accredited certification bodies”. The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically and employ suitable quality assurance.

        Typically in the USA accreditation speaks of one body giving affirmation and certification to a third party individual or organization which means they follow certain standards and procedures and have the right resources, knowledge, and skills, that are proper and agreed upon. Within martial arts this could mean anything. For Taekwondo the world governing body for Taekwondo as a martial art is the Kukkiwon. The Kukkiwon is certified and accredited by the Korean government, and is also recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation, which is also recognized by the International Olympic Committee and also affirmed by the original Korean Taekwondo Association. So, various government and corporate bodies recognize the Kukkiwon as the proper ranking body for Taekwondo. In turn, Kukkiwon black belt certification and instructorship accredits individuals to teach Taekwondo. Also, the Kukkiwon itself consists of a board of members who vote on things and not any one leader who dictates what will be and what will not be. Members are voted in and out of positions. It does not exist specifically for profit either as a corporate entity. The Kukkiwon is affirmed by outside sources who are not a part of its structure which gives it realistic accreditation. The Kukkiwon is an official Korean government organization promoting culture and tourism through Taekwondo as well.

        Groups like Tiger Rock Martial Arts International on the other hand are a corporate entity that exists for profit to make as much money as possible, and is its own singular company run by its own founders. Tiger Rock used to be known as “Karate Taekwondo Plus Academies.” The International Taekwondo Alliance is their claim of affiliation. Later, the name Tiger Rock was implemented instead of TKD-plus (but apparently some gyms still use the TKD-plus sign on their buildings and are part of the ITA. According to http://www.tkd-plus.com,

ITA’s Grand Masters are Craig Kollars, Bert Kollars, and Art Monroe. Senior Masters are: James Bailey, Rick Hall, Joe Calhoun, Ron Allman, Don Anderson, Terry Newton, and Marv Conway. ITA’s Masters are: Mark Smith, Dan Cerminaro, Joel Neely, Kirke Woodall, Tim Leirer, Phearthur Moore, Richard Johnson, George LeBlanc, Chris Jackson, Carol Hall, Frank Michael, Brent Scoggins, Tom Mathews, Wayne Mathews, Dwayne Parker, Terence Parker, Victor Jordan, Charles Newton, Michael Cerminaro, Sandy Jordan, Roger Killen, Rick Pope, Elliott Slaughter, Danny Williams, Earl Scoggins and Brian Mitchelmore.

Notice that none of these people are Korean as there are absolutely no roots from Korean Taekwondo within this company, even though they claim so. Tiger Rock claims that their linage goes back to the “honorable Won Kuk lee and Chung Do Kwan” (one of the original 10 martial arts schools in Korea that predates Taekwondo). None of the Korean masters such as Lee Won Kuk or General Choi had anything to do with founding or caring about forming the ITA, Tiger Rock Martial Arts International, or TKD Plus Academies.  The truth is ITA/Tiger Rock was founded by ex American Taekwondo Association instructors who were disgruntled for whatever reasons and started their own offshoot from the ATA calling it the ITA. According to an article in the January 2010 edition of TaeKwonDo Times Magazine,

“…the three founders of the ITA, Craig Kollars, Bert Kollars, and Art Monroe, were junior instructors of the ATA. They created the International Taekwondo Alliance (ITA) which is just their own group specifically made for their brand’s franchise schools. None of these schools are independently run, but follow strict corporate standards created by Tiger Rock itself….by the end of 1980, those three people became independent from the ATA and formed a small independent association.” (p. 61)

        So, basically this organization was created by junior level instructors, not even master level instructors of ATA style Taekwondo. Accrediting their own instructors through their own party is simply just saying their instructors have paid a lot of money into the Tiger Rock system and are allowed a license to teach under their name. Such accreditation is really only worth the junior instructorship that ITA was founded on. It is not proper for someone who does not even have proper accreditation themselves to create their own style of martial arts and become masters of it.

        Each Tiger Rock franchise location pays an annual fee, including the “special” instructor qualification tests each year. It is simply multi-level marketing in the sense that people bring others up into the Tiger Rock system, tell them to start new school locations, each year their students pay to train and the school itself pays a percentage fee of their revenue. Instructors also have to test every year which is simply an excuse for the company of Tiger Rock Martial Arts International to make money off of its own people ever year and get as rich as possible. There really is no reason to keep taking instructor tests each year except to charge their own franchisees extra money for each of their “accredited instructors” to stay accredited each year. A school could have 5 to 10 or so instructors all paying into this system.

        This accreditation is worthless outside of Tiger Rock. Unlike Tiger Rock, true Taekwondo certification of a black belt instructor is for life. A one time test of skill given by a panel of certified 4th degree or higher black belts evaluate students for black belt degree ranks. Each degree of black belt would be its own test. There is no mandatory instructor training with the Kukkiwon, there is that option as an extra novelty certification if you get to travel to Korea, but it is not mandatory. Any dan rank 4th degree or higher can test people for black belts and any lesser dan rank can go to a 4th dan or higher for their students to be tested. The instructor who ranks his student then submits an application to the Kukkiwon, and certification is signed by the Kukkiwon’s current president directly from Korea. The Kukkiwon is true Korean Taekwondo and the direction of where the true historic linage ended up today since Taekwondo’s founding in 1955.

        True Taekwondo allows for an independent structure. Each school is independently run by its own people. There is no corporation owning all Kukkiwon schools. Of course if someone with a capitalistic mindset (which I approve of) wanted to make a Taekwondo business with a franchise of gyms with Kukkiwon certified instructors that is fine. At least their company will be truly accredited by an outside source, and the proper one at that. Accreditation is only worth the body it was given by. If a governing body accredits its own people, and their skill is lacking, and not part of the true linage of Taekwondo and is itself an offshoot, the accreditation is only worth anything to their in group, and if their instructors lack in true martial arts skills and self defense knowledge than their accreditation is very weak. It is incestuous and silly.

        Mcdojangs, most notably Tiger Rock Martial Arts International, will claim they have direct linage to an original kwan (or school) of Taekwondo such as their claim they are from the Chung Do Kwan founded by Lee Wan Kuk in the early days before 1955. This is easy to do for anyone who wants to pretend they are part of true Taekwondo history. Anyone who had an instructor, who had an instructor, who had an instructor somewhere at sometime, who learned or became a master under whoever, can link back to whatever historical linage they want to claim. The problem is off shoot branches fall off the direct root of the tree. It is like following a train track where truth is the train track. Some people walk off the track and build another new track in another direction off of the main line. While the main train track had went one direction toward a goal, and accepted standard, or style and the newly built tracks go off in another direction away from this “track of truth.” This is such with groups like ATA and Tiger Rock. Tiger Rock founders may at some point have studied under a guy who trained with an early kwan, or trained under a guy who had an instructor from and early kwan at some point in time, but that does not mean anything. Also, the truth is that Tiger Rock can only link back to the Chung Do Kwan through the linage claims of the American Taekwondo Association’s founder H.U. Lee (who definitely went off the track of truth and made his own offshoot) since they originally trained under the ATA as junior instructors before making up their own Taekwondo group.

        On Tiger Rock’s website explaining their history it mentions that a delegation of Tiger Rock masters were honored to attend Won Kuk Lee’s last formal seminar in 2002, but this does not prove support by Won Kuk Lee or that he somehow was part of their formation. They simply attended a seminar. Anyone can do that from any organization from anywhere! Just pay the seminar fee!

        Other organizations or martial arts styles that can actually link historically to the Chung Do Kwan are groups like the International Taekwon-do Federation founded by General Choi Hong Hi (Choi was a direct second generation student of Won Kuk Lee and temporary Chung Do Kwan school master), and Tang Soo Do which is the actual name of the martial art the original Chung Do Kwan school taught created by Won Kuk Lee. However, the ITF became the very first Taekwondo offshoot organization that went in another direction away from the direction of where the Korean Taekwondo/Taesoodo Association was headed. The ITF is itself another style of martial arts with the name of “Taekwon-do,” which is spelled with a hyphen to differentiate it from Kukki-Taekwondo. The ITF was the organization that the founder of the American Taekwondo Association, HU Lee was a part of before creating his own style in the ATA. Tiger Rock comes from this.

        Before Taekwondo, Koreans simply were most often training in Japanese Karate, but they called it Tang Soo Do. The Chung Do Kwan was called “Tang Soo Do Chung Do Kwan.” Later, Won Kuk Lee, which Tiger Rock reveres, had a 4th successor named Uhm Woon Kyu, who was given the position as leader of the Chung Do Kwan. Uhm Woon Kyu helped develop Taekwondo as an Olympic Sport, and played a huge role in forming the World Taekwondo Federation, Korean Taekwondo Association, and the Kukkiwon. Uhm was even president of the Kukkiwon after Dr. Un Yung Kim, but has since resigned in 2010. Chung Do Kwan thus is part of the true linage that points to the Kukkiwon which is the accepted organization for Taekwondo recognized by the Korean government. It does not point to a connection or support towards any other organizations for Taekwondo such as ATA or ITA. Tiger Rock is not historically aligned with the direction Chung Do Kwan headed along with all of the other kwans. All kwans now fully support the Kukkiwon and the WTF. If one was linked to a certain kwan and held it with reverence and honor it would seem they also too would align themselves with Kukkiwon standards and practices. But these groups do not.

        According to Uhm Woon Kyu, and vice president of the Chung Do Kwan Hae Man Park (retired), “Kukkiwon Taekwondo is Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo.” It, a long with the 8 other kwans, developed the system of Taekwondo together. Chung Do Kwan is simply now a social friendship club (as all kwans are now) that 100% endorses the Kukkiwon so that the Kukkiwon can retain power and and development over Taekwondo.  This is nowhere in line with groups like Tiger Rock.

        I could personally create my own martial art style with its own ideas and forms. I could then call it Taekwondo and create my own master instructor certifications for people to pay for. I could run my own exclusive tournaments and make money. I could go attend seminars held by old Korean masters from an early Kwan and act like they were my personal teachers and masters. I could then link my linage back to an early kwan easily by the same method groups like ATA and ITA/Tiger Rock used. But this would be dishonest and embellished. I actually would not be a part of the direction Taekwondo history headed with the proper Korean Taekwondo organization of the Kukkiwon. I would be teaching a totally different style of my own making. It really is that simple.

        The point is every original kwan formed together as one style of martial art called Taekwondo with one goal and every historic kwan (all 10 of them) agrees with, fully supports, and is 100% incorporated into the Kukkiwon and accepts the World Taekwondo Federation. Off shoots like Tiger Rock have nothing to do with the Kukkiwon except for the fact some of their instructors visited Korea, or attend a seminar taught by some Kukkiwon grandmasters. If these original ITA (Tiger Rock) founders received Kukkiwon rank somehow it still does not matter since they do not supply rank to their students or even teach the Kukki-Taekwondo system. They also do not participate in WTF tournaments. Also, the Kukkiwon supports independence and does not exclude people from other organizations from testing for their black belt certification. This is exactly the opposite of groups like Tiger Rock who in no way will recognize or care you have a Kukkiwon black belt. If you do join Tiger Rock you have to start all over again as a white belt and pay into their testing fees and certification fees and classes and pay for membership and more fees. No one is even allowed to participate in any ITA tournaments unless they are a Tiger Rock student and paid into whatever rank they wanted to compete at. They are a closed off and exclusive organization. This is most likely so they can claim “World Champions” etc. by not allowing threatening outsiders into tournaments who might beat their people in a match. The American Taekwondo Association is notorious for this as well.

        It has to be mentioned that not every offshoot organization of Taekwondo is necessarily wrong. There are various groups who still teach the Kukkiwon system, but are still their own affiliation with other instructors and schools. Mostly Kukkiwon rank is also given, but sometimes it is not given and only their affiliation rank for their offshoot organization is given. The difference is they are still teaching Taekwondo just without Kukkiwon certifications or affiliation. I personally believe it is not the best idea to be in an offshoot and ignore the Kukkiwon, but they are still true to the art in form. And some groups do have legitimate martial arts skills and teach valid self defense and do not use annoying marketing tactics to create a giant empire. They simply just exist to associate various schools together to teach and learn martial arts. I still personally think they should maintain ties to the Kukkiwon at least for ranking purposes anyway though.

        Unlike Tiger Rock or the ATA, the forms from the Kukkiwon/WTF are free for anyone to practice, perform, and teach. Tiger Rock and the ATA patents their forms to make it illegal for anyone to teach them without being “accredited” by their own group. So if one person earns a black belt in Tiger Rock or ATA and then one day moves or quits training there, they cannot teach the forms to anyone else if they decide to start a gym or affiliate with another group. This shows they want total control and not freedom in their martial arts style. This is another reason why the Kukkiwon is the truth for Taekwondo and allows independence and freedom for Taekwondo martial artists.

        Parents wanting their kids, themselves or anyone else who wants to sign up for Taekwondo lessons please be advised, and do not be fooled by the marketing gimmick of “accreditation.” It is meaningless, and if a corporation’s martial arts skills are lacking, their accreditation is lacking. You cannot truly claim accreditation if one body accredits itself! Affirming itself is a joke. True accreditation is going to be outside judges and panels who affirm something. A third party affirmation. Choose a Kukkiwon related gym for real Taekwondo that does not dictate commands to gym owners and allows them to be independent and truly certified and affirmed by peers. Even the International Taekwon-do Federation is independently run like the Kukkiwon for the most part.

        Mcdojangs simply use marketing gimmicks and silly tactics and embellished histories to get you to pay them a lot of money so they can stay rich.

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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.

*Since the original submission of this article he has no earned his 4th dan black belt and master certification in Korea from the Kukkiwon and has so far trained for over 21 years.  

Problems With The Taekwondo Male Body Image: Skinny Legs And 6 Pack Abs Don’t Win Fights

        For the longest time in Taekwondo culture the Taekwondo approved male body image has usually been a tall and thin male. Most often it is the standard long legged, skinny Asian body of the Korean male. I believe the current standards for a serious Taekwondo fighter’s body is very biased for a certain caliber of people and usually only focuses on poomsae and Olympic sparring sport competitors. When a body type for western specific men is presented for Taekwondo in general, whether they be white, black, hispanic etc., the models closely resemble the ideal tall Korean body in shape. I find this to be an unrealistic standard and unfair. Also, many Korean men are not even tall but there are a lot who are. It isolates other effective body types for martial arts and fighting by presenting only one standard as the ideal Taekwondo body type for males: the tall and lanky sport competitor.

        I know there is also a Taekwondo body image for females. For women it is the petite and shorter, yet still skinny Asian bodied, Korean female. You see this all the time in martial arts catalogs. And Mexico has recently tried to introduce a new “female dobok” specifically for sex appeal and also making the claim that spandex material is better for sparring (which it is not). Even so, this article will focus on the male body image and leave the female body image for another discussion.

        Taekwondo models do not necessarily look unhealthy usually. They look athletic and attractive. Once in awhile I do sense that possibly the models have a bit skinny legs that are ineffective for serious kicking, which won’t cause any serious impact on a person. For western models in Taekwondo culture, the influence of the Korean standards for a proper body carries over into any ethnicity almost, whether it be European, African, Latino or other. I do believe that the standards for a Taekwondo fighter’s body in most of Taekwondo pop-culture are unrealistic and also wrong for many people to have. The k-pop music influence of Korean pop-culture has heavily influenced Taekwondo worldwide. The idea of the proper shape of a body for a serious martial artist is shown to be somewhat effeminate for the males and also very thin, and most often tall. I do not find this to be accurate of what many true Taekwondo masters look like. Many of the old masters over 60 years old have shorter legs, even some stubby compared to western legs, and many of these Korean grandmasters have thicker thigh muscles and shoulder muscles from decades of hardcore training. A few have bulky muscles and look built. Of course most often these masters are naturally wiry or thin, but they are still very masculine and tough. Of course some masters are more bulky and shaped like a barrel and do not even have 6 pack abs. This is because they have functional muscles for actual use, not for show.

        Here are some examples of the male body image portrayed in current Taekwondo culture as ideal for martial arts in magazines advertisements, and catalogs for uniforms:

To find these images I typed “Taekwondo male dobok” into Google.

Here are some examples of Taekwondo athletic body types for WTF sports:

For those images I typed in “Olympic Taekwondo athlete” into Google. Almost every image has this similar look for body type. It is still the thin and long legged body type.

        Now this is not necessarily wrong or a bad body to have. Many people obviously naturally are tall and lanky. This body type works very well within Olympic sport Taekwondo where kicking from distances to score points works best with long and thin legs. They can reach farther, often times faster moving, and are harder to see than a larger mass. This kind of body works best for Olympic sports and is probably why most of the heavier bodies of male athletes are not seen in this sport often. At least they are not showcased as much. But Olympic sport Taekwondo is only a part of Taekwondo and not the whole. Taekwondo is a self defense art.

        Believe it or not ITF Taekwondo is not immune to this. Here are a couple examples:


Hands down sparring exactly like WTF with lanky bodies

This ITF Demo team is much like any WTF body type

        The most desires or acceptable body for a Taekwondo fighter can be summed up in the poster boy for Taekwondo pop-culture, Olympic gold medalist Steven Lopez:

In my opinion he looks somewhat anorexic. Yes he has very defined muscles, but he is incredibly skinny. Yes he is trying to be sexy by showing his Fruit of the Loom’s in the front. But realistically that does not matter, his muscles and body type are not well for any serious combat without rules, let alone MMA. He needs to bulk up. He has the tall and lanky, long legged, tiny armed body that is popular. He does not need arms as much as legs for his sport.

      I have in the past been called obese or fat by a Korean master because my body type is more bulky and tank like. No I am not fat, I just do not have a perfect 6 pack of abs and I have thicker muscles and big arms and a big chest. I lift weights and work out to keep my fitness up so I can be a better fighter. There are a lot of typical athletic males like me out there who do various sports, including various styles of martial arts who are thick framed and bulky. In the past it has seemed that it was understood that to be a better fighter you should be stronger, bigger, tougher, thicker and faster. This is not talking about storing up body fat like a sumo wrestler, this is talking about working out. Lifting weights, doing pushups and eating protein etc. I believe it is self evident that someone who is larger and stronger will defeat someone with the same skill level who is smaller and thinner. Of course someone who is smaller and thinner with more advance skill than a larger opponent will win in a fight, but if that larger opponent ended up being just as skilled as the smaller guy it is obvious the larger guy has a better chance of winning. This is why world championship fight leagues have weight classes. Every combat sport has weight classes including Taekwondo. But take sport out of the picture and put the emphasis on fighting in general and self defense where there is no rules and it is better to be larger.

        This mentality in Taekwondo culture also affects the way companies produce doboks (uniforms). Companies now make doboks tighter and longer. So the uniform becomes stitched for someone with a thin frame and who is very tall. Most companies sell the uniform’s sizes by the weight of the person, not actual measurements. So, someone who is muscular and 200lbs. or so will buy a size 6 dobok and when he gets it in the mail he tries it on only to find out that the uniform top is tight around the midsection and the sleeves go past his wrists over his hands. The pants crotch hangs way too low and restricts kicking so he has to roll down the top of the pants a couple of times, and the pants go over his feet and touch the floor so he has to roll them up a few times.

        So, buying a properly fitting dobok  for average athletic males who do not fit the stereotype body find it nearly impossible to find a well made uniform that is WTF approved and fits properly. This exact thing happened to me when I bought a Mooto Basic uniform. When I ordered over the phone they told me if I got a size 5 it would be too tight so I need to get a larger uniform. When I said the sleeves or legs might be too long they said just alter it. So basically now I have to pay someone to alter a uniform and when they alter it they never alter it to be the same stitching as the original. It is very annoying. So, I just roll my pant legs up, pant waist band down, and arm sleeves of the top up. The is the only way to wear the uniform functionably for me. Even so, the quality of the Mooto basic uniform is very top of the line and I am satisfied. But it would be nice if they made them fit better. This is what many guys have to deal with when buying doboks now. The only decently fitting uniform I had in the past was when I was 16 and bought and Addidas uniform. A Taekwondo uniform is supposed to be a practical training suit that allows for total mobility in every direction. It should not be tight or have a low crotch that restricts kicking and it should not flop over the hands and feet.

        Within sport fighting events such as the UFC and GLORY Kickboxing the most respected fighters, the ones seen as the most dangerous, often times are very large men with large muscle mass. They have a lot of mass, but are not necessarily thing or perfectly toned. Most of the top fighters in mixed martial arts do not even have 6 pack abs and store a thick layer of body fat over their strong bodies. Examples of top fighters body types are bellow:

Cain Valasquez the current heavy weight UFC champion

Feder Emelianenko the Legend “Last Emperor”

Daniel Cormier 


UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell and his famous pot belly

Now here are some images of random Taekwondo masters or grandmasters:

The late Tiger Sang Soo Kim, 9th dan black belt from the 1970s. He has a very muscular body and is very bulky and large framed. He is not lanky and thin and tall. He has thick muscles.

Grandmaster Hee Il Cho, 9th dan of AIMAA. He has thicker muscles than a typical Taekwondo guy today, yet he is naturally thinner as a Korean. But he is one of the most serious fighting masters alive in Taekwondo today.

Master Sang H. Kim, 8th dan Kukkiwon who has authored various Taekwondo books including Taekwondo self defense and combat. He also has made various DVD’s on Taekwondo and self defense. His body type is the shorter with stubbier legs that is common among many Asian men. Not all Koreans are lanky and tall, I believe more are shorter especially from the older days (born before the 70’s possibly due to nutrition) as Korea progressed with wealth after the war.

9th dan grandmaster Lee Kyu Hyun of Kukkiwon with another 7th dan master. Shorter and thicker bodies than the typical thin models of Taekwondo magazines.

The late grandmaster Tae Hong Choi of Oregon. This man signed my 1st dan black belt certificate as well as applied my rank into the Kukkiwon. He looks like a standard Karateka yet he is a Taekwondoin from the oldschool days. This is what a Taekwondo master looked like as it was about mastering the fighting art and not simply doing poomsae and Olympic sport tournaments. When I tested under this man asked me specifically what Taekwondo was and he wanted to make sure I knew it was a fighting art first and only a sport after that. This grandmaster taught U.S. Special Forces and the South Vietnamese Army Taekwondo techniques. He also taught Taekwondo techniques to CIA operatives. This was a man who understood real combat and self defense, and the fact Taekwondo is a combat art. He was a highly respectable Kukkiwon grandmaster and even heavily promoted WTF tournaments, and served as a USTU Vice President. Yet, he would never be chosen as an ideal male body type for current standards of WTF/Kukkiwon Taekwondo culture.

        Realistic, martial artists’s body types are featured often in other martial arts styles. They are seen as badass and tough. The body that matters for fighting, not for show. One of the most serious, fierce, and hardcore fighters of the last century was Grandmaster Masutatsu Oyama or Kyokushin Kai Karate fame:

No real martial artist who knows anything about this man would dare call him fat or think he was not a true master. he is barrel shaped, much like a ball or tank. He is thick muscles but has an obvious layer of fat, yet he was a true fighter and beat hundreds of opponents. Even in his younger days he never seemed to have a 6 pack of abs, yet he did have more muscle tone. Most Kyokushin fighters are built like a tank. Their aim is to train for throwing the hardest kicks and hardest punches in order to win fights. That is their goal, to show they have the “strongest Karate.” Taekwondo could really benefit fromt his mindset. Not that Taekwondo fighters need more body fat, but that the focus should be on practical bodies with functional muscles and health. Not to look long and tall only.

Fumio Demura is one of the greatest Karate Legends of our time:

Grandmaster Demura is a 9th dan of Shito-Ryu Karate and one of the most famous and skilled Karate masters from older times still alive. His body type is more round. Yet no martial artist who knows anything would argue against his legitimacy as a master simply because he does not have a lanky tall body with 6 pack abs.

Gichin Funakoshi was one of the most influential martial arts masters of our time especially for Taekwondo:

Taekwondo itself is heavily based on this man’s created Karate style. If it was not for Grandmaster Funakoshi, Taekwondo would not be what it is today and might not even exist. Several of the founding kwan masters were high ranking dan grades under Funakoshi. Look at Funakoshi’s body type. He is very small, short, does not have extremely hard and defined muscles and has absolutely no 6 pack abs. People today would say he was even chubby and would not respect him because he does not have an “elite fitness” body. Yet, he was considered very dangerous. He himself claimed that Karate was like a gun, a deadly weapon that is very dangerous and should only be used in (or taught to) the right hands. Funakoshi was about fighting for self defense. Only later did Shotokan start a sport specific focus, but even so most serious Shotokan practitioners train for self defense and not simply to win tournaments.

These are just some examples.

        A martial artist’s body needs to be efficient and practical. It needs to be healthy yet it needs to have functional ability not aesthetics. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder often times. Martial arts is not a beauty pageant and martial artist’s bodies should not be trained simply for display, but for actual use. In a self defense situation or any fight the body that wins matters. Not how good it looked before the fight. Through hard training, though, you can and do get a better looking body because you become more healthy but this is not the goal. The goal is health and ability: cardio, strength, speed, power etc. not looking sexy.

        Taekwondo, if it wants to be considered as a fighting art and about what matters, the Taekwondo consensus on what is a proper body for males needs to change. A focus on men who can fight and have good skills much like the masters of 60 years ago. The Tae Hong Choi’s are the past norm. Only when Taekwondo got overly commercialized and watered down and superficial did the desire for one body type, the lanky and tall with long legs male become what is desired in a male Taekwondo practitioner.

        To be sure, in no way am I promoting obesity or laziness.  I am not saying people should be fat or no one should try to lose weight or be fit. There are plenty of really fat and out of shape fake masters out there. The point I am making is there are fit bodies of various shapes and sizes and for each individual master of martial arts they won’t always have the same body type. Some are thicker, some have layers of body fat yet are strong as an ox and can kill you, some are shorter legged, and not everyone of them has 6 pack abs. Taekwondo needs to focus on the badass, hardcore body image of a fighter and not simply a model type Olympic only sport competitor who is tall and lanky with no chest or shoulder muscles (because they barely punch). Koreans need to also understand that other ethnicities have different body shapes and not everyone can look like a Korean man and be thin or wiry. Besides there are large Korean men who are thick like wrestlers.

        Taekwondo practitioners who have dealt with such prejudice against larger bodies for males need to keep training with confidence and not worry if someone thinks you are fat. If you can stronger and tougher that is what matters. Do not listen to the ignorance of certain people. I would rather be tough like Mas Oyama and be big, than skinny and lanky and only be good at sport competition and male modeling.

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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. 

“Dustins Dojo” Is Funnier Than “EnterTheDojoShow”

        Martial arts related humor is great! If you train or enjoy martial arts than you probably also understand much of the humor within the martial arts community and nuances that define a lot of what is ridiculous with the martial arts world. “EnterTheDojoShow” at first pleased me greatly and made me laugh a lot. The idea of a very arrogant and crazy Kenpo-esque instructor is so true to real life. Yet, over time the show went off topic and just started focusing on ridiculous and silly things that are not really that funny and are somewhat boring. Even though a lot of money is spent on each episode of “Enter The Dojo” much of the humor is too over the top and less a parody of what really happens in the martial arts scene. But I am still a big fan and think Master Ken is hilarious! There is another YouTube, martial arts, comedy channel called “Dustins Dojo.” Yes, that is “Dustins” without the apostrophe. Unlike “Enter The Dojo,” “Dustins Dojo” probably costs virtually nothing to produce as it is just him and his friend with a digital camera outside and is funny as heck! Hopefully, they will keep it mostly like this and not over produce the show and make it boring with off topic gimmicks.

        Another youtube sensation I believe is going to be pretty huge is “Dustins Dojo.” This act was featured on America’s Got Talent. Judge Howard Stern thought the act it was so funny he saved them from being disqualified by the 2 annoying female judges who have no sense of humor and take life too seriously, and do not understand that comedy acts take talent. Stern used the golden buzzer which allowed them into the finals.


Sensei Dustin

        Dustins Dojo features Dustin who is “a black belt expert” in Karate and learned to be a black belt at “Roger baker’s Taekwondo And Pizza Pensacola Florida.” It also features his friend Terry who is his student. Apparently, Terry is his only student and he never talks and always wears a mask and gloves. They are constantly looking over their shoulders and around for “attackers.” This is because “attackers are everywhere, especially in the city. If you go to the city you CAN and WILL be attacked.” Dustin is a mixed martial arts black belt and black belt in various styles of martial arts and learned it all at the Taekwondo & Pizza gym he trained at in 6th grade. After he trained there he moved to Indiana where his show is set. he does not break character or admit he is a comedy act. They have made a few efforts to make it sound like this character is real. They even have a Roger Baker’s Taekwondo & Pizza Facebook page as if it is a real business with updates on specials for pizza and lessons! He also has a Dustins Dojo website.

        Basically, this show is a parody and comedy lampooning of a few things. One most noticeable thing is the internet YouTube sensei’s who think they know how to fight and can make teaching videos online. In reality these types usually really suck and have absolutely stupid ideas, but these YouTube instructor’s are usually crazy and think what they are teaching is serious business and very profound and intelligent. The type of YouTube instructor Dustin parodies is the socially awkward teen or young 20-something who appears to have Asperger’s Syndrome or some form of Autism. Believe me I have literally seen kids like this on youtube. Not only youtube but real life I have seen kids who think they are black belts who suck so bad it is beyond belief. This is because they trained at a mcdojang much like Roger Baker’s Taekwondo & Pizza must be. Dustin also has part Napoleon Dynamite in him but not so much that he is a ripoff, no not in the slightest.

        Here is an example:

Other types of martial arts related characters Dustin seems to have within him is the mcdojang black belt teen who was always passed during testing even though he sucked and paid into mcdojang rank. There is also the “Karate is Taekwondo and Taekwondo is Karate” aspect in his videos. The fact he used the words Karate and Taekwondo interchangeably speaks of the fact so many Taekwondo gyms use the word Karate, places like the American Taekwondo Association or Tiger Rock martial Arts gyms. Another thing that is funny is he never wears a dobok or gi, only a t-shirt (usually a WWE wrestler shirt named Santina) and track pants. He never wears a belt. This could mean he is too good to worry about belts, or he is trying to become a reality based self defense instructor as he never talks about tradition much or forms. The only tradition you notice is his awkward kempo style bow he does while he expels air out of his mouth through his teeth making a “ssss” sound.

I laughed so hard when he went into the city to talk about city attackers and the use of spin kicks. He even crashed some wedding photos on the side where he is spazzing out in public doing “mixed martial arts” moves:

Dustin even interacts with his fans and gives short replies to various comments staying in character and acting oblivious to things such as Bruce Lee, “I do not know him.” And when people ask if he is serious or for real, “Yes Karate is a real thing. I am an expert.”  This guy is comedy gold for martial arts spazzy, crazy, mcdojang trained nut jobs! I love it! It is far funnier to me than EnterTheDojoShow because it stays within the real context of what he is lampooning. Let’s hope his act does not grow old or stale as there is so much material he could use with this character. His friend Terry as his partner makes the show even more hilarious! The way he speaks to the audience with a yelling style voice as if he is giving us total conviction of his skills is spot on of what I have seen in real life with people doing demos. He is not arrogant, he actually believes what he is teaching is legitimate! Which makes this show so much funnier than if he was simply just a jerk martial arts character. “As you can see I stayed within true fighting form.” The words, “As you can see” are used in almost every video.

If you have not, please check out “Dustins Dojo” for great laughs. If you do not get it then you don’t understand the martial arts world. And if you do train in martial arts and still think he is 100% serious and do not get it, you might actually be what he is parodying! You can also search for his America’s Got Talent demonstrations on YouTube. Enjoy!