Archive for June, 2015

Choi Hong Hi Honored By North Korea During Anti America Month

        By now if you have regularly read this blog you will know it in no way seeks to be diplomatic to other Taekwondo groups and fully supports the Kukkiwon an also is a freedom loving, American martial arts blog. So this blog post is going to reinforce that by bashing Choi Hong Hi and the ITF. The White Dragon Dojang does NOT apologize either. If you don’t like this then stop reading it, and don’t waste your time posting your disdain in the comments section either. You will just create fodder for the LOLs.

The month of June in North Korea is basically dedicated to hating the USA and promoting the death of America and it’s South Korean collaborators. They shout for the destruction of the “gangster US imperialists.” It is “hate America month,” right now, but the official title is called “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month.” It is the 65th anniversary of the Korean War, and about a week ago in this same month was a memorial for the late General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of the International Taekwon-Do Federation. I was informed by this memorial by a regular reader who sent me the link to the following video:

Historically, Choi was in the ROK (South Korea) military and fought against the communists during the war. Later, because of his ego damaged by the fact a lot of people did not like his ideas or want him to be the sole boss of Taekwondo, he defected to North Korea and brought his version of Taekwondo to them with his top students. No being able to return to South Korea he resided in Canada and set up the ITF headquarters. Choi brought martial arts skills, through his students, who taught North Korea combat techniques and his ITF tul (forms). Of course South Korea did not think it was a good idea that one of their former generals should bring martial arts teachings to their enemies that can be used against South Korean soldiers, and viewed him as a traitor. And rightly so.

Why ANYONE who loves freedom, loves Korean people, and especially, if they are Americans or from any freedom loving western nation would support the ITF and join them is beyond me. Knowing the history of Choi an ITF should give someone the sense to understand that it is immoral to be a part of something that supports North Korea. The philosophy of North Korean evil, “Juche” (the communist doctrine of the evil dictator Kim Il Sung) is all over ITF and used as propaganda to soften people’s view of North Korea and to have disdain or a little resentment toward South Korea. This is made apparent just by having conversations with people who have been indoctrinated by ITF Taekwondo history and ideas.

Why any Kukki Taekwondo practitioner or leader would ever want to be diplomatic with the ITF and give them a voice or associate with them and work together with them is also beyond me. It is counter productive. Honestly, it is my bold opinion that the ITF needs to just die out and allow Taekwondo to be unified and progress. The ITF not only struggled against the KTA, Kukkiwon and WTF, it had much internal fighting that 4 groups came out of it all claiming to be the true Taekwondo (3 separate groups claim to be the true ITF, and the other one calls itself Global Taekwondo Federation). ITF holds Taekwondo back with annoying arguments (especially online with ITF people around the world who post on blogs comments sections, youtube videos etc.), the fact their uniforms look stupid and seem to have never been updated since the 1960’s, the fact the sine wave concept which is not based on real physics or science and holds the progression of serious techniques back, and other nonsense and shenanigans. Yes, I am being humorous but also serious. The ITF needs to disappear and so does communism. It is the 21st century.

Notice in the above video that all of the glory and honor of Choi is North Korean specific and gives their regime glory. All of the flags in photos are of the North Korean flag and appear to show Choi acknowledging them as the true Korea. What do you see in every ITF dojang though? You see a South Korean flag. What Taekwondo do South Koreans practice and promote? Kukkiwon/WTF Taekwondo, they do not support ITF or acknowledge it. Culturally, Taekwondo in Korea is Kukkiwon and that is their martial arts cultural identity. So it is illogical for ITF dojang to use South Korean flags when we all know Choi would be pleased if you would fly the North Korean flag. Why don’t ITF dojangs just fly the communist flag and be straight up with us?

General Choi definitely has his place in the beginnings of Taekwondo history: being the force behind the “Taekwondo” name we use and being the first KTA president. But that is not enough to give him the glory and honor the North Koreans give him for Taekwondo. He was a trouble maker, a jerk, a schemer, and problematic for Taekwondo and he had to go. That is why he was told to leave and given the permission to just go do his own thing an start his own ITF Taekwondo. He did this but then decided to go to North Korea and get praised by them and betray his countrymen and soldiers. He was never a true master of martial arts or given rank above 2nd dan because of skill. All we know is his highest rank in Karate was 2nd dan before the formation of Taekwondo. Any high rank he received was strictly honorary because of his influence as a general. I think this is why he created such wacky forms as the higher up ITF forms seem to get ridiculous and illogical. Then he created the sine wave concept and started another annoying war within Taekwondo which is based on incorrect physics. Now people can argue forever about why the sine wave ius better and makes forms cooler and more powerful, while the rest of Taekwondo people shake our heads at the stupidity. Obviously, he had no clue about what is going to work in a fight or what is good in martial arts.

Who else is sick of annoying, dorky white guys as seen in the above video that want to sympathize with North Korea and actually think it is okay to visit there just to give praise to Choi. The type of guys who want to feel special and be a part of some special Asian club and will listen to anything the Asian masters say. These kinds of guys are all over martial arts like Kung Fu or “Ninjutsu.” You know those white guys who are nerds and do not have critical thinking and believe in martial arts myths and hand on to every word some important Asian martial arts guy says. These white guys for Taekwondo are the ones who believe in the General Choi myth, that he solely is the father of Taekwondo and worthy of our worship and honor even to the point of ignoring all of the atrocities and human rights violations that North Korea has committed every day since its inception in 1945. It is beyond reason unless they actually love communism. These are basically the same guys who run Taekwondo Times Magazine or think it is a great Taekwondo publication full of all kinds of knowledge…yeah….

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Why Did You Even Start Training In Taekwondo?

        I never started training in Taekwondo because I wanted to be the best fighter in the world or do backyard fights or anything like that. I began training in Karate at age 6 for a few months then dropped out because it was soooooo boring and nothing even close like Karate Kid, the movie that inspired me. The instructor was not a good teacher. Later in life I did youth wrestling and it sounded fun and I competed as a 4th grader. I only won 3 matches the entire season and got beat so many times. I left that school and went to another school so I never got back into it.

Over time I thought I should learn how to fight. I was always bullied and threatened on the streets growing up. I was afraid some bully was going to beat me up one day as it nearly happened several times. I was afraid and I realized I need to learn to fight to defend myself and also become strong. To be a real confident person who is not afraid to fight if I have to. I thought about martial arts a lot then some guy told me about how he did Taekwondo and that Taekwondo is a great style which emphasizes kicking.
I thought kicking was super effective and learning to kick well would make me better than guys who did not kick much. I heard Karate was more about hands, and I knew boxing was only hands. I wanted to learn hands and also feet. I read about how Judo is throwing and grappling, Hapkido was mainly joint locks and sweeps and some kicks, but then I read from the same brochure that Taekwondo was not only punching and kicking but also joint locks, throws, and pressure points. It sounded ultimate. I shortly began training in Taekwondo and never regretted it. I became a stronger person, learned how to train, learned how to fight, learned to compete, and gained confidence. I never had intentions of style VS style or fighting in MMA. MMA didn’t even exist yet!!!

I simply trained in a martial art that built me up, made me a stronger and tougher person, and gave my character a boost. Taekwondo did in fact “save my life” in this sense. It gave me something to be a part of and a purpose. It gave me a lifestyle of training to the best of my physical ability, as much as my body allows. I know that to be an all around great fighter you need to learn other styles of martial arts (which I do pursue) but I never started Taekwondo to be the ultimate badass and boost my ego. Im not afraid to fight, but I don’t seek it out nonsensically. There is more to life than fighting. Taekwondo not only gives me fighting, but it is deeper than mere physical training and sparring, there is a lifestyle and philosophy behind it. It is a meaningful martial art and a way of life. This is outside of religion and spirituality, but simply a lifestyle I got into and meaning outside of God but an enjoyment of life an a blessing of God to be able to do.

I never thought of being a movie star (all though my instructor told me I could have been one), and I never joined to show off or do back flips and impress anyone. I joined because I felt my life was in danger from bullies and I would have to learn to fight to defend myself. I needed to grow and have courage and become a man in that sense. I was always timid or fearful of really mean tough bullies. Thank God I got into Taekwondo because I had to use it in real life fights more than once. While I no longer feared bullies in my neighborhood, during my training I was attacked on the street, I realized sport training and demos is not enough to save your ass in a real fight. Ever since then I focused solely on self defense and being aggressive and fighting a little viciously and hard. To toughen up my body and take Taekwondo as a serious fighting art. This was not a popular view at the time as everyone only wanted t compete in the then future Olympic sport that was going to be introduced in 2000. Then the UFC came on the scene and blew up the martial arts world with all kinds of attitudes and philosophies (many negative, as those bullies who picked on people then joined the local MMA gyms that sprang up as a result). I knew there was more to Taekwondo than board breaking demos and other nonsense as well as only sport rules. I knew Taekwondo was a complete stand up fighting system worthy of real combat. I was attacked later in life and actually won against a larger attacker who was hell bent on kicking my ass. The hardness that Taekwondo instilled in me gave me a survival instinct and hard hands. I am blessed.

I still do not train to be the ultimate MMA world champion or anything else. I simply love Taekwondo, love self defense, love to be strong, an I am personally enriched by Taekwondo. I do pursue other martial arts styles and training concepts but my main style is Taekwondo and I have come so far in it there is no reason to quit or give it up. I will make sure I teach the future of Taekwondo in my way and keep excelling in rank and become a really good coach. It is my dream. I have trained for 20 years, unfortunately I have had many hardships along the way such as a car hitting me and almost killing me which took out a lot of my abilities for the rest of my life. I simply now train with my handicaps and keep going. I believe I am strong and I am tough, but certainly not the toughest or best in the world. I am simply a man who does Taekwondo and teaches it and promotes it and wants it to keep progressing. What Taekwondo did for me can also be done for others.

Taekwondo is really important to me. This is one reason why I started this blog and why this new forum exists. It is a place to express passion, opinions, anger, viciousness, humor, exchange technique, training and more. This is a forum for Taekwondoin for life who believe it is a true fighting art and warrior tradition. I thank Korea and Koreans for creating such a dynamic and powerful martial art and spreading it cross the world so I could enjoy it as well.

Why Kukkiwon Rank Matters As The Ultimate And True Taekwondo Rank

        True rank in the Korean martial art of Taekwondo has always been given by individuals and institutions with set standards that are recognized by other prestigious organizations and people. Currently, for Taekwondo rank to be recognized, it must be given by the Kukkiwon which is the World Taekwondo Academy (the headquarters of Taekwondo worldwide in Seoul, Korea) which is the historic conclusion of the original Korean Taekwondo Association’s unanimous decision to unify Taekwondo as one art with set standards for acknowledgement and affirmation of martial art skill progression in Korea. It is based in tradition, and linked to this body of sanctioning members dating back to the formation of the KTA, whom are perceived as beyond reproach. Since 1955, the set standards that earned an individual a rank in Taekwondo must have been given by a recognizable entity, originally the KTA, but now the Kukkiwon (which was formed by the KTA through unanimous vote of approval in 1772). Kukkiwon Taekwondo rank must conform to existing norms in the Korean martial arts order that are sanctioned by the Korean government. Any group or individual can create their own association, organization or federation and also print up fancy looking certificates on nice paper and issue them out; but they are devoid of any governmental or legal guidelines; these are without true value (even if one has money and can afford to pay for such things to various groups and people, and even if they team up with other individuals who will affirm such bogus ranks). True Taekwondo rank has the recognition and acceptance by existing groups and institutions that give it legitimacy such as the Kukkiwon, sanctioned by the Korean government and the Administration of Sports, supported by the World Taekwondo Federation (for sport), and affirmed by the International Olympic Committee, and is the historic linage of the unified kwans organized by the KTA dating back to 1955. Even so, one must always make sure that it is the skill and knowledge that gains the rank, not the other way around. Having a personal quest for rank certification, affirmation, status, and acceptance by others on its own misses the entire point which only energizes a false sense of mastery in the art of Taekwondo for the insecure-ego driven person who lacks patience.

Kukkiwon is the head of Taekwondo across the entire world. Kukkiwon is true Korean Taekwondo and the true historic linage of Taekwondo. TKD was unified by the KTA and eventually the KTA voted upon the Kukkiwon, and all kwans unanimously agreed to fully support the Kukkiwon and unify Taekwondo as one Korean martial art, the national martial art and sport of Korea. All other groups branched off and went their own ways and started their own organizations which are not the cultural Taekwondo of Korea. Kukkiwon IS Taekwondo. Other groups are simply offshoots and false creations. This is especially true of later groups starting their own “Taekwondo style” which has nothing to do with the Taekwondo of Korea.

Kukkiwon rank is the most prestigious rank you can achieve in Taekwondo and is accepted across the world. No one is going to deny your rank when you travel. Kukkiwon rank is like a passport between Taekwondo dojang. People who would reject your rank and say you are not accepted as real black belt until they pay for ranks in a local school or faulty organization are ignorant and have an agenda (most likely to scam you out of money). So if you go to an ATA gym and they say you cannot be a black belt there, they are actually saying “You are not a real TKD black belt.” Which is ridiculous because it is saying the historic and Korean martial art you are ranked in is not actually true. They just want you to pay money and do their false mcdojang system.

Kukkiwon sets standards for skill and knowledge that are the same for everyone. No one can pass with less knowledge and no one can claim you have to know more things. Kukkiwon sets the standards which are universal, and you can easily know what you need to know. Kukkiwon provides quality control and to make sure you are doing the techniques correctly.

When you get certified by the Kukkiwon you have real accreditation by the board of members. Not just one master who assesses you. Not only the board of members, but the Korean government and administration of sports in Korea accredits you. It is not just one school or corporation saying you are a black belt but the government of Korea as well. You are also affirmed by the International Olympic Committee. It is a worldwide rank that should be recognized by anyone. Your rank is transcendent beyond 1 private group.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It is not American or Canadian or anything else. Kukkiwon rank is the ONLY rank accepted in Korea. If you do not have certification through Kukkiwon you are not considered a black belt or practicing real Taekwondo if you are from another group who teaches other forms. It is much like how other martial arts such as Muay Thai only affirm instructor ranks given by Thailand and blessed by their king. Any other rank not given in Thailand is not considered true. Likewise, Taekwondo rank must be given by Korea through the Kukkiwon.

Kukkiwon is the only rank accepted by the IOC and the only black belt that is considered allowed for Olympic sparring competition, the highest achievement in sports for a Taekwondoin. Which means the WTF and Kukkiwon is where true, elite, Olympic level athletes come from in Taekwondo. And both the WTF and Kukkiwon are respected for that reason.

There are other organizations such as the Amateur Athletic Union, that are ecumenical and recognize rank from a wide variety of associations or organizations simply to allow competitors for their sport competitions. This is fine simply for that sport competition such as AAU sparring and forms competitions. But a rank in the AAU is simply only a rank for their sport and not Taekwondo as a whole. AAU rank is not good enough or proof of proper Taekwondo knowledge or understanding. It is not affiliated with Korea or the Kukkiwon. It may recognize Kukkiwon rank, but it also accepts ITF, ATA, and other groups which are faulty Taekwondo and not true. The standards are not good enough. Paying a group like the AAU to simply to obtain a high dan rank, to jump up a few notches and claim mastery is fallacious. It is fine for solely AAU sport competitions, but not as a true martial art rank in Taekwondo. Also, sport competitions are limited to the AAU and not acknowledged by the WTF or IOC. One must transfer to Kukkiwon rank to be allowed for Olympic competition.

With all of this, it is also wonderful to know that the Kukkiwon allows for dojang independence. There is no rigid curriculum or order of programs a gym has to conform to. The Kukkiwon does not dictate to an instructor what he has to teach every month. The Kukkiwon only sets the qualifications for specific technique, applications, grades, and skill. An instructor is free to teach any combination of techniques, self defense, and other martial arts at his gym he sees fit. Groups like the ATA or Tiger Rock and other groups dictate exactly what has to be taught. Even the ITF, depending on which ITF an instructor is a member if is dictated to what exactly he has to focus on. The Kukkiwon only gives standards for individual techniques and motions and what forms and sparring ability one must have to rank as a black belt. Individual instructors can add specific self defense, concepts and other knowledge he sees fit. Kukkiwon provides freedom while legitimizing Taekwondo rank and giving accreditation.

Depending on an instructor and who he associates with there are often times local and regional federations and associations run by master instructors who are affiliated and ranked within the Kukkiwon. These groups also issue personal ranks, school ranks, and regional organization ranks. This is fine, but these ranks on their own are no substitute for Kukkiwon certification. The Kukkiwon provides liberty for instructors to affiliate with and run other organizations while still maintaining Kukkiwon rank. This means one could affiliate with groups such as AAU, and various regional and local affiliations. Personal ranks, school ranks, and other association ranks can be a good indicator of training history and who you are personally trained by and affirmed. It builds a good resume, but you still should seek out Kukkiwon rank certification. Taekwondo as a unified world martial art system will keep Taekwondo as one and the martial art pure. The reason it is important your instructor would follow Kukkiwon standards is to make sure nonsense and garbage is kept out by unqualified people who claim to know a “better way” and are self proclaimed masters who make stuff up and lower the quality of Taekwondo.

There are of course Taekwondo practitioners who belong to a local gym that practices the same forms as approved by the WTF an Kukkiwon and in theory practices the same Taekwondo, but they simply are not accredited by the Kukkiwon yet. Such people should make every effort to eventually get certified by the Kukkiwon and with some effort will find a way to do it. This is ideal, but still there is some merit of course to their training since it conforms to the same standards and it does not mean that your gym or instructor is bad quality in theory. It is not everyone’s fault if they are not Kukkiwon ranked. Also, Kukkiwon rank is very affordable, it is simply individual instructors who price gouge and make testing fees very expensive. This is unfortunate. Hopefully one can find an instructor who is not greedy. Even so, I have found that even with increased prices for promotion testing for Kukkiwon rank are by far cheaper than the average mcdojang systems ranks by the time you paid all of their fees for every little thing. So it would still be worth it.

Kukkiwon rank matters. Without it you are simply not true Taekwondo. If you are a member of an offshoot organization that does not teach the same Taekwondo as Korea, you are not doing the cultural martial art of Korea. Ranking up high in another organization has no true value for Taekwondo. Taking such short cuts to obtain quick paced master rank does not legitimize you and only exposes you as an “embellisher” of credentials for personal gain. If your fighting skill is not up to par or your technique, eventually you will get exposed.

Ernie Reyes Jr. In Need Of Kidney Transplant

He needs $75,000 for a new kidney.

        According to Yahoo News Ernie Reyes Jr. needs a kidney transplant and his sister started a “gofundme” page to raise $75,000 in support. If anyone knows anything about 80’s martial arts movie and TV stars you will know that he was in the film “The Last Dragon,” was the child warrior kid in “Red Sonja” along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and was a stunt man for the first Ninja Turtles film. In 1990 he starred in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.” My best experience watching him in film was on the TV show called “Sidekicks.” One of the coolest shows ever!!! He played a cool Kung Fu Asian kid who kicked tons of butt with his cop dad who adopted him. One of the greatest martial arts action comedies he stared in alongside his dad Ernie Reyes Sr. was “Surf Ninjas.” The latest thing he was in was “The Rundown” where he did a fight scene with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

        Ernie Reyes Jr. was a Filipino immigrant to Southern California and was basically a mcdojang star who had superior athletic talent and acrobatic skills and grew up studying Taekwondo. I am not sure what mcdojang organization it was, but it could have been the ATA but that is not certain. I am pretty sure he branched off from whatever organization he was a part of and his father created his own chain. I know for a fact he spent most of his time doing sport karate point fighting, pre-XMA open forms and lots of demo shows. He was part of his fathers famous West Coast Demo Team and was featured in magazines like Black Belt and various martial arts publications. Even though he was a mcdojanger, he totally had talent and fighting ability. Later in his life he studied Muay Thai and also competed in MMA and won 3 professional fights in Strikeforce. He can also breakdance.

        He currently runs his own martial arts gym called Smasher Martial Arts, and other businesses. I am not sure why he needs help with money. But being a not sop popular actor who is past his prime since the 80’s (the height of his career in Hollywood) maybe he did not save much money. Either way hope he gets better! Maybe he can make a cool martial arts movie when he heals up! I would watch it!

Why Training Outside Is Important

        A martial artist should be able to function properly in any environment. Not only should they be able to fight inside a gym, but they should also be able to fight outside in various kinds of weather and on various surfaces. To be truly strong and fit and functional the human body needs to be able to experience all kinds of temperature and weather. Balance is also gained by training on various kinds of surfaces from the dojang mat, wood floor, tiles, cement, asphalt, dirt, grass, ground with tree roots sticking out, gravel, boulders, sand, and whatever else a person might walk across. Training outside is under-emphasized by so many dojangs.

        So many people want to join a comfortable gym. I think it is important to have a clean space with professional equipment around, but it is not necessary for training and Taekwondo practice in itself. One can train in Taekwondo and get good without that, but it is obviously better to train at a dojang as a main place to train. There are good things about being able to train in a place that you know is safe because of a soft floor, a bathroom near you, and water available, etc. And having air conditioning has its benefits, but only relying on a gym atmosphere will not prepare you for a fight outside. Most fights or attacks are going to happen outside of your gym and you should be prepared for it, and your physical fitness should be able to handle whatever the environment will lay on you whether it be extreme humidity, or ice cold streets. A martial artist should always take time to face the elements.

        Training outside feels amazing with the fresh air and the sounds of nature. Not all of us have exotic locations or secret mountain monasteries to train at. We do not all live in Asia with Korean gardens, or at some ancient temple ruins.

It would be awesome to train in such locations, but how many people do you know that live near such things? If you lived near areas like that would you even be allowed access to train there? You can have an exhilarating and enlightening experience simply by training in your backyard, or a parking lot for that matter. Many people imagine ancient Buddhist monks, or cool black belt guys doing awesome poomsae on a cliff or near a waterfall and hitting trees with extreme power. But that is what silly nerds day dream about who never got over their childhood fantasies of being a ninja or Shaolin monk because of too many movies. I watch a ton of movies with Shaolin monks and ninjas, but I don’t live in a fantasy world like those kinds of dorks. One of the coolest scenes from a movie though, is the scene showing the Korean team in the movie “Best of the Best.” All of their training was done outside and even in the snow. That was inspiring. Such things can motivate you to train outside, but you should do so with realistic intent. You don’t have to have dramatic landscapes to train well, and when you do go outside to train literally make sure you train and are not instead daydreaming to be a mystical mountain warrior and LARPing.

        It is a wonderful thing to train outside in nature and hear the sounds of the birds, the wind in the trees, and sometimes cars riving by…well the cars driving by is kind of unavoidable for me, but I don’t let it stop me. But more often the sounds of the birds and wind and possibly distant water from a nearby creek is what I hear. I feel the wind blow through my hair, and on my body. One of the best feelings is when the cool wind blows through the V-neck of your dobok. I train in my dobok outside once in awhile, but since much of my work is extreme and in very harsh weather I usually wear typical workout clothes like gym shorts, a t-shirt or tank top, and in cold weather sweats and a hoodie. I use shoes on rough surfaces but sometimes am able to take my shoes off if training on grass. Training with both shoes and barefoot is important. There is a different feeling when kicking with shoes on which is what you will encounter in a self defense situation most often, than barefoot. Being able to kick in shorts, or a different kind of pants is important. You should not only be good at moving when wearing a dobok, but also regular clothes as well.

        For me, in Alabama I have spent hours and hours for years training in my apartment complex parking lot. Since moving to another city I have the opportunity to train on grass or in the woods. I also train on cement. Most of my workouts are done in the extremely hot Alabama sun and absolutely intense humidity. I live in a sub-tropical climate. Growing up I lived in Oregon where there was virtually no humidity and the air was so light and fresh. In Alabama you sweat right when you walk outside. But we have cold weather in the winter.

        I do have to mention that for about 4 years I lived in Kentucky where the humidity was pretty harsh and the sun very hot, and the winter was extremely harsh. In Kentucky I had a backyard with pretty much dead grass I used to train in and spar a buddy I knew who did Karate. Often times I did poomsae and shadow boxed. We had some cement and I would go barefoot on it. We also had an old deck that I did not enjoy training on because of slivers and nails sticking up out of it. Sometimes I wore shoes, especially in the winter. I would do poomsae in the snow and even train in the dark around 6am and run around the yard. Experiencing various weather is tough. I learned not to pretend I was in the movie “Fighter in the Wind” (which just came out on DVD in the USA at that time) and not rely on my martial arts uniform for functional clothing. I began to wear a hoodie, ski mask, gloves, and shoes because I was training on snow and ice. It is insane to only wear a uniform in such cold, and Taekwondo uniforms are made so thin usually. Later I moved to California and the air was light, but the summers could get hot. I trained often luckily on a soccer field with a track going around it. It was made with a grainy astroturf that was so soft you could either wear shoes or be barefoot. During my life in Oregon, Kentucky, and California I also trained inside of gyms and at actual dojangs.

        Now in Alabama it barely snows but in the winter it gets very cold so I train in a hoodie, sweat pants, and wear shoes. I also wear gloves. I don’t let the weather stop me from working out. I even train in the rain once in awhile and that can be fun, but slippery so be careful. With the weather so hot I can take my shirt off and wear MMA shorts in the rain. It feels amazing like a warm shower or being at a water park under that mushroom thing.

Kinds of workouts you should do when outside

        It is important to do intense workouts in all kinds of weather and on various surfaces. A martial artist should train like a fighter, not a ballet dancer. One should not only do poomsae and basic motions, but also shadow box, practice kick combos, jump rope, hit pads with a buddy, spar, do push ups, jumping jacks, jogging, box jumps (or bench jumps or whatever you can find to jump up on), burpees, horse stances for a long time, lunges, squats, holding weights, ladder drills, and more. Buying a round timer is good for this. Training like this will challenge your cardio and your mental toughness. How often do you need to take a break or get water? Test yourself.

The different kinds of weather you will face

        Now let’s talk about the different kinds of weather and temperature one can encounter when training.

Hot weather

        Have you ever trained in a gym really hard and got extremely sweaty but the gym environment was cool with nice air conditioning so it was not so bad? I think we all have. Now, have you ever walked outside into the parking lot on a hot summer day and felt overwhelmed by the heat? Mix this in with humidity and it is even worse. How long do you think you can last working in such hot weather? Could you do well in a fight? Does the sweat dripping all over your body bother you? Here in Alabama the weather is extremely hot and extremely humid. It is a hot and sweaty environment. Every day activity makes you sweat. You can take a walk outside and quickly within a minute be sweating. To think that most fights are going to happen in this kind of weather here should encourage a person to workout outside. I often train outside almost every day. If it is sunny outside I work out in the sun. I of course have to take small breaks in the shade, but working out and seeing how long you can last under the sun makes you stronger. I can easily go into an air conditioned gym and last a long time because my training in this humid and hot weather gives me extra power. I endure the painful weather and do all my of poomsae outside, jump rope, push ups, shadow box for 30 minutes, practice various kicks and more. Every day I do different stuff depending on how I feel my body can handle that day. I do not suffer heat stroke or heat sickness because I am smart how I train. You should wear proper clothes and have enough food and water before training.

        When training in hot weather with intense sun, or in extreme humidity one must make sure to take breaks in the shade. Do a few rounds then during breaks stand in the shade. Sometimes you can workout a lot in the shade, and workout less under the sun. Staying in the shade is still very warm in Alabama. Make sure to wear proper amounts of sunscreen as well. But do not over do it. Being out in the sun as healthy because sun light gives us vitimin D. Getting a tan makes your skin stronger, but do not ignore burning. Do not go out without sunscreen for 45 minutes shirtless. If you do not wear sunscreen just go back and fourth into the shade during the training session. Over time your skin will get used to the sun and not burn as fast because you will get tan. But sunscreen is of course recommended for the really long session you plan to do.

Cold weather

        Cold weather can be anything from a grey cloudy day in the Fall or a freezing cold winter day with or without snow. In cold weather you should wear a hooded sweater, sweat pants or warm up pants that will keep you from freezing. The more you move the hotter your body will get and you will not feel as cold. With certain kinds of sweaters you could very well heat up a lot and feel too hot to train. So make sure your outfit is going to keep you just right. If it is not arctic weather do not dress for it, dress for a less intense cold.

        Training on snow and ice is tough because you can slip and slide. I do not recommend trying to be badass and wearing your dobok with no shoes. That is stupid and counter productive to training. It is not going to make your feet stronger or make you a better fighter if you get frost bite. If you want to be silly and go out for 5 minutes with no shoes on, okay sure, do it, it could help you with mental power to overcome pain. Mas Oyama and others have been known to meditate underneath ice col waterfalls, but who knows for how long they did. It does make for a nice photo opportunity to look very stoic and spiritual. I would say going underneath a water fall for a few minutes helps your pain tolerance and mental strength but don’t be stupid and get hypothermia. Realistically though, most people live in a town or neighborhood and we are not going to be near a waterfall or on some nice mountain. I basically have spend years training in a parking lot. Now I train on grass and also a walkway made of cement. When icy weather comes you can slip and slide and doing certain stances are dangerous because you could slip out or twist a knee easier. So be very careful. If you wear snow boots it helps with traction but then throwing kicks is very hard. Heavy weighted shoes and thicker pants are going to make you kick way slower, but that is okay. Just do what you can.

        The cold weather is going to make you feel somewhat bad, but once you warm up you will feel good. Your body will start off being stiff, especially if you have old injuries in the joints like me. But once you warm up slowly and do some stretches and jump around and shadow box some you will feel a lot better and looser. You will move better. The cold air will fill your lungs and if you are not used to being outside in cold weather you will have a shock of pain inside you. Dealing with this and making cold weather air a normal thing to breathe will make your lungs stronger and make your cardio better. Over time, over weeks or months you will get used to it and not care. It won’t even hurt. In the hot summer humidity it is another kind of pain ad fatigue, but the freezing air is more painful in my opinion. It will make your nose run as well.

        Rain is going to make you wet and soak up your clothes unless it is warm weather and a summer rain storm. Then you can wear a tank top or no shirt and just shorts and it feels great. Rain water is also slippery but not as much as ice or snow on the ground. If it is freezing rain you will feel really bad and should not spend too long in it since it will soak your clothes and you could get hypothermia or sick from the cold. Contrary to the myth, col weather does not make you catch a cold. That is an ignorant belief an an old wives tale. Cold weather has no effect for germs or disease. It is impossible to catch a cold in the rain, or cold weather. The only sickness you could get it temperature related as in hypothermia. You only get a cold if you are around someone with a virus or the germs that cause colds. It is unlikely you will have this happen to you if you are using common sense. And you probably won’t get hypothermia either.

The different kinds of surfaces

        You will encounter all kinds of ground surfaces when training outside if you go to many places. Grass is the best surface because it is usually soft and has traction. You can train barefoot most of the time. Often though, you may only be able to train on cement or on dirt. Cement and asphalt is not good to train on with bare feet. Oh, maybe you are one of those hippy children who’s parents encourage you to walk around like a weirdo without shoes on all day, but it is pretty stupid to do so when the ground can be so filthy, and if you cut your foot you could get infection. Parking lots are full of filth: oil, dirt, trash, spit etc. Try and wear light shoes. Martial arts shoes are the best, but try and find a lighter shoe, not a basketball shoe. The problem with cement or asphalt is that it tears up your shoes fast when you shadow box. The pivoting and twisting motions from kicks and stances can tear up the sole of the shoe fast. If you are rich you can just buy a lot of shoes, but poor people like me cannot afford to buy shoes every month. But I still use the same shoes over and over until they nearly disintegrate.

        If you have a clean driveway or patio you could be barefoot on it, but it will be rough on your skin. After you train your feet will feel sore from the friction scraping your heels, balls of feet and toes. It will happen. But it is okay to do this because you will get used to the pain. Make sure after training you wash your feet or take a shower right away. You don’t want to have filthy feet in your house. This is especially true if you train on dirt barefoot as well. Sometimes I choose to train in the woods and take my shoes off.

        Training on dirt is fun if it is soft. If it is hard make sure to wear shoes. Dirt gives traction and keeps your grounded. If you are in the woods your problem will be that the top of the ground is covered in dry leaves and twigs as well as rocks and tree roots. You can hurt your feet. Also, even if you wear shoes you can slip on the leaves and lose traction. It is best to scrape out the ground you want to train on to uncover the dirt. Now if you go jogging or running through the woods doing kicks then do not worry about it. It is a good practice to run and kick off of trees, and kick on top of dry leaves an practice balance. Also use tree leaves on branches low enough to practice high kicks. Round kicks, spin kicks, axe kicks and more can be done using tree leaves and it gives your mind a target to try and hit. If the branch or bush is strong enough it also keeps you from overextending your knee joint and has some give to it. Kicking the air is not as fun as kicking plants. Kicking plants is actually a smart drill many martial artists use. It works on targeting an precision of the kick instead of just kicking the air. You can also do side kicks and back kicks on trees and work on kicking off of them in the air for fun.

        If there are many tree roots you could very well hurt yourself by tripping on them or stepping on one and twisting your knee and injuring yourself. I do not recommend training on such surface so be careful if you are in the woods.

Light VS Dark

        Not only can you train outside during the day, you can train outside in the late afternoon and evening when it gets darker. You can also just train at night when it is dark completely outside. Night training works on your sense of sight and also ealing with shadows. Kick pads in the dark or during the setting sun. If it gets really hot outside, training as it gets dark will have a cooler temperature. You can also train early in the morning before the sun rises or as it just begins to rise. If you are a morning person this can be fun. I personally would rather train as the sun sets. Feeling the nature around you and the beauty also enhances your experience and gives you energy.

Sometimes there are park lights that will allow you to see very well at night.

Drills to do outside

        There are a lot of fun drills and activities you can do outside! Of course you can do what I mentioned above, which you should do: actually work out outside. Do fitness stuff as well as shadow boxing and forms etc. But there are plenty of fun Taekwondo drills to do.

        You can d breathing exercises and enjoy the air outside. Doing things such as Tai Chi or Chi Kung or any kind of breathing meditative exercises for breath control and stretching out muscles and joints is better to do in the fresh morning air than inside a sweaty gym.

The Ladder

        The ladder is a fun device that you can use to step through and work on various Taekwondo footwork. Taking a ladder made for this purpose outside can be more fun than doing it inside a gym. A ladder can work on any surface such as grass where you can use stakes to keep it in the ground, or just lay it on top of the grass (which is what I always do. I never stake it in). You can simply lay it on cement or blacktop and it does not slide around too much. Straightening it out every so often is no big deal either.

Cones

        Set up cones around a flat area like a yard, grass, or driveway and do pivoting rills, jumping over cones, kicking in lines between cones and more. Make each cone represent a station to do certain combos. Practice foot work and more.

Box jumps

        You can do box jumps on anything such as a ledge or curb that is tall. You can use a park bench or anything else that is sturdy. You can o box jumps in sets or for a period of time. This is a really good workout for building up leg strength and cardio.

Jump rope

        This is an obvious one. Jumping rope is easy and you can buy a jump rope very cheap. Just try to jump on a smoother surface than rough cement so the rope will last longer.

Shadow boxing and forms

        This is a given.

Pull ups

        This is more difficult since not everyone lives around an area that has bars hanging that can hold their weight. Often times people go to a playground, but I have found that the monkey bars and other bars at such places for kids are too low to the ground and you have to bend your knees. This can get annoying. I have found that very tall fences such as the kind that are found in tennis ball courts work well. You can o pull ups. Buy gloves you can use so you d not tear up your hands. It is unnecessary to tear up your skin, it won’t make your arm and back strength better if you do but only waste time making you wait for your skin to heal before you can go full force again. If you do have tough hands and don’t need gloves then ok…that is your choice. You can also use platform stairs by going underneath the stairs and using the cement slabs to hang off of. This also increases finger strength since the stairs are a thicker thing to grab.

        Push ups, horse stance, picking up heavy objects and throwing them

        You can do obvious things like push ups and leg squats outside, but you can also work on your horse stance by carrying heavy objects such as a giant log or rock. Or stack up bricks on your legs and hold them in your hands. Hold stones in each hand or bricks while you stand in horse stance. Also, do jump squats.

        There are tons of other execises you can do. Once you get enough you like to do you can combine them.

        The point I am making is that training outside is important, it is also fun, and the weather changes and suffering you can endure will increase your power and strength in ways that only training in a gym and nowhere else cannot give you. It is also calming and soothing to train in nature and experience the sights, sounds, and smells that the outdoors gives. It is God’s blessing and something a warrior should embrace.

Want To Be An XMA Black Belt?

        Now days you can get your black belt in dance-gymnastics and playing with toy swords! It’s called earning your XMA black belt. It is so super badass and emotional!!

You get to bow even though XMA has nothing to do with Asian culture besides the crazy Asian dude who runs the headquarters! I thought I was cool when I earned by black belt, but now days this is the standard for black belt excellence.

 

 

Taekwondo Provides Techniques For A Deadly MMA Arsenal

        I always have to list when a Taekwondo technique worked in an MMA fight just to prove to the TKD-haters and naysayers that want to believe that Taekwondo sucks are wrong. Shawn Jordan hook kicked Derrick Lewis in the face and knocked him down and dazed him and finished him with punches to knock him out for the win.

        Taekwondo kicks can be used by fat heavy weight guys who do not have 6 pack abs to full effect and I love it! You do not have to have the stereotypical “Oympic Taekwondo body” to use Taekwondo in brutal fashion and kick butt.

        The way he threw the kick was the best way for causing more damage. Look closely at his heel hitting right on the jaw. An even better place he could have kicked is the temple on the side of the head. The hook kick can whip hard and cause the heel to dig into the face and head of an opponent or attacker. This is how you knock someone out. The hook kick also can appear to be a low kick towards the leg but instantly pops up around to the face. It is tricky and with all of the leg kicking MMA guys do it is a confusing kick and when done spontaneously as a counter is hard to see coming!

        Taekwondo provide brutal and dynamic kicks that many other martial arts under utilize or simply do not use at all. Taekwondo kicks are supposed to be thrown non-telegraphically unlike many Muay Thai kicks which are slower with the leg pump or switch of the feet before throwing just telling your opponent, “Hey I am NOW going to use this kick toward you right now.” So using Taekwondo can sometimes overrule other striking styles.

The New White Dragon Dojang Online Discussion Forum

        Today the new White Dragon Dojang Taekwondo & Martial Arts Blog has a discussion forum!!! Now you can talk about what you read in this blog with other readers online on the WDD message board! You can make your own topics, talk about fighting, talk about Taekwondo training, MMA, self defense, and how stupid McDojangs are all in the same place!!!

        Register now! Get a user name and start posting! Invite many friends. Let’s make this forum the best place for Taekwondo martial arts discussion! Click the link for the online forum now!!!

The New White Dragon Dojang Online Discussion Forum

POWERRRRR!!!!!

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