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.

  1. Tuong Vuu (@v_sauce) says:

    As I’ve stated before in some of your posts, I trained Taekwondo because I’m living in a rough neighborhood , both from Vietnam and Australia, and that gave me the confidence not to back out or doubt myself should threatening confrontations occur. Besides kicking, I really love Taekwondo hand strikes especially hammerfist, knife hands etc.
    Taekwondo also trained my balance, endurance, speed, agility and flexibility more than anything else.

    • White Dragon says:

      Right on man! The real reasons to train in Taekwondo is for self defense fighting! To be a strong person.

  2. Kris Uy says:

    Great to hear your story about why you started.
    I actually didn’t have a choice when it came to starting, my father just believed I needed to do it so i did. Of course along the journey I learned self defense and I’m currently doing taekwondo exclusively for the sport of it and have made a career from it.
    I am not oblivious however to the fact that sport taekwondo has almost no application in self defense or a street fight though many people assume that it does. I’ve never had to actually use self defense because I had enough emotional control to contain the situation or to walk away (also learned through taekwondo) but like you, growing up it did give me purpose and I’m forever thankful I learned this martial art. I think going through ranks and learning the success cycle that the martial art teaches is definitely something that helps build confidence within you and that alone can sometimes be the deterrent on whether or not someone chooses to fight with your or to find someone else. I pray you don’t have anymore encounters though

    • White Dragon says:

      If you have a career in sport Taekwondo, what makes you money? At what point do you make money and live off of it? Is it through teaching? Because tournaments you have to pay to enter and nobody pays you. Its one reason many people cannot do Taekwondo sport or worry about it because the tournament prices and uniforms and gear costs so much money. I used to compete all the time back in the day and only did 1 national tournament.

      I still think even a sportist should stop and learn the self defense applications and have a combative mindset with Taekwondo, to teach the real fighting art and study its techniques. Why spend years and years only worrying about scoring points? The sport has become so watered down as well than how it used to be where people actually were fighting. Now days they dont really fight, just look for a place to tap the foot to score.

      Also my self defense situations I did not have enough time to stop and think “Hey I need to use emotional self control and not fight.” It was too fast and if I stopped to worry about emotional self control I would be dead or hurt worse. I lost fights and won them. This is no joke. People on the streets want to harm you so much you go to the hospital or kill you. This is why I learn Taekwondo, to fight to save my life and protect myself and friends and family.

      • Kris Uy says:

        I actually got recruited to join the Philippine National Team and they give me a small salary every month that covers most of my expenses. They also offered to pay for my school through scholarship so I took that chance. I did earn some money teaching for 6 years before I headed over here though. I’m not sure about other countries but I do know that in the U.S. nothing like this exists so I count my blessings I was able to grab the opportunity. I also know that in the U.S. the fees for participation and whatnot can get quite expensive so I think I got a feel for what you’re talking about.

        I think when I’m done with my career I’ll probably take a look and take a couple self defense classes to stay in shape, but I believe the sport has progressed from “fighting” to a “sport”, especially since the era of electronic hogu. I don’t do sport taekwondo for its application purposes, I do it because i love the thrill of competition, though I consider myself more of like a fencer now instead of a “fighter.” I know many international athletes, especially living in the U.S. miss old style fighting rather than this electronic touchy stuff.

        I apologize if my comment offended you, I didn’t mean to take a shot at you or something, I was just saying that that’s how it has helped me in a self defense situation. I’ve seen enough and experienced enough to know that some people really only answer to force and i count myself fortunate to have not run into those people, so I respect you for being able to deal in those kind of situations. Major props. That’s definitely something I haven’t experienced before.

        Kris Uy: Kristopheruy.wordpress.com

      • White Dragon says:

        Don’t worry I am not offended. I did not take it that way, I just wanted to explain that I do believe in self control but the situations I was in there was not time, just reaction. I won some and lost some. Was in a few serious fights in a self defense situation where I was randomly attacked. I was lucky to survive.

        Now about your sport Taekwondo career, that sounds awesome! Good for you and it must be great to train, and be able to eat without worrying. Are you a Filipino national? Where are you originally from? Where were you born?
        I love the philippines and have been there before.

        Yes, the oldschool Olympic sparring style was a real fight like how boxing was a fight. It was about causing damage to punch and kick hard and use realistic fight tactics. Whith the eletronic hogu and the way the rules have changed several times over the ecades it is now a bit boring to people like me. There is no real fight just a way to game the system and work the rules to your advantage to tap the chest gear for points or so a dropping spin kick to avoid getting hit back. Then a lot of set-sets. It’s pretty boring and the way so many of the top sportists kiap is so freaking dumb. The TOOWWW OWWW OW OWOWWWOOOO all high pitched has become such an annoying inflection and nothing you should do for a real kiap. Even poomsae which is not sparring still kiaps normal like a real man. It’s the stylish show offs that annoy me. And spending your entire life training for a game like that and not studying the full martial art of Taekwondo, then sucking at poomsae and having no clue about self defense (hoshinsool) yet they are masters. I find it sad how Taekwondo has degraded.
        But for you I am not saying you should not compete, I competed enough in my life and it was enjoyable and had good training. A few olympic sparring techniques are applicable to real fighting as well and it is good training.

        Good luck and hopefully you choose to study Taekwondo techniques for self defense because our martial art has everything you need. You don’t need to study krav maga or something.

      • Kris Uy says:

        Interesting points and perspective. You definitely could be right. Currently on the go but to answer your question I’m half Filipino, born in Cali but got dual citizenship when I was 21, which made everything all good for me to head over!

      • White Dragon says:

        Oh wow ok. And you started in California with TAekwondo and then left to the philippines? very cool man. Maybe if I ever go back I could train with you. Who knows.

      • White Dragon says:

        Hey man I read your blog some. Are you a Christian? I am too. Pretty cool.

        I also have another blog about Christianity. Anyway, what rank are you in Taekwondo?

      • Kris Uy says:

        Hey man, I was raised in a Catholic house but right now I’m also looking at Christianity. That’s pretty cool though man! Link?
        In Taekwondo I’m actually still first dan, well technically poom. I got my blackbelt when i was 12 and specifically just to fight in the division and have just been fighting ever since haha. What about you?

      • White Dragon says:

        How many years have you trained?

        I am 3rd dan, but trained for 20 years practicing a lot. So you are still 1st an an never ranked past it yet?

        go to whitedragonawa.wordpress.com but if you are catholic you will not like it, but who knows.

      • Kris Uy says:

        Hey man, been training since I was like 4, so that makes 21 years? and yea I never opted to take the test for my second… or my third… or even my 4th? haha.
        I do believe its what you put into the belt that makes you a black belt, not the color or the dan.

      • White Dragon says:

        I agree about the color of the belt you said. But if you had the options to test why didn’t you? I simply did not test due to various reasons, and now I am only 3rd. If I tested on time I would be 6th.
        Sop you are 25 years old? With these 21 years did you ONLY train olympic sparring? If so you sure missed a lot of techniques you could have perfected over that time along with olympic sparring.

      • Kris Uy says:

        I did’t test because I knew I loved the sport and that’s all I wanted to do. I’ve been doing Olympic Style since I was 4, but I decided I only wanted to do that when I was 8, so since I was 8.
        I know I’ve missed many opportunities to learn other things but I’m okay with that because I’m following my passion. Just as your passion is in the branch of self defense, mine resonates within the sport

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