Archive for January, 2016

Chinese Taekwondo Students Visit Korea 

        Last week for 3 days Chinese students in 3 separate group came to the Chun Ji Hoe Dojang in Bucheon to experience Taekwondo from Master Jeong. Every group went through some basics and saw poomsae demonstrations by Master Jeong’s students and a mini-bunhae demo where Master Jeong showed some self defense techniques. The first group brought some older students with them who were part of a school Taekwondo team. They performed some poomsae for us and it was a great time. The 2nd group had less people and more children and they were new to Taekwondo and learned some basic punching. The last group were all white belts and middle school aged students. The cultural exchange was great and hopefully these kinds of thing can make a positive impression to foreigners who train in Taekwondo, especially Chinese martial artists. Koreans were able to have a positive experience with Chinese people and promote some Korean culture. Since I was there too I was able to represent America to the Chinese and hopefully made a positive impact to these young minds about what a American is like.

        These kinds of things are great. Politics aside you can create friendships and hopefully the future Chinese generations will have fond memories of an American as well as Koreans. Peace and friendship through martial arts.

        The first day unfortunately I had no video footage. I should have brought my camera or used my phone to record. That day I performed Pal Gwe Yeuk Jang. Oh well, but the second day I was able to capture video. I performed Pal Gwe Sa Jang:

Master Jeong’s top black belts perform poomsae:

The Chinese students learning some basics:

The Chinese school Taekwondo team performing poomsae:

Day 3 was the largest amount of people where the dajang had to cram 85 white belt students into itself with hardly any space to move around. Amazing! Watch the Chinese white belt kids practice the basic punches:

I performed Pal Gwe O Jang:

Master Jeong’s top black belts:

Master Jeong shows bunhae (application) of poomsae for self defense fighting:

The 3 days were a great time. I am blessed to have experienced this and be in Korea to hep promote Taekwondo and the martial arts to other countries. It is great to see Chinese people training an loving our martial art.

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I Am Now Training MMA And BJJ In Korea, Kyeoktuki

        Recently a new gym opened up in my neighborhood here in Bucheon, Korea. It is literally about 500 feet away from the outside of my building. There is no reason not to check it out, so I did. I ended up feeling the place out and I signed up. The instructor was cool and all the students were very nice. It is a place that lacks the big stink of ego that seemed to plague every American MMA gym. Koreans have a more respectful attitude in their culture when involved in activities or within an institution. Places such as jobs, schools, your church, your group of friends, or your martial arts gym are full of a lot of respect and calmness. This is not to say that every part of Korea is respectful, because any other international resident living here will tell you that Korea has some of the biggest aholes in the world and people who exude some of the most backward, irrational behavior in all of Asia. Nevertheless, this does not take away the fact that Korea generally has a more respectful and honorable attitude than other places. Especially within the martial arts. It feels as a little of the Taekwondo spirit is left inside MMA here. The Korean Mudo spirit. You can feel it even if there is no Taekwondo in these gyms, unless someone trained in it before; but it is not taught.

        So I felt safe here and had a positive experience. I have trained for a week. I go 2 nights a week for about 5 hour worth of training. It is very good training and even includes 5 rounds of circuit training for body conditioning. I tell you, I am so sore.

        Studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my main goal. To learn fundamentals, obtain a strong ground fighting structure for self defense, and hopefully earn my blue belt at least. The other things I learn at this gym is Muay Thai and MMA, which combined it all together. I am learning some wrestling stuff with the Muay Thai that is going to help me be a better fighter. It has been some very fun training.

        The training is safe so far, no one is hitting full contact and our classes are working strictly for the purpose of getting techniques down. The Korean students, even the big boys, those few giants of Korea you see, are some of the nicest guys and fun to spar with. I even noticed that there is 1 girl training to who is a white belt beginner. It is a safe place.

Here is the link to the gym. It is called Fight Gallery.

What is interesting is that this gym is called “Kyuktooki Garrarri,” if you sound out the Hangul when reading it. So it says, “Fight Gallery.” MMA and Kickboxing here is often referred to either as K1 (As in K-1, the Japanese Kickboxing promotion) by the average Korean, or Kyeoktuki. There was a DVD released a decade ago by Turtle Press called Kyuktooki: Korean Kickboxing and I bought it a few years ago. Many westerners wanted to understand what it meant and if Kyuktooki is a real Korean style of martial arts. Finally, I know the real answer. Kyuktooki, or Kyeoktuki, is not actually a martial arts style, but more of a kind of martial art, or type of martial arts. It basically speaks of free fighting. What Kyeoktuki actually means when literally translated into English is “hit fighting.” Or “striking fighting.” It basically is the term for real Kickboxing as well as used to describe MMA (even though MMA has grappling too). Kyeoktuki is a style of martial arts much the same as MMA is a style of martial arts. However, there are organizations in Korea that claim they teach Kyeoktuki and they have made it their ow style with their own black belt ranks. So there are certain organizational styles of Kyeoktuki, but overally it is not actually a special ancient Korean kicboxing style. Much like the Turtle Press DVD actually says, Kyeoktuki is a mixed style of free fighting that can include anything from Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Judo, Wrestling etc. All of the rage from Thailand about how Korea is “stealing” their martial art or lying about something are nonsense. Korea is not stealing or claiming to have created anyting. Many Kyeoktuki fighters are Muay Thai stylists. Most are actually. There are also a ton of Taekwondo Kyeoktuki fighters. Kyeoktuki is a general term for a more serious fighting sport, that does not include Olympic Taekwondo since it has such limiting rules and tons of padding.

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Starting over as a white belt is good for any martial artist to learn humility. This is me in my new gi (dobok) and with my new instructor.

        So now I can actually say, “Hey I am training Kyeoktuki in Korea” which is kind of cool, even if it is just MMA. Now when I describe my Taekwondo training and studies in Korea to people here I can just say, “I train in Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and want to teach Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and not the Olympics. The average Korean instantly understands what I mean. They are also fascinated to know their native martial art is actually a self defense system when I explain to them that my “boxing” is actually just Taekwondo. They are confused when I throw straight jabs and rights from up above and not from the hip. The average Korean has seriously lost all sense of what Taekwondo started out as because of the Olympics and stupid cornball, Taekwondo dancers everywhere. Also, they see poomsae a lot, but really do not understand the point. Along with the term Kyeoktuki, I mentioned Mudo which is the Korean transliteration of the Japanese term of Budo which is the way of the warrior. Taekwondo is Mudo, and it is Kyeoktuki when taken out of the Olympics context.

        Now about my training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is humbling to start over at a new gym as a white belt. Oh, yes I have done this before in Judo, Boxing, and MMA in America, but yes I am doing it again and it is only going to benefit my martial arts spirit. My goal right now is to gain competent ground skills for real self defense and be able to hold my own if I get taken down in a fight. The other goal I have is to earn my blue belt. After that I will see if I will one day earn a purple belt. Who knows. My instructor is a professional MMA fighter and he is a cool guy. He is a 4 stripe purple belt and he is very calm and kind. He also has a decade of Wrestling/Judo/Muay Thai/Boxing training. He speaks English (Thank God) and he has a warm heart for foreigners. Fight Gallery is a great place for non-Koreans who speak English and it is a welcoming environment. I will give more details of my training in future posts. Stick around and check back from time to time.

        So now I am doing Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Muay Thai and MMA on the side. I hope this helps me be a true martial arts master. When I earn my Taekwondo 4th dan this year at the Kukkiwon I want to know that I deserve to be a teacher of the fighting arts.

Watch This Kyrgystani Kickboxer Kid And His Little Pad Holder

Check out these cute Kyrgystani kids! Watch the little kickboxer and his small coach do a drill. How skillful!! So cute!

2 Amazing Kickboxer Kids

The link is on a Facebook video so click above it’s worth a view. Apparenty, these kids are from Kyrgystan and maybe their father taught them. Both move so good. The way the child holds the pads is expert level and the kid performing the striking looks clean. He even does spin kicks and back kicks. Very cool! I always love to see nice videos of child martial artists and see the future talent!

Movement Coaches Are All The Rage Now And I’m A Skeptic

        Word champion fighter Coner McGregor hired a movement coach named Ido Portal. He won his fight against Jose Aldo and now many MMA guys think they need a special movement coach to help them move better and somehow it translates into fighting.

Ido Portal is basically a hippy, new ager who created some movement routines for guillible hippies and hipsters. He even has long hair and a man-bun to “top it off.” In the above video you see all kinds of wacky movements, but most of the movements are not actually wacky and are found in various disciplines such as dance soccer, and martial arts. I am pretty sure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu guys work on crawling motions that are scene in the video. You do not need a special man-bun, new ager to teach you how to move if you already tae Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I don’t know what COner gets out of this training except some boastful psuedo philosophical, delusion of grandeur about his abilities. The fact is often times having a delusion of grandeur about yourself and how special you are to the universe helps you win titles in MMA and boxing. Even if you do win, some of the things McGregor says about himself are still total delusions. BUt that is part of his entertainment value. His movement training is also entertaining because of its silliness and total pretentiousness.

Ido Portlan has “movement camps” that you can go to f you are rich and want to waste time moving around with other people.

Yes some of the movements are hard to do and take athleticism, but the average person does not have such prowess. Many of the movements scene are found in gymnastics and various dance styles and some sports like soccer as well as taking concepts from martial arts. But obviously training in actual martial arts s far superior than wasting time in a movement camp.

The point I am trying to make is this new movement trend, which is basically a result of the hipsters taking over MMA and BJJ, is pointless when you can just train in traditional martial arts styles of various Kung Fu, Karate styles, and Taekwondo that specialize in all kinds of movements and intense motor coordination. The MMA world has often shunned all traditional martial arts not deemed acceptable by certain folks such as wrestlers and boxers and Muay Thai guys, yet now these MMA fighters are embracing this silly movement trend. So bypassing actual martial movement styles for some hippy dude with a weird name that sounds like a bag of potatoes and an internet program is just ridiculous. Why does poomsae and kata  exist? It is total body control. Also taking grappling classes will help you move on the floor just find without a man bun new ager guiding you.

I just don’t see a point and I am septical of this coach. I kind of agree with what one poster said on the Sherdog Forums, that Ido Portal is a snake oil salesman. Sure many of the movements he teaches are good because the average child already did them for many years on the playground at the park or school. Also climbing trees. It is funny to see grown men walking aroun an hanging on stuff like it is some spiritual mind and body unifying thing when 5 year old children do it every day without a thought.

Does anyone know Ido Portal’s credentials? Why even train with this guy? Why not go to a licensed physical therapist who is an M.D. and understands the anatomy of the human body in a scientific way? That sounds far superior than some street gymnastics guy. Nevertheless, Coner McGregor is still highly entertaining an his open mindedness about martial arts is refreshing and is one reason he is good, even if I believe he is being duped by this Portal guy.

If people an spend hours doing movement training, there is no excuse as to why an MMA fighter cannot dedicate a few hours a wee studying forms from Karate or Taekwondo. I wonder if ay MMA fighter will actually see the light and start developing crisp and precise movements through actual traditional martial arts motions. Most MMA fighters have no patience to learn perfect traditional movements of martial arts and think it is a waste of time. If they would open their minds to the older combat arts they would have better technique by far instead of so many with sloppy punches. By far people with years of traditional training who transition into MMA do better than the average MMA gym member with gold belt dreams (that will most likely never come true).

Korean MMA And Taekwondo

        MMA is popular all over the world and in basically every country. So it is only obvious that Korea, where I live, work, and train currently is one of the main countries where MMA is booming. MMA is practiced by a lot of people; more adults do MMA related things than train in Taekwondo here. MMA also has a large fan base of younger generation Koreans. Since I plan to begin training MMA for the sparring practice and BJJ skills I decided to make a post about the current MMA climate here. I am a Taekwondo man, and I always will be a Taekwondo man. I cannot deny the huge impact Taekwondo has had on my life and I cannot unlearn it and deny it as my background. I am proud of it, but I acknowledge the problems within Taekwondo politics and the culture that need the change and inhibit my progression in martial arts. Where it lacks I will pick it up in MMA and other martial arts styles. I am not only a Taekwondoin, I am a martial artist. I train through Mudo. And as a Taekwondo fighter I will promote Mudo my way and walk my own path as a martial aritist. This does not mean I will create my own style as so many frauds do, or buy ranks from random diploma mills to quickly become a “master rank.” I will still do the proper procedures, but I will promote Taekwondo and combat through my own beliefs about martial arts.

        Road FC is probably the biggest MMA promotion in Korea and they have a few cool Taekwondo fighters.

        Since practically every Korean male has trained in Taekwondo once in his life, and almost all females as well (most people trained when they were kids at one time or another), there are a lot of MMA fighters with a Taekwondo background. Some may give credence to Taekwondo, but many do not and do not acknowledge it as an influence. They ignore it or pretend it never helped them. Instead they promote Muay Thai and a variety of foreign martial arts: the meat and potatoes of MMA, the Muay Thai, BJJ and whatever the consensus is of “acceptable styles.” Even so, the few who are proud of Taekwondo sometimes do a decent job fighting. Some do very well, and others win but still need to work on their hands and grappling. Here are a couple of videos I found showcasing some of these kinds of Taekwondo fighters.  I do not know anything else about any of these fighters except for what I saw in the videos. If you know more please comment below about them.

Hong Young Ki

Taekwond VS Boxing

Jae-Hoon Moon VS Min-Woo Kim

I find it great a few Koreans are willing to prove Taekwondo as a strong martial art in a more serious combat format. This will only give Taekwondo ore respect and hopefully influence some future Taekwondo kids to have this mindset as well. The Olympic champions just are not going to cut it, we need more real fighters who actually fight.

Just An Update Here In Korea, Is Taekwondo Dead?

        Lately I have been busy with work. I have not trained as much as I would like to. I will get back into it soon enough. I have still trained every week since I showed up pretty much though. It has been so dang cold here. Korea winters are brutal. It really takes the desire out of you. Especially when every building it seems is cold except restaurants. The dojang is often so cold I just cannot stand it. I am glad I did not have to train last night since there was what seemed to be a blizzard which left ice all over the sidewalks as I had to walk to work that night.

        The attitude of the average Korean about Taekwondo is pretty negative. I find it very interesting. The state of Taekwondo has got to seriously be re-formatted if it wants to survive. While there are the self defense promoting old Korean masters, the majority of Taekwondo is too busy practicing dancing in the mirror instead of hitting the heavy bag. The second biggest group of Taekwondoin are too busy trying to score points on electronic hogus and have a serious lack of fighting technique for actual combat. The rest, the ones who may or may not also be dancing, are too busy staring at themselves in the mirror trying to have a perfect poomsae angle or stance to impress WTF judges. I find this so annoying. Who can I spar? Who can practice hoshinsool with me? Who can practice one steps? Who can develop some serious self defense and combat strategy with me? No one it seems. It is extremely frustrating since I came to Korea in order to find true Taekwondo. I have found it here and there, but seriously, not enough of it!! I want more!! The KTA seminars were too short and nobody wanted to practice and perfect the techniques we learned. Instead practically every KTA student and instructor who attended were more interested in their smartphones than actually training in Taekwondo.

        Taekwondo is simply a business now. Is current Taekwondo a lifestyle of martial arts and a self defense mindset? Sometimes it is advertised as such, but in reality Taekwondo today is simply a business to make money and advertise and market a product. It is not about fighting, it is not about the spirit of a true martial artist. It is simple a way for corporate suits to market the hell out of a product in the guise of some Korean nationalism and make tons of cash. That is why the Kukkiwon for awhile was selling $2,000 grandmaster (9th dan) black belt ranks to foreigners. Since they got caught or accused by older grandmasters they decided to quit doing that. The ONLY reason they quit was because a few grandmasters got upset and protested. If no one said anything the Kukkiwon would STILL be doing that.

        As much as some old Taekwondo masters hate the lack of combative mindset in the scene today they are much too polite and quiet. Maybe this is some part of Korean culture, but it is a very bad attitude to have. It is bad because all it does is keeps silent when silence is the absolute worst thing we need right now. Too much politeness in order not to offend other greedy, Korean masters who sold out. Oh, sure they probably talk to each other behind their backs, but no one will dare openly accuse anyone of bullshit. But often times as a foreigner who spent more than half of his life in Taekwondo and standing up for Taekwondo in the face of ultimate martial prejudice against our style, suffering from the entire MMA phenomenon of ignorant MMA jocks who only badmouth Taekwondo (as well as traditional martial arts as a whole), refusing to quit even though all of the mcdojangs took over America, trying to find the good in Taekwondo to promote a serious martial art was a waste of time. Who has the balls to stand up to the nonsense Kukkiwon tolerates? It seems only foreigners are brave enough to actually open our mouths and tell the emperor he has no clothes. Is it true then, what I have been pondering, that foreigners love Taekwondo more than the Koreans? The few “waygooks” as they call us here, the very few who hate mcdojangism, who want a real fighting art are the ones who love Taekwondo now? It seems Korea does not give a damn about the stupidity of Taekwondo dancing, idiotic demos with paper thin boards, ribbon twirling, kpop TKD music videos and other bullshit and could care less about honor. It’s simply junk food for immature children. In Korea, men do not do Taekwondo unless they are business men. Obviously, this is with a few notable exceptions.But still…

        Is the only place I will perfect fighting skills or learn more concepts of martial arts at an MMA gym? Why did I come to Korea if I could have just stayed in the USA and trained MMA? Of course I got a decent job here, but besides work, what was the point? Non-martial arts-wise I am experiencing a new country and new culture and it is something a lot of people never get the chance to do. But martial arts-wise there is no added benefit. I could have gotten better MMA training in the USA, we do have the best. Everyone knows it. But Taekwondo-wise I assumed Korea had the best. If it does they are not promoting themselves enough and instead are allowing the kpop dumbasses and geedy business mcdojang men to take over Taekwondo, even inside the KTA they are openly promoting Taekwondo-dance and other terrible things. This is why adults in Korea do not take their own nation’s and culture’s martial art seriously. It is simply for kids to get some exercise. To jump rope half the class and do a few forms and go home. The adults never even give Taekwondo a though when thinking about martial arts. Instead Koreans are interested in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Foreign martial arts. I find this fascinated and worthy of study. The fact Koreans are so prideful about their country and act like it is God’s gift to the world and can do no wrong makes this even more fascinating. That something that totally represents the spirit of Koreans is ignored or looked at as silly. I would assume they would be diehard promoters of their own cultures martial arts as they are about their food, chopsticks, study habits, brands of cars, etc.

        I am now seriously looking into joining and MMA gym to learn more Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just because it is another martial art I truly love. I will still train Taekwondo on the side and get a master rank eventually (even if I should already have that rank, it’s not just me, but my instructor here thinks I should already have it as well), and I will still teach Taekwondo in the future, but there is not a big enough reason to solely train in Taekwondo anymore.

        Kukkiwon and whatever masters here lack vision. They lack the current time swe live in. We live in a post 9/11, MMA focused world world. Taekwondo needs to get a clue and start promoting Taekwondo as serious fighting and stop the nonsense. There is absolutely no reason that the KTA, Kukkiwon etc. does not promote more Kyuktooki (Kickboxing/MMA) and prove Taekwondo works in such sports in order to reinforce Taekwondo as a true fighting art. It only makes sense. Instead it seems they are too busy trying to show off with back flips and do dance moves and show sexy K-Tigers girls. Korea may pride itself and claim it has hardly any crime, low murders, no muggings, no street gangs etc. and so many Koreans believe there is absolutely 10% no reason to learn how to fight because they believe it is unnecessary  and believe they will never have to fight ever in their entire lives; and many Korean males also hate martial arts and prefer to persue less tough activities; but the truth is the world is dangerous!!!! Terrorism is on the rise (Korea is going to become a target soon enough), North Korea just detonated what is probably a hydrogen bomb and they have a war mindset to attack even more now than ever, and the rest of the world has all kinds of crime and danger. Korea has become its own bubble and refuses to accept the reality most of the world outside of this place already understands. The old generation of martial artists are pretty much dead and the new generation has adopted this bad philosophy of life. This is why Taekwondo is regressing, less popular in the world, continues to be seen as a joke in the martial arts world, while Kukkiwon and the like pretend they are actually progressing Taekwondo with groups like the Korean Tigers who want Taekwondo to become a dance and performance art and not a fighting style.

        What is really interesting is that Korea is thousands of years old and was a warrior culture. Some of that remains in their culture but hardly any now days. Maybe much like the Japanese “samurai businessmen,” Koreans have some warrior traits, but not in actual fighting. I remember reading some old articles about Taekwondo in its early stages, especially from some of the first Kukkiwon founders and those who fund raised hard for Taekwondo in the 60’s. There was a huge struggle to get the average Korean citizen to believe that Taekwondo is a noble activity and full of virtue when most Koreans believes Taekwondo or any martial art was purely for gangsters and ruffians. Not civilized people. Finally, the Taekwondo masters got respect and rightly so. The Korean government realized how valuable Taekwondo was and promoted it. That is the only reason we have Taekwondo today or it would have simply died out and stayed Karate. That is my opinion. So Koreans used to hate martial arts, then they loved martial arts (only the Korean ones pretty much) and now they hate martial arts (even the Korean ones), and the few young people who have a desire for something more in life than studying, working 12 hour shifts, and have an active lifestyle and a more aggressive or adventurous mindset are now doing MMA, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and Boxing. They are not doing Taekwondo. Only children do Taekwondo it seems, and “stupid foreigners” like myself who did not realize they were enrolled in hip hop/ballet/modern dance classes their entire life because they mistakenly thought they were training to learn how to fight and defend themselves and thus got a black belt in modern dance. Oops!