Posts Tagged ‘asia’

What I Learned At The Foreign Master Instructor Course At The Kukkiwon

        I successfully completed the Foreign Instructor’s Course (FIC) at the Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea. It was 5 days long for about 8 hours each day. I learned various things and had special training. I am so glad to have finished this course and so happy to be licensed as an official Taekwondo master by the Kukkiwon. One of the biggest goals in my life was to go to Korea to complete this course and become a Taekwondo master. I did it!

        I will discuss a few things that I experienced and learned during the event. There were plenty of interesting things I learned as well as figured out for myself about Taekwondo and martial arts and Korea. I will mention each topic in random order below. I hope to prepare other Taekwondoin about what to expect if they decide to go to Korea and become licensed masters. I personally believe for the absolutely serious Taekwondoin, especially those learning to teach should plan to eventually complete this course and become a licensed master. I hope to tell you what to expect during the course and some of the pros and cons.

The people who can attend this course must be 2nd dan or higher. Your qualification will only be given when you reach 4th dan. Those 3rd and below are given a “completion certificate” only. 4th and 5th are given a completion certificate plus a “successfully” completion certificate. These are the 3rd class masters. 2nd and 1st class are from “6th and 7th” and then “8th and 9th” dans.

 Many Lectures more than physical training

        I do not remember the names of the grandmasters who taught us and lectured us. This is because they did not list their names on any program for us to follow which I thought was a mistake. They should have given us the names of each teacher on the schedule. I think this slipped their minds. But each teacher was an 8th or 9th dan. I believe only one was 8th dan and the rest were 9th. The fact high ranking masters who have been involved in Taekwondo their entire lives in some of the early days of our martial art, are taking their time to teach us lower dan grades is such an honor! We were able to hear wisdom from senior Taekwoin who are grandmasters. How often can you listen to so many experienced people speak? During the course you get to learn so much and have them tell you how it is, and how the Kukkiwon stands on positions such as history and training. You maybe agree with it, or you may not, but even so you get to know what the official Korean stances are on topics. I find this fascinating and I was very satisfied on most of what I learned. It was refreshing.

       There were various topics such as history, philosophy of Taekwondo, demonstration, flexibility and first aid and more. The lecturers did not stick to one exact topic when speaking. For example the Philosophy guy spoke a bit about oriental philosophy and what the words “martial art” means, but he also spoke a lot about motivational things too. In fact most of the lecturers had a lot of motivational stuff to say. By motivational I mean they were motivating people to be martial artists and true masters. They really wanted to emphasize Taekwondo as a martial art and way to live.

A main example was how the grandmaster speaking about demonstration said nothing at all about how to make a great Taekwondo demo, but instead seemed to talk to us about how to be a true martial art master and what exactly Taekwondo is. He also talked a lot about history and dates of events. He was inspiring because he mentioned that a Taekwondo master has to know it all and research everything including actual/practical fighting. He used to be a kickboxer as well. A few of the grandmasters mentioned they did kickboxing at some point. I really think the Kukkiwon should try to emphasize practical fighting more and promote kickboxing and MMA as a valid outlet for Taekwondo competition but they are still focused on the Olympics and their annual Hanmadang performance competition. This master who taught this portion of the course was also the master who protested shirtless in front of the Korean government building against the special “jump dan” promotion test the Kukkiwon was doing for awhile. He knelt with just his dobok pants and black belt on without a shirt. He and others rightly protested it and they changed it. This guy is a true martial artist!

        Other topics were about proper promotion testing procedures and some first aid stuff. Remembering everything is pretty much impossible, but they gave us a course textbook w can refer to later. There was also a guy who spoke a lot on psychology and a lot of things that I thought was nonsense. He was a University professor. I think he was possibly from Yongin. I found what he spoke about hard to follow. He even talked about the movie Basic Instinct. Of course I respect him as an academic and grandmaster of Taekwondo, but I thought his lecture was a bit strange. It was kind of weird and inappropriate because he talked about sexual topics from that movie. I had no clue why he was talking about this and how it related to Taekwondo teaching. It had to do with desire, ego, and other things like that apparently. Honestly, a lot of the lectures like that were very boring to me and there was not enough time to in-depthly discuss each issue. Also we had practically no time to actually read the FIC textbook they gave us.

        The topics on first aid and flexibility were scientific and very interesting but there is no way that within an hour and a half (about how long each lecture was) we could memorize everything about those things. I think the main point is to research it later myself and understand it better. I can also read the textbook later about these topics. I am very glad they gave us a textbook. Unfortunately, it has many grammatical errors as a native English speaker did not edit it for them. Some things are hard to understand. This book is not the official Kukkiwon textbook, but a special textbook for the FIC graduates. I was hoping they would have given us an official Kukkiwon textbook, but I will have to buy that myself later for personal reference.

        The gist of the messages that I personally learned from were that Taekwondo is a martial art. It is a fighting system. There is a sport of Taekwondo, but Taekwondo is not a sport in itself. Taekwondo in the past used to focus on serious things including killing techniques. The demonstrations of the past showcased many powerful things. Now days Taekwondo has turned into more of a performance show. The grandmaster who said this was the one on the topic about demonstration and he did not say if this was bad or not, but said it with the attitude that it simply is what it is…that Taekwondo is a serious fighting art and deadly (not in those exact words but it was implied heavily), yet it has changed and the culture wants something else. I feel he did not openly want to state this change to performance art demonstration was bad, but felt he was sort of negative about it and wanted us to be true martial artists who can fight. He told us he used to kickbox and that practical/actual fighting is something we as masters should be researching. This grandmaster also gave us a bulk of history lessons with his motivational approach. There are many important dates that we should all know about Taekwondo’s history. I took some notes and will now list them.

Demo’s are very important. Demonstrations are a way to advertise our martial art and “are first showing.” They are for advertisement and diplomacy. In the old days they showed many hard techniques such as power breaking, self defense including killing techniques. Now demonstration seems more of a performance and less people want to promote fighting. Koreans call this kind of combat sport K1. Everyone is interested in full contact fighting but they do not always want children training for this. 

Instructors of Taekwondo need martial arts. This is what is the most important thing. Anyone can do sport and sport is not important. Martial arts is what is in our hearts.

1960 – there was the Vietnam demonstration which made Taekwondo to be viewed as a serious martial art in the world and showcased the effective fighting techniques. In the 60’s demos were not that important to do on the scale they were later.

1970 – demos became very important and emphasized. The Kukkiwon threw out the Pal Gwe forms and replaced them with the Tae Geuk poomsae. 

1971 – The Kukkiwon established first it’s demonstration team. 

1974 – The Kukkiwon then began to perform demonstrations worldwide.

1980 – Taekwondo became a university subject in Korea

Instructor’s need to know all poomsae and all the names of them. They need to know the real point of Taekwondo. They need to know gyoreugi (sparring), they should be able to perform various combinations of techniques, and instructors need to know how and do everything including real fighting. Instructors have to know how to actually fight.  

        The WTA president lectured us also about Taekwondo philosophy and about being powerful. Taekwondo is meant to build up muscle and strength and make one powerful. He was fierce in his lecture and even looked at me and did a mock strike at my face. I do not know why he did that. He also punched the podium and made a dent with his knuckle. I think he did it on accident but then pretended he meant to. HAHA! He slightly dented the wood on it and now it has his knuckle mark in it. He also made another swing at me later when speaking in order to surprise me. I sat in the front row and he went for my neck with a kind of knife hand or spear hand strike. This time I was ready and I blocked it. He acted surprised because I was prepared for it.

        He also gave us a lot of health advice for our bodies. He told us that we must drink lots of water. He asked me how much water a day I drink and told me that a guy my size should drink 10 classes of water a day. He was so serious about water and said Koreans view it as “spirit” and it gives people life and spirit. We need to drink water. But he saw I had a large jug of Pocari Sweat and criticized me for drinking it claiming it is unhealthy and pure water is better. I know that science and research says otherwise though, that when doing extreme workouts and with excessive sweating sports drinks are better; but I did not argue. He also emphasized we should not drink cold water, but only warm water. Chinese people also believe this. I do not agree with this and believe many times cold water is better to drink if you are getting really hot in very hot and humid weather. We need to cool our bodies down. But typically we can drink lukewarm water and it is good. This is what I believe.

I had been living in Korea for the year before this course and what is funny is Koreans hardly drink water. Every day I barely see any Koreans drinking water throughout the day. The average Korean will attest that drinking water while eating is extremely bad for your health and ruins your digestion. This belief is unfounded and a superstition. Science says otherwise. Even so, in Korea they usually drink a small cup of water after a meal which is a child’s size cup by western standards. It makes no sense to me, but it was great to hear the WTA president claim we should drink loads of water. I do every day. Koreans think I am crazy for drinking so much water. Even though many Korean dishes are soups which include water which would contradict their claims that drinking water while eating is bad.

I will now list some notes from the lecture:

Philosophy is our base knowledge and what gives us confidence. It is how we know our own self. 

Taekwondo philosophy is from our mind-ego-self confidence.

Masters must earn power and strength before they can even talk about Taekwondo philosophy. A master must build his muscles and power up and be strong. After this and only after can he talk philosophy.

Six tips for a healthy body:          1. fresh water            2. oxygen           3. proper food
4. Taekwondo training (not sports)         5. positive thinking
6. way or instruction of training (beup do)

You should not drink cold water, only warm water.  

Breathing is important and there are 3 types of breathing. Automatic-mechanism, semi-automatic, and manual mechanism.
When we are sitting we should breath slow, but if we are active we should breath fast. Do not breath fast if you are not moving and just sitting or something. If you are active and moving you should breath fast and not slow. 11 parts of the body aide in breathing. With automatic breathing we breath 5cc’s of air. There are 2 parts of breathing air: Semi-automatic breathing clears out dirty air in our lungs such as when we yawn. Manual breathing must also be done to finish making our body clean. When doing meditation one should breath slow with the nose first and avoid dust and cold air. The nose makes air warmer. 

Eat only when you are hungry. Eat until you are no longer hungry and do not eat anymore than that. Oil from food becomes stored in the body. 

A true Taekwondo master must have the confidence to win and beat anybody. 

A master should be able to make one motion and one kill. If you cannot do this then you are not a true master. 

A master must have positive thinking and spirit. 

The mind gets spirit from a healthy body. 

A master should get healthy through Taekwondo training and not other physical training or sports. Taekwondo training itself is what should make us powerful and healthy.

The lessons from your master gives you a healthy mind. 

        Overall the grandmasters want Taekwondo masters to be powerful, know how to actually fight, be muscular, be tough and know all of Taekwondo. A master has to know it all. He cannot only know part of it. This goes against some of the attitudes that Taekwondo people worldwide believe that we should specialize in a certain part of Taekwondo such as being a poomsae expert, or a sport sparring expert, or a demo expert. I like how they told us we should know it all and be good at everything. We need to actually know how to fight and know self defense.

Taekwondo history and the Kukkiwon’s official stance

       Taekwondo history was taught by Grandmaster Kim Young S. (9th dan). The Kukkiwon holds the belief that there were 5 main kwans that started Taekwondo in the beginning and that the history of Taekwondo starts in the late 40’s through Japanese Karate. The modern history is the most important history according to what they taught us. Of course they told us Taekwondo is originally from ancient martial arts in Korea going back 2,000 years which I honestly do not believe. We learned a small amount about subak, o byeng, subak-hee and other names. The last two are said to be unique martial arts to Korea. They believe that Okinawa was influenced by Korean martial arts somehow. I do not believe this at all. But some of the history was Korean national propaganda, but most of it was not. They did mention that China influenced Korea in in the beginning of their martial arts. One of the most interesting claims they made was that Taekyeon in fact DID NOT influence Taekwondo. They admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim and that Taekyeon existed along side soo bak and other styles. They claim only kwanbeop influenced Taekwondo.

        The Kukkiwon also admits that later Japanese and Okinawan Karate influenced Taekwondo greatly. Mostly through Tang Soo Do which was Karate.

        The 5 main kwans were:

Lee Wan Kuk’s Chungdokwan which was the Tang Soo Do style.

Yun Bung In’s YMCA Kwanbeop (this later became Chang Mu Kwan)

Chun San Sup’s Cheoson Yu Mu Kwan Beop Bu (this later was named Jidokwan, but they emphasized it was not originally Jidokwan at the time they founded Taekwondo originally)

Hwang Kee’s Mudukwon (originally he taught Hwa Soo Do but then later started teaching Tang Soo Do)

Byung Ji Ro’s Song Do Kwan

These kwans were all influential in what they called “original Taekwond0” which was around 1946-1947. Basically, it was Karate.

 Here are some notes with dates and things that the lecturer told us are the official stance of the Kukkiwon about Taekwondo’s history:

The Korean War caused a lot of chaos. It was 1950-1953. This limited what kwans could be doing during this time. 

General Choi was a 2 star general. He did not earn a real black belt in Karate in Japan and instead spent his time self training. There is no evidence to prove he ever received a black belt from Gichin Funakoshi. He founded the O Do Kwan with permission of the Chung Do kwan. O Do Kwan was a sub-kwan that became its own. The other kwan leaders actually were high dan ranks such as 4th and 5th dan black belts ranked in Japan in the art of Karate. Others were masters of Chinese martial arts as well. Choi was a general and had influence, but not from martial arts skills. 

In 1955 General Choi came up with the name Taekwondo and the name was accepted by the other kwans in the KTA. He wanted to be a “power man” and take control and tell everyone what to do. Since he did not have masterful skills in martial arts the other kwan leaders did not respect him in the same way. Yet, he was trying to fully control Taekwondo. He did not actually create Taekwondo and coming up with a name for a unified Korean martial art does not make him the creator of Taekwondo. He did not even have a real black belt. 

General Choi published the first Taekwondo book available to civilians. This is why people claim he wrote the first book on Taekwondo. But in reality 1 month before this book was published, the military had published a book on Taekwondo for soldiers. The difference was General Choi’s book was more developed. 

General Choi was the 3rd president of the KTA. It is always stated that Choi was the 1st president of the KTA, but the Kukkiwon claims the first president was another general named Chae Myung Shin who was a 3 star general and collaborated with General Choi Hong Hi and had many discussions about Taekwondo. Choi was only a 2 star general. (If anyone wants to argue these claims do so in the comments and please provide some evidence and explanations). So according to the Kukkiwon official stance General Chae was the first president. Not General Choi. 2 different guys.  

The KTA started sparring competitions. The KTA changed the martial arts name to Taesoodo. Later, General Choi changed the name back to Taekwondo when he was re-elected and became the 3rd president of the KTA. 

In 1963 Taekwondo became an official demonstration sport for Korea

In 1964 the hogu  was created by the Jidokwan. This is the Taekwondo chest protector. Later this year Taekwondo sparring became the official, national sport of Korea. 

In 1971 Dr. Kim Un Young became the president of the KTA.

The concept of Kukkiwon (Ku Ki Won) was created which means “National Techniques.” Dr. Un Young Kim developed Taekwondo further for athletic competition. 

The Kukkiwon building was built in 1972 on November 30th. This was 24 years after the beginning of Taekwondo.

1973 was a very important and major year for Taekwondo. The World Taekwondo Federation was established. Bruce Lee had used Taekwondo kicks in his movies which impressed the masses. He died that year and Bruce Lee was memorialized and much focus was on his martial arts. His movie kicks inspired many people to want to learn to kick like him. This same year the First World Championships occurred. Many people were impressed with Taekwondo’s kicking techniques. Bruce Lee actually trained with Taekwondo masters and learned kicks from them. One of these masters was a Kukkiwon master who is alive today. He was the one who was teaching this lecture. 

1974 and 1975 the first and second Asian World Championships. Taekwondo was a demonstration sport and became more popular.

1976 a Korean Robot Cartoon movie about a hero who was a Taekwondo black belt who controlled a giant robot made Taekwondo really popular with kids. 

1986 Taekwondo became an official sport in the Asia Games.

1988 Taekwondo became a demonstration sport in the Olympics

1994 Taekwondo was accepted to be an official Olympic sport.

1996 Taekwondo became  a major image in Korean culture and the government made it the official sport and martial art and cultural heritage of Korea.

2000 Taekwondo was an official Olympic event. The first Olympic Taekwondo event. 

The training in the FIC…

        The training portion was small and maybe we had 2 to 3 total hours a day of physical training. We rushed through the poomsae so fast that you could not remember every detail. So hopefully people already knew the poomsae before coming to Korea, yet I know for a fact many did not. This is what is odd about foreign Taekwondo people is many were terrible at poomsae and did not even correctly know them. It was crazy and it became a big issue with them when it came to testing time. People who were 4th dan not correctly knowing poomsae or even all of them is so wrong! We also did not have to actually spar ever the entire course. I fully expected to do sparring. We never once geared up. During the sparring training all we did were some team building games and foot work as well as kicking the paddles in combinations. But don’t misunderstand me, the training was physically demanding. You had to be in shape and have decent cardio to make it through the entire workouts. It was also extremely hot and humid in Korea and the Kukkiwon had no air conditioning, but had some large tubes connected to large fans on the edges of the mat to direct air onto the floor.

        They made us do movements over and over in the 90 degree heat in the Kukkiwon dojang. I felt like I was going to die, in fact most of us did. I sweated more than everyone there in fact. I went all out with every motion I performed. I felt odd because of the massive puddle of sweat I left all over my area. But as for making sure we could fight, I did not get any of that. We did have a self defense training session that was probably the best part of the course for me. It was fun and we worked on practical self defense and fighting. Punches to the face, knees, takedowns, armbars and chokes. Very cool. It was much like street fighting and MMA. It was awesome to know the Kukkiwon has the goal of promoting these kinds of things. True combat. The grandmaster who taught that portion also teaches the Korean army their combatives and he has worked with his team for 5 years to promote self defense to the Kukkiwon and wrote a book and made a video on it. It was inspiring to train this way and it is what I remember when I started Taekwondo as a teenager back in the 90’s. True fighting. There were a lot of joint locks and wrist lock throws and more. I totally loved this training and made me feel good about the possible future of Kukki Taekwondo being a real fighting art. The grandmaster also told me that he used to be competitive kickboxing as well. He was a real fighter and now taught the military.

        The entire week we had to be in our doboks. I recommend bringing 2 each day because if you do physical training there is a big chance you will be soaked in sweat. You do not want to be in sweaty clothes sitting in a classroom the rest of the day. So bring 2. After the second day I began to bring 2 uniforms each day and benefited greatly from it.

         One big thing I notice is the kindness and humility of the grandmasters. They took time to teach us and lecture us. They answered questions and were positive to us. Of curse they were strict and at times I felt afraid of them. Sometimes someone would be late or talk in class and one guy would yell or claim he should just leave because we don’t care he is teaching. But people quickly would say “No, no no!” They don’t play games, but they are very kind and love to share their knowledge. They were way nicer than some of the people who run the office. Almost all of them would stay for photos with people. Another funny thing i some of the are chain smokers even though it is typical understood smoking is bad for Taekwondo. I find this interesting. In fact most Korean men in general are chain smokers. I think it is simply an American thing that an instructor should not smoke or drink. Koreans smoke and drink like crazy. I am not encouraging people to smoke though. I think it is terrible.

        I believe the Kukkiwon FIC is a must for any serious high ranking black belt who wants to make Taekwondo a huge part of his life and not just a hobby. Some foreigners told me that Taekwondo is just a hobby and they are only taking the course for the fun of it, and it is not a big deal. I find this annoying. We need future masters who will take the advice of the grandmasters and be true masters and fighters in our style. So I believe the FIC is good for a lot of inner knowledge and not just physical. It is good to be taught “the way they want it” and to at least listen to it. Take what you want and agree with whatever you agree with, and ignore the things you do not agree with. But take the course and get properly certified. Often they hold the FIC in other countries as well for people who cannot travel to Korea. But each year it is held in Korea so go to the Kukkiwon website and look at the news for when they are holding the next one. When you pass the course you will be added to the database online which will list your photo and that you complete the master instructor course. The qualification is recognized officially by the Kukkiwon and the Korean government.

That is just a basic summary of what I learned. Of course there were more lessons I learned but this is enough to explain what you should expect.

Taekwondo Applications Fight Scene And Update On My Martial Arts Pursuits

        So I have been in Korea for 6 months. A lot of stuff has gone down, some negative stuff I can’t talk about that has to do with work, but other than that I have been training in Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu frequently. I had stopped training in MMA classes because I have been to tired and did not have my head on straight because of stress so I do not want to spar and have something bad happen. I have stuck with BJJ diligently and even earned my 1st stripe on my white belt at Fight Gallery MMA. Unfortunately, my instructor forgot to put it on my belt, but he put it on my name plate on the door that I am 1st stripe. In my opinion you do not ask for a rank or care, you get it when you do. A physical stripe on my belt does not make me a better fighter. So I don’t care, but I am 1 stripe white belt rank now. I have a desire to try some more tournaments in the future. My teacher is really good and taught me some really cool stuff. But, for now I need to take a break because I ended up moving. Also, BJJ in the gi is murder on your fingers. It ruins them. It tears them up and breaks them up. It is bad for your hands in the long run. I feel that taking breaks will heal my fingers and keep their normal functioning lasting in the long run in my life. My goal is to stay healthy while learn a lot, and I sure have learned plenty in  ground fighting! I feel very competent for grappling in self defense situations with my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo skills, not to mention what I learned from Muay Thai and MMA classes.

        I have been trying my hardest to perfect my poomsae and have high quality Taekwondo skills. Master Jeong has helped me so much in Taekwondo to perfect my poomsae better. He is not only a great teacher, but also a great friend and someone who is there to help me in life when I need it most. He has gone out of his way to help me so much while I am in Korea that if it were not for him I would not have survived easily and been able to move and do things in Korea. In 1 week, this Saturday, I will test for 4th dan black belt. I know I will pass easily and cannot wait to finally have an official 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo by the Kukkiwon. It is so cool that I get to test in Korea as well! How many foreigners can claim they have tested in Korea with Koreans? I will definitely make a report on that after Saturday! I will tell you all how it works in Korea and what they require. It honestly is not very much!

        After I get my 4th dan I have to wait about 3 months in July to take the Foreign Instructor Certification Course in Muju at the Taekwondowon. That will make me a recognized Taekwondo master worldwide. This is the reason I wanted to live in Korea and work, to have these experiences. To get my martial arts credentials going strong. Then I can open my own dojang and teach Taekwondo for actual fighting and self defense.

        Meanwhile Master Jeong had me fight him for a short video to showcase some basic applications for Taekwondo poomsae in a mock fight. We filmed a fight scene and I play a bad Taekwondo gangster. Check out the fight scene and enjoy it! We had a lot of fun and it is supposed to be funny as well as show some maneuvers of poomsae applications. I hope you enjoy it! We will make many more episodes. I have only been 2 of the videos so far. Episode 1 I was not in, but I was in the last part of Episode 2 and then Episode 3. Check them all out! We will be making episode 4 soon!

 

*UPDATE* Episode 4 was made May 17th. 19 days after this article was originally published. Watch it below!!!!

Update On My Taekwondo Training In Korea

       I have been busy with work a lot so I cannot post as often as I would like, but here is a little update on some stuff I have been doing with Taekwondo in Korea. I basically train 3-4 times a week taking classes and free training. Master Jeong had a parents day for the kids and the students did a little demonstration of various things. I showed “English Taekwondo Class” by leading a short 10 minute min-lesson for the kids speaking English the entire time. The kids get to learn Taekwondo words in English which is a big deal for many Koreans.

I also performed some Pal Gwe forms. The floor is a bit slippery though so it is hard to make good stances. I did okay though.

In the near future master Jeong is going to publish his next self defense book. I will help him out with making sure the English translation is correct as well as be featured in photographs in the book with him as well as be in some videos that will be supplemental to the book for smartphone apps and computers. So a lot of cool things are going to happen very soon. I will keep updating my blog about this.

It is now Christmas Eve in Korea and I am going to go have some fun tonight as well as tomorrow. Keep reading and commenting!

Korea, The Land Of Taekwondo

        I moved to Korea and live and work here now. I will be here for as long as I feel led. I am now living in the land of Taekwondo. I will be writing more articles as time goes by about my martial arts experience in this country and give cultural insights about Korea and Taekwondo based on my experiences. I have been able to train with Master Jeong from Youtube in real life and it has been an great experience. I am excited to train in true Taekwondo and will be reporting many things in the near future. Stay tuned!

Interview With Master In Choul Jeong

        In Choul Jeong is a great Taekwondo master of our day who has been very influential with advancing Taekwondo techniques. He is on the education committee in the Kukkiwon. He is the author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting written for the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA). I found out about master Jeong through YouTube last year when I was looking up hand techniques for real Taekwondo fighting. I was looking up videos for Taekwondo and self defense. I stumbled upon this video:

When I saw that I was impressed and felt really encouraged to keep training hand techniques in Taekwondo. He even emphasizes use of the kwon go (Korean translation of the Japanese term makiwara, which is the board with rope tied around it used for the hitting of the fist) for hand conditioning, something Taekwondo people have forgotten which used to be one of the essential training tools in the old days. Now days it seems only karateka use it while taekwondoin (who came from Karate and used to use it) are busy training for tournament sparring without much use of hands.

Master Jeong also makes videos showing applications for poomsae. He shows what the movements mean and why you are training them, and how they relate to self defense. He keeps putting out one awesome video after another. I think more people need to know about his videos and subscribe to his channel. It is awesome to see Korean Taekwondo masters training for the purpose of fighting and self defense and not only doing demo’s or Taekwondo-dance which seems to be 99% of the videos you see online today.

I was given the opportunity by master Jeong to do an interview with him so he could tell us all more about his training background and martial arts philosophy! If you have not checked Master Jeong’s YouTube channel please do so! Make sure to like his videos and subscribe to his channel!

Enjoy the interview:

WHITE DRAGON: What’s your name? Where were you born? Please introduce yourself.

 MASTER JEONG: My name is In Choul Jeong, but my Face book page’s name is “Taekwondo master Jeong In Choul” (Korean style).  I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I teach Taekwondo to foreign people at the World Taekwondo Culture Expo, World Youth Taekwondo Camp and at my dojang.  Nice to speak to you all.

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get involved in martial arts and how old were you? What made you want to start training? Please list your training history and be as specific as possible. Who were your instructors in the past? Any notable characters?

MASTER JEONG: You are asking me many things at once! Haha! I started training Taekwondo at 6 years old. My father was a Grandmaster and so his Dojang was my playground. His name is “Soon Kyu Jeong”and he is at the level of 9th dan. He is a former vice president of Odokwan and he taught many students. One of them is Grandmaster Hwang (Kukkiwon Director, Instructor). Master Hwang is also my master. I think I am a lucky guy because I’ve gotten chances to learn from many great teachers: Grandmaster In Sik Hwang, Grandmaster Ik Pil Kang (World Champion at poomsae), Grandmaster Jae Ro Ahn (President of Cheongjihjoe), as well as many teachers in other martial arts. They are all my masters in my life.

3rd place poomsae division at World Hanmadang, standing with his father Master Soon Kyu Jeong

WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications, or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?

MASTER JEONG: Taekwondo 6th Dan Kukkiwon

Kendo – 5th dan 

Kyungho Moosool (martial art for body guards) – 5th dan

Member of Kukkiwon Education Committee

Instructor of World Taekwondo Culture Expo

Instructor of World Youth Taekwondo Camp

Author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013)

Author of Textbook for Kukkiwon Instructors (WTA, 2014)

International poomsae competition held during the Korean Open, 1st place

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KTA president, 1st place in senior department

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KITF president, 2nd place 

Besides Taekwondo, I have trained in Boxing, Muay Thai, Kendo, Kyungho Moosool,etc..

Master Jeong with foreign students

WHITE DRAGON: What is Kyungho Moosool and who is allowed to learn it? What techniques and concepts does it entail?

MASTER JEONG: Kyungho Moosool is a Korean martial art for body guards. It trains a person to protect VIP’s. I do not teach this even though I am 5th dan, but it was very helpful to study real fight Taekwondo. The president of Kyngho Moosol is named Jae Sool Byun. He was my father’s student and he has earned over 20 dan ranks from many styles of martial arts. He is the president of the Korean Special Kyungho Moosool Association in Korea. I received my certification in 2004. If someone wants to become a professional body guard he can apply to this program, but he should hold a rank of at least 3rd dan in some other martial art style before he will even be considered. There are many techniques and systems about defensive automobile driving, tactical firearms, and weapons disarms training in that program. They teach the principle of body guarding and all that it entails to protect a VIP. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is Cheonjihoe?

MASTER JEONG: One of the top poomsae teams in Korea. Master Ik Pil Kang was 1st president of Cheongjihoe, and I learned poomsae from him. The word means “the people who have pure minds.” 

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo in a real life fight or self defense situation? Have you ever been given a challenge by someone who wanted to fight you? If so how did you deal with it?

 MASTER JEONG: Yes, When I was a boy, I had so many fights and used skills of Taekwondo (It’s such a shame, I was so childish). Apchagi (front kick) to the stomach is a very useful skill and sometimes I used dwit chagi (back kick) to finish an aggressive enemy. When I was in my 20’s, I worked as a manager in my uncle’s night club. There were so many fights especially at Friday night. I usually tried to break up the fights and some guys tried to punch me. But I parried all their punches with steps and blocked the attacks with Taekwondo skills. After that I suppressed them easily. Actually, small and fast action is very important in a real fight situation, not fancy action.

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the modern state of Taekwondo? Many feel that Taekwondo has lost much of its combative nature these days. Is this true?

MASTER JEONG:  Yes it is. I want to answer with this famous quote, “You win some, you lose some.” Boxers can’t use kicks in a boxing match, so their punching techniques have been developed brilliantly and skillful. Likewise, we as Taekwondo competitors can’t punch in the face in a Taekwondo match, so the kicking techniques of Taekwondo are the best they have ever been now because they have been developed over time just as boxing developed punches in their sport. 

However, while we’ve developed great kicks because of sport, many of us have unfortunately lost the development of hand techniques. Sadly, many of us don’t train the hand techniques of Taekwondo anymore which causes many people feel think that Taekwondo is just a sport and is not effective for self defense.

But I want to say “The essence of Taekwondo” is a martial art for actual fighting. I will quote from my book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013):

The 1st and 2nd class Master Course Textbook (for Kukkiwon Taekwondo Master Training Course attendees) says the same thing – ‘Taekwondo is a martial art for knocking down enemies.’ (Kukkiwon Master Course Textbook). This is very important and we should remember this.

Hand Techniques Of Taekwondo For Actual Fighting book

The number of hand Technique is larger than the number of kicking in Taekwondo, nevertheless we barely use hand techniques in sparring training or a match. So I have intensely studied the techniques of Taekwondo for actual fighting and have written the book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013) with great masters Jaeyoung Um and Jae Ro Ahn. I have translated the book into English and you may be able to buy it online in a few months. (Special thanks to Master Andy Jeffries for supervising). Search for it on Amazon and other book outlets in the near future. 

Demonstrating accurate poomsae at a clinic for foreign students

WHITE DRAGON:  What is your opinion on the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)?

MASTER JEONG: I respect Grand master “Choi Hong Hi” the founder of ITF. They  use  punches  to  the  face  in  competition  sparring and  they have been trying to keep Taekwondo as a martial art. I think that’s good.

WHITE DRAGON: It is said that martial arts change people’s lives. In what way has martial arts training influenced your life? What can it do for other people?

MASTER JEONG: People learn patience, concentration, courtesy, and manners while training Taekwondo. And so did I. The real power of education is changing a person. Not only in terms of combative martial arts, but also in terms of personal edification. Taekwondo is a very powerful martial art.

 WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of the “Taekwondo-dance trend”? The Korean Tigers really promote it and have made it popular all over the world. I would like to know your thoughts on that.

MASTER JEONG: I think of it positively and I like K-Tigers team. But I think balance and sequence are very important. If some masters teach Taekwon-dance to a white belt student, it is not proper. If someone trains Taekwon-dance over 30 minutes in a one hour training session, this is not proper also.

Kendo master

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of mixed martial arts, and how does Taekwondo today fit in the world wide trend of MMA? Is MMA something to embrace as a Taekwondoin? Do you have any favorite fighters in the world of MMA or Kickboxing?

MASTER JEONG: I really like MMA. My favorite fighter is Ronda Rousey. Many MMA fighters and kickboxers are learning Taekwondo’s kicks and trying to apply it to their game. I am very proud of it. And I think Taekwondo masters should learn the skills of other martial arts and study them for upgrading. To develop something, we need flexibility, not a fixed idea, so I think “embrace” is an excellent word. Sometimes I do free sparring with MMA fighters or Kickboxers here and there. It is very helpful to understand more about martial arts.

Boxing practice

WHITE DRAGON: How important is poomsae practice to you and your philosophy?

MASTER JEONG: I learn the principles of body movement from poomsae, and I have been trying to apply the skills of poomsae to a real life situation. You can find my videos on YouTube and Facebook (search “Master Jeong In Choul”) demonstrating poomsae applications and scenario based self defense training with the movements found in Taekwondo forms. I believe that people will find the essence of Taekwondo in poomsae.

Taekwondo fit!

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?

MASTER JEONG: Yes I do. There is an advantage in Olympic style techniques to learn and we should not ignore it. I think that a real master should be skilled with both parts (poomsae and kyorugi) and should be able to apply poomsae into actual fighting. When I was in elementary school I had won a few medals from national competition. I also did sparring in tournaments all the time when I was a middle school student. Unfortunately, my parents did not agree that I should be an athlete and instead made me focus on studying in high school. So my Taekwondo focus turned towards poomsae training and hoshinsool study. Then in college I trained sparring and usually competed. I was a sparring champion in the university union division. I still enjoy sparring with various people here and there from time to time. I just never compete anymore and focus on self defense concepts and poomsae applications.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!

MASTER JEONG: It was my pleasure to do this interview, thank you for asking me to do it! 

WHITE DRAGON: I appreciate the chance to interview you thank you!

MASTER JEONG: You’re welcome! Good bye!

*For more information on Master Jeong In Chul follow his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jeonginchoul

and subscribe to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy-Jg_befA1wq6eWnTSVz2Q

 Be sure to buy his book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013). It comes out in English this year! Look for it on Amazon!