Posts Tagged ‘hapkido’

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! 

 

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Interview With Master Boseong Kwon

        Many readers may know of Master Boseong Kwon from his YouTube channel. He is known as being “a Korean master who teaches Taekwondo for serious fighting in Australia.” I found out about Master Kwon when randomly searching up Taekwondo videos a few years back. From the first video I saw of him I was impressed! Not only are his videos great, he is also an approachable person who is willing to message you back and give you training tips.

If for some reason you have not checked out his YouTube channel go now and watch his videos. Be sure to subscribe to his channel and like his videos.

He even gave me permission to send him interview questions that I can post on my blog. I am sure many of you will be excited to know more about Master Kwon! Enjoy the interview:

WHITE DRAGON: I am excited to do this interview. You are an inspiration to me for Taekwondo. Ever since I saw your videos on YouTube I was impressed right away. I’ve watched every video you’ve uploaded. Your videos give me hope for Taekwondo’s future and also training and teaching tips. Some of your ideas on your videos I use for my own students. So thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Many of us on the internet, I am sure, want to know more about you. I think you are kind of a Taekwondo celebrity on YouTube. People know you as the Korean master who teaches the fighting art of Taekwondo in its most serious state. 

Here are some questions for you sir!

WHITE DRAGON: Where and when were you born?

MASTER KWON: I was born 18th of April, 1979 in Seoul city, South Korea. 

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 KWON: My father was a big fan of martial arts. Since a Taekwondo dojang opened in my local town, my dad put me in class straight away when I was 7 years old. I did Taekwondo, Hapkido, Composite Martial Arts, Muay-Thai, Protaekwondo, Bulmudo and Kumdo (sword art). I did as much cross training as I could to become an expert martial artist.

My Instructors;

-Grandmaster Dosa Kwon (President of International Protaekwondo Oceania Association) my uncle.

-Grandmaster Ando (President of World Bulmudo Federation, Highest Ranking Master Instructor of Bulmudo)

Grandmaster Kwon and Ando trained under Grandmaster Yeo Po on the Mangkyung Mountain over 10 years.

Grandmaster Kwon immigrated to Australia in 1991 to spread his martial arts, and Grandmaster Ando became a monk in the Beomeosa Temple, which is a popular birthplace of Korean Buddhist martial arts.

Beomeosa Temple in Korea

 

Now Grandmaster Ando is a successor of this art since Grandmaster Yang-ik (founder of Buddhist martial arts) has since passed away.

-Grandmaster Byung Suk Lee (WTF Taekwondo)

 

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

MASTER KWON: Taekwondo (5th Dan), Protaekwondo (6th Dan), Hapkido (4th Dan), Composite Martial Arts (5th Dan)

Champion- International Protaekwondo Association- 1999, 2001

Champion- Korea Composite Martial Arts Federation- 1999, 2001, 2002

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo or Hapkido 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 KWON: I have a peaceful personality. I don’t like getting involved in any fighting. When I was a boy in high school, university periods, I had several fights. Normally ending quickly with a side kick or back kick as they are very powerful, final kicks. After migrating to Australia, I taught martial arts as a part time job and second being a security guard. I worked in clubs, pubs and faced many drunk and aggressive people. When they wanted to fight with me, I could scare them off with a few kicks in front of them. Otherwise, using Hapkido pressure points and joint restraining techniques was useful also to escort people out. I also had fights where they attacked first. In such situations a few low kicks or body kicks for self defense were effective.

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 KWON: Yes It is. Unfortunately Modern Taekwondo developed as a sport.

But originally Taekwondo is a martial art for self-defense. There has to be a balance. I hope High Position Kukkiwon executive members consider putting more political power to rebuild martial arts Taekwondo.

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 KWON: I like the Korean Tigers Team’s amazing demonstrations. They are a demonstration Team. Blending gymnastic skills with Taekwondo, making aero kicks look good. All good… But the dance is too much. It doesn’t look good as martial arts. I don’t understand what they are doing.

WHITE DRAGON: How long have you owned your school in Australia? Was it your first dojang that you operated? Where are you located exactly? What classes do you offer?

MASTER KWON: In 2004 I arrived in Australia. The first two years I focused on my immigration and training. I trained under Grandmaster Kwon along with teaching his classes. In 2006, I opened a part time school and 2010, I bought current property and opened full time Protaekwondo Club. We are at 36 Rocky Point Road, Kogarah, NSW 2217, Australia. It is a 10 minute drive from Sydney airport. Mainly I teach Protaekwondo blending with other martial arts.

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 KWON: For me, it gave me confidence, a strong spirit and patience. This has been very important in changing my life attitude. I never gave up once I knew it was right. I can see a lot of my students gaining their confidence, learning how to focus on what they are doing and having respect for other people. We are teaching, good mannerism and strengthening their spirits, so whatever they are doing, wherever they are, it will change their lifestyle.

WHITE DRAGON: What is the Protaekwondo organization? How can one get involved with it?

MASTER KWON: International Protaekwondo Association of Oceania http://www.protaekwondo.org.au/flash/index.html
anybody who wants to become a Protaekwondo instructor or join our organisation, please contact Grandmaster Dosa Kwon (61 2 9597 5373) or Master Boseong Kwon (61 2 432281371). 

We operate instructor courses and Black Belt seminars on a regular basis. If you become a member, we support all round curriculum (punching, kicking, self defense, grappling, meditation, weapons)… Keep updating through instructor seminar. We are open minded martial artists, and directly link to other martial arts associations such as Korea Composite Martial Arts Federation, Global Hapkido Federation, World Bulmudo Association, World X- Impact Federation (MMA organisation based in Korea)

Master Kwon with students

 

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion about the International Taekwondo Federation?

MASTER KWON: Taekwondo is Taekwondo. WTF and ITF have the same root. I understand ITF sparring rules or patterns are different with WTF. In my view it looks similar. I hope for a reunion in the near future to build up strong Taekwondo.

WHITE DRAGON: What are Korean Buddhist martial arts? Can you be specific about how they are trained and what they focus on?

MASTER KWON: The original name the art is 불교금강영관 (kumkangyungkwan), but it is too difficult to pronounce to the general public, so Grandmaster Ando renamed Bulmudo for the promotion of his art.

Master Ando demonstrating Bulmudo

Half of the training is yoga and internal training ( meditation/abdominal breathing) and half is martial arts training. It is a well balanced art (internal energy + physical strength). This is not the competition arts. They believe through harmony of the mind, body, breathing and the healing of body and mind, you can attain true wisdom. The movements are very beautiful. Most of the movements use circular motions. Taekwondo kicking uses a snap, Bulmudo kicking doesn’t use a snap much so it uses a whole body with circular energy based on breathing. It really helps to increase my flexibility and control of Taekwondo kicking short or long range, any angle possible. Personally, I like the meditation side. I do meditation 2-3 hours everyday for healing energy and clearing my mind. The LA Times wrote an article about Buddhist Martial Arts and Grandmaster Ando and can be found at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/26/world/la-fg-korea-fighting-monks-20111226

WHITE DRAGON: How did you learn Hapkido? Was it along side of your Taekwondo training? What is your opinion on the differences between Hapkido and Taekwondo?

MASTER KWON: I was interested to learn Joint manipulation, or pressure point skill. so I studied Hapkido since I was 15 yrs old. Hapkido more uses circular movements more than Taekwondo. When I started Hapkido training, a lot of gyms used circular motions of kicking. Nowadays, Hapkido practitioners use a lot of Taekwondo style kicking, and also a lot of Taekwondo masters teach Hapkido techniques as self defense. The human body is all the same: two hands, two legs. A lot of martial arts share similar techniques with different names. I learned Hapkido to complete my Taekwondo style.

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 KWON: For me, TKD is MMA. Taekwondo practitioners get too obsessed with too many rules and training the sport side of Taekwondo. Martial arts has no rules. We have to practice ground techniques, and punching skills, elbow, knee, head and whatever available weapon; and so I trained all these techniques along with my Taekwondo and teach to my students from the beginning. I like the way of training MMA side, but sometimes it is too violent (ground and pound until unconscious…). I wish for more protection to the player. They can use brutal techniques for life or death situations, not for money or title..

Master Kwon teaching Taekwondo for MMA and fighting

 

WHITE DRAGON: Is Taekwondo a serious, deadly killing system? Yes, or no?

MASTER KWON: If they are training a combative mind, it must be very strong system.

WHITE DRAGON: What was the Taekwondo scene like in Korea when you were growing up? How is training different today in most dojangs compared to then?What is the Australian Taekwondo scene like? 

MASTER KWON: In Korea, Many students train at least 5-6 days per week. Here in Australia one or two times per week is very popular. In Korea, inside the dojang they teach general Taekwondo, and competition players focus training in their school team. But in Australia, inside the dojang, both train as competition players and normal students.

WHITE DRAGON: I notice that you do not wear traditional Taekwondo dobok uniforms in your videos and many of your students simply have the pants and a tank top or t-shirt. How important is tradition within Taekwondo? Some instructors might say that if one is not wearing a dobok then they are not truly doing Taekwondo. How would you respond to that?

MASTER KWON: For teaching respect or manners and encouraging to wearing uniforms…I agree with that. Especially, if you are training traditional Taekwondo, mainly training patterns, or competition kicking. When you practice patterns, wearing a long sleeve uniform is good for protection of the joints. But we practice a lot of realistic hand techniques also. Tank top or t-shirts is good for fixing their posture and developing the striking feeling. As long as students show respect to their art or master, the long sleeve uniform is not a big issue.

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

MASTER KWON: For me, practicing poomsae is respecting its tradition. When a student memorizes whole patterns, and control power and balance, they can feel more confident about something they achieved. That’s why they practice patterns. Not for fighting.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?

MASTER KWON: Not really.

WHITE DRAGON: Who are some Taekwondo masters that inspire you? Do you have heroes in other styles of martial arts as well? Do you have any favorite fighters?

MASTER KWON: I respect grandmaster Hee Il Cho. He is one of the pioneers of Taekowndo. I like his way of training, adopting boxing skills to improve his Taekwondo, his tough conditioning, and traditional way of training. Favorite fighter is Fedor (he knows how to use his weapon, and most of fights, he shows perfect mind control.)

WHITE RAGON: Do you have family involved in Taekwondo or any martial arts? Are they located in Australia as well?

MASTER KWON: Yes, as I mentioned before, my uncle Grandmaster Kwon teaches Protaekwondo in Australia.

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get the idea to join YouTube and begin uploading videos? Do you have any specific future plans with YouTube or video production?

MASTER KWON: Nowadays, WTF Taekwondo has developed as an Olympic sport and pattern performance competition. People think practicing patterns are the martial arts side Taekwondo. But I don’t agree. I just want show to other martial artists how Taekwondo is useful and encourage Taekwondo students to train true martial arts, and how Taekwondo techniques apply for self defense. And I want to show how the Taekwondo style cooperates with other martial arts for its future. That’s why I started with YouTube. In the future, I will be uploading more self defense or grappling, and meditation videos. I also plan to produce videos of all of our official training curriculum.

WHITE DRAGON: What does it take to become an instructor? What qualifications would you suggest? Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own gyms and become full time Taekwondo teachers?

MASTER KWON: When I was a kid, I dreamt about being Interpol, but I have very bad eye sight and can’t see strong lights so I gave up that dream. Since the age of seven I never stopped training martial arts, and I realized I couldn’t live without martial arts. So naturally, I became an instructor and training more and more gave more benefits to me, and I realized there always is a next level… so I am going to achieve my next goal.

Most important thing is the passion and life attitude about martial arts. Instructors have to create positive energy. If they have teaching ability, first aid skills, and moral etiquette they are already at the first stage of becoming an instructor.

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

MASTER KWON: Thank you for the interview and allowing me to introduce myself to the martial arts community through your blog.

WHITE DRAGON: Thank you so much for doing this interview Master Kwon!

MASTER KWON: Good luck with your training!

*More information about Master Boesong Kwon can be found at his school’s website: http://www.premierselfdefence.com/ 

and his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/expertkbs/about

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

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

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

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

 

Taekwondo was proven battle effective in the Vietnam War

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

 

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

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

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

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

A pamphlet at his memorial service in 2009 states:

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

Grandmaster Tae Hong Choi

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

 

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

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

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

 

Go back to Part 1                                                                                                Go on to Part 3

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program.