Posts Tagged ‘hardcore taekwondo’

There Are Other Reasons To Train In Martial Arts Besides Competitive Fighting

        There are all kinds of reasons to train in martial arts besides competitive fighting. In the old days of Karate nobody was concerned with sport fighting or winning points. The Okinawans and Japanese only cared about fighting in general and staying alive. Likewise, in Taekwondo’s infancy nobody was thinking about how they can create a popular sport, but how to promote a Korean way of fighting more perfect than Karate itself.

Besides fighting in general and self defense martial arts in my opinion are the ultimate fitness and health activities anyone can do. It is better than dancing, better than gymnastics, and better than just lifting weights alone. Martial arts combine everything into one. Movement of the joints in various ways, moving the body in every possible way it can move, and development of serious cardio and blood circulation. Martial arts also offer healing by strengthening the body and systems of the body. Many martial artists, including myself age pretty well. We look younger and are more fit than average people. We can last longer and have a better quality of life. On top of this is of course our self defense skills that will keep us alive longer if we are attacked. Martial arts are ultimate self preservation.

Martial arts help mental health by inducing stress relief, intense focus of the mind with forms and meditation, coordination skills, and give enjoyment and pleasure to practitioners. It keeps people busy who otherwise might be bored if they did not know a martial art style. Traditional martial arts also offer great ways for solo training such as forms that can be performed anywhere which also sharpen the mind and develop masterful techniques.

Of course with anything, martial arts also provides a way for a competitive spirit. Competition is a way to test skills and see how someone holds up with another human being. Combat sports are always there for people to participate in but are not the main goal. There are ways to compete inside the dojo with friends without entering huge tournaments or serious combat sports such as full contact kickboxing and MMA. But even so some people want to participate in MMA and see how they do. That is fine, but it should not be the sole purpose of a life long martial artist. There is so more more you can do and the toll that MMA and full contact fighting events takes on the body can be a negative force in your personal martial arts journey. There is a time to retire and a time to understand to take training slow because of injuries. Over the years your body will wear down immensely and basic martial arts skills will suffer. The nature of MMA is hurting another and avoiding being hurt. It is impossible to not get hurt yourself as every fight you will get hit. Over time it can cause brain damage and serious joint injuries and arthritis. I believe it is possible to regress physically and regress as a martial artist with too much combat participation.

Frank Mir, ex-UFC heavy weight champion mentions very profound things about MMA:

Almost everybody at the UFC level can fight through an injury. We’re all hurt by the time the fight comes. I’m starting camps off with the injuries that I haven’t properly addressed and that’s affecting the way I train, movements we’re using and what we can do on a certain day. I’ve got Forrest Griffin making jokes about it like, ‘It’s time to retire when I train like Mir.’ I’m like, ‘what are you saying?’ He’s like, ‘Well you walk in the gym, what doesn’t hurt?’ So I was like, ‘well, you’re right.’ So I was like, let me take time off, address these issues and train healthy – relatively speaking for what we do in our sport – then I’ll keep fighting. But it’s to the point where I’m only 35-years-old and you know, the quality of life. I’d like to play a pickup game of baseball with my kids…So that’s kind of the decisions and why I did what I did.”

Frank Mir understands that having a high quality of life is important, not just for himself, but for his family. It is a fact that someone who trains hard in a martial art style who does not have injuries or brain damage can train harder and better than someone who has such injuries.

If someone only participated in a minimal level of combat sports, or none at all except dojang training, he possibly will have better technique, better health, better cardio, better power and proper body mechanics than an old retired MMA fighter with 50+ fights. In self defense who will do better at this point? Obviously combat experience is important to factor in, but with enough combat training in a dojang or dojo a person can still master a martial art and effectively win a street fight. He can also train in martial arts longer during his life and benefit his martial arts style and community longer than someone who has too many injuries.

Being a life long martial artist also has the duty of promoting that martial art, teaching it to new students, developing new techniques and keeping the art alive. I often find it strange many MMA fighters who retire have nothing much to do with teaching martial arts or starting a martial arts gym business afterward. Some simply just do other things and walk away. Even professional boxes. I don’t see Mike Tyson running a gym or promoting his boxing to new generations. Maybe he does in a way that I do not know, but he is basically in movies, doing 1 man Broadway shows, developing an animated TV show, writing books etc. But he is not being a boxing instructor. The professional fight scene seems to exist for personal glory more than enjoying a martial arts community and making training and practice a life long journey. There is no end to training and practice for a Taekwondoin. We will go until we are 100 years old until we die. We should be teaching and passing on concepts and martial arts to new and younger people.

Benson Henderson said it best after his fight with Nick Diaz in 2012 when he claimed there is more to life than fighting. He said,

Fighting’s cool. I love this guys, thank you guys for all of the support. Seattle, I love you, but fighting is just a small part. There’s a lot more to life, guys. There’s a lot more to life. Hug on your loved ones, cherish them. These moments we have together, they’re a lot shorter than you think.

Simply just to fight in a sport, I believe, is not the sole reason to train in martial arts. Living life and enjoying other things is important too and martial arts themselves, even without competition, help a person achieve a higher quality of life than if one was not training in them. There is much benefit also for people who train without fighting.

There is a current and ignorant trend that says the only reason to train in any martial art is if you compete. If you do not compete you are somehow a deficient martial artist and doing something that is pointless. Also, you are not a real fighter. This is bogus. Anyone who trains in a combat art with the intention of fully embracing it’s self defense aspects while enjoying its other benefits is literally a fighter in their being. The attitude of a fighter is not only displayed in combat sports or street fighting. Does a soldier in the military only become a soldier when fighting in a war? What about during times of peace? Are they not real soldiers unless they become combat veterans? That would be absurd. Of course they are still soldiers. Someone who trains to be a soldier is a soldier whether or not they ever fight in a war their entire life. A martial artist is likewise a fighter whether or not they literally fight people in combat or self defense or not. The fact is they are seriously training.

There are many good reasons to train in martial arts besides competitive fighting and they are just as valid as one who has a quest for MMA glory. I plan to teach Taekwondo and practice it for the rest of my life. I also plan to train in other styles as well until I can no longer do it. I plan to always be involved in the martial arts world through teaching, promoting, and training. Too many injuries from too much heavy sparring is detrimental to a martial arts lifestyle, but it is necessary to train with sparring to truly encompass the full range of martial arts perfection. It all depends on your attitude. There is nothing wrong with MMA, but trendy MMA hipster culture is full of ignorant people who have never learned what being a true martial artist is. A few intelligent fighters do understand this as well as MMA students, but the popular trendy culture surrounding it needs to be ignored while true martial artists become masters and perfect technique into old age and never quit.

 

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Taekwondo Stone Hands Conditioning

        If you are going to be a serious Taekwondoin you should condition your hands and make them hard so you can punch things without breaking your hand as easy. Karate guys do, and real Taekwondo masters always have done it. The mcdojangization of Taekwondo has nearly made this type of training obsolete. Let’s bring it back! It is a black belt requirement in my program! If you do not have a makiwara try these methods in these convenient videos below! Enjoy!

Train hard! Tae Kwon Do! Hopefully you will be able to punch people’s skulls without damaging your hands! Enjoy punching people in the face!

Taekwondo Is A Serious Deadly Killing System

*Authored by White Dragon

        Taekwondo is not a sport, as Mr. Simmons from the movie “Foot Fist Way’ would say, “Taekwondo is a serious deadly killing system and probably the best of all martial arts.” The latter of that statement is debatable, but the first part of that memorable quote is true and always has been true. Taekwondo actually is a deadly serious killing system. Most Taekwondo practitioners today do not realize the deep history Taekwondo has had in warfare. Taekwondo was given the ultimate proving ground for legitimacy that any Martial Art system could ask for, war. Taekwondo was used in the Vietnam War. Korean ROK Marines also taught this style to U.S. Special Forces soldiers and also South Vietnam Soldiers during that war. The U.S. military adopted Taekwondo for its Special Forces training along with Karate. Taekwondo techniques were added into U.S. Military Martial Arts programs because of the styles effectiveness.

Taekwondo warriors training to kill in their black belts on a military base in Vietnam

After Taekwondo was formed in 1955 about a decade later the Vietnam War took place and Korea entered into it. They along with U.S. soldiers fought against the communist regime of the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong guerrillas. Taekwondo was given opportunity to not only prove existing techniques work for killing in war, but also develop more techniques for use on the battlefield. The military division that was known for hardcore Taekwondo was the elite Tiger Division, and to a lesser extent the White Horse Division which was larger and had Taekwondo fighters but were not elite troops. Taekwondo combat was used for hand to hand fighting in various situations when soldiers did not have guns or were in close quarters situations. One such type of situation was when Viet Cong would hide in bunkers and the Korean Marines did not have heavy weapons to blow them up. They would charge in there fighting with Taekwondo techniques and bayonets. They were known to cave in ribs, snap necks, choke people to death, and use bone crushing strikes with conditioned fists and feet, along with stabbing people to death.

The military branch of Taekwondo was the Oh Do Kwan led by General Choi at the time. He taught the Korean military Taekwondo and the Tiger Division came from that kwan. The Korean Taekwondo Association at the time and had since given General Choi the permission to start his own, seperate, and unaffiliated branch of Taekwondo in his International Taekwon-Do Federation which left the KTA. The KTA remained and eventually fully entered into the Kukkiwon and is a World Taekwondo Federation national member today. While the ITF was their own separate entity and was based in Canada. So since Vietnam, some soldiers went into the ITF, but the official military kwan, the Oh Do Kwan, remained with the KTA and was absorbed, as the rest of the kwans were, into the Kukkiwon. The Vietnam War is part of Kukki-Taekwondo’s history and Tiger Division is part of the true linage of Taekwondo.

During the Vietnam war Captain Yoon, who was only a 3rd dan black belt, was the leader of the Tiger Division and a serious badass. Only 4 other instructors in this military unit were 4th dan black belts while he only had 3rd dan. This shows that dan ranking meant something really important in the old days. If you had a black belt you were a serious fighter and no one to mess with. A solid dan rank such as 3rd dan meant you were even more deadly. 4th dan has always been considered a high dan rank and qualifies a person as a master. Unfortunately, now days dan ranks pretty much are ambiguous and do not necessarily mean anyone is capable of fighting well, but they are supposed to. Even so, Captain Yoon being a 3rd dan and being the Captain of the Tiger Division speaks a lot about the hardcore fighting ability of 1960’s Taekwondo fighters.

Training to defend and kill

Korean Taekwondo Marines practice sparring, rifle against empty hand

Captain Yoon emphasized training on the makiwara, an Okinawan Karate training device that toughens the fist. Striking the surface of this object conditions the knuckles so the bones dense up in order to strike with extreme power without injury. It also deadens the nerves to pain. The proper fist alignment from the chambered position also strengthens the wrist for impact as the makiwara gives slightly when struck. Hitting this tough surface that slightly gives (though not very much) develops a powerful punch in the trainee. The Tiger Division base camp had makiwaras all over camp so soldiers could strike them and practice. They also hit sand bags, that were used to line up the walls near machine gun turrets for protection, as striking objects all around the base. It is very rare now days to find a Taekwondo dojang with a makiwara in it. Some dojangs don’t even have a heavy bag to kick. This is a bad thing as fist and shin conditioning is vital to using Taekwondo punching and kicking for self defense. The focus on sport sparring and demo teams has brought a lack of black belts with conditioned fists. Even without makiwaras there are other ways to condition the fists with other objects. There really is no excuse to be a black belt and have weak fists. Many Taekwondo black belts today who do not train for “killing” or self defense will break their hands when striking someone’s head.

Captain Yoon, a 3rd dan black belt, and leader of the Tiger Division striking a makiwara on base

Taekwondo makiwara training on base

Apparently, the Tiger Taekwondo warriors walked around on base in their doboks doing all of their duties. They only wore field gear and military fatigues when they went out on missions. They even had a dobok inspection when reporting for training. They had to have clean uniforms just like any military uniform. The dobok was considered a military training uniform for this division. That is something more taekwondoin should understand, that their uniform is just as important as a military uniform, and should be respected just as much. It was once said by a Taekwondo grandmaster that “the only difference between Taekwondo and the military is the uniform” obviously applying it to civilian taekwondoin today. Notice that back then in the 1960’s in Vietnam the dobok was still in the Japanese, Karate-gi style. Very slick.

Taekwondo demonstration on base

Reporting for duty in our nice clean doboks sir!

The military base’s dojang with hard wood planks for a floor

The Tiger Division patch for their Taekwondo uniform

Color patch for their military field uniform

Taekwondo soldiers often taught the Vietnamese civilians self defense to protect themselves from communist terrorists

When someone mentions the words “tiger” and “taekwondo” in the same sentence most people will automatically think “The Korean Tigers.” The Korean Tigers demo team that dresses up like b-boyz and dances gangnam style. The same silly group that cares more about their haircuts than fighting who do gynmastics demos in black belts and silly fantasy movie fight scenes. Hopefully people who read this article and look more into the history of the Tiger Division and read up on them will now think about badass, elite, Taekwondo warriors who could cave in rib cages and snap necks and who fought against the evils of communist terrorists.

Now you know some very interesting history that should give pride to every Taekwondoin out there. Hopefully, now, many Taekwonoin will understand the serious nature of Taekwondo; the fact that it is meant for self defense and is also a deadly serious killing system and should be respected and used properly. This mindset will only benefit future Taekwondo fighters.

*Most of these photos were originally from an old Black Belt Magazine article featuring the Tiger Division (taken from the Kidokwan blog), some were taken from other Vietnam history websites. 

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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.