Posts Tagged ‘korean masters’

Positive Reinforcement Psychology Used To Lie To Dumb Foreigners About Their Taekwondo High Master Skills

        People do alot of weird things in martial arts and Taekwondo has a lot. Some people do weird promotion testings with overly sentimental nonsense to act like something people are doing is profound and spiritual and just so….deep….so amazing! The following is part 1 in a series of videos showing a promotion test of some ITF off shoot group in Iowa.

I think that it is obvious that when a person thinks about 8th or 9th degree GRANDMASTERS of Taekwondo that their skill is impressive, amazing, and deadly. After all it would mean they have trained in Taekwondo their ENTIRE lives and have had probably 30 or more years of training. One would HAVE to be good right? WRONG!

Apparently, these guys are now 8th and 9th degree black belts. Don’t give me any bullcrap that their age is a factor in why they are not clean or accurate in movements. Yes people get old and have arthritis but many old men who have high ranks in martial arts can still move really good and do poomsae well. Not only poomsae but break boards well too and even fight. I think their instructor failed them and collected a lot of promotion testing fees this day.

They arrive in the back of a freaking pickup truck all close together like a real brotherhood! Positive psychology technique! Then they get out to a huge applause to so many people. Then get to bestow the virtues of Taekwondo and their amazing training and how Taekwondo saved their souls basically…then there is the weird performance of tul and some bastardied versions of Pal Gwe and WTF black belt poomsae mixed in.

There are about 5 parts to the video and the above is just part 1. The end of this video has such a silly thing, COUPLES POOMSAE! Yes a married couple created a romantic poomsae and get to perform it like a dance. And yes everyone there took it seriously and fawned at how cute and wonderful and meaningful it was.

In other parts of the series of videos you seem board breaking mess ups with guys trying things that are too hard for them only having to resort to easier techniques.

This is NOT the Taekwondo I teach or expect to be taught to people and I would never want to receive a high rank from anyone if I moved like them. Nothing in these videos looks crisp, beautiful, or interesting. It looks like a large mess of spazzing bodies too close in proximity to teach other. The sparring was also no touch contact and looked like nobody was even trying and being lazy.

I bet some old kwon group member will try to sculd me for stating what is observably obvious to anyone watching this promotion test on youtube and how I am not a real master because I criticize someone or ask questions. I don’t really care anymore. I don’t need to suck up to people who’s only claim of importance are political connections or a knowledge of General Choi history. What is interesting is in the last part there are some speeches and you can see that Vitale guy, the white guy who is an ITF and General Choi apologist and North Korean sympathizer who writes Taekwondo Times magazines showing his approval by being on the judges board of this testing.

The graduation ceremony was weird too with excessive deep bowing over and over and wearing some kind of hanbok flowing robes.

I think the grandmaster loves making foreigners bow to him a lot. I bet they had to pay for their Korean robes and they probably cost a lot and he made a huge profit.

Nowhere in Korea do people do this when earning dan ranks. It is a bit strange. This is so awkward and cringeworthy. The American’s clumsily go through the ceremony unsure of what the Korean grandmaster wants them to do. And then a silly oath is taken. “We are the highest levels of Taekwondo…” this seems cultlike, promising to attend class etc. Then they give personal accounts through small speeches about the virues of master Jung and Taekwondo and how he saved them. I think these people do not have much experience training outside this one dojang their entire lives. Being a black belt and 9th dan black belt is super important and serious.

What do you think of this? Do you find it weird or cringy? Or are you offended by this article? Discuss below!

Is Taekwondo A Respected Martial Art In Korea?

        We all know Taekwondo does not get much respected around the world, but what about inside Korea? Do Koreans themselves respect their country’s #1 martial art style? I just want to give some quick thoughts during my time in Korea and to update a bit on what I have been doing.

        The truth is Taekwondo is not really respected in Korea and 90% of Koreans do not take it seriously or think it i an effective fighting system. I have talked to many adult Koreans about this and they all think Taekwondo is pointless or unimportant. When Korea itself has a lack of love for their nations national fighting art we know Taekwondo is in bad shape. Most adults will take up boxing or Jiujitsu instead of Taekwondo. Heck, hardly any even do Hapkido either. Taekwondo is seen as a child’s exercise. It is something for the moms to drop their kids off after school between going to hagwons (private academies for extra studying). A large amount of Korean kids are pushed to study school subjects all day even to late hours in the night. This gives kids an hour or less basically to do some physical activity. Most Taekwondo classes consist of kids jumping rope to kpop, techno, and hip hop music for at least 15 minutes. This gives the sabum much time to waste in his or her office where he gets paid to not teach anything. After they waste time jumping rope they may go over some punches or blocks and a few kicks. After that they may play a game with a ball or sit around and waste time. Even the people who claim to be real true martial arts masters of the Kukkiwon seem to do this. They literally teach the children for about 20 minutes total each class. The rest is spent jumping rope, sitting around for a “break” (oh they must be soooooo tired after all that lazy rope skipping in the mirror and talking they just did) and playing games like soccer or something. It seems like a necessity for every Taekwondo master to own a bouncy castle which they set up from time to time on occasions. I saw this with my own eyes.

        There are hardly any adults who actually train in Taekwondo seriously. The rest just casually do it for working out and never want to make any kind of body contact. They do not want to one step spar, practice hoshinsool or do any kyureugi. The serious adults who like martial arts will end up training in something real like MMA. The most popular martial art in Korea by far right now is not Taekwondo. It is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After that comes MMA or boxing.

        There are teenagers and young adults who do Taekwondo as a demonstration for theatrical performance art. These black belts and masters specialize in acrobatics and dancing. They are not strong. There is an extreme lack of strong people in Taekwondo. People who have power and abilities for fighting. I talked to a Korean who practiced Kyokushin Karate and was a 2nd dan and he expressed a lot of anger about Taekwondo. There is a bitterness and frustration to many Koreans who like true martial arts about Taekwondo. He told me that the old masters of Taekwondo are very concerned that there are no longer any strong black belts in Taekwondo and they are all weak.

        Many older people I talked to about martial arts in my English classes were confused as to why I came to Korea to learn “real Taekwondo.” I now understand why as even I have become confused as to why I made this journey. Well I am not actually confused, I am just disappointed. Anything I came here to learn about “actual fighting” has never came about. I had to join MMA to actually learn combat. Anything I learned in Korea could have been learned in the United States. I could have found a Kukkiwon master who knows the current KTA standards in the USA instead of coming all the way to Korea. In Korea all that seems to be taught is poomsae half assed, and many repititions of moves in a mirror which I could have done by myself at home and not paid money for.

        Koreans know the truth. Taekwondo is not being taught for realistic fighting. The few masters who care about this have no power to change anything or simply do not care. The leaders of Taekwondo have no vision and are more concerned with money and spreading Korean culture worldwide and making Taekwondo into some corporate club for Korean nationalism that has nothing to do with fighting. In fact the culture of Korea you learn in Taekwondo or through dojangs and memberships or tournaments is not actual Korean culture. To really learn Korean culture you must live here for awhile and understand Korea is a cold and bitter place more often than not. If you want to learn Korean culture then learn Korean culture. If you want to learn martial arts you must study fighting. Taekwondo does not have enough fighting study in the dojangs around the world, especially in Korea. It is simply a way to make money for young masters who have dreams of running large Korean daycare centers that teach kids to kick things sometimes. This is really a shame.

        One that I feel sad about is the lack of Kukkiwon fighters. Where are our fighting champions who will prove this art is real? All we have are the latest Olympic champions of WTF sparring that absolutely nobody cares about outside of WTF Taekwondo. Ask people who Steven Lopez is. Nobody knows or gives a crap. And most certainly the average Korean has no clue who he is either. Korean kids and teenagers know who soccer players and baseball players are. Not who is a Taekwondo master who has accomplished anything.

        I have since walked away from my dojang in Korea and dedicated the rest of my Korean training in MMA from my Korean MMA and Jijitsu instructor who actually teaches me how to fight. The rest of my Taekwondo time in Korea will be spent studying and learning in the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor Course and watching the World Hanmadang. I could not compete in the Hanmadang because the website was too dang confusing and by the time I tried to sign up it was past the registration date. Oh well.

        Taekwondo is respected in Korea only as some cultural heritage Koreans do as kids, or to show off demonstrations and eventually become kpop dance stars. Other than that nobody cares. The martial arts enthusiasts here simply do not care about Taekwondo very much. The few who do, the fighters who do MMA, the old masters, simply do not have enough power or influence to change this or they are simply keeping their mouths shut and allowing all of this nonsense to happen because of some cultural reason westerners do not understand. Why would old masters not talk about the problems of Taekwondo today and why do they all all of the stupid things such as Taekwon-dancing, and Olympic leg fencing to go on? Do they not realize the loss of popularity Taekwondo has suffered and the authoritative influence of the Kukkiwon is waning in foreign lands? Even with these problems I still fully 100% support the Kukkiwon as the authoritative organization of Taekwondo, to give rank and the historic linage of Taekwondo unifying through it. It seems it may take foreigners like me to openly talk about this and try to influence Koreans to start making Taekwondo a respected self defense system that actually works, and a fighting system. I hope more people start talking which will influence Koreans to openly talk and make a change. There are far too many lazy instructors who don’t care and half ass teach their students, and many corporate white collar types trying to make money. They need new leadership.

Taekwondo Is Not Karate, Taekwondo Is Karate, Karate Is Not Taekwondo, Karate Is Taekwondo

*Authored by White Dragon.

        Taekwondo is a Korean martial art system with its own name, own ranking structure, chosen techniques, and its own style. Taekwondo came from various influences of martial arts with the most heavy influence being from Japanese Karate. In this way Taekwondo is not Karate, yet Taekwondo is Karate. But one point that needs to be made: It is time to stop advertising Taekwondo schools with the word Karate and stop trying to make it synonymous with Karate.

        Some examples of this issue is how people now talk, “Oh my son is at Karate he will be done at 3.” But in reality you drive by and the gym is a Taekwondo gym with Korean flags everywhere. How often do Karate gyms that actually teach Japanese or Okinawan Karate claim to teach Taekwondo? Not many if any at all. So why do so many Taekwondo organizations advertise with Karate and use Japanese terms for everything like, “Sensei” and “gi.” This is annoying. These are signs of mcdojangism and a fake Taekwondo style that has absolutely no historical significance to Korea or proper Taekwondo.

Some ATA Taekwondo guy puts these posters up around my neighborhood. Bully prevention and leadership skills from Karate training huh? Except for the fact it's not Karate. Heck it isn't even really Taekwondo!

Some ATA Taekwondo guy puts these posters up around my neighborhood. Bully prevention and leadership skills from Karate training huh? Except for the fact it’s not Karate. Heck it isn’t even really Taekwondo!

        Early on in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s many legitimate Taekwondo masters did advertise using Karate. On very old gyms one can still see traces of this with old rusty signs and old paint on rooftops that say “Karate” in big, bold lettering. The reason many Korean grandmasters used the word Karate was because the word Taekwondo was not known to the average person who would have no clue what a Taekwondo gym is. Since taekwondo is obviously linked to Karate many masters saw it necessary to use Karate when advertising or making a sign in order to let people know “Yes, this is a school where you learn to fight in an Asian way.” The average American did not understand the difference between Karate and other fighting styles and once they got into the gym they did realize they were learning Taekwondo. Back then there was leeway for this method of advertising for Korean martial arts and I believe it was okay to use the term Karate. But not anymore!

        The year is 2014 and it is time to move on and stop using the term Karate for Taekwondo gyms! In the late 80’s and early 90’s Taekwondo at that point became the world’s most popular martial art and still maintains an extremely high degree of popularity worldwide. There are Taekwondo gyms with Korean flags in every town. People know the difference between Karate and Taekwondo now. The Taekwondo masters have had over 2 decades to educate the ignorant public about Taekwondo as its own style and there is no excuse to keep using the term Karate. Not only does using the term Karate piss off actual Karate masters and Karate school owners and takes away from their Japanese and Okinawan arts, it also disgraces Taekwondo by portraying the idea that one must hide the term Taekwondo, or that one is actually training in Taekwondo in order to look better to the public. It is as if Taekwondo gyms are admitting Karate is superior to Taekwondo and they wish they were Karate. It is offensive to the martial artist who loves Taekwondo and should also offend Korean masters who worked hard to get Taekwondo spread worldwide. Did they do this in order to pretend they were a Japanese style? No way! Korean nationalism does not allow for this!

        Yes Taekwondo could be said to be a kind of Karate and was known as Korean Karate for a very long time. One of its predecessor styles called Tang Soo Do which literally was Korean Karate with the exact same forms and movements as Karate does exist, but Taekwondo is far beyond just being a Karate style and has totally developed into its own unique style with its own theories and applications. It is time to just call it Taekwondo. Yes Taekwondo is Karate, yet Taekwondo is not Karate. Taekwondo is Taekwondo and has progressed beyond Karate even if they use a belt system and uniforms much like Karate fighters. Mcdojangs have got to stop using the word Karate on all of their advertising. Both the ATA and Tiger Rock are notorious for committing this crime, yet they are not even real taekwondo anyway so it is not crazy to understand such fake systems would use incorrect terms,  but I have seen actual Kukkiwon gyms and ITF gyms still using the word Karate. Now if this was from decades earlier and it is too expensive to change a sign I understand, but not in current advertising please!

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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.