Posts Tagged ‘Krav Maga’

Interview With Master Dong-Hee Lee

 

        When you see a Taekwondo master from Korea demonstrating Taekwondo techniques from poomsae in plausible self defense maneuvers it really motivates the Taekwondo fighter in me. It pumps me up and inspires me to keep developing combat techniques and believing in Taekwondo. Master Dong-Hee Lee is such a master and I found his videos on YouTube recently. I do not believe his channel has many views and he seems to be rarely known. I want to change this and introduce him to my readers so more and more people will see his execution of techniques and fighting concepts and believe that Taekwondo is a fighting art, not simply a sport or performance art. His channel deserves a lot of views so please make sure to check it out and subscribe to his channel.

 


Dong Hee Lee self defense concepts

        I was able to interview master Lee over e-mail. He is a very approachable person and responds to messages and was excited to do this interview. Translation was difficult since I do not speak Korean and he does not speak English fluently yet, but we managed to make it work. I hope you all enjoy it and learn more about this interesting man.

 

Interview:

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: Nice to meet you, my name is Dong-hee Lee. I was born in South Korea in 1988. 

 

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 LEE: I started Taekwondo when I was 5 years old. At that time almost every kid had to go to Taekwondo, even now. I was one of those kids, but unlike the ones who do it because they “have to,” in my case, I started training because I always had envied strength and martial arts. Even now I continue my Taekwondo training and have graduated from Kyunghee University as a Taekwondo major. In other words, I have been training for 23 years in total.
For Taekwondo, I had been taught by a world championship gold medalist teacher (sabum), under his guidance as a sparring athlete for 8 years. Also, I was a poomsae athlete and demonstration performer on the Korean Tigers demo team. 
In between, I’ve also learned Judo and Karate for a bit. After I’ve grown to be an adult I have been trained as an MMA athlete under the guidance of the best Korean Muay Thai athlete, and worldwide Muay Thai fighter Chi-Bin Im. 
Also, I’ve practiced Korea’s traditional martial art (mudo) which is called Hyeondongmu. It is a martial art that incorporates the use of ki.
Not long ago, I had also achieved the instructor certificate for Systema, which is a Russian bodyguard martial art, and Krav Maga as well, which is an Israeli bodyguard martial art. 
The person who taught me Systema in Korea was D.K Yoo (Dae-Kyeong Yoo). he had not only covered Systema but also Boxing. All sorts of Chinese martial arts and weapon martial arts which he had also taught me. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?
 
MASTER LEE: When I was a poomsae athlete I had won a lot of gold medals. In 2006 I was nominated by the Korea Taekwondo Association as rank no.1 of poomsae out of all elementary, middle school, high school students, and adult players. 
Before in 2004 I won 1st place in the Korea Open World Poomsae Championship. 
In Taekwondo I am ranked 5th dan under the Kukkiwon and as for Systema and Krav Maga, I have obtained instructor qualifications for both. I also have Kickboxing certification of Muay Thai/K-1 Instructor from WAKO Korea. 
During my time as a martial art athlete, my record for Muay Thai was 3 victory, 1 draw with 2 KO’s out of 4 matches. 

Taekwondo victory after Muay Thai fight.

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: I’ve entered Kyung Hee University located in South Korea in 2007 as a Taekwondo major and have graduated this year. The very first Taekwondo major that has been created.
I had made a club on actual combat and had been instructing for a few years and also let my club mates take part in games.
I currently don’t own my own dojang but I’m planning to next year.
If I get to own my dojang I would like to teach mainly adults on actual Taekwondo that can compete against any other martial arts. 

Kickboxing practice

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 LEE: When I was living in South America a few years ago I ran into two black robbers. I chased them away by kicking them in the private spot. But if they had weapons it would have been hard. Luckily for me they didn’t. 
I myself am not of the personality who likes random fighting, so whenever someone tries to provoke me I usually apologize first to avoid a fight. Most situations there is almost no chance for me to get into a fight. People in Korea say that maybe it’s because I have quite a huge physique and my fierce looks. 
When I was a martial art athlete I had a lot of fights myself and most of the time Taekwondo had been a great help. Recently, I had trained a few martial art athletes and had sent them to participate in matches.

WHITE DRAGON: Why were you living in South America?

MASTER LEE: I was in Ecuador doing volunteer work for 2 years. I was teaching Taekwondo to the people there. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: Is taekwondo a dangerous system used for killing?

 

MASTER LEE: All martial arts contain the system for killing and giving great injuries to opponents. It is just as well with Taekwondo. Most people (including taekwondoin) don’t really know it, but deadly skills do exist in Taekwondo. However the purpose for all martial arts are not specifically for killing people, but defending yourself.

 

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?

 

MASTER LEE: I feel that children in the recent era are really blessed. They can learn whatever they want. It was different for me when I was a kid. At that time even the internet wasn’t as well developed as it is right now. Nowadays, kids have to learn everything that they can learn. The current dojang of Korea have become more focused on physical education and recreation for kids, but I believe the trend will change to martial arts dojang for adults.
Back in the day most of the dojangs had armed us with strong training and discipline for our body and heart. But nowadays most dojangs don’t train students as it was before.

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 it true?

MASTER LEE: I think that Taekwondo has lost a lot of its combative nature. To be exact, a lot of its nature has been latent. On the other hand, Taekwondo sparring has been developed a lot and by itself it is very combative and a very effective combat style. However, Taekwondo contains more techniques that need the application of the whole body.
If such skills become revived I believe Taekwondo will be a stronger martial art.

Dong Hee Lee

 
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 LEE: Adding in dance or other elements to Taekwondo can be said to be as entertainment. It is another trend to the Korean culture itself. I think the Korean Tigers had done a great job in promoting and making Taekwondo famous around the world. It is a bit sad that the actual combat style of Taekwondo couldn’t be introduced, but it is the truth that they have contributed to making the name Taekwondo as well-known as it is now. But for people who don’t really know, they may carry doubt or misunderstandings towards the sport and style itself.
Such traditional taekwondoin must put forth an effort to display this. Tony Jaa is a Thailand action movie star who was cast in the movie “The Protector” and other Muay Thai movies. He has added acrobatic moves to the martial art for movie fight scenes. Even so, nobody will say that Muay Thai is weak in actual combat. This is because Muay Thai has already been recognized for its veracity in many MMA matches. 
As for Taekwondo, its veracity hasn’t been recognized much foreignly, so by the adding of acrobatics, dance moves, and entertainment elements, such as how the Korean Tiger’s display Taekwondo, it easily produces misunderstandings of the martial art. Therefore, I think of it as a cultural aspect of Korea and we have to keep the idea of “taekwondo-dance” in such a light for what it is, but at the same time we have to focus more on the traditional values and martial art (mudo) side of Taekwondo itself.

Practicing for a demo

WHITE DRAGON: What was it like touring with the Korean Tigers? What kinds of performances did you do? How is their martial arts philosophy as a whole compared to you individually? 

MASTER LEE: I was a Korean Tiger member for 4 years. I never did Taekwondo dancing. I focused mainly on kicking such as kyuk pa and poomsae techniques. Their philosophy is just about performance art and not actual martial arts. For me, my philosophy is about martial arts and not the same as theirs. During my time with the K-Tigers I was able to visit several countries such as China, India, Qatar just to name a few. It was a fun experience but I decided I really want true martial arts and to further Taekwondo as a martial art which is different from their focus on performance art. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the International Taekwon-Do Federation?

 

MASTER LEE: I think the International Taekwon-Do Federation itself is a magnificent fraction of Taekwondo. Especially, the fundamentals of ‘sign wave’ is special and remarkable. 

K-Tiger’s promotional photo

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

 

MASTER LEE: By strengthening your body and mind it can bring help to one’s livelihood. It gives you confidence and can let you protect yourself and the people around you. Also, it deepens the understanding of other’s pain, since pain accompanies through the process of training in a martial art. Anyhow, I believe through training it secretly influences others and gives out good influence. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: Who are some Taekwondo masters that inspire you? Also, do you have heroes in other styles of martial arts as well?

 

MASTER LEE: I respect all of my teachers who have taught me since I was inspired by all of them. They have taught me different martial arts throughout my life.

 

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 LEE: At first the person must have good skills. There must always be something to teach. They must also have leadership skills in order to forward the things that one wants to teach. Not just that but during the process in transmitting skills the teacher must have a personality that other people can respect. However, I currently don’t operate any dojang so it is hard for me to give any tips to other masters.

 

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 LEE: The idea of making filming a video just popped up one day so I uploaded it onto YouTube. I’m planning to keep uploading videos of my skill system of techniques and poomsae interpretations and application, etc. 
In Korea I have already uploaded through blogs and stuff, especially the response on Facebook was really good. 

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: Poomsae was a gift that was given to me. Through poomsae competitions I could ultimately increase my ego in Korea and throughout the world. However as an aspect of my philosophy it wasn’t important. It only was a great help for training to master techniques and control the body and mind.

 

A focused Lee preparing before a poomsae event back in his high school days.

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?
 
MASTER LEE: After my 8 years as a Taekwondo athlete I don’t especially enjoy it any more. 

Tying a student’s glove for kickboxing training

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!
 
MASTER LEE: Thank you for such an opportunity to give me the chance to have such an interview. I’m really grateful for your interest in me.  

*For more information on Master Dong Hee Lee you can visit his YouTube channel:
Be sure to subscribe!
And his Facebook page:
Advertisements

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (part 3)

 

III. Taekwondo is not inferior to modern RBSD programs

 

A punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, and a throw is a throw. There is no difference between a Taekwondo punch and a RBSD punch. It is the same. There is nothing new really being said in RBSD circles that has not been stressed within traditional martial arts circles already.

 

Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer

Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer, plus the focus on mastering technique and dedication to hard training makes a practitioner more able to defend themselves. It is often said Taekwondo is not effective for self defense and that the techniques are outdated and inefficient. The truth is that any technique an RBSD

program uses is already in Taekwondo. What RBSD programs do is claim all traditional martial arts are slow, ineffective, and would cause the student to be forced to learn 100’s of moves which is “too difficult, a waste of time, and out dated.” Hypocritically though, the founders of such RBSD systems will list their credentials for knowing how to teach self defense which most always consist of traditional martial arts styles. Take for example, “Urban Protective Solutions” founded by a husband who uses his wife to advertise that he,

 “…took his 25 years of martial arts, Commando krav maga (sic), ken po (sic), and brazilian jujitsu (sic), and simplified it to a woman’s needs” (evenbrite.com)                                                     

Also, she states, “This is not some complicated course where you have to learn hundreds of moves” (eventbrite.com).

There is nothing unique about this RBSD elbow strike compared to a Taekwondo elbow strike

So, someone who thinks martial arts are too hard to learn for average women and are a waste of time to focus on has hypocritically listed that it is important for us to know he did 25 years of traditional martial arts training prior. Now with all of the styles he listed it would be impossible within that time frame to master them all at the same time. So that shows it is apparent he is probably not an instructor or master of any of these styles and has thus, proclaimed he is now the instructor of his own made up system that is somehow better than his 25 years of training.

          

This Taekwondo elbow strike is the same technique as above

It leaves one to ask why he didn’t just quit all of the martial arts after he learned the very few, easy to memorize, techniques in his current system. It is also apparent that his wife, or he, cannot spell the names of such martial arts styles correctly such as “Kenpo,” “Commando Krav Maga,” and “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.” If one was a master or advanced in a style it would seem obvious he would know how to spell the names of the styles he trained in correctly and not advertise with such errors. Besides this, Commando Krav Maga is a fraudulent organization and the founder, Moni Aizik, was sued in a multi-million dollar lawsuit by the true founders of legitimate Krav Maga (an Israeli RBSD system). Jamic (2014) claims,

“Moni Aizik and Commando Krava Maga AKA Combat Survival have finally been served with our large class action lawsuit for fraud, misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, fraudulent inducement, or tortious interference with business.” (pressabout.com)

This is a common problem with a lot of RBSD systems, many are founded on false concepts and groups who are fraudulent or embellish their credentials.

 

It is a myth that you do not have to learn a lot of techniques

No matter what style of martial arts you train in you are going to have to learn a lot of techniques to be effective at defending yourself. This is true even with RBSD styles. The claim you do not have to learn 100’s of moves is a lie. For example, boxing has about 4 or 5 punches, and maybe 8 or 10 blocks depending on what boxing coach you train under. Yet with such a small amount of techniques there seems to be an endless way to combine them together including footwork and torso movement. A boxer memorizes 100’s of techniques. Likewise, RBSD which claims to be simple and effective is going to have you learn most likely 100’s of movements with sweeps, trips, joint locks and strikes. Traditional martial arts already have all of that in their 100’s if not 1000’s of techniques. Along with many techniques and ways of movement and combining them together, much time needs to be spent on repetition over and over to make this instinctual. 8th dan Taekwondo master and qualified self defense expert Sang H. Kim (2009) explains in his book “Taekwondo Self-Defense,”

“Taekwondo training is an education of the mind and body. It is a process of learning and remembering things by which neurological networks in the muscles and brain are linked. Training requires a significant repetitive amount of practice and time to make those neurological wires function properly. This type of learning is an artificially acquired process whereas instinct is an innate behavioral mode.” (p. 18)

Knowing more techniques is always better than not knowing as many. This is common sense.

The basics of Taekwondo are simple to learn and easy to apply. They can also be trained with pressure and live sparring. Many self defense drills and scenario training can also be applied just like any RBSD program. Often times RBSD instructors do not have their students spar live. They instead just do slow motion based movements such has countering a punch and sweeping someone’s feet or locking an arm. The idea is that it is too deadly to spar with, and martial arts sports such as Olympic Taekwondo with their live sparring are not “street effective.” This is ridiculous as Taekwondo sparring instills fighting spirit and a free range striking sparring can be done safely and in order within Taekwondo techniques that do not comply with Olympic rules. Taekwondo can be sparred with or without rules under the safe guidance of a qualified instructor.

RBSD styles are actually founded on proper martial arts techniques themselves from various styles. This is because the founders of practically every RBSD system has a traditional martial arts background. The RBSD instructor Tony Blauer, who founded the SPEAR System (SPEARS) popular in RBSD circles, as well as the one who created the “Crossfit Defense” program for Crossfit actually started out in Taekwondo. In an interview by Matthew Sylvester (2014) he even claims he created his own home dojo and was teaching students (matthewsylvester.com). He developed his own way of training later that uses techniques already available in the Taekwondo he trained in. He just used certain marketing tactics to get himself known and continues to use sensational advertising. If Tony Blauer, an ex-Taekwondo instructor can teach self defense then any current Taekwondo instructor can.

Tony Bluaer demonstrating a technique already found in Taekwondo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sang H. Kim demonstrates a Taekwondo technique the same as Tony Blauer’s SPEAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBSD uses overly technical language to fluff up its image

Most RBSD systems use acronyms such as SPEARS which stands for “Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response System.” Why couldn’t it just be called fast reaction fighting? Using overly technical sort of “politically correct” words to describe a fighting system is just a gimmick to sound extra smart. Like they have one over the traditional styles such “Way of smashing with the feet and hands” (Taekwondo) or “Way of empty hands” (Karate) that use common sense, straight to the point names for their martial systems. People like Tony Blauer claim they doing something innovative and unique such as his spontaneous protection ideas with their claim of accelerated response. It seems as if he just thought up a cool sounding acronym and forced in technical words that could be used to describe self defense. Possible, he thought SPEARS sounds so cool and had to force in his technical jargon. Really though, he is not providing a unique or new concept. Such technical jargon can be summed up by saying “train to react fast and effectively.” We don’t need a SPEAR to do it. Sang H. Kim (2009) simply expresses,

“There is no single way in self-defense. You can survive only through spontaneous responses that arise from the situation you are in. Avoid becoming attached to a particular formula of defensive maneuvers.” (p. 49)

All of this has already been known and taught within traditional martial arts. There are a number of other RBSD programs with their own founders who use various acronyms with overly technical language which will not be delved into. If someone wants to find out more about RBSD styles one simply has to use Google.

On the other hand, some RBSD systems that have good techniques are actual martial arts styles like Krav Maga which was founded by the Israeli Imi Lichtenfeld. Krav Maga literally means “Contact Combat” in Hebrew (a very simple name). The Israeli military developed his style further. It is an incorporation of traditional martial arts techniques from Karate, Kickboxing, Savate, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu and others. The fact is every technique that styles like Krav Maga have is also found in traditional martial arts styles like Taekwondo. Throat strikes, hammer fists, blocks, vital point strikes, knees, kicks etc., are all in Taekwondo and can also be trained with aggression. There really is nothing special, new, or unique about what they do. It is just the way they talk about techniques and training and their extreme claims of total effectiveness that impresses people. Good old fashioned martial arts are good enough. The only problem is finding a Taekwondo teacher who is skilled, qualified, and teaches for effective realistic self defense.

 

Mcdonangism is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo

It might be somewhat harder to find an instructor who cares about real self defense applications and uses hard training to make his student’s good at fighting when looking at the majority of Taekwondo gyms around. This is the mcdojangism of many martial arts schools. Mcdojang means low quality, poor, silly, and gimmicky martial arts and quickly earned black belts, such as how fast food places like McDonald’s serves low quality food very fast. One ironic issue is that many RBSD people will mock Taekwondo or Karate for giving out black belts really fast to people who have no skill. At the same time these RBSD instructor’s claim their system can be learned very fast, through DVD’s, at seminars, within a couple of months for “total effectiveness.” Often times a certificate of completion is given to the student after attending a seminar. They are guilty of the very mcdojangism they claim is promoted by Taekwondo, they just do it in military fatigues instead of doboks. The problem with over commercialization of civilian martial arts schools is not specific to Taekwondo nor is it a good enough reason to claim that Taekwondo is not effective; or that is cannot be used to properly teach self defense. There are people who do know how to teach proper Taekwondo and understand the applications for movements and are qualified to create self defense programs using Taekwondo techniques. A person just has to look for them and make it a point to find them. While, it is less popular to be a combative and serious Taekwondo gym, there are good instructors out there and a fine quality self defense program can be created using Taekwondo.

RBSD instructors often use straw man arguments against traditional martial arts mocking the way they train techniques. They do not understand the logic or reason for training exercises or techniques like the chambered punch. They fallaciously argue that no one punches with their hands down. This is not true and a chambered punch is a technique for a specific purpose. Taekwondo also has punches from above like a boxer as well. Learning various ways to punch is better than ignorantly assuming a Taekwondo fighter will stand in a wide horse stand with his hands at his hip when attacked. This is a flat out lie. Much of why an RBSD program might stay in existence is through constant belittling of Taekwondo and other traditional styles. Instead of providing much new information or their own doctrine they waste time making fun of Taekwondo techniques and telling their students why every other style is wrong but theirs. This is the same kind of behavior many cults use on their followers.

 

Go back to Part 2                                                                                              Go on to Part 4 

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.