Posts Tagged ‘martial art’

If Anderson Silva, The GOAT of MMA, Embraces Taekwondo Then That Means Taekwondo Does Not Suck And Is A Legitimate Fighting Art

        Anderson Silva has recently made it known that he has a desire to compete in the next Olympics in the sport of Taekwondo Sparring. The Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation (WTF member of Brazil) posted on their website (in Portuguese) that Silva desires to compete in the next Olympics in 2016. He says that he has a passion to represent Brazil and that the Olympics are the dream of every high performance athlete.

        The BTC in the past has given 5th degree black belt status to Anderson Silva already. I believe it is honorary rank. I am not sure if Silva is certified by the Kukkiwon as a black belt. He may be, but I could never find anything to confirm this. If he already is ranked in the Kukkiwon then he can compete in WTF tournaments and also in the Olympics. If he does not have rank yet then he has to test and perform every poomsae to pass. I would love to see Anderson Silva performing poomsae it would be interesting. He also has to wear a dobok and black belt with pads (chest gear and head gear as well).

        What he should do is compete in very high level tournaments like nationals or other world tournaments to get himself prepared to Taekwondo sport. I think that it is very interesting that a “no holds barred” MMA fighter wants to compete in a martial art that almost every single MMA/UFC fanboy and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu bandwagon jumper has repeatedly said sucks over and over for the last 20 years. That Taekwondo is a joke, that Taekwondo does not work in a real fight, that Taekwondo is a stupid sport. Well if the GOAT of the UFC and MMA says Taekwondo is a sport good enough for him to compete, that Taekwondo is a legitimate martial art then that means it is.

        Yes, Silva has recent performance enhancing drug issues, but I hope it gets resolved and he is allowed to compete in Taekwondo. It will be interesting to see how he moves, how he kicks, and how he will not punch the face and only the chest gear. I look forward to training videos and more. Will he be able to transition out of MMA, will he do well against lifelong sport Taekwondo sparring experts? This is exciting! There is a reason why Taekwondo is an Olympic level athletic endeavor.

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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:
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And his Facebook page:

Islamic State “Jihad Special Forces” Taekwondo Terrorist Martial Arts

        Before I posted about how the Taliban and Al Qaeda were training in Taekwondo and showed footage of them demonstrating some moves. Well it seems that ISIS also trains in Taekwondo. Apparently, Taekwondo is popular for Muslim Jihadists. I don’t know why, but it is. It really sickens me to know that Taekwondo was taught to evil terrorists and brought back to their bases for them to teach to other terrorists. Taekwondo was a martial art started for good, to fight totalitarianism and stand up for what is good. That is why Taekwondo teaches a moral code such as the 5 Tenets along with combat techniques. A warrior should fight for what is good and true. Taekwondo morality has nothing to do with the vicious evil that the Islamic State practices on a daily basis.

        How it can be identified as Taekwondo and not another martial art is in how they practice certain self defense moves and especially since they open up their newest training video they uploaded, which was now deleted by YouTube, opens up with a masked Jihadist doing Tae Guk Il Jang which is the yellow belt form. It is a World Taekwondo Federation approved form. So they are practicing Kukki-Taekwondo over there. Since the video has been deleted another person uploaded clips of it mixing them up out of order which kind of ruins it. It can be seen below:

Tae Guk Il Jang in this clip is shown near the end. But you can see their versions of self defense moves which clearly resemble Taekwondo. Now it is obvious to the trained Taekwondo person that these terrorists have pretty bad technique in this particular video. Their form is not very crisp and they are doing some moves wrong. In other videos some of them have solid technique. In this video It seems to be a modified version of Tae Guk Il Jang with some splits move at the end to look cool. They are doing demo style martial arts. A lot of people are giving them tons of criticism and acting as if they totally suck and will be easy to defeat. I would say do not underestimate an enemy, especially one that is determined, one that has a religious fanaticism as an ideology that is determined to kill you for their god. “Crazy” on many levels intensifies a fighter and makes them deadly. Maybe they suck at Tae Guk Il Jang and also do slow self defense moves and are not black belt level, maybe they learned Taekwondo from a terrorist who became a mcdojang black belt in some country they formerly lived in, but they are still motivated.

Admit it or not, it takes balls to break a tile over your head. A few people break tiles over their heads and another punches several with his bare fist. Of course I have to question his punching technique as it is very wide and arched out weird. But he still broke them. Even if this does not make one a better fighter (as Bruce Lee said boards [in thise case tiles] do not hit back), breaking things gives a person serious confidence and focus.

A lot of people online have mocked the camouflage the guy uses where he has leaves from a bush tied all over his body and weapon, but if you look at it without bias it seems to be pretty god camouflage and he really does look like a bush when kneeling still. He could easily be a sniper and sneak up and shoot someone in such an outfit. It really is not silly, but should be taken seriously. Yes they are in a desert, but that plant is also in their desert which is where they found it. But they could also take ideas like this over seas on jihadist missions. Do not underestimate this enemy and simply disregard them as posers or “hilarious.”

Martial arts provide confidence, focus, discipline, and other positive things. But the Islamic State is using positive things for evil. Martial arts drills can instill serious confidence in people and make them more able to fight even if they are not UFC championship level. Taekwondo can make people brave and without fear to die in battle. Indomitable spirit is one of our tenets, the problem is they are misusing Taekwondo and will have indomitable spirit for their god Allah.

Here is some more martial arts training footage:

It looks like they are using standard military combatives, but the kid doing flying kicks could either be doing Taekwondo or Kung Fu stuff. Who knows. What is obvious is ISIS or ISIL is becoming a disciplined army that will work in unity with each other and are not just a rag tag group of rebels with no training. It has also been reported that ISIS is using Special Forces techniques that even the US military uses in how they train gun battles and certain tactics. They are winning many battles and taking over many towns. I doubt their “crappy” martial arts are inhibiting them very much at all.

        This next clip shows kids around age 9-12 or so training in a very tough style. An adult punches and kicks them as they stand and take it. It reminds me of Kyokushin training but I still think they are doing Taekwondo. There are demos of self defense.


*YouTube deleted the full video and only this short clip remains. It leaves out the whole self defense section. 

Obviously, these kids are tough. I doubt many American kids their ages would be able to stand there and let an instructor punch and kick them. He is hitting them with pretty good contact too. Of course not full adult power, but still it is pretty rough. No kids wuss out or cry. It is safe to say these kids might kick the asses of many kids their age in the USA. This is not a good thing.

I would love to fight their instructor and destroy him because he is a terrorist POS who is instilling evil into the minds of these kids. But this does not make such children innocent either. When I was their age I knew in my heart that murder was wrong and killing people for having different beliefs was murder. We have all heard of and possibly seen the videos of the 7 year old holding a severed head, a 10 year executing captives by shooting them in the head and more. These kids are killers and violent sociopaths.

The kids are doing demo style martial arts but more realistic than standard Korean Tigers stuff. The takedowns these terrorist kids are doing are pretty effective and smart in themselves. Breaking sticks over the body is a parlor trick many martial arts masters use to impress audiences. Even so, it instills confidence in the student who is having it broken over his body and makes them mentally tougher. The kids are also trained in firearms. The Islamic State is training future terrorist soldiers for the next generation. If America and its allies do not band together and actually go and fight ISIS and kill them all i can see this war going on for a very long time with each subsequent generation training the next and the next until they kill everyone of us.

This last clip shows a lot of people standing still taking kicks from an instructor as well as a Taekwondo self defense demonstration:

These videos are obviously propaganda videos and not the extent of their serious training. They are made to inspire future jihadists and get new recruits. The videos also can inspire loan wolf terrorists. Even if these martial arts videos are theatrical and somewhat silly (the west has pretty much seen it all and we also watch UFC all the time here) they still should be taken seriously that these enemies of what is good are training to kill you.

The videos also serve as a reminder that if you own a martial arts school and you have students from Syria or other known countries infests with terrorists you may be teaching terrorists martial arts. You could very well be teaching them how to fight and they will take their knowledge back to their people and train them. I am not sure if many Koreans are fighting for ISIS, but I know many Chinese are. Maybe they also brought Kung Fu over there too. But I really think that some of these terrorists had the privilege of training at mcdojangs in whatever countries they were at before joining the fight and brought over their techniques. All we need now are MMA trained Jihadists. I find it very sad and depressing that the Islamic State is literally training in Taekwondo for the purpose of killing anyone who does not subscribe to their ideology.

Junsado Can Be An Enhancement To Your  Martial Art

        A martial artist must have strategy along with the theories he learns and be creative and full of ideas for combat. Bruce Lee started Jeet Kun Do with this kind of idea, and since his death Jeet Kun Do has become a concept and not a martial art style, except it is a style of no style. Some people have teaching certificates in it or whatever ranks. There is another concept, or idea, called Junsado which translates as “way of the combat expert” which is an idea based on strategy created by Sang H. Kim. I have known about Junsado for awhile but never really looked into it except for 2 DVD’s I bought from Turtle Press. They contained some pretty cool ideas on self defense. I recently found out about a book called Combat Strategy: Junsado: The Way of the Warrior, which was published by Turtle Press around 1992.

        This book is an interesting read and has 5 section within it which are called “books” in themselves. Each book teaches different concepts within the Junsado idea. There is the explanation of Junsado strategy part, the applications and basic skills part (which is the largest chapter), the strategy itself and maneuvers part, the beyond strategy part (which speaks of the mental game of combat and preparing oneself), and the philosophical or spiritual part (which is very short). This book is an excellent academic read on fighting strategy and uses scientific explanations for movements and maneuvers. I find it helpful to the martial artist who wants an intellectual approach to combat and self defense. It is also a must read for martial arts instructors.

        Hanho is the pen name of Sang H. Kim who is at least 8th dan in Kukkiwon and has master levels also in Hapkido and Kendo and was also a special operative for the Korean government and military. This book blends well with Korean martial arts because of Kim’s martial arts background. But it can definitely benefit all martial artists of any style. There is a lot of maneuvers talked about and attacking and defense techniques: various foot positions, reaction timing,. kicks, punches, throws, joint locks and more. The last book is the philosophical and spiritual teachings. It contains a lot of encouraging stuff but it also has the eastern religious aspect from Zen Buddhism and Taoist ideas. I ignore those since I do not hold to such beliefs and only absorb the psychological and encouraging parts.

        Junsado is not a martial art, a style, or program. It is simply a concept and ideas one can individually apply to his own martial arts training. It is not its own style, it is simply an enhancement to your own martial arts training. It will enhance your martial art itself and open your mind to strategy. There are no certifications, ranks, schools, teachers, or seminars on Junsado. It is simply something to study by reading and watching Kim’s various DVD’s. I own 4 DVD’s of Junsado. Two of them are self defense DVD’s which contain information on self defense preparation and standing and ground combat. The other 2 I bought were knife defense fundamentals and advanced techniques. I have never bought the various stick fighting and staff fighting DVD’s as I did not have an interest in them. But the 4 DVD’s I do own are pretty solid and if someone trains the movements they can have better knife and hand to hand combat self defense techniques.

        I will say that the only negative things in this book are the fact there are several typos or misspellings, and grammar errors. He is Korean so I think this has something to do with the errors. Also, a few of the photos did not line up with the captions. This book was also written in 1992 just before the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu boom. So it does not contain significant information on ground combat that would be effective today, but the little ideas in the book about grappling are still beneficial, but it is not extensive on it.

        There is another electronic book Kim put out called Junsado: Standing And Ground Combat that can be downloaded to a kindle device but there is no physical book.

I have not read this book yet, but it seems to be an update and more in depth than the book I have. The book I own and read was the only one physically published that I know of for Junsado. It is nice to have and can be bought on amazon used for less than a dollar (plus shipping though). Also, Kim has various Taekwondo and self defense books as well but are not labeled Junsado. If you want more information on Junsado go to http://www.junsado.com his official website.

Here is a short book review video:

        I found the book Combat Strategy to be motivating, encouraging, and intellectual and something a person living a martial arts lifestyle should check out. It will enhance your training and make you mentally better as a fighter.

Watch Out Now! Taekwondo Is Serious Business And An effective Martial Art For Self Defense

        Taekwondo is a very serious fighting system and an effective martial art. The Korean Tigers are serious fighters who can beat ANYONE up.

I must remember to put eye liner on before I enter the Dojang. If it helps the Korean Tigers fight better, it could help me fight better. One time I was going to fight this guy who was bullying me, but I showed him my awesome dance moves. Then he tried to show off his own dance moves but they were not as good as mine so I basically beat him up and he never bothered me again. Also, Taekwondo is about impressing the chicks and showing off. It is one of the tenets of Taekwondo. To do effective street fighting with Taekwondo you must make sure to wear skinny jeans. Koreans take dojang dance offs very seriously…

Look at these very masculine males who look so tough and powerful and strong doing a serious Taekwondo fighting form (poomsae):

Anyone of these moves could kill the average man. This is why they are all hardcore black belts!

And They Wonder Why People Don’t Take TKD Seriously

        A major reason why Taekwondo does not get much respect by serious martial artists:

Yes, Taekwondo is a serious martial art we say….a very serious deadly killing system…it was used in Vietnam….

The more it seems people want to defend Taekwondo as a legitimate martial art system the more stupid videos like this are made which give fuel to the Taekwondo hate. We need less stupidity in Taekwondo, or else all we will hear about is how so and so’s child got a gold medal at the local Taekwon-dance competition. Seriously, I will not be suprised when Taekwondo black belts are in the same competitions as “dance and twirl.”

Attention all Koreans who love Taekwondo. Please post comments and explain the “Korean girl” video to me.

Does The General Public Think Taekwondo Is A Joke?

       Often times when a celebrity gives an opinon on something in society it is a reflection of pop culture and what people generally think of an issue. Martial arts were never mainstram until Bruce Lee’s success and various Kung Fu movies made it in Hollywood. Then everyone was talking about how amazing Kung Fu or Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do was. Many celebrities trained in Jeet Jun Do and extolled the virtues of the martial arts. Now days Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gets the celebrity “Jeet Kun Do” treatment of a highly sophisticated and prestigious and deep martial art. On the other hand when a celebrity mocks something it’s usually bad news that topic as society in general thinks it is silly. Taekwondo i not taken as a serious martial art by celebrities which suggests this reflects the general public’s opinion of Taekwondo.

        A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” showcased a comedy duo who made a mockery of what is typical of American Karate studios. Howard Stern liked it so much that despite the 2 female judges opposing him he used the golden buzzer to save them into the next round.

Highlights of the video:

  • how he is talking loud and at one rate of sound like he is yelling at judges at some “sport karate” event
  • He claims he “learned to be a black belt at Roger Baker’s Taekwondo & Pizza in Pensacola Florida”
  • He is going to break the world record of full extension punches within 60 seconds
  • The music that plays when he starts his demo
  • The way he adjusts the board before he hits it and how he is breathing like “shooos” on every strike, and when he does a jump spin kick he misses yet the board holder breaks the board instead for him and screams and cheers like it was totally awesome

The main point to take away from this hilarious video is when Howard Stern explains,

What they’ve done here is lampooned to the ‘T’ everything that goes on in a martial arts studio.

Stern said that statement with conviction as if it is exactly the stupidity that goes on typically in martial arts gyms. The fact the comedian with his partner said “Taekwondo & Pizza” shows he is making fun of the typical “Taekwondo is Karate and Karate is Taekwondo” nonsense that almost all mcdojo’s promote. As if Taekwondo and Karate are the same martial art as well as the fast food mentality of mcdojangism.

Even Anthony Bourdaine who is now recently a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu afficianado with his wife, who regularly competes, thinks Taekwondo is silly. In the episode of “No Reservations” where he went to Korea, he was turned off and embarrassed about the Taekwondo dance routine the Korean boys showed. He mocked it and could not take it seriously. He said, “I don’t understand it…” and compares them to “The New Kids On The Block”, and “training future boy bands.”  Only later when they did board breaking did he sort of show some respect. The only clip uploaded I could find is in German. Please watch it at 2:38 to see the part where Anthony feels confused about why they are dancing instead of showing a real martial art:

Bourdaine’s attitude reflects the general idea that a martial art is supposed to be badass, tough, serious, and showing awesome fighting techniques. He is oldschool and grew up in the era of Bruce Lee after all. For some reason Taekwondo masters think dance display is more important that explaining why Taekwondo is a complete and effective striking system.

When celebrities are expressing embarassment or a conviction that Taekwondo is a joke and too silly to be taken seriously, when MMA and martial arts like Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing etc. are now the only pop-culturally respected styles of martial arts (besides Kung Fu movies doing fantasy martial arts for entertainment) and Taekwondo has lost its place as the most popular martial art in the world, something has got to change about Taekwondo. They are doing terrible PR work and ruined their image and need to try and restore it. I hope more Taekwondo instructors in the future will do this.

A Good Model For Martial Arts Demonstrations

        A martial arts demonstration can be a very informative event for the public, or it can be something that people find entertaining, but also, and I warn you, something people will find silly or cheesy and make fun of you for it by heckling you (but then it can also be taken as a silly thing while uninformed people cheer like mad for it, but the true martial arts world will still mock you for it). Unfortunately, Taekwondo always seems to have the latter effect.

        In a demo a school owner or instructor should want to communicate a few things such as: (1) what is their martial art style and where it comes from and its culture, (2) why it is an effective fighting and self defense system, and (3) the specialized movements and techniques. These are the most important things above anything else an instructor wants to communicate in order to leave the audience slightly more informed than they were yesterday about their martial art.

        Of course a demo should be entertaining, but it needs to be educational and deep. An instructor can do simple demos that explain a lot in a short amount of time easily.

Here is an example of a simple demo using MMA:

This demo was done around 2008 and is simple, straight to the point, informative about the martial arts and their local gym, and it was also entertaining. I could criticize the instructors boxing skills, but that is besides the point. Overall he did a very good job and it looked fun. The audience gave a positive reaction. People who would take an interest in martial arts want to see effective combat on display and not a display of nonsense. The demo showed various techniques and why they would work and why their style is fun to train in.

A martial arts demo can also be more elaborate and large, especially if chosen to perform for a large event such as a tournament or any festival. In this case, sometimes music is appropriate or special lighting, but the simple basics and strong techniques and power displays should still be evident. It is not a TV show or party, it is martial arts.

Here is an example of an elaborate demo using Kyokushin Karate:

This demo was large and elaborate yet it showed the simple basics of their style and its combat effectiveness. It was very informative and the bricks and boards they broke were actually the proper sizes. No balsa wood! No ridiculous over the top screaming and silly theatrics. It had a strong and serious attitude showing warrior mindset. The Japanese master is promoting his country’s martial arts and culture in a very honorable and respectful way.

Another example using Seidokaikan Karate:

This is an epic demonstration of martial arts. This Karate master shows off his martial art doing the whole 9 yards. Kata, breaking, pad work, self defense, sparring. I love it. The music is simply background music and not action music or dance music to move to in sync. He does it representing his martial art as sophisticated with a true Budo attitude. And he represents Japanese culture well with honor and not silliness. He shows how hardcore and serious his combat art is. This master shows techniques and why they work, even breaking them down to inform the public. This is something Taekwondo should get a clue about and how to run a proper and serious demo of martial arts display.

Anyone interested in learning how to fight and taking up self defense instruction is going to take such demos seriously and be impressed. Anyone not interested in combative training will instead be impressed with a hip hop dance routine or gymnastics flips. That is basically what Taekwondo demos keep looking like. Taekwondo culture has absolutely no concern to be taken as a serious martial art when it keeps producing idiotic demos that do not teach children or adults to take martial arts as a serious thing, but just a fun and silly thing to do sometimes, like this:

Apparently, in the comments section of that video people are more concerned about the “awesome music” and the names of the songs than anything related to Taekwondo. What a joke. Is this the culture Korea really wants to portray to the world? Thank you kpop for your utter stupidity upon Korean culture! There seems to be no hope when even the Kukkiwon allows this trash and even promotes it. In the USA I expect martial arts masters to keep MTV out of their martial arts! But in Korea it seems the kpop (or MTV Korea) culture goes hand in hand with Taekwondo. It is beyond logic why this is so…it seems at one point some sabunim decided “Gangnam Style” is cool and it should be a black belt requirement to learn this dance if one wants to be on their demo team. Then all Korea Taekwondo went with it.

Who can save Taekwondo?

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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. 

Children Need To Learn Self Defense Not Waste Time In A McDojang

        “We live in violent times” is a statement pretty much every generation claims. In modern times since the 1900’s every generation since has seemed to think the violence occurring worldwide and even locally is somehow an anomoly.  But this could not be further from the truth. The entire history of mankind is one of violence. It should be common sense that people need to learn how to fight and protect themselves no matter what kind of society they live in. This was the norm for practically every culture in history. Learning to fight was part of becoming an adult and being self sufficient.

        People in the United States often think much of the new kinds of murder and death occurring is such a far out thing. But one just has to look south of the border to Mexico and understand other countries’ cultures are blood soaked in violence. Much of the United States is full of violence and has been for quite some time. Much of American inner-cities are full of fighting and violence of all types. Only when suburban or off the beaten path communities experience a murder or a troubling gang infiltration do a lot of people assume learning how to use a weapon such as a gun, and learning martial arts is something people might want to start taking up. What confuses people even more is when children murder children such as the case of the Slender Man murder plot and assault with a knife by two 12 year old girls on another girl. Even worse is when a 12 year old boy actually full out murders another boy the age of 9 on a local playground.

        The fact is, now, children are attacking and murdering children. Self defense is pretty much mandatory for the well being of children in society. Too many kids who are “just plain evil” are being raised by incompetent parents, as well as such evil children just being evil despite their proper upbringing and good home life. The attack of a 12 year old on a 9 year old boy with a knife is one occasion that shows parents can never really trust unknown kids to play with their own. Parents must be involved and watchful of who their children interact with. In this case when it cannot be supervised, a play session should happen with a child properly instilled in situation awareness. Also, a child should be wary of unknown kids or certain neighborhoods kids who might be dangerous to play with. There has always been neighborhood bullies and juvenile delinquents, and now days some might attack and even kill. This occurrence on the playground in a Michigan mobile home park was random and without a known motive.

        One major problem is the fact so many martial arts schools claim to teach self defense when in reality they do not. So many of these schools, deemed mcdojangs because they only care about money, are wasting time and money from parents who want their child to learn how to defend themselves. So much time in such academies children are pretty much baby-sat with silly games and other nonsense that have nothing to do with actually learning martial arts. And when they are claiming to drill self defense the techniques are very suspect and have a very low chance of actually working in a real confrontation. Most of the instructors are told to behave extremely happy and silly and overly enthusiastic in order to coddle kids and make them have fun regardless if they learn anything realistic. This problem causes false security and confidence in kids who are given black belts far too soon and at a young age that is improper for a black belt to be.

        Parents need to make sure they enroll their child in a real martial arts school qualified by the traditional organization that oversees it and not a typical franchise chain with its own made up system created strictly for their own group. True Taekwondo exists as a martial art system, of course overseen by an organization from Korea that allows freedom for Taekwondo dojangs to teach what they want and run their programs in the way the instructor personally wants. At the same time they are still teaching proper Taekwondo and proper techniques with their intended combat applications. Other franchise gyms, the mcdojangs, have a corporate structure run like a multi-level-marketing scheme with forced guidelines existing simply to make as much money as possible. In these schools less time worrying about high quality students is spent and more time is spent on making as much money as possible through various gimmicks (belt tests, stripes, patches, birthday parties etc.). So less time teaching children in situation awareness, instilling proper values, giving proper self defense techniques, and instilling real discipline and a warrior mindset.

        Children need to attend a Taekwondo gym, or any style of martial art’s gym that instills not only physical skills but proper psychological mindsets for self defense. This includes situational awareness, character assessment of people they would meet in every day life, as well as true combat skills. If parents allowed their kids to be given the “military” style discipline that Taekwondo culture traditionally emphasized and taught to have a since of honor and to hold important the martial arts as a serious life skill then children will have a better chance to avoid being attacked. Maybe they would not have played with another kid in the first place, and if they did play possibly an attack could be avoided by situational awareness, and if the attack occurs regardless then combative defense skills will defeat the attacker as well as escaping and finding an adult to call the police. This is not to say the 9 year old boy lacked sense. It is impossible to know the full story. Sometimes an attack can kill even the most skilled people. That is life. No matter what reason the attack occurred and whatever the child could have done to escape is irrelevant to the point that children today, right now, in our american society, need to learn martial arts, to take them seriously as a life skill, and learn how to fight in order to defend themselves.

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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. 

McDojangs Create An Entitlement Culture

        Jimmy, 6 years old, is going to test for his black belt and you better dang well expect him to pass…or else (angry parents)! He has never failed one promotion test ever, even that one time he completely forgot his form, and that one time he never broke a board and the instructor had to pretend he broke it by snapping it for him…he is after all PAYING money and DESERVES to test for his black belt! After all we are all about encouraging kids and giving them tons of self esteem and want to reassure them that they are CHAMPIONS even if they still cannot do a proper back stance or kick past their waist.

I’m testing for black belt and I already got my cool black belt style dobok in advance! My mom paid tons of money!

        Much like the current government welfare state, mcdojang’s worldwide have created an entitlement culture within martial arts. A gimme, gimme culture of belt ranks and affirmations for people who believe they absolutely deserve to be the next belt rank up, even to black belt, or just assume they deserve to be a black belt. After all they paid money for it and the instructors want that money so they encourage everyone to test, even those who are clearly not ready to test. And everyone passes! No one fails. The greed of so many instructors and martial arts organizations, especially those masquerading as Taekwondo but actually are a completely made up system marketed solely for profit and not a martial art, has been disguised as “self esteem building” or “confidence” instilling programs. This is nothing more than spoiling the already spoiled brats who sign up at your average mcdojang because of their rich parents who have no problem paying an extreme amount of money to get their kid a black belt (within 1 year of course! Not that extremely long 3 years crap you hear at that other gym where they waste your time training hard).

        This current Taekwondo climate has made it very difficult for true instructors of the Taekwondo martial art to keep students. Both because people assume Taekwondo sucks and your gym is a belt factory and daycare center, and also the students who actually still want to take Taekwondo refuse to stick with you because they are not automatically given belt ranks unless they have the skill to match.

        Being a Taekwondo instructor in this day and age and wanting to be legitimate and given the proper respect any other serious combat gym is given is very tough. This entitlement culture has many school aged kids as well as young adults competing with each other about who and who is not a black belt. Kids go to school and talk to other kids who go to other various dojangs or dojos and kids who go to the mcdojangs will say “I am a black belt!” and boast about it to other kids who might only be a green belt at a legitimate martial arts gym which passes students based on skill. Kids often are belittled by the spoiled mcdojang brats or influenced to quit a legitimate school to go to another school where their friends are for a fast pass to black belt. Other times kids who previously went to those mcdojangs realize it is too expensive then come to your gym to try it out. They are very turned off once they realize they cannot wear their brown belt in your gym and are going to have to start over since your style is completely different with different forms, self defense techniques, and overall standards especially in the technique and skill department. Of course some of these kids have enough experience to learn your curriculum fast and promote faster than a student who is completely new to martial arts training, but they become impatient even at that thought, and quit your program and go back to their mcdojang or find another one who will let them keep their rank, or even test into a higher rank right away.

        There is some hope though, some parents do see the marketing gimmick and money making schemes mcdojangs use to trap parents into coughing up cash every month. If you market your martial arts teaching to the enlightened parents, even though there seem to be few, you have a high probability of keeping your students. If you also look for a particular quality of student and parents where you know they want their kid to learn a real martial arts style and learn skills, you will do better than just allowing anyone to enter your gym and train. Once you do keep students make sure you emphasize fighting ability over belt colors. If right away you encourage kids about learning to fight over belt colors, you have instilled in them martial arts values that will last a long time, and none of the mcdojang madness outside of your gym that tries to entice them will influence them.

        Steps to take:

1. Advertise realistic fighting, be able to prove it and have full confidence that your abilities are decent and worthy. You better make sure your students get good too.

2. Look for the enlightened parents who want their kids to actually be good at something and know self defense.

3. Only allow high quality students to join your gym with good parents. Make them audition to join your gym by interviews and testing their behavior in a couple of free classes.

4. Instill in students their first day of class that learning to fight is the purpose and valuable self defense techniques are why they are joining. Not to wear pretty colored belts until they get a cool black one.

*One way to do this is take off your black belt, tie it onto one of the students and talk about how awesome the kid is as a black belt to the other students. Ask them if they think he can kick your butt in a fight. When they say, “NO WAY!” Then say, “But dude he is a black belt!  And try to make them question their logic. Then say, “Ok let’s see! Fight me! beat me up hit me!” But do it playfully in a fun way. Not a serious or scary way. The kid should laugh and attack you with whatever he can make up, then you should grab him and do a sweep or some fun silly move or throw fake strikes that show you would obviously destroy him. The other kids will get the point. Then talk about how a belt color has absolutely nothing to do with skill. Anyone can buy one, tie one on, or go to another gym and be given one. It does not mean they can fight. A piece of cloth is not magical power. Then go on to talk about how belt ranks are given only to those deserving and are not paid for with cash. They are also not a status symbol to show off, but simply given by an instructor to know who is more advanced then other students. If the kids enjoy it, tie the belt on a couple more kids and fake fight them. This drill will show that belts do not matter but skill matters. From that point on instead of belt chasing they will be skill chasing and will practice hard to learn how to fight and master the martial arts. 

        It is sad that Taekwondo and many martial arts are full of an entitlement culture, and the vast majority of people only want to show off and have things over another person and status than actually sweating hard, getting in shape and obtaining fighting skill. But don’t give in! And have encouragement. Market yourself for skills, not superficial things backed by a silly pyramid scheme “taekwondo” organization. Get legitimate certification in the true martial art and base it on your skill and proper qualifications.

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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.