Posts Tagged ‘mcdojangs’

A Tiger Rock Black Belt Has Challenged Me To A Real Fight, Not That Gay Sparring Stuff

        Today on my own blog, White Dragon Dojang Taekwondo & Martial Arts Blog, yours truly, White Dragon, has been challenged to a fight by a butthurt, Tiger Rock black belt who did not like my criticism about his mcdojang organization that he is a member of. This is typical of Tiger Rock students. It is not the first time a Tiger Rock student has challenged me to a fight. This likely will go nowhere and will never happen as most people who issue internet challenges never go through with them. Especially when there is no way I need to go to his address and fight him. If anyone wants to fight they can come to me here. I also do not really accept challenges or seek them out. But I will on the other hand fight delusional mcdojangers. It has never happened yet.

        Such people cannot reasonably argue a point, use observable evidence, or logic to argue their grievance. It is pure emotion and no discipline. In the blog article Tiger Rock’s Claim Of Accredited Instructors Is Meaningless you will see Mr. Miles Williams (who can also be found on Facebook easily through google by typing his name + “tiger rock” if you want to see his photo) state the following:

And if you want me to get personal, I do kyokushin and muay thai and the body conditioning is beyond your comprehension👌 and I know I’m not the only person in tiger rock that does body conditioning. Again… I’m friends with alit of students. Including our grandmaster ( who is a grandmaster by the way). Look ill give you my damn address and we can see who wins. And I don’t mean that gay sparring. I mean a real fight… In a ring… With nothin but gloves. I would really love to see your stupid sport face my style of tkd anyway. (sic)

Uh oh, I better be scared. Tiger Rock is SERIOUS business. I could end up fighting the NEXT Karate kid Miles Williams!

To see the full arguments in the comments please click the article link above and enjoy some comedy. I stand by my original blog post because it is full of observable evidence and facts about what Tiger Rock is, and why their claim of “instructor accreditation” is a joke.

Oh noz! He trains da MMAz at tiger rock!!!

Yes, Tiger Rock is not a mcdojang, but serious business and REAL fighting!

        I find it funny that he is going to show how badass his “Taekwondo” style is by using “Kyokushin” and “Muay Thai” on me, in a REAL fight, in a ring with NOTHING but gloves on. I hope he does not mean we should fight naked with only gloves. (well he did say “not that gay sparring” so hopefully he means we will wear clothes). He wants a REAL fight that is not sport, but it will still be in a ring and with gloves, the same stuff that combat sports always use. You know beause REAL fights are not sport, yet they they occur with sporty stuff like gloves and in rings. Also, this guy claimed he fights MMA. OH WE GOT A BADASS OVER HERE!

        There is no reason I need to fight this guy, and of course he will not follow through. I believe everything he claimed is not even true and simply made up. I doubt he trains in anything but Tiger Rock crap. Last I heard Tiger Rock does not give Kyokushin or Muay Thai certifications. But they do give a crapload of cirtifications of copy cat “grappling” that is the mcdojang style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

        If he did want to show up I would easily win. Mcdojangism breeds a delusional cult mentality, and egocentric black belts and instructors who really know nothing about martial arts. They only know their corporate mcdojang programs they paid an extreme amount of money to be certified in.

        Martial arts will always be criticized by people in and out of the martial world (suck it up Miles!) The Kukkiwon style of Taekwondo especially recieves tons of criticism and insults. You don’t see much of us walking around challenging people to fights on the internet. It is called “getting over it” and “self control.” This dude came to the wrong blog. This blog openly states it is not friendly toward mcdojangs. He needs to get over it and walk away. Which he did apparently….I hope.

Well, apparently he DID find his limit and backed out. Typical. YAY!

         Go to the blog article and read it, then read the comments and see the hilarity.

Advertisements

Tiger Rock’s Claim Of Accredited Instructors Is Meaningless

        A popular tactic of mcdojangs is to claim they have “accredited” instructors. Or that their instructors must study and take a test every year to make sure they have all the latest teaching methods and techniques in order to make sure their instructors stay skillful and up to date. This is just fluff and hype. It is utterly meaningless to claim your instructors are accredited if they are simply evaluated by their own group without outside critique. The American Taekwondo Association (ATA) and Tiger Rock Martial Arts (ITA) and various other mcdojang organizations do this. The ATA started it and everyone else copies it. Notice the Tiger Rock Martial Arts advertisement I received in the mail the other day:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wow! Accredited instructors! That must mean they have the best martial arts instructors in the entire world!!!!

In the words of Dwight Schrute:      “False!”

No, they do not. Accredited does not mean anything in this context since the only people who evaluated the instructors is Tiger Rock itself. It would be as if I affirm people, send them off to represent everything I teach and my company. Then those 5 stand with me and affirm another 6th person and 7th and 8th and so on and then claim we now have accredited instructors. It means nothing. It is an incestuous accreditation.

If one looks up accreditation on Wikipedia it explains that,

Accreditation is a process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.

Organizations that issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards are themselves formally accredited by accreditation bodies (such as UKAS); hence they are sometimes known as “accredited certification bodies”. The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable, typically meaning that they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically and employ suitable quality assurance.

        Typically in the USA accreditation speaks of one body giving affirmation and certification to a third party individual or organization which means they follow certain standards and procedures and have the right resources, knowledge, and skills, that are proper and agreed upon. Within martial arts this could mean anything. For Taekwondo the world governing body for Taekwondo as a martial art is the Kukkiwon. The Kukkiwon is certified and accredited by the Korean government, and is also recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation, which is also recognized by the International Olympic Committee and also affirmed by the original Korean Taekwondo Association. So, various government and corporate bodies recognize the Kukkiwon as the proper ranking body for Taekwondo. In turn, Kukkiwon black belt certification and instructorship accredits individuals to teach Taekwondo. Also, the Kukkiwon itself consists of a board of members who vote on things and not any one leader who dictates what will be and what will not be. Members are voted in and out of positions. It does not exist specifically for profit either as a corporate entity. The Kukkiwon is affirmed by outside sources who are not a part of its structure which gives it realistic accreditation. The Kukkiwon is an official Korean government organization promoting culture and tourism through Taekwondo as well.

        Groups like Tiger Rock Martial Arts International on the other hand are a corporate entity that exists for profit to make as much money as possible, and is its own singular company run by its own founders. Tiger Rock used to be known as “Karate Taekwondo Plus Academies.” The International Taekwondo Alliance is their claim of affiliation. Later, the name Tiger Rock was implemented instead of TKD-plus (but apparently some gyms still use the TKD-plus sign on their buildings and are part of the ITA. According to http://www.tkd-plus.com,

ITA’s Grand Masters are Craig Kollars, Bert Kollars, and Art Monroe. Senior Masters are: James Bailey, Rick Hall, Joe Calhoun, Ron Allman, Don Anderson, Terry Newton, and Marv Conway. ITA’s Masters are: Mark Smith, Dan Cerminaro, Joel Neely, Kirke Woodall, Tim Leirer, Phearthur Moore, Richard Johnson, George LeBlanc, Chris Jackson, Carol Hall, Frank Michael, Brent Scoggins, Tom Mathews, Wayne Mathews, Dwayne Parker, Terence Parker, Victor Jordan, Charles Newton, Michael Cerminaro, Sandy Jordan, Roger Killen, Rick Pope, Elliott Slaughter, Danny Williams, Earl Scoggins and Brian Mitchelmore.

Notice that none of these people are Korean as there are absolutely no roots from Korean Taekwondo within this company, even though they claim so. Tiger Rock claims that their linage goes back to the “honorable Won Kuk lee and Chung Do Kwan” (one of the original 10 martial arts schools in Korea that predates Taekwondo). None of the Korean masters such as Lee Won Kuk or General Choi had anything to do with founding or caring about forming the ITA, Tiger Rock Martial Arts International, or TKD Plus Academies.  The truth is ITA/Tiger Rock was founded by ex American Taekwondo Association instructors who were disgruntled for whatever reasons and started their own offshoot from the ATA calling it the ITA. According to an article in the January 2010 edition of TaeKwonDo Times Magazine,

“…the three founders of the ITA, Craig Kollars, Bert Kollars, and Art Monroe, were junior instructors of the ATA. They created the International Taekwondo Alliance (ITA) which is just their own group specifically made for their brand’s franchise schools. None of these schools are independently run, but follow strict corporate standards created by Tiger Rock itself….by the end of 1980, those three people became independent from the ATA and formed a small independent association.” (p. 61)

        So, basically this organization was created by junior level instructors, not even master level instructors of ATA style Taekwondo. Accrediting their own instructors through their own party is simply just saying their instructors have paid a lot of money into the Tiger Rock system and are allowed a license to teach under their name. Such accreditation is really only worth the junior instructorship that ITA was founded on. It is not proper for someone who does not even have proper accreditation themselves to create their own style of martial arts and become masters of it.

        Each Tiger Rock franchise location pays an annual fee, including the “special” instructor qualification tests each year. It is simply multi-level marketing in the sense that people bring others up into the Tiger Rock system, tell them to start new school locations, each year their students pay to train and the school itself pays a percentage fee of their revenue. Instructors also have to test every year which is simply an excuse for the company of Tiger Rock Martial Arts International to make money off of its own people ever year and get as rich as possible. There really is no reason to keep taking instructor tests each year except to charge their own franchisees extra money for each of their “accredited instructors” to stay accredited each year. A school could have 5 to 10 or so instructors all paying into this system.

        This accreditation is worthless outside of Tiger Rock. Unlike Tiger Rock, true Taekwondo certification of a black belt instructor is for life. A one time test of skill given by a panel of certified 4th degree or higher black belts evaluate students for black belt degree ranks. Each degree of black belt would be its own test. There is no mandatory instructor training with the Kukkiwon, there is that option as an extra novelty certification if you get to travel to Korea, but it is not mandatory. Any dan rank 4th degree or higher can test people for black belts and any lesser dan rank can go to a 4th dan or higher for their students to be tested. The instructor who ranks his student then submits an application to the Kukkiwon, and certification is signed by the Kukkiwon’s current president directly from Korea. The Kukkiwon is true Korean Taekwondo and the direction of where the true historic linage ended up today since Taekwondo’s founding in 1955.

        True Taekwondo allows for an independent structure. Each school is independently run by its own people. There is no corporation owning all Kukkiwon schools. Of course if someone with a capitalistic mindset (which I approve of) wanted to make a Taekwondo business with a franchise of gyms with Kukkiwon certified instructors that is fine. At least their company will be truly accredited by an outside source, and the proper one at that. Accreditation is only worth the body it was given by. If a governing body accredits its own people, and their skill is lacking, and not part of the true linage of Taekwondo and is itself an offshoot, the accreditation is only worth anything to their in group, and if their instructors lack in true martial arts skills and self defense knowledge than their accreditation is very weak. It is incestuous and silly.

        Mcdojangs, most notably Tiger Rock Martial Arts International, will claim they have direct linage to an original kwan (or school) of Taekwondo such as their claim they are from the Chung Do Kwan founded by Lee Wan Kuk in the early days before 1955. This is easy to do for anyone who wants to pretend they are part of true Taekwondo history. Anyone who had an instructor, who had an instructor, who had an instructor somewhere at sometime, who learned or became a master under whoever, can link back to whatever historical linage they want to claim. The problem is off shoot branches fall off the direct root of the tree. It is like following a train track where truth is the train track. Some people walk off the track and build another new track in another direction off of the main line. While the main train track had went one direction toward a goal, and accepted standard, or style and the newly built tracks go off in another direction away from this “track of truth.” This is such with groups like ATA and Tiger Rock. Tiger Rock founders may at some point have studied under a guy who trained with an early kwan, or trained under a guy who had an instructor from and early kwan at some point in time, but that does not mean anything. Also, the truth is that Tiger Rock can only link back to the Chung Do Kwan through the linage claims of the American Taekwondo Association’s founder H.U. Lee (who definitely went off the track of truth and made his own offshoot) since they originally trained under the ATA as junior instructors before making up their own Taekwondo group.

        On Tiger Rock’s website explaining their history it mentions that a delegation of Tiger Rock masters were honored to attend Won Kuk Lee’s last formal seminar in 2002, but this does not prove support by Won Kuk Lee or that he somehow was part of their formation. They simply attended a seminar. Anyone can do that from any organization from anywhere! Just pay the seminar fee!

        Other organizations or martial arts styles that can actually link historically to the Chung Do Kwan are groups like the International Taekwon-do Federation founded by General Choi Hong Hi (Choi was a direct second generation student of Won Kuk Lee and temporary Chung Do Kwan school master), and Tang Soo Do which is the actual name of the martial art the original Chung Do Kwan school taught created by Won Kuk Lee. However, the ITF became the very first Taekwondo offshoot organization that went in another direction away from the direction of where the Korean Taekwondo/Taesoodo Association was headed. The ITF is itself another style of martial arts with the name of “Taekwon-do,” which is spelled with a hyphen to differentiate it from Kukki-Taekwondo. The ITF was the organization that the founder of the American Taekwondo Association, HU Lee was a part of before creating his own style in the ATA. Tiger Rock comes from this.

        Before Taekwondo, Koreans simply were most often training in Japanese Karate, but they called it Tang Soo Do. The Chung Do Kwan was called “Tang Soo Do Chung Do Kwan.” Later, Won Kuk Lee, which Tiger Rock reveres, had a 4th successor named Uhm Woon Kyu, who was given the position as leader of the Chung Do Kwan. Uhm Woon Kyu helped develop Taekwondo as an Olympic Sport, and played a huge role in forming the World Taekwondo Federation, Korean Taekwondo Association, and the Kukkiwon. Uhm was even president of the Kukkiwon after Dr. Un Yung Kim, but has since resigned in 2010. Chung Do Kwan thus is part of the true linage that points to the Kukkiwon which is the accepted organization for Taekwondo recognized by the Korean government. It does not point to a connection or support towards any other organizations for Taekwondo such as ATA or ITA. Tiger Rock is not historically aligned with the direction Chung Do Kwan headed along with all of the other kwans. All kwans now fully support the Kukkiwon and the WTF. If one was linked to a certain kwan and held it with reverence and honor it would seem they also too would align themselves with Kukkiwon standards and practices. But these groups do not.

        According to Uhm Woon Kyu, and vice president of the Chung Do Kwan Hae Man Park (retired), “Kukkiwon Taekwondo is Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo.” It, a long with the 8 other kwans, developed the system of Taekwondo together. Chung Do Kwan is simply now a social friendship club (as all kwans are now) that 100% endorses the Kukkiwon so that the Kukkiwon can retain power and and development over Taekwondo.  This is nowhere in line with groups like Tiger Rock.

        I could personally create my own martial art style with its own ideas and forms. I could then call it Taekwondo and create my own master instructor certifications for people to pay for. I could run my own exclusive tournaments and make money. I could go attend seminars held by old Korean masters from an early Kwan and act like they were my personal teachers and masters. I could then link my linage back to an early kwan easily by the same method groups like ATA and ITA/Tiger Rock used. But this would be dishonest and embellished. I actually would not be a part of the direction Taekwondo history headed with the proper Korean Taekwondo organization of the Kukkiwon. I would be teaching a totally different style of my own making. It really is that simple.

        The point is every original kwan formed together as one style of martial art called Taekwondo with one goal and every historic kwan (all 10 of them) agrees with, fully supports, and is 100% incorporated into the Kukkiwon and accepts the World Taekwondo Federation. Off shoots like Tiger Rock have nothing to do with the Kukkiwon except for the fact some of their instructors visited Korea, or attend a seminar taught by some Kukkiwon grandmasters. If these original ITA (Tiger Rock) founders received Kukkiwon rank somehow it still does not matter since they do not supply rank to their students or even teach the Kukki-Taekwondo system. They also do not participate in WTF tournaments. Also, the Kukkiwon supports independence and does not exclude people from other organizations from testing for their black belt certification. This is exactly the opposite of groups like Tiger Rock who in no way will recognize or care you have a Kukkiwon black belt. If you do join Tiger Rock you have to start all over again as a white belt and pay into their testing fees and certification fees and classes and pay for membership and more fees. No one is even allowed to participate in any ITA tournaments unless they are a Tiger Rock student and paid into whatever rank they wanted to compete at. They are a closed off and exclusive organization. This is most likely so they can claim “World Champions” etc. by not allowing threatening outsiders into tournaments who might beat their people in a match. The American Taekwondo Association is notorious for this as well.

        It has to be mentioned that not every offshoot organization of Taekwondo is necessarily wrong. There are various groups who still teach the Kukkiwon system, but are still their own affiliation with other instructors and schools. Mostly Kukkiwon rank is also given, but sometimes it is not given and only their affiliation rank for their offshoot organization is given. The difference is they are still teaching Taekwondo just without Kukkiwon certifications or affiliation. I personally believe it is not the best idea to be in an offshoot and ignore the Kukkiwon, but they are still true to the art in form. And some groups do have legitimate martial arts skills and teach valid self defense and do not use annoying marketing tactics to create a giant empire. They simply just exist to associate various schools together to teach and learn martial arts. I still personally think they should maintain ties to the Kukkiwon at least for ranking purposes anyway though.

        Unlike Tiger Rock or the ATA, the forms from the Kukkiwon/WTF are free for anyone to practice, perform, and teach. Tiger Rock and the ATA patents their forms to make it illegal for anyone to teach them without being “accredited” by their own group. So if one person earns a black belt in Tiger Rock or ATA and then one day moves or quits training there, they cannot teach the forms to anyone else if they decide to start a gym or affiliate with another group. This shows they want total control and not freedom in their martial arts style. This is another reason why the Kukkiwon is the truth for Taekwondo and allows independence and freedom for Taekwondo martial artists.

        Parents wanting their kids, themselves or anyone else who wants to sign up for Taekwondo lessons please be advised, and do not be fooled by the marketing gimmick of “accreditation.” It is meaningless, and if a corporation’s martial arts skills are lacking, their accreditation is lacking. You cannot truly claim accreditation if one body accredits itself! Affirming itself is a joke. True accreditation is going to be outside judges and panels who affirm something. A third party affirmation. Choose a Kukkiwon related gym for real Taekwondo that does not dictate commands to gym owners and allows them to be independent and truly certified and affirmed by peers. Even the International Taekwon-do Federation is independently run like the Kukkiwon for the most part.

        Mcdojangs simply use marketing gimmicks and silly tactics and embellished histories to get you to pay them a lot of money so they can stay rich.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

*Since the original submission of this article he has no earned his 4th dan black belt and master certification in Korea from the Kukkiwon and has so far trained for over 21 years.  

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?

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

Constructive Criticism For Crappy Anti-Bullying Advice From The ATA

        Here is some crappy anti-bullying suggestions by an ATA 4th dan black belt. Yes, often times bullies attack me with knives and after I kick them trying to stab me I will put my hands out like “stop!” And a groin kick means “he will pretty much drop the knife” because groin kicks are ALWAYS a fight ender.

NO They are not! And putting your hands up like that in a fight is stupid.

        The wrist grab goes backwards defeating the purpose of twisting the wrist, and their butterfly kick is ineffective against assailants!

        No one attacks with a super high haymaker like how the kid throws it in this video. It is not a realistic angle for a bullies punch. The high block is useless against a typical punch, but there are purposes for a high block, just not in this instance. Putting your hands up to say “stop!” is bad advice as a bully will not care. If he decided to punch you he is not going to just stop and giving him a chance to hesitate and think only allows him to come up with another attack. As soon as anyone punches a person they should immediately understand it is a fight and you have to defend yourself and win or else get knocked out, or beat up. Bullies in school also do not attack with water bottles, but possibly they were trying to imagine it was a blunt object. But they did not make that clear. A bully usually will not pick up a blunt object that would cause serious damage unless he was enraged, and he definitely would not pick up a knife if he was just a bully. Most often schools will clear kids of any knives, but there is a possibility of someone bringing a knife to school as well as a gun as we have seen in the news recently. The point is when someone has intent to kill or serious damage he is no longer a bully, but a sociopath and is trying to harm you way beyond being a bully and saying “STOP!” when someone is wielding a knife is just plain idiotic. At that point it is kill or be killed, or at least injure him before he injures you. Most times a knife is not attacked with such a high angle, but it is known to happen. Relying on their form “Song Ahm 1” for knife defense is going to get you killed.

        The wrist grab escape was a very crappy demonstration and there is just a lot wrong with it. He was trying to do a valid technique of opening a gap in the grip to pull out which I personally teach to my students, but he is doing it wrong and ineffective. He has no understanding of movement or physics. He twists up, then yanks backwards right back into the grip and thinks he could pull out. Of course the kid just loosens his grip and does not even try to grab him hard. He also does not even move back and just stays in a very awful stance. The best way is to step backwards into a back stance then twist out and pull in th direction of the opened grip. The backfist was a stupid attempt at a strike which not only was awful technique and pathetic, but a backfist at his distance wouldn’t even hit a person. He should step back and slide somewhat forward and a knife hand strike would work better since his hand was open.

        The butterfly kick was just dumb and is a pointless technique to claim will defeat an assailant and knock anyone out. The way the kid even threw it was so slow a person would just step out of the way. The butterfly kick in itself is not a bad technique and you could pull it off in a fight but it is a high risk move and rare an opening would occur for it at least at the distance and situation they presented. Teaching this to kids or teenager or even adults is going to get them killed.

        It is sad people who are 4th dans in their system are lacking common, combat sense and also display bad technique unworthy of a black belt. This is the typical mcdojang and they are responsible for teaching dangerous self defense techniques that will only get you seriously hurt in any self defense situation, yet they don’t care and keep teaching them because they are making money baby sitting kids. PARENTS PLEASE AVOID YOUR AVERAGE MCDOJANG! Years of terrible training will develop bad habits. This video is only one example.

Did You Join Taekwondo To Do Parkour And Gymnastics?

        How often have you seen this kind of stuff on YouTube or even in real life where a Taekwondo gym proclaims they are doing Taekwondo but it ends up looking like this?

This is “gymnastics and dancing” as one commenter on the video stated it. Notice for all the time they try to do flips and handsprings their kicking form really sucks. Yet, they have black belts on. I find this kind of nonsense annoying and I know people will tell me I am overreacting and should not care but I disagree. The future of Taekwondo and Taekwondo gyms worldwide will possibly end up being this way and forever being the butt of every martial arts joke in the world. There is a reason why it has at least 78 thumbs downs on this video and only about 28 likes.

So did you join Taekwondo in order to look cool, show off, do flips, and do Parkour and tricks? Or did you start up Taekwondo to learn how to fight in order to defend yourself? Why?

What’s On The Menu: An Analysis Of Your Typical McDojang Part 3

*Authored by White Dragon and Grey Wolf

Part 3: Final Part.

McDojang tactics 

Most mcdojangs always have crazy uniforms for various things within their schools they sell their students. Demo team uniforms, tournament uniforms, class uniforms, t-shirts, black belt club uniforms etc. It is all just to make money of their student base so they have to keep buying various uniforms. Another thing is mcdojang organizational leaders realize their style is lacking in realism so they have to adopt other martial arts styles within their curriculum to fill the gap. The ATA is known for starting its Krav Maga (Israeli self defense art) program, and even at one time had an MMA program. They saw the trend of MMA and tried to make money quick. What mcdojangs will do is buy out a martial arts group or pay that group to liscence them to advertise such as using the Gracie’s name for Gracie Jiu Jitsu for the ATA, or Wolfpac Jiu Jitsu for the ITA. They then have paid for the right to have a grappling program and claim their instructors are now certified to teach it. What they do is have very loq standards for how an instructor gets certified, so then someone who would only be a high white belt, and at most, a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is claiming to be a grappling expert and teaching their ignorance to their Taekwondo students. Mcdojangs do not stop there, they come up with all kinds of martial arts certifications to boost the credentials of their school owners such as Korean weapons certification, jong bong staff certification, Kumdo sword certification, grappling certification, Krava Maga certification, self defense certification, and more and more on top of their already 9th degree black belts in their Taekwondo style. So their ranks come within their own group, certified by their own group, for their own group. It is not as if a independent martial artist who is a Taekwondo ranked instructor who also has Jiu Jitsu rank from a separate Jiu Jitsu organization. They do not have cultured people within martial arts but are inbred stylists creating bastardized versions of such martial arts styles sprinkled on top of already bastardized Taekwondo.

Another tactic mcdojang organizations do, the ones who have money, is set up annual trips to Korea. They try to make their students think they are going back to their roots, but all they did was pay for a trip to Korea and become tourists, and then pretend the Kukkiwon represents them because they got a tour of it. They also usually pay to rent a temple or a place where you can behave stoically because of nice Korean landscape scenery and then have some training. In reality South Korea has nothing to do with their style nor does Korea even recognize what they are doing as legitimate Taekwondo. The black belt ranks do not transfer to the Taekwondo gyms in Korea.

One of the most annoying tactics to me personally is the average mcdojang chain’s claim to have the most top qualified instructors in the world who go through a “rigorous training process” and are re-certified annually and tested to make sure their instructors have the “most up to date training methods and techniques” available. This is very impressive to parents but all it really means is an in group’s leaders oversaw their instructors and taught them the latest marketing tactics and gimmick in their organization and introduced to them new materials or changes of old material in their own group. It is not as if an official independently run and legitimate Taekwondo organization tested their instructors and licensed them like how a personal training certification works or an athletic commission. It is basically as if McDonald’s said they train their managers in the latest burger making, fry cooking, cashier running methods. It would be like McDonald’s testing their own workers to be better at McDonald’s. It is not like the Health Inspector’s or Top Chef came in to test the workers and teach them high quality culinary techniques. So their claim to teach the highest quality methods and claim to annually test and re-certify instructors is complete BS and only serves as a money making scheme not only to get parent’s fooled into signing their kids up in long term contracts, but to make money off of their franchise owners and instructors themselves. It costs money to be re-certified and take tests, and go to seminars etc. in order to keep your rank and remain an instructor.

One last thing worth mentioning is that just because someone is a part of a mcdojang does not mean they automatically suck. People are individuals and it is possible someone who has good fighting skills attends a mcdojang or is part of one. They could be good if they do self study outside the typical curriculum they learn and  if they are athletically gifted. Maybe they spar their friends outside their gym and cross train. Another reason someone might be good is because of the fact that often, groups like the ATA will and have hired WTF tournament champions who are Kukkiwon black belts or ITF black belts, and also expert competitors who originally trained in another style. Some people can be bought with enough money and are paid and given business opportunities to switch to their organizations. But even so the quality of the average student is seriously lacking and it is extremely expensive.

Kukkiwon certified instructors are legitimate

The Kukkiwon is independent from most dojangs around the world and serve only as an organizational backing that regulates the art and provides LIFE-TIME certification for people who earn their ranks and also a world culture for Taekwondo. There is no re-certification fees or mandatory seminars and this is a good thing. A martial arts gym can be Kukkiwon certified yet be given a lot of leeway to teach various things for self-defense. Gyms are independently run but still belong to the Kukkiwon linage, and their rank certifications are quite cheap, even compared to the average fitness trainer’s personal training certification. Some people may think that mcdojang’s advertisements sound impressive because they have standardization, but do not be confused, the Kukkiwon has standards and better standards not based on marketing schemes and whatever a corporate entity wants to implement to make money. Kukkiwon gyms have the Kukkiwon standard for what Taekwondo is, yet they can teach anything they want to teach for Taekwondo and self-defense. A true Taekwondo instructor who also wants to be certified in grappling will actually just go to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym and train. That would bring a wide variety of separate martial arts into their gym, not a bogus inter-organizational certification.

Conclusion

There are various mcdojangs all around and can be identified by their sales tactics and low quality fighting skills in their students as well as no link to the Kukkiwon. They have all kinds of gimmicks. All of this is why if you want to train in Taekwondo you need to start off looking for a Kukkiwon certified instructor. This is the first step in avoiding the mcdojang trap. Now getting a good quality self defense and fight oriented Kukkiwon instructor is another issue for another article.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

Grey Wolf is a Martial Artist of 14 years and instructor with a 3rd degree Taekwondo Black Belt.

What’s On The Menu: An Analysis Of Your Typical McDojang Part 2

*Authored by White Dragon and Grey Wolf

Part 2.

Mcdojang Sparring “World Champions”

Below is a comparison of 2 of the largest McDojang chains at their “world tournaments.” Notice how big the audience is, possibly the ATA has a lot of people watching, but is it as if the ENTIRE world is competing and not only regional white guys? The ITA world tournament looks incredibly small:

ATA World Championship Sparring

ITA (Tiger Rock) World Championship Sparring

One does have to say ATA is slightly better, and has a slightly larger venue. but they are both nowhere looking like a giant world competition such as the WTF World Championships, and also pretty lacking in skill. These tournaments are in the point-break style of light touch contact. If you so much as touch the person with your foot they stop the match to call out some points. This leaves absolutely no room for realistic countering or even defense against being countered as all one has to worry about is if their foot or hand touches the other person’s body or head gear. And God forbid if you so much as move their head or body you could be deducted a point, and at worst disqualified for “excessive” contact. Now we don’t want to get hurt because we all know fighting is not about hurting people…right?

Now compare both of those fights to the World Taekwondo Federation style of fighting where you hit full contact and it is continuous. There is no point break, or light touching for points. You have to hit hard to score. And unlike the mcdojang organizations, legitimate Taekwondo tournaments actually are WORLD events with many countries competing. The venues for the tournaments aren’t simply held in the USA and are extremely large.

Match in Korea at the Kukkiwon 

Knockout at WTF World Championships

Small tournament, precisely timed, tornado kick knockout

See real Taekwondo sport actually can hurt you. Knockouts are perfectly legal! You are encouraged to hurt your opponent as long as you use proper attacks to the correct scoring areas. Notice the difference in skill from the ATA and ITA compared with typical World Championship quality WTF sparring. The techniques are precisely times and not flailing around by chance or random flying kicks for no reason. There is speed and high power and such sparring can honestly get quite scary if you are fighting at a tournament.

There have been more recent additions to mcdojang, light contact sparring. They have implicated a “continuous” rules format where they do not stop the match to call points, but the rules for scoring are exactly the same! Light contact touch only, and how do they call points? Using a clicker, and it is completely subjective. Whoever tags each other lightly 100’s of times more than the other person wins. So if you watch a tournament you will see machine gunning hand touching and foot touching and if you hurt the other person you get disqualified.

Comparison of Forms from ATA, ITA, and the WTF standard (analysis by Grey Wolf)

ATA 1st dan Black Belt Form

ATA Shim Jun (1st dan)

First of all, this poomsae is pretty long. There really isn’t a need for it to be so long other than the fact ATA increases their forms by 2 or more movements every belt rank — and the fact it has to fit one of the patterns on the Songahm star. A lot of the hand techniques don’t make sense. At least two points in this video there are uselessly difficult kicking combinations; considering there are three kicks in the combo, the two last kicks would have little to no power. The difficulty and frequency of these kicking techniques makes the form seem loose and sloppy aesthetically. The angles are weird and would never be used in a combat situation (except for point tag foot touch sparring against another uselessly kicking opponent). Most of the spatial progression is made during kicking combinations. Besides that, everything is constrained to one area: no shifts from stance to stance, or much traveling distance like proper poomsae teaches.

ITA (Tiger Rock) 1st dan Black Belt Form

ITA 1st dan Poomsae

The first problems in this form are the awkward front leg round kicks from the back stance. Nobody is every going to use or try that. The next is the use of flashy spin kicks. Other than a turning side kick, poomsae should not overuse spin kicks or use overly-flashy jump kicks. Toward the end of this form is a kicking sequence where you front kick forward and then side kick to the side 90 degrees without dropping your foot. This is absolutely illogical. For one thing, you should not keep your foot up in sparring. For another, you’re never going to front kick and then side kick 90 degrees in another directions on the same leg, much less without dropping your foot. Using double kicking on the same leg has a purpose in fighting, but not at those angles or in such a stance. This sort of nonsense makes Taekwondoin look ridiculous, like they could never fight in a real kickboxing or MMA fight. Poomsae is about teaching how to string together basics. While good poomsae sometimes do have jumping kicks or more advanced hand techniques, generally they are sandwiched between lots of basic techniques and also train people in covering stance with stepping with each technique. Good quality poomsae are sensitive to the teaching of movement principles rather than just stringing together progressively harder, flashier movements. This is what mcdojangers misunderstand about the nature of forms: forms do not have to get more difficult for each belt rank, and merely throwing in a bunch of difficult techniques is not the proper way to go about making a form more advanced. It’s just a way to artificially engage a student so they don’t worry about perfecting their fighting skills instead since most of their students lack a combative interest or mindset. This form is devoid of useful basic techniques such as straight punches, and instead has a lot of hand techniques whose relationship to one other is not readily discernible.

And finally the World Taekwondo Federation Standard For Black Belt Poomsae As Recognized by the Kukkiwon

KKW/WTF Koryo (1st dan)

Koryo is one of the more difficult forms from the Kukkiwon Taekwondo curriculum to perform correctly. That said, the flashiest movement in the whole form is just a double side kick. If you lower the height of both your sidekicks, this technique is actually easily applicable to real fighting situations, whether as a low fake to side kick, or double striking kicks from the knee to the body or head, or 2 slower kicks with power in both movements. This technique is actually used in full contact Olympic sparring a lot, and works. The form is tight and filled with plenty of immediately applicable basic hand techniques, most notably the throat strikes. Most of Koryo’s stance transitions are made from kicks, but the rest of the Kukkiwon forms have several stance to stance transitions, which teach proper weight transfer and are much more practical than predominantly kick transfers from each stance. It also looks sophisticated which is something mcdojang forms lack.

Comparing video evidence it is self evident that Kukki-Taekwondo is superior in all areas.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

Grey Wolf is a Martial Artist of 14 years and instructor with a 3rd degree Taekwondo Black Belt.