Posts Tagged ‘muay thai’

Taekwondo Applications Fight Scene And Update On My Martial Arts Pursuits

        So I have been in Korea for 6 months. A lot of stuff has gone down, some negative stuff I can’t talk about that has to do with work, but other than that I have been training in Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu frequently. I had stopped training in MMA classes because I have been to tired and did not have my head on straight because of stress so I do not want to spar and have something bad happen. I have stuck with BJJ diligently and even earned my 1st stripe on my white belt at Fight Gallery MMA. Unfortunately, my instructor forgot to put it on my belt, but he put it on my name plate on the door that I am 1st stripe. In my opinion you do not ask for a rank or care, you get it when you do. A physical stripe on my belt does not make me a better fighter. So I don’t care, but I am 1 stripe white belt rank now. I have a desire to try some more tournaments in the future. My teacher is really good and taught me some really cool stuff. But, for now I need to take a break because I ended up moving. Also, BJJ in the gi is murder on your fingers. It ruins them. It tears them up and breaks them up. It is bad for your hands in the long run. I feel that taking breaks will heal my fingers and keep their normal functioning lasting in the long run in my life. My goal is to stay healthy while learn a lot, and I sure have learned plenty in  ground fighting! I feel very competent for grappling in self defense situations with my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo skills, not to mention what I learned from Muay Thai and MMA classes.

        I have been trying my hardest to perfect my poomsae and have high quality Taekwondo skills. Master Jeong has helped me so much in Taekwondo to perfect my poomsae better. He is not only a great teacher, but also a great friend and someone who is there to help me in life when I need it most. He has gone out of his way to help me so much while I am in Korea that if it were not for him I would not have survived easily and been able to move and do things in Korea. In 1 week, this Saturday, I will test for 4th dan black belt. I know I will pass easily and cannot wait to finally have an official 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo by the Kukkiwon. It is so cool that I get to test in Korea as well! How many foreigners can claim they have tested in Korea with Koreans? I will definitely make a report on that after Saturday! I will tell you all how it works in Korea and what they require. It honestly is not very much!

        After I get my 4th dan I have to wait about 3 months in July to take the Foreign Instructor Certification Course in Muju at the Taekwondowon. That will make me a recognized Taekwondo master worldwide. This is the reason I wanted to live in Korea and work, to have these experiences. To get my martial arts credentials going strong. Then I can open my own dojang and teach Taekwondo for actual fighting and self defense.

        Meanwhile Master Jeong had me fight him for a short video to showcase some basic applications for Taekwondo poomsae in a mock fight. We filmed a fight scene and I play a bad Taekwondo gangster. Check out the fight scene and enjoy it! We had a lot of fun and it is supposed to be funny as well as show some maneuvers of poomsae applications. I hope you enjoy it! We will make many more episodes. I have only been 2 of the videos so far. Episode 1 I was not in, but I was in the last part of Episode 2 and then Episode 3. Check them all out! We will be making episode 4 soon!

 

*UPDATE* Episode 4 was made May 17th. 19 days after this article was originally published. Watch it below!!!!

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I Saw Road FC 28 Live In Korea

        I was lucky to be able to see Road FC 28 live in Seoul. It was a great experience and my first big level MMA show to see live. I have only seen low level local MMA in Louisville, Kentucky and Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama before. I had so much fun. The guys at Fight Gallery the MMA gym I train at had an extra ticket and called me up. Korean guys are so cool to hang out with! I had a great time.

        Also, Moon Jae-Hoon won his match! He is a WTF/Kukkiwon black belt Taekwondo fighter! YES!!! Here is a video of the match I filmed:

As you see it was a great day for the Korean martial arts scene and Taekwondo!

I Am Now Training MMA And BJJ In Korea, Kyeoktuki

        Recently a new gym opened up in my neighborhood here in Bucheon, Korea. It is literally about 500 feet away from the outside of my building. There is no reason not to check it out, so I did. I ended up feeling the place out and I signed up. The instructor was cool and all the students were very nice. It is a place that lacks the big stink of ego that seemed to plague every American MMA gym. Koreans have a more respectful attitude in their culture when involved in activities or within an institution. Places such as jobs, schools, your church, your group of friends, or your martial arts gym are full of a lot of respect and calmness. This is not to say that every part of Korea is respectful, because any other international resident living here will tell you that Korea has some of the biggest aholes in the world and people who exude some of the most backward, irrational behavior in all of Asia. Nevertheless, this does not take away the fact that Korea generally has a more respectful and honorable attitude than other places. Especially within the martial arts. It feels as a little of the Taekwondo spirit is left inside MMA here. The Korean Mudo spirit. You can feel it even if there is no Taekwondo in these gyms, unless someone trained in it before; but it is not taught.

        So I felt safe here and had a positive experience. I have trained for a week. I go 2 nights a week for about 5 hour worth of training. It is very good training and even includes 5 rounds of circuit training for body conditioning. I tell you, I am so sore.

        Studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my main goal. To learn fundamentals, obtain a strong ground fighting structure for self defense, and hopefully earn my blue belt at least. The other things I learn at this gym is Muay Thai and MMA, which combined it all together. I am learning some wrestling stuff with the Muay Thai that is going to help me be a better fighter. It has been some very fun training.

        The training is safe so far, no one is hitting full contact and our classes are working strictly for the purpose of getting techniques down. The Korean students, even the big boys, those few giants of Korea you see, are some of the nicest guys and fun to spar with. I even noticed that there is 1 girl training to who is a white belt beginner. It is a safe place.

Here is the link to the gym. It is called Fight Gallery.

What is interesting is that this gym is called “Kyuktooki Garrarri,” if you sound out the Hangul when reading it. So it says, “Fight Gallery.” MMA and Kickboxing here is often referred to either as K1 (As in K-1, the Japanese Kickboxing promotion) by the average Korean, or Kyeoktuki. There was a DVD released a decade ago by Turtle Press called Kyuktooki: Korean Kickboxing and I bought it a few years ago. Many westerners wanted to understand what it meant and if Kyuktooki is a real Korean style of martial arts. Finally, I know the real answer. Kyuktooki, or Kyeoktuki, is not actually a martial arts style, but more of a kind of martial art, or type of martial arts. It basically speaks of free fighting. What Kyeoktuki actually means when literally translated into English is “hit fighting.” Or “striking fighting.” It basically is the term for real Kickboxing as well as used to describe MMA (even though MMA has grappling too). Kyeoktuki is a style of martial arts much the same as MMA is a style of martial arts. However, there are organizations in Korea that claim they teach Kyeoktuki and they have made it their ow style with their own black belt ranks. So there are certain organizational styles of Kyeoktuki, but overally it is not actually a special ancient Korean kicboxing style. Much like the Turtle Press DVD actually says, Kyeoktuki is a mixed style of free fighting that can include anything from Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Judo, Wrestling etc. All of the rage from Thailand about how Korea is “stealing” their martial art or lying about something are nonsense. Korea is not stealing or claiming to have created anyting. Many Kyeoktuki fighters are Muay Thai stylists. Most are actually. There are also a ton of Taekwondo Kyeoktuki fighters. Kyeoktuki is a general term for a more serious fighting sport, that does not include Olympic Taekwondo since it has such limiting rules and tons of padding.

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Starting over as a white belt is good for any martial artist to learn humility. This is me in my new gi (dobok) and with my new instructor.

        So now I can actually say, “Hey I am training Kyeoktuki in Korea” which is kind of cool, even if it is just MMA. Now when I describe my Taekwondo training and studies in Korea to people here I can just say, “I train in Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and want to teach Taekwondo for Kyeoktuki and not the Olympics. The average Korean instantly understands what I mean. They are also fascinated to know their native martial art is actually a self defense system when I explain to them that my “boxing” is actually just Taekwondo. They are confused when I throw straight jabs and rights from up above and not from the hip. The average Korean has seriously lost all sense of what Taekwondo started out as because of the Olympics and stupid cornball, Taekwondo dancers everywhere. Also, they see poomsae a lot, but really do not understand the point. Along with the term Kyeoktuki, I mentioned Mudo which is the Korean transliteration of the Japanese term of Budo which is the way of the warrior. Taekwondo is Mudo, and it is Kyeoktuki when taken out of the Olympics context.

        Now about my training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is humbling to start over at a new gym as a white belt. Oh, yes I have done this before in Judo, Boxing, and MMA in America, but yes I am doing it again and it is only going to benefit my martial arts spirit. My goal right now is to gain competent ground skills for real self defense and be able to hold my own if I get taken down in a fight. The other goal I have is to earn my blue belt. After that I will see if I will one day earn a purple belt. Who knows. My instructor is a professional MMA fighter and he is a cool guy. He is a 4 stripe purple belt and he is very calm and kind. He also has a decade of Wrestling/Judo/Muay Thai/Boxing training. He speaks English (Thank God) and he has a warm heart for foreigners. Fight Gallery is a great place for non-Koreans who speak English and it is a welcoming environment. I will give more details of my training in future posts. Stick around and check back from time to time.

        So now I am doing Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Muay Thai and MMA on the side. I hope this helps me be a true martial arts master. When I earn my Taekwondo 4th dan this year at the Kukkiwon I want to know that I deserve to be a teacher of the fighting arts.

Watch This Kyrgystani Kickboxer Kid And His Little Pad Holder

Check out these cute Kyrgystani kids! Watch the little kickboxer and his small coach do a drill. How skillful!! So cute!

2 Amazing Kickboxer Kids

The link is on a Facebook video so click above it’s worth a view. Apparenty, these kids are from Kyrgystan and maybe their father taught them. Both move so good. The way the child holds the pads is expert level and the kid performing the striking looks clean. He even does spin kicks and back kicks. Very cool! I always love to see nice videos of child martial artists and see the future talent!

Just An Update Here In Korea, Is Taekwondo Dead?

        Lately I have been busy with work. I have not trained as much as I would like to. I will get back into it soon enough. I have still trained every week since I showed up pretty much though. It has been so dang cold here. Korea winters are brutal. It really takes the desire out of you. Especially when every building it seems is cold except restaurants. The dojang is often so cold I just cannot stand it. I am glad I did not have to train last night since there was what seemed to be a blizzard which left ice all over the sidewalks as I had to walk to work that night.

        The attitude of the average Korean about Taekwondo is pretty negative. I find it very interesting. The state of Taekwondo has got to seriously be re-formatted if it wants to survive. While there are the self defense promoting old Korean masters, the majority of Taekwondo is too busy practicing dancing in the mirror instead of hitting the heavy bag. The second biggest group of Taekwondoin are too busy trying to score points on electronic hogus and have a serious lack of fighting technique for actual combat. The rest, the ones who may or may not also be dancing, are too busy staring at themselves in the mirror trying to have a perfect poomsae angle or stance to impress WTF judges. I find this so annoying. Who can I spar? Who can practice hoshinsool with me? Who can practice one steps? Who can develop some serious self defense and combat strategy with me? No one it seems. It is extremely frustrating since I came to Korea in order to find true Taekwondo. I have found it here and there, but seriously, not enough of it!! I want more!! The KTA seminars were too short and nobody wanted to practice and perfect the techniques we learned. Instead practically every KTA student and instructor who attended were more interested in their smartphones than actually training in Taekwondo.

        Taekwondo is simply a business now. Is current Taekwondo a lifestyle of martial arts and a self defense mindset? Sometimes it is advertised as such, but in reality Taekwondo today is simply a business to make money and advertise and market a product. It is not about fighting, it is not about the spirit of a true martial artist. It is simple a way for corporate suits to market the hell out of a product in the guise of some Korean nationalism and make tons of cash. That is why the Kukkiwon for awhile was selling $2,000 grandmaster (9th dan) black belt ranks to foreigners. Since they got caught or accused by older grandmasters they decided to quit doing that. The ONLY reason they quit was because a few grandmasters got upset and protested. If no one said anything the Kukkiwon would STILL be doing that.

        As much as some old Taekwondo masters hate the lack of combative mindset in the scene today they are much too polite and quiet. Maybe this is some part of Korean culture, but it is a very bad attitude to have. It is bad because all it does is keeps silent when silence is the absolute worst thing we need right now. Too much politeness in order not to offend other greedy, Korean masters who sold out. Oh, sure they probably talk to each other behind their backs, but no one will dare openly accuse anyone of bullshit. But often times as a foreigner who spent more than half of his life in Taekwondo and standing up for Taekwondo in the face of ultimate martial prejudice against our style, suffering from the entire MMA phenomenon of ignorant MMA jocks who only badmouth Taekwondo (as well as traditional martial arts as a whole), refusing to quit even though all of the mcdojangs took over America, trying to find the good in Taekwondo to promote a serious martial art was a waste of time. Who has the balls to stand up to the nonsense Kukkiwon tolerates? It seems only foreigners are brave enough to actually open our mouths and tell the emperor he has no clothes. Is it true then, what I have been pondering, that foreigners love Taekwondo more than the Koreans? The few “waygooks” as they call us here, the very few who hate mcdojangism, who want a real fighting art are the ones who love Taekwondo now? It seems Korea does not give a damn about the stupidity of Taekwondo dancing, idiotic demos with paper thin boards, ribbon twirling, kpop TKD music videos and other bullshit and could care less about honor. It’s simply junk food for immature children. In Korea, men do not do Taekwondo unless they are business men. Obviously, this is with a few notable exceptions.But still…

        Is the only place I will perfect fighting skills or learn more concepts of martial arts at an MMA gym? Why did I come to Korea if I could have just stayed in the USA and trained MMA? Of course I got a decent job here, but besides work, what was the point? Non-martial arts-wise I am experiencing a new country and new culture and it is something a lot of people never get the chance to do. But martial arts-wise there is no added benefit. I could have gotten better MMA training in the USA, we do have the best. Everyone knows it. But Taekwondo-wise I assumed Korea had the best. If it does they are not promoting themselves enough and instead are allowing the kpop dumbasses and geedy business mcdojang men to take over Taekwondo, even inside the KTA they are openly promoting Taekwondo-dance and other terrible things. This is why adults in Korea do not take their own nation’s and culture’s martial art seriously. It is simply for kids to get some exercise. To jump rope half the class and do a few forms and go home. The adults never even give Taekwondo a though when thinking about martial arts. Instead Koreans are interested in Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Foreign martial arts. I find this fascinated and worthy of study. The fact Koreans are so prideful about their country and act like it is God’s gift to the world and can do no wrong makes this even more fascinating. That something that totally represents the spirit of Koreans is ignored or looked at as silly. I would assume they would be diehard promoters of their own cultures martial arts as they are about their food, chopsticks, study habits, brands of cars, etc.

        I am now seriously looking into joining and MMA gym to learn more Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just because it is another martial art I truly love. I will still train Taekwondo on the side and get a master rank eventually (even if I should already have that rank, it’s not just me, but my instructor here thinks I should already have it as well), and I will still teach Taekwondo in the future, but there is not a big enough reason to solely train in Taekwondo anymore.

        Kukkiwon and whatever masters here lack vision. They lack the current time swe live in. We live in a post 9/11, MMA focused world world. Taekwondo needs to get a clue and start promoting Taekwondo as serious fighting and stop the nonsense. There is absolutely no reason that the KTA, Kukkiwon etc. does not promote more Kyuktooki (Kickboxing/MMA) and prove Taekwondo works in such sports in order to reinforce Taekwondo as a true fighting art. It only makes sense. Instead it seems they are too busy trying to show off with back flips and do dance moves and show sexy K-Tigers girls. Korea may pride itself and claim it has hardly any crime, low murders, no muggings, no street gangs etc. and so many Koreans believe there is absolutely 10% no reason to learn how to fight because they believe it is unnecessary  and believe they will never have to fight ever in their entire lives; and many Korean males also hate martial arts and prefer to persue less tough activities; but the truth is the world is dangerous!!!! Terrorism is on the rise (Korea is going to become a target soon enough), North Korea just detonated what is probably a hydrogen bomb and they have a war mindset to attack even more now than ever, and the rest of the world has all kinds of crime and danger. Korea has become its own bubble and refuses to accept the reality most of the world outside of this place already understands. The old generation of martial artists are pretty much dead and the new generation has adopted this bad philosophy of life. This is why Taekwondo is regressing, less popular in the world, continues to be seen as a joke in the martial arts world, while Kukkiwon and the like pretend they are actually progressing Taekwondo with groups like the Korean Tigers who want Taekwondo to become a dance and performance art and not a fighting style.

        What is really interesting is that Korea is thousands of years old and was a warrior culture. Some of that remains in their culture but hardly any now days. Maybe much like the Japanese “samurai businessmen,” Koreans have some warrior traits, but not in actual fighting. I remember reading some old articles about Taekwondo in its early stages, especially from some of the first Kukkiwon founders and those who fund raised hard for Taekwondo in the 60’s. There was a huge struggle to get the average Korean citizen to believe that Taekwondo is a noble activity and full of virtue when most Koreans believes Taekwondo or any martial art was purely for gangsters and ruffians. Not civilized people. Finally, the Taekwondo masters got respect and rightly so. The Korean government realized how valuable Taekwondo was and promoted it. That is the only reason we have Taekwondo today or it would have simply died out and stayed Karate. That is my opinion. So Koreans used to hate martial arts, then they loved martial arts (only the Korean ones pretty much) and now they hate martial arts (even the Korean ones), and the few young people who have a desire for something more in life than studying, working 12 hour shifts, and have an active lifestyle and a more aggressive or adventurous mindset are now doing MMA, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and Boxing. They are not doing Taekwondo. Only children do Taekwondo it seems, and “stupid foreigners” like myself who did not realize they were enrolled in hip hop/ballet/modern dance classes their entire life because they mistakenly thought they were training to learn how to fight and defend themselves and thus got a black belt in modern dance. Oops!

The Fight Doctor Sensei Takuya Futaesaku

        Several years ago I randomly found a cool YouTube channel of a Karate master who is also a Physical Therapy doctor. I first saw a video of a Japanese female fighter doing a slow kicking exercise. His videos are full of various martial artists, most of them professional fighters of K-1 and MMA and other sports such as Kyokushin Karate, and even Olympic Taekwondo athletes; all of them are doing various martial arts style physical therapy. It is an interesting channel. His name is Dr. Takuya Fitaesaku and he is the founder of Society of Fighting Medicine. His channel name on YouTube is “sunliveorio.” So check it out.

I wanted to get an interview with him, and he agreed to do it, but had second thoughts because of English language issues, as well as he is a very, very busy doctor and Karate teacher traveling doing so many seminars and appointments that translation would take a long time. So he changed his mind and did not want to answer all of my questions. He was very polite and nice to talk to even so.

        Apparently he is famous in Japan for being the doctor at ringside for many fights such as K-1 Kickboxing and Japanese MMA promotions. He is not only a high ranking Karate black belt in 2 styles, but a real medical doctor with a degree from medical school. I think he has valuable information on injury prevention, healing of injuries and strengthening, and all around safety in practice of martial arts. He is big on Karate but he is a overal general martial arts and combat sports enthusiast and respects it all. He is a Karate master of Yoshukai and Kyokushin Karate styles. He also invented an awesome striking bag which is a thin cylinder on a chain that works great for fast kicking, punching, and avoiding simulated strikes toward you called the “KO Bag.” It allows you to move around more freely than a standard, large heavy bag. Dr. Futaesaku is a Karate genius!

There are other videos showing all kinds of punching drills and also connected 2 of these KO Bags together as well as tying on 2 striking pads on the bottom to simulate multiple legs kicking at you. It looks like an incredibly fun cardio workout.

It can get crazier and crazier depending on what you connect to it! You can order one and have it shipped to you. He also sells really cool shirts that he designed that say “No Karate, No Life” on them for diehard karateka to wear. He always is wearing one of these shirts as he never wears a gi top or black belt in any of his videos.

         “Dr. F” as he is known also uploads “pay for” video seminars. All of his videos on YouTube have pretty much been in Japanese, but he has since started to upload English language videos. His seminars are available by purchase online via instant video streaming/download at the following link: http://necfru.jp/video?id=3993. You can view a 3 minute sample there and if you want more you can pay for it and get the entire video.

He trains any martial arts style and there are videos of Kickboxers, Muay Thai fighters, Full Contact Karate fighters, and Olympic Taekwondo fighters who all had training and physical therapy teachings learned by Dr. F.

Another random thing is, I am not sure, but I believe that he also gives physical therapy to Japanese rock singers and pop artists. Since the videos are in Japanese I am not exactly sure what is going on except he is also famous with some musicians. Check out his channel.

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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Benson Henderson Earns Even More Of My Respect UFC Fight Night: McGregor VS Siver

        Benson Henderson fought Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night tonight. Watchng the fight it is obvious Benson Henderson won the fight all 3 rounds. Cerrone even acted as if he lost, you could see it in his face. When the judges scores were announced it was shocking, all 3 said Donald Cerrone won. I thought this has to be a mistake! Henderson’s face was in shock. I was extremely mad. Benson Henderson got screwed!

        When Joe Rogan went to interview him you could see Benson Henderson was extremely pissed off that he got screwed out of a win. Yet, Henderson made no excuses and simply stated, “I can do all things through CHRIST! who strengthens me.” Henderson really has true faith and will not let a stupid judgment ruin him as a man. He said he will not let it defeat him or keep him from getting better. He was full of righteous anger and asked Dana White to get him a fight even next weekend because he doesn’t care.

        A lot of fighters would be so full of hate and rage they would cuss up a storm and inslt people. Benson Henderson is a fighter with a lot of class. And Taekwondo skills. He used plenty of front leg sidekicks to the lower thigh in this fight that not only kept distance but also did some damage. He at one point throw an axe kick. It was a great fight, one that he truly won.

Taekwondo Dominated The UFC 182 Prelims Last Night

        I have been saying it before and I will say it again, Taekwondo is proving itself in MMA and should be taken seriously by MMA gyms. They need to start hiring Taekwondo striking coaches on top of their Muay Thai and Boxing coaches. There is no shame in hiring a traditional martial artist for striking in MMA. Last night on the UFC 182 Preliminary fights on Fox Sports 1 Taekwondo proved itself twice as a factor in the victories given to 2 fighters with legitimate Taekwondo backgrounds.

        The first Taekwondo win last night was Cody Garbrandt who has a Taekwondo training history and has shown it in previous fights by utilizing head kicks and more. He fights out of Team Alpha Male in San Diego, California (Uriah Faber’s team) and used Taekwondo stances and movement with kicks to work his opponent Marcus Brimage, an Alabama native, fighting out of American Top Team in Florida. What is interesting is that Marcus Brimage trained at Spartan Fitness in Birmingham, Alabama when he started MMA training. He has known the head coach there for over 10 years, so he had the coach corner him during his fight. Such gyms in Alabama and their coaches are not known to be friendly towards Taekwondo, in fact much of them are outright hostile towards it. Well thanks to Taekwondo tactics and aggression Cody Garbrandt knocked this fighter out. Yes, the finishing techniques were attributed to Garbrandt’s high level amateur boxing background as well, but you cannot deny the obvious Taekwondo strategy enveloped in his kickboxing game during the fight. Even Joe Rogan was talking about his Taekwondo movements last night. It is about time these MMA coaches stop talking trash about Taekwondo and give the martial art more respect because it’s kicking your fighter’s asses. It should also be said being a jack of all trades in a typical MMA gym and a master of none is not the best way to be a fighter. Fighters with focused training in one or more martial arts alone who gain rank and skills within a system are more likely to end up better fighters in the long run.

Notice the Kick and his stance toward the end. He is standing in a Taekwondo stance and moving forward. He was doing stuff like that every round of the fight. His boxing skills did end the fight but there is no denying his Taekwondo movement and kicks did help.

        The second Taekwondo win last night was Paul Felder’s dominant win and his devastating spinning backfist on Danny Castillo. Paul Felder dominated the entire cage the entire fight. He used plenty of Taekwondo kicks and stances and movement a long with his Muay Thai. He has a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo and after winning the fight he claimed “Taekwondo, we spin to win!” It was great! It is necessary for fighters to study Taekwondo and Karate tactics and train in them and not simply rely on boxing or Muay Thai alone now days. Felder was bracing himself to receive a body kick as he stepped back and to the side some in order to counter by spinning around with a back fist that connected hard and knocked Castillo out on his feet before he fell to the ground. A back fist, as well as spin back fist is a Taekwondo staple, even if in most tournaments of Taekwondo such as the Olympics or ITF sparring it is illegal, it is still trained in self defense and in the forms of Taekwondo and traditional movements. It is only obvious that Taekwondo fighters can incorporate it into kickboxing and MMA.

BAM!

Slow motion…beautiful!

        So it was a great time for Taekwondo last night on the Preliminary fights. Also Jon Jones of course beat Daniel Cormier with a decision. Jon Jones also mentioned his adaptability and seemed to be describing his ability to mimmick perfectly another fighter and learn all his techniques and do them and beat him at his own game. He said “Cormier claims he is king of the grind, but I proved he is not” and said that now he, Jones himself, is the king of the grind and that he adapted to Cormiers skills making it that “Cormier defeated Cormier.” It seems he is describing the Mortal Kombat video game mirror match in MK1. Also, it only leads me to think further that he believes he is the embodiment of the character played by Kareem Abdul Jabaar in Bruce Lee’s “Game of Death” movie. He believes he is following Bruce Lee’s way I guess. He is the mystical, profound fighter with the beard and sunglasses and all.

A Round Kick Is A Fight Ender

        A round kick is a very basic technique and probably the kick one will most often use in a fight. It is used more than any kick. It can be a fight ender. The regular round kick from most martial arts systems use the lower shin area and instep, top of the foot for impact. Karate being the most popular art for decades last century has emphasized kick snapping kicks with the instep to targets on an opponents body. Taekwondo, coming from Shotokan then became the next world’s most popular martial art and held that title for a very long time. Taekwondo kicks much like Karate because Taekwondo basically is a kind of Karate since it has a strong historic link to Shotokan Karate. Shotokan round kicks and Taekwondo round kicks are basically performed the same.

        It is very hard for the average know-it-all MMA fanboy or Muay Thai guy to understand that you do not always have to hit with the shin, use a loose and wide swinging leg, and turn 360 degrees after every round kick you throw. You can simply kick the way Karate kicks and hurt someone badly.

        Last night on the UFC Fight Night Lyoto Machida used a basic Shotokan round kick and hit DB Dolloway on the body and crumbled him. Dolloway slowly began to fall as Machida went in for the kill with multiple punches until he was on the floor doing nothing about it as the referee stopped the fight declaring Machida the winner. All Machida did was use timing, brains, and focus. He saw a target available and threw a very hard round kick with his instep making impact. His leg was chambered like a Karate kick with the knee aiming at the target and BAM! it hit. It was a delayed reaction for a split second before Dolloway held his rib and tried to pretend he was not hurt but to no avail he had to react to the pain and misery of the kick and eventually fall.

        Round kicks are serious business. You do not have to use a Muay Thai style shin kick where you spin 360 degrees if you miss. Often times people who want to shadow box with kicks will make sure you damn well know they know real fighting by spinning around in a full circle after throwing a round kick. If someone does not go into a 360s degree spin after their round kick people will think they are simply “Karate dorks” or “Taekwondo idiots” who don’t know how to REALLY kickbox. It is pretty pretentious. The truth is, most often you can tell a beginner and low experienced level fighter by their intentional spins after throwing round kicks for absolutely NO reason but to look cool like they know the REAL way to Kickbox. Like they know Muay Thai.

        Karate kicks and Taekwondo kicks are faster, more agile, and can be performed with pinpoint accuracy. Whereas a standard Muay Thai kick is heavier, often a harder impact (not always though), yet it’s impact covers a wider range on the opponents body with less pinpoint accuracy. Shins are devastating and it is important to understand how to kick with heavy rotation like Muay Thai, but it is not the only way to throw a round kick and knowing the fast and quick retracting kicks of Karate and Taekwondo are also important. They allow for traveling forward and covering distance and enable aperson to throw multiple kick combos using both legs. Most often a Muay Thai kick will be thrown once and very hard but not too many combos are available when overexerting. Know exactly how much force you need to use to defeat someone is a skill that only expert martial artists understand. Not the average MMA fan. So hopefully the amazing round kick of Lyoto Machida that landed last night will help get rid of the negative stigma that current low-brow pop-culture followers, who think they are fighters and MMA masters at Buffalo Wild Wings UFC night have against anyone who wears a uniform and colored belt when they train. It seems the only people allowed to wear a gi and colored belt are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu people, but anyone sporting a Karate gi or Taekwondo dobok is shunned.

        One time I was able to pull of such a devastating round kick. It was a left leg round kick just like Machida’s. It was at the University Fight Club I started at my university for MMA and all martial arts. A wrestler guy came in and wanted to strike with me. Of course such a fight always starts out with the agreement that its low to medium contact and eventually throughout the sparring session someone’s ego gets in the way and they start throwing full power blows. The wrestler of course did not like my kicks and began to throw hard punches hitting me in the face. I threw a leg kick or two and he punched me some again and then I had had it with his nonsense so I round kicked him in the ribs full power and he fell to the ground for about 2 minutes reeling in pain and out of breath. I kind of felt bad but then again he asked for me. I may have fractured his rib, but I am not sure. Quite possibly Lyoto last night broke Dolloway’s rib as well. What an inspiration!

        Thank you Lyoto Machida for being a great representative of a true martial artist and fighter and showing the world that Karate and other traditional martial arts have a real place in the fight world and are effective fighting systems that should be respected.