Posts Tagged ‘real taekwondo’

Why Did You Even Start Training In Taekwondo?

        I never started training in Taekwondo because I wanted to be the best fighter in the world or do backyard fights or anything like that. I began training in Karate at age 6 for a few months then dropped out because it was soooooo boring and nothing even close like Karate Kid, the movie that inspired me. The instructor was not a good teacher. Later in life I did youth wrestling and it sounded fun and I competed as a 4th grader. I only won 3 matches the entire season and got beat so many times. I left that school and went to another school so I never got back into it.

Over time I thought I should learn how to fight. I was always bullied and threatened on the streets growing up. I was afraid some bully was going to beat me up one day as it nearly happened several times. I was afraid and I realized I need to learn to fight to defend myself and also become strong. To be a real confident person who is not afraid to fight if I have to. I thought about martial arts a lot then some guy told me about how he did Taekwondo and that Taekwondo is a great style which emphasizes kicking.
I thought kicking was super effective and learning to kick well would make me better than guys who did not kick much. I heard Karate was more about hands, and I knew boxing was only hands. I wanted to learn hands and also feet. I read about how Judo is throwing and grappling, Hapkido was mainly joint locks and sweeps and some kicks, but then I read from the same brochure that Taekwondo was not only punching and kicking but also joint locks, throws, and pressure points. It sounded ultimate. I shortly began training in Taekwondo and never regretted it. I became a stronger person, learned how to train, learned how to fight, learned to compete, and gained confidence. I never had intentions of style VS style or fighting in MMA. MMA didn’t even exist yet!!!

I simply trained in a martial art that built me up, made me a stronger and tougher person, and gave my character a boost. Taekwondo did in fact “save my life” in this sense. It gave me something to be a part of and a purpose. It gave me a lifestyle of training to the best of my physical ability, as much as my body allows. I know that to be an all around great fighter you need to learn other styles of martial arts (which I do pursue) but I never started Taekwondo to be the ultimate badass and boost my ego. Im not afraid to fight, but I don’t seek it out nonsensically. There is more to life than fighting. Taekwondo not only gives me fighting, but it is deeper than mere physical training and sparring, there is a lifestyle and philosophy behind it. It is a meaningful martial art and a way of life. This is outside of religion and spirituality, but simply a lifestyle I got into and meaning outside of God but an enjoyment of life an a blessing of God to be able to do.

I never thought of being a movie star (all though my instructor told me I could have been one), and I never joined to show off or do back flips and impress anyone. I joined because I felt my life was in danger from bullies and I would have to learn to fight to defend myself. I needed to grow and have courage and become a man in that sense. I was always timid or fearful of really mean tough bullies. Thank God I got into Taekwondo because I had to use it in real life fights more than once. While I no longer feared bullies in my neighborhood, during my training I was attacked on the street, I realized sport training and demos is not enough to save your ass in a real fight. Ever since then I focused solely on self defense and being aggressive and fighting a little viciously and hard. To toughen up my body and take Taekwondo as a serious fighting art. This was not a popular view at the time as everyone only wanted t compete in the then future Olympic sport that was going to be introduced in 2000. Then the UFC came on the scene and blew up the martial arts world with all kinds of attitudes and philosophies (many negative, as those bullies who picked on people then joined the local MMA gyms that sprang up as a result). I knew there was more to Taekwondo than board breaking demos and other nonsense as well as only sport rules. I knew Taekwondo was a complete stand up fighting system worthy of real combat. I was attacked later in life and actually won against a larger attacker who was hell bent on kicking my ass. The hardness that Taekwondo instilled in me gave me a survival instinct and hard hands. I am blessed.

I still do not train to be the ultimate MMA world champion or anything else. I simply love Taekwondo, love self defense, love to be strong, an I am personally enriched by Taekwondo. I do pursue other martial arts styles and training concepts but my main style is Taekwondo and I have come so far in it there is no reason to quit or give it up. I will make sure I teach the future of Taekwondo in my way and keep excelling in rank and become a really good coach. It is my dream. I have trained for 20 years, unfortunately I have had many hardships along the way such as a car hitting me and almost killing me which took out a lot of my abilities for the rest of my life. I simply now train with my handicaps and keep going. I believe I am strong and I am tough, but certainly not the toughest or best in the world. I am simply a man who does Taekwondo and teaches it and promotes it and wants it to keep progressing. What Taekwondo did for me can also be done for others.

Taekwondo is really important to me. This is one reason why I started this blog and why this new forum exists. It is a place to express passion, opinions, anger, viciousness, humor, exchange technique, training and more. This is a forum for Taekwondoin for life who believe it is a true fighting art and warrior tradition. I thank Korea and Koreans for creating such a dynamic and powerful martial art and spreading it cross the world so I could enjoy it as well.

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Why Kukkiwon Rank Matters As The Ultimate And True Taekwondo Rank

        True rank in the Korean martial art of Taekwondo has always been given by individuals and institutions with set standards that are recognized by other prestigious organizations and people. Currently, for Taekwondo rank to be recognized, it must be given by the Kukkiwon which is the World Taekwondo Academy (the headquarters of Taekwondo worldwide in Seoul, Korea) which is the historic conclusion of the original Korean Taekwondo Association’s unanimous decision to unify Taekwondo as one art with set standards for acknowledgement and affirmation of martial art skill progression in Korea. It is based in tradition, and linked to this body of sanctioning members dating back to the formation of the KTA, whom are perceived as beyond reproach. Since 1955, the set standards that earned an individual a rank in Taekwondo must have been given by a recognizable entity, originally the KTA, but now the Kukkiwon (which was formed by the KTA through unanimous vote of approval in 1772). Kukkiwon Taekwondo rank must conform to existing norms in the Korean martial arts order that are sanctioned by the Korean government. Any group or individual can create their own association, organization or federation and also print up fancy looking certificates on nice paper and issue them out; but they are devoid of any governmental or legal guidelines; these are without true value (even if one has money and can afford to pay for such things to various groups and people, and even if they team up with other individuals who will affirm such bogus ranks). True Taekwondo rank has the recognition and acceptance by existing groups and institutions that give it legitimacy such as the Kukkiwon, sanctioned by the Korean government and the Administration of Sports, supported by the World Taekwondo Federation (for sport), and affirmed by the International Olympic Committee, and is the historic linage of the unified kwans organized by the KTA dating back to 1955. Even so, one must always make sure that it is the skill and knowledge that gains the rank, not the other way around. Having a personal quest for rank certification, affirmation, status, and acceptance by others on its own misses the entire point which only energizes a false sense of mastery in the art of Taekwondo for the insecure-ego driven person who lacks patience.

Kukkiwon is the head of Taekwondo across the entire world. Kukkiwon is true Korean Taekwondo and the true historic linage of Taekwondo. TKD was unified by the KTA and eventually the KTA voted upon the Kukkiwon, and all kwans unanimously agreed to fully support the Kukkiwon and unify Taekwondo as one Korean martial art, the national martial art and sport of Korea. All other groups branched off and went their own ways and started their own organizations which are not the cultural Taekwondo of Korea. Kukkiwon IS Taekwondo. Other groups are simply offshoots and false creations. This is especially true of later groups starting their own “Taekwondo style” which has nothing to do with the Taekwondo of Korea.

Kukkiwon rank is the most prestigious rank you can achieve in Taekwondo and is accepted across the world. No one is going to deny your rank when you travel. Kukkiwon rank is like a passport between Taekwondo dojang. People who would reject your rank and say you are not accepted as real black belt until they pay for ranks in a local school or faulty organization are ignorant and have an agenda (most likely to scam you out of money). So if you go to an ATA gym and they say you cannot be a black belt there, they are actually saying “You are not a real TKD black belt.” Which is ridiculous because it is saying the historic and Korean martial art you are ranked in is not actually true. They just want you to pay money and do their false mcdojang system.

Kukkiwon sets standards for skill and knowledge that are the same for everyone. No one can pass with less knowledge and no one can claim you have to know more things. Kukkiwon sets the standards which are universal, and you can easily know what you need to know. Kukkiwon provides quality control and to make sure you are doing the techniques correctly.

When you get certified by the Kukkiwon you have real accreditation by the board of members. Not just one master who assesses you. Not only the board of members, but the Korean government and administration of sports in Korea accredits you. It is not just one school or corporation saying you are a black belt but the government of Korea as well. You are also affirmed by the International Olympic Committee. It is a worldwide rank that should be recognized by anyone. Your rank is transcendent beyond 1 private group.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It is not American or Canadian or anything else. Kukkiwon rank is the ONLY rank accepted in Korea. If you do not have certification through Kukkiwon you are not considered a black belt or practicing real Taekwondo if you are from another group who teaches other forms. It is much like how other martial arts such as Muay Thai only affirm instructor ranks given by Thailand and blessed by their king. Any other rank not given in Thailand is not considered true. Likewise, Taekwondo rank must be given by Korea through the Kukkiwon.

Kukkiwon is the only rank accepted by the IOC and the only black belt that is considered allowed for Olympic sparring competition, the highest achievement in sports for a Taekwondoin. Which means the WTF and Kukkiwon is where true, elite, Olympic level athletes come from in Taekwondo. And both the WTF and Kukkiwon are respected for that reason.

There are other organizations such as the Amateur Athletic Union, that are ecumenical and recognize rank from a wide variety of associations or organizations simply to allow competitors for their sport competitions. This is fine simply for that sport competition such as AAU sparring and forms competitions. But a rank in the AAU is simply only a rank for their sport and not Taekwondo as a whole. AAU rank is not good enough or proof of proper Taekwondo knowledge or understanding. It is not affiliated with Korea or the Kukkiwon. It may recognize Kukkiwon rank, but it also accepts ITF, ATA, and other groups which are faulty Taekwondo and not true. The standards are not good enough. Paying a group like the AAU to simply to obtain a high dan rank, to jump up a few notches and claim mastery is fallacious. It is fine for solely AAU sport competitions, but not as a true martial art rank in Taekwondo. Also, sport competitions are limited to the AAU and not acknowledged by the WTF or IOC. One must transfer to Kukkiwon rank to be allowed for Olympic competition.

With all of this, it is also wonderful to know that the Kukkiwon allows for dojang independence. There is no rigid curriculum or order of programs a gym has to conform to. The Kukkiwon does not dictate to an instructor what he has to teach every month. The Kukkiwon only sets the qualifications for specific technique, applications, grades, and skill. An instructor is free to teach any combination of techniques, self defense, and other martial arts at his gym he sees fit. Groups like the ATA or Tiger Rock and other groups dictate exactly what has to be taught. Even the ITF, depending on which ITF an instructor is a member if is dictated to what exactly he has to focus on. The Kukkiwon only gives standards for individual techniques and motions and what forms and sparring ability one must have to rank as a black belt. Individual instructors can add specific self defense, concepts and other knowledge he sees fit. Kukkiwon provides freedom while legitimizing Taekwondo rank and giving accreditation.

Depending on an instructor and who he associates with there are often times local and regional federations and associations run by master instructors who are affiliated and ranked within the Kukkiwon. These groups also issue personal ranks, school ranks, and regional organization ranks. This is fine, but these ranks on their own are no substitute for Kukkiwon certification. The Kukkiwon provides liberty for instructors to affiliate with and run other organizations while still maintaining Kukkiwon rank. This means one could affiliate with groups such as AAU, and various regional and local affiliations. Personal ranks, school ranks, and other association ranks can be a good indicator of training history and who you are personally trained by and affirmed. It builds a good resume, but you still should seek out Kukkiwon rank certification. Taekwondo as a unified world martial art system will keep Taekwondo as one and the martial art pure. The reason it is important your instructor would follow Kukkiwon standards is to make sure nonsense and garbage is kept out by unqualified people who claim to know a “better way” and are self proclaimed masters who make stuff up and lower the quality of Taekwondo.

There are of course Taekwondo practitioners who belong to a local gym that practices the same forms as approved by the WTF an Kukkiwon and in theory practices the same Taekwondo, but they simply are not accredited by the Kukkiwon yet. Such people should make every effort to eventually get certified by the Kukkiwon and with some effort will find a way to do it. This is ideal, but still there is some merit of course to their training since it conforms to the same standards and it does not mean that your gym or instructor is bad quality in theory. It is not everyone’s fault if they are not Kukkiwon ranked. Also, Kukkiwon rank is very affordable, it is simply individual instructors who price gouge and make testing fees very expensive. This is unfortunate. Hopefully one can find an instructor who is not greedy. Even so, I have found that even with increased prices for promotion testing for Kukkiwon rank are by far cheaper than the average mcdojang systems ranks by the time you paid all of their fees for every little thing. So it would still be worth it.

Kukkiwon rank matters. Without it you are simply not true Taekwondo. If you are a member of an offshoot organization that does not teach the same Taekwondo as Korea, you are not doing the cultural martial art of Korea. Ranking up high in another organization has no true value for Taekwondo. Taking such short cuts to obtain quick paced master rank does not legitimize you and only exposes you as an “embellisher” of credentials for personal gain. If your fighting skill is not up to par or your technique, eventually you will get exposed.

Taekwondo For Fighting Slip Rope Training

        Here is a great drill for working on fast footwork and speed and head movement.

Dodging punches and kicks is important. This drill uses twine taped to posts. You can use it for fast pivoting and footwork and ducking punches. Make sure to throw punches and kicks as well. I have tied 4 strings around in various places, in the middle it makes kind of an “x” or “+” shape. You can duck and slip under in multiple directions. This drill will make your legs strong and help with instability. If you have joint problems this drill might be tough, but if you do it right it is a fun way to work on strengthening the thigh muscles from the squatting down over and over. This drill also can simulate multiple attackers from various directions. Do this in 3 minute drills. Try it! This is Taekwondo for serious fighting and MMA.

Try it yourself!

Interview With Master In Choul Jeong

        In Choul Jeong is a great Taekwondo master of our day who has been very influential with advancing Taekwondo techniques. He is on the education committee in the Kukkiwon. He is the author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting written for the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA). I found out about master Jeong through YouTube last year when I was looking up hand techniques for real Taekwondo fighting. I was looking up videos for Taekwondo and self defense. I stumbled upon this video:

When I saw that I was impressed and felt really encouraged to keep training hand techniques in Taekwondo. He even emphasizes use of the kwon go (Korean translation of the Japanese term makiwara, which is the board with rope tied around it used for the hitting of the fist) for hand conditioning, something Taekwondo people have forgotten which used to be one of the essential training tools in the old days. Now days it seems only karateka use it while taekwondoin (who came from Karate and used to use it) are busy training for tournament sparring without much use of hands.

Master Jeong also makes videos showing applications for poomsae. He shows what the movements mean and why you are training them, and how they relate to self defense. He keeps putting out one awesome video after another. I think more people need to know about his videos and subscribe to his channel. It is awesome to see Korean Taekwondo masters training for the purpose of fighting and self defense and not only doing demo’s or Taekwondo-dance which seems to be 99% of the videos you see online today.

I was given the opportunity by master Jeong to do an interview with him so he could tell us all more about his training background and martial arts philosophy! If you have not checked Master Jeong’s YouTube channel please do so! Make sure to like his videos and subscribe to his channel!

Enjoy the interview:

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

 MASTER JEONG: My name is In Choul Jeong, but my Face book page’s name is “Taekwondo master Jeong In Choul” (Korean style).  I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I teach Taekwondo to foreign people at the World Taekwondo Culture Expo, World Youth Taekwondo Camp and at my dojang.  Nice to speak to you all.

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 JEONG: You are asking me many things at once! Haha! I started training Taekwondo at 6 years old. My father was a Grandmaster and so his Dojang was my playground. His name is “Soon Kyu Jeong”and he is at the level of 9th dan. He is a former vice president of Odokwan and he taught many students. One of them is Grandmaster Hwang (Kukkiwon Director, Instructor). Master Hwang is also my master. I think I am a lucky guy because I’ve gotten chances to learn from many great teachers: Grandmaster In Sik Hwang, Grandmaster Ik Pil Kang (World Champion at poomsae), Grandmaster Jae Ro Ahn (President of Cheongjihjoe), as well as many teachers in other martial arts. They are all my masters in my life.

3rd place poomsae division at World Hanmadang, standing with his father Master Soon Kyu Jeong

WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications, or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?

MASTER JEONG: Taekwondo 6th Dan Kukkiwon

Kendo – 5th dan 

Kyungho Moosool (martial art for body guards) – 5th dan

Member of Kukkiwon Education Committee

Instructor of World Taekwondo Culture Expo

Instructor of World Youth Taekwondo Camp

Author of Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013)

Author of Textbook for Kukkiwon Instructors (WTA, 2014)

International poomsae competition held during the Korean Open, 1st place

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KTA president, 1st place in senior department

Taekwondo poomsae competition held on the honor of KITF president, 2nd place 

Besides Taekwondo, I have trained in Boxing, Muay Thai, Kendo, Kyungho Moosool,etc..

Master Jeong with foreign students

WHITE DRAGON: What is Kyungho Moosool and who is allowed to learn it? What techniques and concepts does it entail?

MASTER JEONG: Kyungho Moosool is a Korean martial art for body guards. It trains a person to protect VIP’s. I do not teach this even though I am 5th dan, but it was very helpful to study real fight Taekwondo. The president of Kyngho Moosol is named Jae Sool Byun. He was my father’s student and he has earned over 20 dan ranks from many styles of martial arts. He is the president of the Korean Special Kyungho Moosool Association in Korea. I received my certification in 2004. If someone wants to become a professional body guard he can apply to this program, but he should hold a rank of at least 3rd dan in some other martial art style before he will even be considered. There are many techniques and systems about defensive automobile driving, tactical firearms, and weapons disarms training in that program. They teach the principle of body guarding and all that it entails to protect a VIP. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is Cheonjihoe?

MASTER JEONG: One of the top poomsae teams in Korea. Master Ik Pil Kang was 1st president of Cheongjihoe, and I learned poomsae from him. The word means “the people who have pure minds.” 

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 JEONG: Yes, When I was a boy, I had so many fights and used skills of Taekwondo (It’s such a shame, I was so childish). Apchagi (front kick) to the stomach is a very useful skill and sometimes I used dwit chagi (back kick) to finish an aggressive enemy. When I was in my 20’s, I worked as a manager in my uncle’s night club. There were so many fights especially at Friday night. I usually tried to break up the fights and some guys tried to punch me. But I parried all their punches with steps and blocked the attacks with Taekwondo skills. After that I suppressed them easily. Actually, small and fast action is very important in a real fight situation, not fancy action.

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 this true?

MASTER JEONG:  Yes it is. I want to answer with this famous quote, “You win some, you lose some.” Boxers can’t use kicks in a boxing match, so their punching techniques have been developed brilliantly and skillful. Likewise, we as Taekwondo competitors can’t punch in the face in a Taekwondo match, so the kicking techniques of Taekwondo are the best they have ever been now because they have been developed over time just as boxing developed punches in their sport. 

However, while we’ve developed great kicks because of sport, many of us have unfortunately lost the development of hand techniques. Sadly, many of us don’t train the hand techniques of Taekwondo anymore which causes many people feel think that Taekwondo is just a sport and is not effective for self defense.

But I want to say “The essence of Taekwondo” is a martial art for actual fighting. I will quote from my book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013):

The 1st and 2nd class Master Course Textbook (for Kukkiwon Taekwondo Master Training Course attendees) says the same thing – ‘Taekwondo is a martial art for knocking down enemies.’ (Kukkiwon Master Course Textbook). This is very important and we should remember this.

Hand Techniques Of Taekwondo For Actual Fighting book

The number of hand Technique is larger than the number of kicking in Taekwondo, nevertheless we barely use hand techniques in sparring training or a match. So I have intensely studied the techniques of Taekwondo for actual fighting and have written the book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013) with great masters Jaeyoung Um and Jae Ro Ahn. I have translated the book into English and you may be able to buy it online in a few months. (Special thanks to Master Andy Jeffries for supervising). Search for it on Amazon and other book outlets in the near future. 

Demonstrating accurate poomsae at a clinic for foreign students

WHITE DRAGON:  What is your opinion on the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)?

MASTER JEONG: I respect Grand master “Choi Hong Hi” the founder of ITF. They  use  punches  to  the  face  in  competition  sparring and  they have been trying to keep Taekwondo as a martial art. I think that’s good.

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

MASTER JEONG: People learn patience, concentration, courtesy, and manners while training Taekwondo. And so did I. The real power of education is changing a person. Not only in terms of combative martial arts, but also in terms of personal edification. Taekwondo is a very powerful martial art.

 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 JEONG: I think of it positively and I like K-Tigers team. But I think balance and sequence are very important. If some masters teach Taekwon-dance to a white belt student, it is not proper. If someone trains Taekwon-dance over 30 minutes in a one hour training session, this is not proper also.

Kendo master

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of mixed martial arts, and how does Taekwondo today fit in the world wide trend of MMA? Is MMA something to embrace as a Taekwondoin? Do you have any favorite fighters in the world of MMA or Kickboxing?

MASTER JEONG: I really like MMA. My favorite fighter is Ronda Rousey. Many MMA fighters and kickboxers are learning Taekwondo’s kicks and trying to apply it to their game. I am very proud of it. And I think Taekwondo masters should learn the skills of other martial arts and study them for upgrading. To develop something, we need flexibility, not a fixed idea, so I think “embrace” is an excellent word. Sometimes I do free sparring with MMA fighters or Kickboxers here and there. It is very helpful to understand more about martial arts.

Boxing practice

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

MASTER JEONG: I learn the principles of body movement from poomsae, and I have been trying to apply the skills of poomsae to a real life situation. You can find my videos on YouTube and Facebook (search “Master Jeong In Choul”) demonstrating poomsae applications and scenario based self defense training with the movements found in Taekwondo forms. I believe that people will find the essence of Taekwondo in poomsae.

Taekwondo fit!

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?

MASTER JEONG: Yes I do. There is an advantage in Olympic style techniques to learn and we should not ignore it. I think that a real master should be skilled with both parts (poomsae and kyorugi) and should be able to apply poomsae into actual fighting. When I was in elementary school I had won a few medals from national competition. I also did sparring in tournaments all the time when I was a middle school student. Unfortunately, my parents did not agree that I should be an athlete and instead made me focus on studying in high school. So my Taekwondo focus turned towards poomsae training and hoshinsool study. Then in college I trained sparring and usually competed. I was a sparring champion in the university union division. I still enjoy sparring with various people here and there from time to time. I just never compete anymore and focus on self defense concepts and poomsae applications.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!

MASTER JEONG: It was my pleasure to do this interview, thank you for asking me to do it! 

WHITE DRAGON: I appreciate the chance to interview you thank you!

MASTER JEONG: You’re welcome! Good bye!

*For more information on Master Jeong In Chul follow his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jeonginchoul

and subscribe to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy-Jg_befA1wq6eWnTSVz2Q

 Be sure to buy his book Hand Techniques of Taekwondo for Actual Fighting (KTA, ANIBIG,2013). It comes out in English this year! Look for it on Amazon! 

 

Interview With Master Boseong Kwon

        Many readers may know of Master Boseong Kwon from his YouTube channel. He is known as being “a Korean master who teaches Taekwondo for serious fighting in Australia.” I found out about Master Kwon when randomly searching up Taekwondo videos a few years back. From the first video I saw of him I was impressed! Not only are his videos great, he is also an approachable person who is willing to message you back and give you training tips.

If for some reason you have not checked out his YouTube channel go now and watch his videos. Be sure to subscribe to his channel and like his videos.

He even gave me permission to send him interview questions that I can post on my blog. I am sure many of you will be excited to know more about Master Kwon! Enjoy the interview:

WHITE DRAGON: I am excited to do this interview. You are an inspiration to me for Taekwondo. Ever since I saw your videos on YouTube I was impressed right away. I’ve watched every video you’ve uploaded. Your videos give me hope for Taekwondo’s future and also training and teaching tips. Some of your ideas on your videos I use for my own students. So thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Many of us on the internet, I am sure, want to know more about you. I think you are kind of a Taekwondo celebrity on YouTube. People know you as the Korean master who teaches the fighting art of Taekwondo in its most serious state. 

Here are some questions for you sir!

WHITE DRAGON: Where and when were you born?

MASTER KWON: I was born 18th of April, 1979 in Seoul city, South Korea. 

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 KWON: My father was a big fan of martial arts. Since a Taekwondo dojang opened in my local town, my dad put me in class straight away when I was 7 years old. I did Taekwondo, Hapkido, Composite Martial Arts, Muay-Thai, Protaekwondo, Bulmudo and Kumdo (sword art). I did as much cross training as I could to become an expert martial artist.

My Instructors;

-Grandmaster Dosa Kwon (President of International Protaekwondo Oceania Association) my uncle.

-Grandmaster Ando (President of World Bulmudo Federation, Highest Ranking Master Instructor of Bulmudo)

Grandmaster Kwon and Ando trained under Grandmaster Yeo Po on the Mangkyung Mountain over 10 years.

Grandmaster Kwon immigrated to Australia in 1991 to spread his martial arts, and Grandmaster Ando became a monk in the Beomeosa Temple, which is a popular birthplace of Korean Buddhist martial arts.

Beomeosa Temple in Korea

 

Now Grandmaster Ando is a successor of this art since Grandmaster Yang-ik (founder of Buddhist martial arts) has since passed away.

-Grandmaster Byung Suk Lee (WTF Taekwondo)

 

WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications, or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?

MASTER KWON: Taekwondo (5th Dan), Protaekwondo (6th Dan), Hapkido (4th Dan), Composite Martial Arts (5th Dan)

Champion- International Protaekwondo Association- 1999, 2001

Champion- Korea Composite Martial Arts Federation- 1999, 2001, 2002

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo or Hapkido 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 KWON: I have a peaceful personality. I don’t like getting involved in any fighting. When I was a boy in high school, university periods, I had several fights. Normally ending quickly with a side kick or back kick as they are very powerful, final kicks. After migrating to Australia, I taught martial arts as a part time job and second being a security guard. I worked in clubs, pubs and faced many drunk and aggressive people. When they wanted to fight with me, I could scare them off with a few kicks in front of them. Otherwise, using Hapkido pressure points and joint restraining techniques was useful also to escort people out. I also had fights where they attacked first. In such situations a few low kicks or body kicks for self defense were effective.

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 this true?

MASTER KWON: Yes It is. Unfortunately Modern Taekwondo developed as a sport.

But originally Taekwondo is a martial art for self-defense. There has to be a balance. I hope High Position Kukkiwon executive members consider putting more political power to rebuild martial arts Taekwondo.

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 KWON: I like the Korean Tigers Team’s amazing demonstrations. They are a demonstration Team. Blending gymnastic skills with Taekwondo, making aero kicks look good. All good… But the dance is too much. It doesn’t look good as martial arts. I don’t understand what they are doing.

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

MASTER KWON: In 2004 I arrived in Australia. The first two years I focused on my immigration and training. I trained under Grandmaster Kwon along with teaching his classes. In 2006, I opened a part time school and 2010, I bought current property and opened full time Protaekwondo Club. We are at 36 Rocky Point Road, Kogarah, NSW 2217, Australia. It is a 10 minute drive from Sydney airport. Mainly I teach Protaekwondo blending with other martial arts.

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

MASTER KWON: For me, it gave me confidence, a strong spirit and patience. This has been very important in changing my life attitude. I never gave up once I knew it was right. I can see a lot of my students gaining their confidence, learning how to focus on what they are doing and having respect for other people. We are teaching, good mannerism and strengthening their spirits, so whatever they are doing, wherever they are, it will change their lifestyle.

WHITE DRAGON: What is the Protaekwondo organization? How can one get involved with it?

MASTER KWON: International Protaekwondo Association of Oceania http://www.protaekwondo.org.au/flash/index.html
anybody who wants to become a Protaekwondo instructor or join our organisation, please contact Grandmaster Dosa Kwon (61 2 9597 5373) or Master Boseong Kwon (61 2 432281371). 

We operate instructor courses and Black Belt seminars on a regular basis. If you become a member, we support all round curriculum (punching, kicking, self defense, grappling, meditation, weapons)… Keep updating through instructor seminar. We are open minded martial artists, and directly link to other martial arts associations such as Korea Composite Martial Arts Federation, Global Hapkido Federation, World Bulmudo Association, World X- Impact Federation (MMA organisation based in Korea)

Master Kwon with students

 

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion about the International Taekwondo Federation?

MASTER KWON: Taekwondo is Taekwondo. WTF and ITF have the same root. I understand ITF sparring rules or patterns are different with WTF. In my view it looks similar. I hope for a reunion in the near future to build up strong Taekwondo.

WHITE DRAGON: What are Korean Buddhist martial arts? Can you be specific about how they are trained and what they focus on?

MASTER KWON: The original name the art is 불교금강영관 (kumkangyungkwan), but it is too difficult to pronounce to the general public, so Grandmaster Ando renamed Bulmudo for the promotion of his art.

Master Ando demonstrating Bulmudo

Half of the training is yoga and internal training ( meditation/abdominal breathing) and half is martial arts training. It is a well balanced art (internal energy + physical strength). This is not the competition arts. They believe through harmony of the mind, body, breathing and the healing of body and mind, you can attain true wisdom. The movements are very beautiful. Most of the movements use circular motions. Taekwondo kicking uses a snap, Bulmudo kicking doesn’t use a snap much so it uses a whole body with circular energy based on breathing. It really helps to increase my flexibility and control of Taekwondo kicking short or long range, any angle possible. Personally, I like the meditation side. I do meditation 2-3 hours everyday for healing energy and clearing my mind. The LA Times wrote an article about Buddhist Martial Arts and Grandmaster Ando and can be found at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/26/world/la-fg-korea-fighting-monks-20111226

WHITE DRAGON: How did you learn Hapkido? Was it along side of your Taekwondo training? What is your opinion on the differences between Hapkido and Taekwondo?

MASTER KWON: I was interested to learn Joint manipulation, or pressure point skill. so I studied Hapkido since I was 15 yrs old. Hapkido more uses circular movements more than Taekwondo. When I started Hapkido training, a lot of gyms used circular motions of kicking. Nowadays, Hapkido practitioners use a lot of Taekwondo style kicking, and also a lot of Taekwondo masters teach Hapkido techniques as self defense. The human body is all the same: two hands, two legs. A lot of martial arts share similar techniques with different names. I learned Hapkido to complete my Taekwondo style.

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of mixed martial arts, and how does Taekwondo today fit in the world wide trend of MMA? Is MMA something to embrace as a Taekwondoin? Do you have any favorite fighters in the world of MMA or Kickboxing?

MASTER KWON: For me, TKD is MMA. Taekwondo practitioners get too obsessed with too many rules and training the sport side of Taekwondo. Martial arts has no rules. We have to practice ground techniques, and punching skills, elbow, knee, head and whatever available weapon; and so I trained all these techniques along with my Taekwondo and teach to my students from the beginning. I like the way of training MMA side, but sometimes it is too violent (ground and pound until unconscious…). I wish for more protection to the player. They can use brutal techniques for life or death situations, not for money or title..

Master Kwon teaching Taekwondo for MMA and fighting

 

WHITE DRAGON: Is Taekwondo a serious, deadly killing system? Yes, or no?

MASTER KWON: If they are training a combative mind, it must be very strong system.

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?What is the Australian Taekwondo scene like? 

MASTER KWON: In Korea, Many students train at least 5-6 days per week. Here in Australia one or two times per week is very popular. In Korea, inside the dojang they teach general Taekwondo, and competition players focus training in their school team. But in Australia, inside the dojang, both train as competition players and normal students.

WHITE DRAGON: I notice that you do not wear traditional Taekwondo dobok uniforms in your videos and many of your students simply have the pants and a tank top or t-shirt. How important is tradition within Taekwondo? Some instructors might say that if one is not wearing a dobok then they are not truly doing Taekwondo. How would you respond to that?

MASTER KWON: For teaching respect or manners and encouraging to wearing uniforms…I agree with that. Especially, if you are training traditional Taekwondo, mainly training patterns, or competition kicking. When you practice patterns, wearing a long sleeve uniform is good for protection of the joints. But we practice a lot of realistic hand techniques also. Tank top or t-shirts is good for fixing their posture and developing the striking feeling. As long as students show respect to their art or master, the long sleeve uniform is not a big issue.

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

MASTER KWON: For me, practicing poomsae is respecting its tradition. When a student memorizes whole patterns, and control power and balance, they can feel more confident about something they achieved. That’s why they practice patterns. Not for fighting.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?

MASTER KWON: Not really.

WHITE DRAGON: Who are some Taekwondo masters that inspire you? Do you have heroes in other styles of martial arts as well? Do you have any favorite fighters?

MASTER KWON: I respect grandmaster Hee Il Cho. He is one of the pioneers of Taekowndo. I like his way of training, adopting boxing skills to improve his Taekwondo, his tough conditioning, and traditional way of training. Favorite fighter is Fedor (he knows how to use his weapon, and most of fights, he shows perfect mind control.)

WHITE RAGON: Do you have family involved in Taekwondo or any martial arts? Are they located in Australia as well?

MASTER KWON: Yes, as I mentioned before, my uncle Grandmaster Kwon teaches Protaekwondo in Australia.

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 KWON: Nowadays, WTF Taekwondo has developed as an Olympic sport and pattern performance competition. People think practicing patterns are the martial arts side Taekwondo. But I don’t agree. I just want show to other martial artists how Taekwondo is useful and encourage Taekwondo students to train true martial arts, and how Taekwondo techniques apply for self defense. And I want to show how the Taekwondo style cooperates with other martial arts for its future. That’s why I started with YouTube. In the future, I will be uploading more self defense or grappling, and meditation videos. I also plan to produce videos of all of our official training curriculum.

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 KWON: When I was a kid, I dreamt about being Interpol, but I have very bad eye sight and can’t see strong lights so I gave up that dream. Since the age of seven I never stopped training martial arts, and I realized I couldn’t live without martial arts. So naturally, I became an instructor and training more and more gave more benefits to me, and I realized there always is a next level… so I am going to achieve my next goal.

Most important thing is the passion and life attitude about martial arts. Instructors have to create positive energy. If they have teaching ability, first aid skills, and moral etiquette they are already at the first stage of becoming an instructor.

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!

MASTER KWON: Thank you for the interview and allowing me to introduce myself to the martial arts community through your blog.

WHITE DRAGON: Thank you so much for doing this interview Master Kwon!

MASTER KWON: Good luck with your training!

*More information about Master Boesong Kwon can be found at his school’s website: http://www.premierselfdefence.com/ 

and his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/expertkbs/about

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (part 4)

IV. Taekwondo is Proven Effective In Full Contact Fighting

            It is said that a true martial art that works must prove itself in fighting. Taekwondo has not only proven itself in war, but also in current modern combat sports such as Kickboxing and MMA.

 

Taekwondo is effectively used in Mixed Martial Arts fighting

Mixed Martial Arts competition is considered by the general public of fight fans and people who are aware of martial arts as the current proving ground for effective fighting. Various Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters use Taekwondo techniques, including elite MMA fighters who fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship such as Cung Le, Anthony Pettis, Edson Barboza, Benson Henderson and others, to win high level bouts with knockout power and Taekwondo tactics. The Taekwondo round kick, Taekwondo footwork, the back kick, and even the spin kick have all been used with total success in MMA by such fighters as Dennis Sever and Conor McGregor.

Taekwondo spin kick in the UFC

Spin kick knockouts are not uncommon now as well as devastating back kicks. These are typically “fancy” techniques seen in movies that have now been proven effective in combat. MMA is the closest people can get to an actual fight while still remaining in the bounds of what is legal by the law as well as remaining typically safe because a referee and corner men are present and there are rules in place; yet a lot of techniques are allowed. If a combat sport avenue such as MMA has  allowed Taekwondo to demonstrate itself as effective then Taekwondo seems like a decent striking system and can definitely be incorporated into a self defense program.

Same technique as in MMA

Sport does not negate street effectiveness

The claim that sport is never realistic or learning a sport is not good for self defense is not 100% true. While if a person only trains for a sport with rules and never for self defense outside of his combat sport format, then the fighter will not have the best combat sense on the streets. This is even true for MMA. No one who is logical would ever claim Boxing is not an effective martial art that would not work on the streets. Boxing has always worked on the streets and just because people train within the rules of boxing does not mean they cannot use their boxing effectively for self defense. Of course a boxer really should take another martial art that allows for more techniques, but boxing in itself works. Likewise MMA of course works. It is the mindset of the practitioner. If he simply focuses on winning rounds and tapping a person out he will not do well on the streets. But if the same fighter takes his knowledge of MMA with a self defense mindset he will destroy the average person!

Taekwondo also has a sport aspect to it. The kicks and footwork from Olympic Taekwondo competition can also work in self defense. There are a variety of combinations and footwork that allow for quick speed and powerful attacks. Not every fight happens in close quarters and there are times when a self defense situation will demand an exchange of strikes. Taekwondo is the first and only martial art to extensively work on special footwork with unique foot switching and fakes with fast kicking combinations. Training to do these techniques well takes an incredible amount of fitness ability and will only aid in a persons personal self defense. Reality combat expert Martin J. Dougherty (2010) states,

“[Sport fighting] does not make Taekwondo bad. Far from it – it is an excellent sport for building fighting spirit, developing balance and fitness, and learning some powerful kicks.” (p. 26)

Of course there is so much more to Taekwondo than Olympic sparring, but the fact elite athletes with incredible fitness train in Taekwondo for the Olympics should only reinforce that someone studying Taekwondo will get overall competent fitness. It was not allowed into the Olympics because it was simple or easy. It is a dangerous full contact combat sport. Physical fitness is a very important part of self defense and Taekwondo offers it immensely. And it is evident that a Taekwondo self defense program will not focus on Olympic sparring competition, but instead self defense with all of the techniques that are not allowed in the competition.

 

Go back to Part 3                                                                                               Go on to Part 5

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.  

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (Part 1)

*There are multiple parts to this article and each will be posted over time on this blog. The sections come from a research paper I wrote about Taekwondo being effective for self defense and better than a reality based self defense course. All Works Cited will be listed at the end of the final part of this series. 

Abstract

            Taekwondo is a great martial art for any self defense program and is better than the average reality based self defense (RBSD) program. RBSD discredits Taekwondo and traditional martial arts by saying they are outdated and ineffective because they are not based on reality. This is not true and is just based on straw man arguments. They claim their techniques are easy to learn with “total effectiveness.” In reality, Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program has to offer and in fact can be trained better with a properly structured program that allows for masterful combat skills. Most RBSD instructors have a traditional martial arts background to begin with and base their credentials on being able to teach self defense on their training history. If an RBSD instructor who started out teaching Taekwondo can then create his own program and teach self defense, then any Taekwondo instructor can teach self defense using Taekwondo itself. RBSD is unnecessary and nothing RBSD instructors present is truly innovative or new knowledge. Taekwondo has been proven in war, modern combat sports, and is a very effective fighting system and good enough to use for a proper self defense program.

 

 

Taekwondo is Effective for a Self Defense Program:
Why Taekwondo is More Effective than a Reality Based Self Defense Course

 

Outline

Introduction

I. Taekwondo is a fighting system

  1. Taekwondo is a full striking system
  2. Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, and vital point attacks
  3. Taekwondo’s methodical training will help a person retain knowledge and skills

II. Taekwondo is proven in war and used by U.S. Special Forces

  1. Taekwondo was proven battle effective in the Vietnam War
  2. The U.S. Military adopted Taekwondo techniques into their combatives programs
  3. The Military and CIA shows Taekwondo is good for civilian self defense

III. Taekwondo is Not Inferior to RBSD Systems

  1. Taekwondo has every technique any RBSD program can offer
  2. It is a myth that you do not have to learn a lot of techniques
  3. RBSD uses overly technical language to fluff up its image
  4. Mcdonangism is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo

IV. Taekwondo is Proven Effective In Full Contact Fighting

  1. Taekwondo is effectively used in Mixed Martial Arts fighting
  2. Sport does not negate street effectiveness

 V. A Taekwondo Self Defense Program Can Run Better than an RBSD Program

  1. Uniforms or special clothing is not important
  2.  The progressive structure of Taekwondo motivates students
  3. The purpose is training effective fighting techniques first over everything else

Conclusion

—-

 

A properly taught Taekwondo program is effective for realistic self defense studies. With proper knowledge from a qualified instructor the techniques can be taught effectively, and are valid for today’s modern standards of self defense.

 

Introduction

Often times people claim that traditional martial arts are not good for learning effective self defense. Some critics claim that it takes too long to be able to use any of the techniques of traditional martial arts in a real self defense situation and that they are outdated and unrealistic; therefore the traditional martial arts are insufficient for learning real life self defense. Some claim learning Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD), from a number of various programs, is better and will actually work, and can be used within a very short time frame without many years of training. Such programs are very trendy and popular among many urban dwelling folks. It is the current trend to belittle traditional martial arts, especially Taekwondo, without much knowledge on the subject and follow any number of RBSD proponents with varying credentials (some of them not that great).

This paper argues that traditional martial arts are a better option for learning self defense, and specifically, Taekwondo is an effective martial art style for learning self defense and better than an RBSD program. It will also explain why some RBSD programs are typically not effective for training realistic self defense and suffer the exact same problems that critics of traditional martial arts claim. RBSD is a quick fix method that uses overly sensational advertising and overly technical words (usually stated in acronyms for the name of their style which becomes ridiculous) and often times gives a false sense of security to practitioners (which is the claim RBSD would make against Taekwondo but is actually the opposite if given a proper Taekwondo program as RBSD constantly uses straw man arguments against traditional martial arts). This paper will also briefly explain the issues of mcdojangism within the Taekwondo community and how such problems have clouded the judgment of people interesting in learning martial arts who would reject Taekwondo study. It will also express the fact that Taekwondo is proven in war, was used specifically by the military for training special forces (along with Karate as both Taekwondo and Karate were blended together), was trained to CIA operatives, has every technique any RBSD program uses, as well as the fact modern MMA fighters, including fighters in the UFC use Taekwondo to win fights or incorporate Taekwondo techniques into their martial arts arsenal. Also, the fact Taekwondo is an Olympic sport trained by elite athletes and is overall great for physical fitness which will aid a person in self defense success.

 

I. Taekwondo is an Effective Fighting System

For nearly 70 years Japan had occupied Korea from 1876-1945 destroying much of their culture and forcing Japanese culture onto Korea including the banning of the average person studying martial arts. Any martial arts Koreans practiced before Japanese occupation had been nearly forgotten or wiped out completely. Only a select few upper class Koreans were allowed to practice Japanese martial arts inside Korea, or were given the opportunity to travel to Japan to study at universities or travel to China. Koreans who went abroad were able to also study Japanese or Chinese martial arts. The Japanese government allowed some who went to Japan to run Japanese martial arts schools for privileged Koreans. In 1945 Korea was freed from Japanese occupation. Koreans who learned Japanese or Chinese martial arts were then able to freely start martial arts schools using their knowledge and skills gained abroad. There was a 10 year gap from this time until 1955 when five martial arts schools in Korea unified to birth the martial art of Taekwondo. Not much time later 5 more schools associated with the original five were annexed together to consist of 10 total schools combined to form Taekwondo.

The early martial arts styles that combined together to form the Korean art of Taekwondo was a mix of Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, various Kung Fu styles, and Taekyeon. It was a mix of mostly Japanese and some Chinese martial arts, as well as their theoretical view of what indigenous Korean martial arts (mainly Taekyeon) they could remember from history and archeology, since before Japanese occupation. Korea has a history of fighting in war, especially since the last century. Within the 20th century Korea had been invaded and taken over by Japan and suffered through a brutal regime, after liberation from Japan post-WW2 Korea had to fight the Korean War with the United States help against the communist regime of the North supported by China, then later South Korea entered into the Vietnam War to help the United States against communists. Korean martial arts were birthed and continued to develop within a state of conflict that provided much opportunities to figure out effective unarmed combat techniques.

Taekwondo was born out of this mindset of serious fighting and state of alert. Only later has Taekwondo lost some of this mindset with the current generation of Koreans who did not have to suffer growing up, and always had enough wealth in their nation to feel secure. The combative attitude has subsided somewhat. Even so, Taekwondo still remains with its original techniques including further developed ideas for martial arts effectiveness. The official Taekwondo Textbook put out by the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters) lists various brutal techniques to use for self defense. One can pick up a copy through Amazon and see for themselves what specific techniques exist in the Taekwondo system. Taekwondo is a fighting system and true self defense is only learned through fighting.

Taekwondo Grandmaster Hee Il Cho (1988) explains that “physical confidence can only be gained by learning how to fight and knowing how to take care of yourself in a real situation” (p. 52). That is the goal is true Taekwondo.

 

Taekwondo is a full striking system

Taekwondo has a full range of striking techniques as well as blocks. Kicks, punches, elbows, knees, head butts, and various open handed strikes. Some techniques are brutal and can kill which was proven in the Vietnam War when the Korean Tiger Division fought Viet Cong in brutal hand to hand combat when the fighting became close quarters. They used deadly striking techniques to the throats, eyes, groin, various joints and breaking necks to kill the Viet Cong. Dougherty (2010) claims that a person may be better off striking an opponent than fiddling about with another technique (p. 183), and also that “[most attackers] will not roll about looking for joint locks or complex techniques” (p. 298) . Striking techniques are the basics for self defense, and Taekwondo has everything a person needs to know for a wide range of destructive striking options.

 

Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, and vital point attacks

Striking is not the only option in Taekwondo. Taekwondo also has joint locks, throws and takedowns, vital point, and pressure point attacks. It is a full range combat system for stand up fighting. All of these kinds of techniques are also listed in the Taekwondo Textbook put out by the Kukkiwon. The traditional forms, or patterns memorized by Taekwondo students, contain various self defense and close quarters combat techniques. There are a variety of options for each movement in Taekwondo.

RBSD claims their self defense ideas are better than traditional martial arts, but the same ideas and techniques are already in Taekwondo itself. Throat strikes, chokes, joint breaks, groin shots, eye pokes etc. All of that is within the Taekwondo system and any good instructor would teach them and explain Taekwondo movements and how they work in a fight.

 

Taekwondo’s methodical training will help a person retain knowledge and skills

Traditional martial arts are officially systemized curricula of collected techniques. They are taught with a progressive structure until a student has mastered each level of knowledge until they become experts. This is the way almost any kind of education is taught. People go to elementary school and pass grades in order to go to middle school, to high school and some will eventually head to college. Any teacher worth anything knows that proper structure is important for learning. You cannot just lay on a student a bunch of random facts or too much information at one time. Even if such information is somewhat simple it needs to be studied or practiced for a proper length of time before one can move on to the subject of any given topic.

Taekwondo is taught with separate subjects within its system that allow a student to progress smoothly in self defense. There are basic strikes and kicks, blocks, escapes from holds and restraints, punch and kick defenses, combination striking, vital targeting, forms, and sparring tactics taught in this deadly art form. Taekwondo is taught within 10 grades which are called geup in Korean Hangul (Korean language). 10 grades are displayed on the student with belt colors. Different Taekwondo gyms use different belt colors, but typically in Korea the colors are white, yellow, green, blue, and red. Each belt color having 2 grades within itself. Other Taekwondo masters might use another color set such as: white, yellow, orange, green, purple, blue, brown, red, 2nd red, pre black belt. This is still 10 total geup ranks. The next color of belt after geup ranks is black. For black color ranks there are dan grades or “degrees” of black belt. The advanced student has opportunity to master Taekwondo after black belt rank by continuing his studies with the intricacies of Taekwondo movement and applications. Realistically, not every student will become a black belt nor needs to be in order to learn very effective, realistic self defense. Some will remain color belts and quit studying Taekwondo, and some will just never physically train enough to obtain high quality black belt ability for various reasons, but even that is enough to have a firm understanding of self defense and combat for those less serious about martial arts pursuits. Even so, there should still be decent amount of black belt students who stuck with training and ranked up if given a proper program with a good instructor.

Contrary to how it plays out in some commercial schools, not every student in Taekwondo or any other traditional martial art deserves to earn a black belt or even will get good enough to earn it. Some people might train for awhile and learn the basics, yet effective, for self defense. The serious student will master the basics, earn a black belt, and apply very advanced techniques far beyond even a military combatives course. Martial arts focus on mastery of skills which is better than taking a seminar from an RBSD instructor that lasts only 3 hours (or even a 2 week course or what have you). Real self defense success takes a large amount of time to earn through methodical learning.

Unlike Taekwondo and other traditional martial arts, RBSD programs do not usually provide a clear structure, and teach movements at a very fast pace. They also seem to spend a lot of time quoting crime statistics and other trivial knowledge. The structure of RBSD most often will throw out various techniques, and quiz people on crime statistics in a seminar format or DVD program for home study. Sometimes RBSD is incorporated into a program for a company such as “CrossFit Defense” created by Tony Blauer for CrossFit, an internationally recognized fitness company with gym locations all around the world. CrossFit Defense’s website states the claim:

“Coach Tony Blauer created a physiologic and instinct-based system that is the seamless interface between the high-intensity CrossFit protocol and the human in-grained self-defense system. Coach Blauer’s S.P.E.A.R. System is the only personal-defense system in the world based on the bodys (sic) physiological response to danger what the body wants to do prior to any training. This makes the S.P.E.A.R. System easy to learn.” (crossfitdefense.com)

The website then makes the claim, “Participants will leave with skills to put into practice immediately” (crossfitdefense.com). This is not true. No one can learn a self defense concept in a 1 hour class and then expect to immediately be able to use it effectively without repetitive practice. Such a claim communicates the idea that a person instantly should never be afraid of an attacker, and should expect to win a fight.

The language used to explain CrossFit Defense (SPEAR System) sounds really technical and smart, like some academic scientific claim, but it is really fluff. All that description is saying is that a person will learn to use natural reactions to attacks. This concept is not new, and therefore the statement that SPEARS is “the only personal-defense system based on the body’s physiological response to danger” is not true. Bruce Lee actually made this idea popular with his Jeet Kun Do philosophy he developed in 1967. Bruce Lee also taught that natural instincts are good to use when fighting. Thomas (1994) quotes Lee as saying, “when the opponent expands, I contract and when he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity I do not hit—‘it’ hits by itself” (p. 188). Thomas also claims that after the Hollywood columnist Joe Hyams asked Bruce Lee what he would do in a serious attack where someone wanted to kill him that Bruce Lee explained,

I throw a ball and you catch it. You walk into a dark room and without conscious thought you turn on the light switch. A child runs in front of yours car and you jam on the breaks. You don’t think about these things, ‘It’ just happens. If someone tried to hit me I wouldn’t think about it, ‘it’ would happen. I would do whatever was called upon to be done without conscious thought” (p. 188).

Maybe Bruce Lee never mentioned the words “physiological” and “fear” in those sentences but the concept is still the same. Fear is an emotional response. The military combatives system of Krav Maga also makes a similar claim as what CrossFit Defense claims SPEAR is based on. One Krav Maga school on their website states that one of Krav Maga’s principles is “based on the body’s natural reaction.” It states,

Krav Maga is different from other martial arts since most other systems attempt to reprogram your natural reactions so that you can perform the techniques under the stress of an attack. This is why it takes so long to become combat proficient at other systems, since you have to relearn everything – walking, blocking, striking, etc… In Krav Maga we begin with the body’s natural reactions to stress then build techniques and combinations from those reactions. The result is Krav Maga feels more natural and students are able to learn the movements faster.” (victorvillekravmaga.com)

That sounds very similar to the claim Tony Blauer makes for CrossFit Defense and his SPEARS program. The idea of being “able to perform techniques under the stress of an attack” is the same as “physiological responses to fear.” The idea of it taking so long to become proficient in other martial arts systems and learning their style helps them learn self defense faster is also apparent. Imi Lichtenfeld developed Krava Maga was after World War 2 during the 1940’s. SPEAR System was developed by Tony Blauer in the 1980’s. This shows that the SPEAR System really is not an original self defense concept and the claims on CrossFit Defense’s website are false. In fact, the SPEAR idea that one should focus on fearful reactions of the body which are untrained techniques is very bad. Training is always better than not training. Developing skill through repetition, study and practice is the only way a person can become great at something. If someone wants to become great at self defense they must practice technique and train hard learning movements; because a fight really is just movement between two parties and one needs to learn to move effectively. Also, the claim that SPEARS uses untrained techniques of the body’s natural physiological reactions is silly since taking a SPEARS course itself is training. Watch any video of Blauer and you see him teaching students who are training a technique and practicing. It is a false statement and a contradiction to say that someone can learn untrained things. Or more simply train to develop untrained movements. That is illogical.

The results for these types of programs are to give someone a mediocre understanding of self defense knowledge and skills gained at a fast rate, and not true mastery. Taekwondo and other traditional martial arts provide an opportunity of self defense mastery because the way they are trained is structured with more intense focus emphasized. The fact is true self defense skills take dedication and time. It will not happen over night, and it won’t happen in a few seminars or DVD programs and it definitely will not happen “immediately.”

 

Go back to Part 5 (last part)                                                                          Go on to Part 2

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

 

ITF Sparring Is Just As Stupid Looking And Unrealistic As WTF Olympic Sparring

        There is an argument that has been going on for a very long time in Taekwondo circles about which is better, the ITF or WTF. The evidence suggested for this is how the ITF spars compared to the way the WTF spars. The problem is that so many ITF onlyists complain about the “WTF style” of Taekwondo. They constantly cannot grasp the fact that the WTF is not the style of Taekwondo, but a tournament organization with its own rules set for Taekwondo sanctioned by the IOC. Yes, the WTF ONLY recognizes the Kukkiwon as proper ranking for Taekwondo and only accepts black belts who are Kukkiwon certified to fight in the Olympics. And rightly so! But the WTF is not a style. At least the IOC recognizes that true Taekwondo is from Korea, in Korea, and is recognized by the KTA. The ITF branched off with its own agenda a long time ago and even began to spell Taekwondo as “Taekwon-Do” to differentiate itself. Anyway, despite all of this the evidence for ITF being better than WTF/Kukkiwon is most cases is the sparring.

Since many of the Kukkiwon recognized dojangs in the world seem to practice for WTF sparring I guess this accusation of “better than WTF” is legitimate, even if the Kukkiwon does have a full system of combat for self defense and individual instructors can spar anyway they want in their gyms. I teach Kickboxing with my Taekwondo in my program and focus on self defense and free range of striking to various targets which are illegal in WTF rules. I also do teach WTF rules sparring out of formality and in case people want to enter tournaments for fun.  Anyway, let’s compare ITF sparring with WTF sparring and see which style is better, or which is more realistic.

ITF World Championships 2013 Finals

Well what i see is foot fencing, both fighters keep their arms down exactly the same as a WTF athlete does. They may be allowed to punch the head which is cool, but how often was any of that done in this fight? It seemed more kicks were thrown, the typical front foot touching and some spinning type or jump kicks tapping the other person. It is nice they do not have to wear chest gear or head gear, but it looks as if ITF is light contact and not full contact fighting. This would be why they do not need head gear unlike the WTF sparring where knockouts are encouraged. The ITF fighters stand bladed out sideways and hop around. Is this realistic or serious fighting? I don’t think so. It looks almost identical to the WTF sparring.

WTF World Championships 2013 Finals

Well both fighters kept their arms down exactly like the ITF guys. They both used the front foot-fencing kicks. Yes, there are no head punches allowed but where was this important in the ITF fight? There are some jump spin type kicking in this fight as well. The fighters are both bladed out sideways. Even though the rules are really full contact the chest gear and the way the fighters are trying to get points keeps them from going all out like a kickboxer would. Is this realistic or serious fighting? I don’t think so either. It looks almost identical to the ITF sparring.

Which styles were more realistic? Answer, both were equally as stupid and unrealistic looking as each other. No real difference. ITF Onlyists claim that ITF is deadly and hard sparring is a joke when all of the evidence of various fights all look this way. There is no real difference, and the head punches do not change the way they fight much or make it better. At least WTF is full contact and knockouts are encouraged. Last time I was around ITF people the officaly rules were light contact and even “point break Karate” style of fighting. Only on YouTube years later did I see people doing continuous sparring, and this might be a thing in eastern Europe more so than the USA. Who knows, whether it is continuous or not the sparring looks dumb as any current WTF tournament looks dumb.

The key to which martial art of Taekwondo is true or better would be in the overall exploration of the plethora of techniques each teach, the theories behind their movement,  as well as historical linage. Unfortunately the sine-wave theory in ITF Taekwondo is bogus and their historical linage is also flawed. They are their own thing, and nowhere are they the true spirit of South Korean people and their sparring also is ineffective and proves nothing. The only way to settle it is to take both styles outside of tournament rules and have them fight. Not going to happen. But we can still see by observation the fallacious arguments the ITF onlyists promote. I find even more funny the ITF apologists who claim to have studied both WTF and ITF Taekwondo and think that gives them super credible arguments. That amuses me.

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.

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

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.

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White Dragon is a 3rd dan Taekwondo Black Belt with over 19 years experience in the Martial Arts and head instructor of the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program. 

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