Posts Tagged ‘realistic fighting’

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

Advertisements

Taekwondo Is Effective For A Self Defense Program:  Why Taekwondo Is More Effective Than A Reality Based Self Defense Course (Part 5)

*This is the final part of the series 

 

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

             Original Taekwondo is itself a reality based self defense system in its own right if it is taught properly with a self defense mindset. A Taekwondo program can be changed to fit any business model or self defense program for any company.

 

Uniforms or special clothing is not important

Taekwondo may wear a white uniform whereas most RBSD guys wear camouflage pants or athletic attire, or just stylish black clothes or a polo shirt. This is not important. With or without the dobok Taekwondo can still be trained effectively. Belts do not even have to be worn and the grades and degrees given (geup and dan) do not have to be literally visible things a student wears. It could just be a verbal or shown through a certificate that someone has attained a certain geup. Students simply would have to wear athletic type of clothing that is easy to move in and loose fitting and comfortable. It is not mandatory to run a Taekwondo self defense program with traditional uniforms.

Even so, if one wants to go full traditional style then of course wearing the dobok and wearing the physical belts is available. Uniforms serve a purpose such as uniformity in class, that all people including men and women both are equal in class, wearing a uniform makes someone feel important and focused, and most importantly the uniform is a very great training suit. It is durable and strong and no one will have to worry what clothes to wear to training each day.

 

The progressive structure of Taekwondo motivates students

With the progressive structure and ranks given Taekwondo motivates students and encourages them to train harder to get to the next level. With a written curriculum handed out to students for each level of training, students can know what they need to know at a given time. A Taekwondo instructor should hand out papers with new techniques and knowledge that the student has to know. Each rank they can keep a binder of syllabi as references they can go back to.

Formal testing is also a positive thing for students. It gives a good amount of stress which can simulate distressing circumstances a self defense situation would bring up. It also stresses importance of skill with each rank’s techniques. If one cannot perform movements properly they do not pass. The ability to fail a test is very important as it will encourage students to train harder and make sure they have learned what needs to be learned. Rank testing does not have to cost extra money either, or if you do charge it does not have to be expensive. The commercialization of Taekwondo has brought about many people who just want to make easy money. Charging for testing and then encouraging students to test gets people rich. Exchanging money for a test usually pushes the instructor to pass less than deserving students to the next level even if they should have actually failed. This is a problem. It is recommended that testing fees are very low with the possibility of student’s to fail, or cost nothing at all.

During a test students will display every technique they learned and show applications for movements as well as live sparring with mild contact. This will present realism and test if a student can actually apply his knowledge in a simulation representing a real threat. Testing should be done every 4 months or more.

 

The purpose is training effective fighting techniques first over everything else

Most RBSD programs encourage practitioners to pay into their system’s founder’s pockets by certification fees, seminar fees, annual membership fees, DVD purchases and t-shirts, special requirements, and other unimportant things. This is because most RBSD systems exist solely off of marketing gimmicks and seem to mostly exist for the sake of promotion of the system itself rather than training fighting techniques to students. Taekwondo should not be this way. Taekwondo should exist first for the training of fighting techniques for self defense, and everything else such as promoting Taekwondo as a wonderful art after the fact. The program should not exist just to market the program. Taekwondo does not exist just to market Taekwondo. First teach proper combat and promote self defense, then worry about members or a student brotherhood in the system. If the product is good then many people will follow.

 

Conclusion

            Taekwondo has everything RBSD has with methodical training practices. A self defense minded Taekwondo instructor will be able to teach anything an RBSD instructor teaches and instill dedication, masterful skills, and an aggressive mindset for self defense in his students. RBSD programs are unnecessary and they cause people to overlook the value of traditional martial arts styles such as Taekwondo. There is nothing truly new or innovative that RBSD teaches that is not already taught by legitimate traditional martial arts instructors. RBSD instructors spent a lot of time belittling the traditional martial arts, especially Taekwondo. This is because of mcdojangism’s influence on Taekwondo culture. Yet, this is not a good enough reason to discredit Taekwondo itself as a whole.

Taekwondo is a very good martial art style to use for a proper self defense program. It was birthed from the aftermath of a brutal Japanese regime in Korea and further developed within war. Taekwondo has been proven in war on the battlefield and used by the U.S. Military and government agencies. Taekwondo has lethal striking techniques which are the basis for very effective self defense. It is a complete stand up striking system that has combat effectiveness. The live sparring and training drills and focus on mastering techniques enables any Taekwondo practitioner to obtain and retain realistic self defense knowledge. The fighting spirit that Taekwondo offers and complete fitness can be trained with total aggression and a “will to win” attitude that will give people true confidence and not a false sense of security that most RBSD programs give. Taekwondo is an excellent self defense art.

 

Works Cited

        (2009). Training For Black Belt: Grandmaster Tae Hong Choi. Posted on March 17th, 2009 at http://trainingforblackbelt.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/grandmaster-tae-hung-choi/date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Cho, H.I. (1988). The Complete Black Belt Hyung W.T.F. Hee Il Cho: Los Angeles, CA.

CrossFit Defense. (2014). The Philosophy. Posted at http://crossfitdefense.com/overview/the-philosophy/, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Department of the Navy. (2011). Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). MCRP 3-02B. Department of the Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps: Washington, D.C. Posted at http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCRP%203-02B%20PT%201.pdf, date accessed September 24th, 2014.

Dougherty, M.J. (2010). Special Forces Unarmed Combat Guide: Hand-To-Hand Fighting Skills from the World’s Most Elite military Units. Metro Books: New York, NY.

Hamic, R. (2010). Press About: Press Release Distribution: Moni Aizik and Combat Survival are Sued in Multi-Million Dollar Class Action Lawsuit for Fraud and Misrepresentation. Posted by SARAVANAN2, on August 24th, 2010 at http://www.pressabout.com/moni-aizik-combat-survival-sued-100038/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

Human Weapon. (2007). Season 1, Episode 8. Marine Corps Martial Arts. First aired September 27th,  2007 on The History Channel. Quote starts at 3:09 into the episode.

Integrated Combat Systems University. Krav Maga Principles. Posted at http://www.victorvillekravmaga.com/22.html, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Jung, H. (2009). The Oregonian: Portland-area tae kwon do grandmaster pioneered sport in U.S. Tae Hong Choi, who established schools and taught thousands of students, dies at 7. Posted March, 11th, 2009 at http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1236745615165110.xml&coll=7, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

Kim, S.H. (2009). Taekwondo Self Defense: Taekwondo Hoshinsool. Turtle Press: Sante Fe, NM.

Morgan, F.E. (1992). Living The Martial Way. Barricade Books, Inc.: Fort Lee, NJ.

Sylvester, M. (2012). Matthew Sylvester: Father, Author, Martial Artist: Tony Blauer: It’s not who’s right it’s who’s left. Posted May 7th, 2012 at http://matthewsylvester.com/2012/05/07/tony-blauer-its-not-whos-right-its-whos-left/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

Swift, J.E. (1968). Black Belt Magazine: Budo Demolition: The Famed Tiger Division of the Korean Army in Action! Sine Pari, Kidokwan Martial Art International. Posted at http://www.kidokwan.org/historical/historical-articles-1960s/budo-demolition-the-famed-tiger-division-of-the-korean-army-in-action/, date accessed September 26th, 2014.

The Pentagon. (1980). Hand-To-Hand Fighting (Karate / Tae-Kwon-Do. ST 31-4. U.S. Government Printing Office: Fort Bragg, NC. Reprinted by Militaria Press.

Thomas, B. (1994). Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit: A Biography. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA.

Urban Protection Solutions/ Self Defense Classes. Posted at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/urban-protection-solutions-self-defense-classes-tickets-2779871671?aff=eorg, date accessed, September 24th, 2014.

 

Go back to Part 4                                                                        Go on to Part 1 (First Part)

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

Flashy Spinning, Flying, Air, Kicks And Their Ineffectiveness For Real Fighting

*Authored by White Dragon. 

        Taekwondo is known for its kicks, especially its amazing, flying, twirling and spinning kicks. They are very impressive to audiences at demos. These kicks are amazing displays of acrobatic talent and agility. They take a lot of talent to perfect and years of practice to get good at. This is especially true when people use them to kick targets like kicking paddles, or demo boards to break as it displays accuracy of movement. Some Taekwondo experts can kick full on 1 inch pine boards which are the typical board to break for a display of power (mostly used for promotion testing), and are very different from the typical very thin demo boards many Taekwondo people use at shows (demo boards are incredibly thin, almost like balsa wood and a child can break it). But even still, the fact they can target correctly and smash these things is very cool. I have a lot of respect for high flying, crazy kicks because of the fact they are great displays of agility and talented athletic movement. On the other hand I do not respect them in the same sense as them being highly combat effective or necessary, or even important to learn. Being able to pull off wild kicks does not necessarily mean you are going to be a great fighter or even good at self defense. It is possible someone can be good at acrobatic kicks and fighting at the same time though (MMA stars like Anthony Pettis), but it is not as common. Yet, I personally believe more people who have such talent should (even though many are not) still be decent at using Taekwondo in a fight or self defense situation.

        It is not a requirement for a Taekwondo master or instructor to be an expert at flying kicks. Originally, Taekwondo curriculum did not demand this nor are such flying techniques in the poomsae of Taekwondo. Flying, flipping, and multi-spinning aerial kicks were never, and are not established as mandatory techniques for a Taekwondo master. Even so, a Taekwondo black belt should be able to do various and more simple jumping and flying kicks that actually are effective. Some of these kicks are found in the high dan grade of black belt poomsae such as the butterfly kick and flying sidekicks. Jump front kicks, jump round kicks, jump spin kicks, jump back kicks, flying sidekicks, tornado round and axe kicks etc. are all important kicks and work well. These are simpler flying and spinning in the air kicks that have a realistic combat effectiveness and one advanced black belt poomsae called Cheonkwon uses a butterfly-style-tornado kick. For an example of the effectiveness of a tornado round kick, watch this guy get knocked out with a such a kick in an MMA fight:

That was very combat effective Taekwondo kicking. He used a back kick, then set his tornado kick up with a connecting stepping axe kick to the face. That was a flying in the air and spinning technique. The tornado round kick. Usually you learn that around blue belt and begin to perfect it at red belt. So in themselves flying or spinning techniques are important to know and are effective. On the other hand there are a whole different breed of acrobatic and flying kicks that absolutely have no combat value and are completely ineffective. I do not consider many of these even Taekwondo, just adopted gymnastic, break dance, and Capoeria demo movements. These are what people call “tricking” which is a new term in the last decade that came into prominence through YouTube. Many kids join a martial arts class and strictly work on flying and twirling kicks. People compete in XMA tournaments to show off and have created a type of hip-hop-breakdancing attitude for martial arts. In my opinion this is silly and weakens martial arts, yet it is not completely a cardinal sin to do such things. I just personally believe the arrogance and ego that come with this competition is much like hip hop culture, “YEAH BOOYYY WHATCHYA GUNNA DO FOO’! YAAAYUUHHH. WE BAD!!” That type of nonsense is seen constantly in such videos of tricking. All these people do is show off doing gymnastics and the kicks they use could never work in a fight, and most would never even hurt someone even if they did connect with a kick since there is no power because their spins are counterproductive for impact. Many spins go in opposite directions of the kick. One way they market their “martial arts tricking” is by claiming it is “mixed martial arts with gymnastics.” But there is nothing “MMA” about what they do as they simply have a mcdojang attitude about everything. Most of these kids work at mcdojangs and are the mcdojang star at their academy and are used for marketing purposes and demos.

These same kinds of techniques of “tricking” are often displayed in Taekwondo demonstrations and shows by groups without the “tricking” attitude. The Kukkiwon demo team, the Korean Tigers etc. all do various acrobatic kicks and jump extremely high. Sometimes using people as bases to jump off of and are launched by such people with their hands catching their feet to lift them up in the air extremely high to do a back flip board break. In reality this is not going to happen in a fight. Or maybe it would, if for some reason, there was a bad guy standing on something high (like a balcony) and another guy and his Taekwondo friends were fighting him in a gang fight, and they launched the Taekwondo guy into the air to kick the bad guy. But then the impact of the kick is not going to be that hard to cause much damage. But then maybe it could who knows. Obviously, this is mostly fantasy and movie style fight scenes.

The following are some videos of the crazy kicks some Taekwondo people do. These are triple and quadruple spinning kicks:

Kicking 4 pads:

Wasn’t that amazing? That is a high display of foot and eye coordination and acrobatics. It was very cool, but it does not prove one can fight or use Taekwondo to defend themselves. It is much like gymnastics or a special acrobatic dance. This move is unrealistic in combat and those kicks would cause no damage to someone receiving them. The kicks would not impact hard. The first kick would stop the motion since a human being is solid compared to kicking paddles that allow the foot to pass through them. He is able to keep rotating because the paddles do not obstruct his motion. If he did that to a person his first 1 or 2 kicks would not allow him to keep rotating unless his kicks were very soft and he pulled them slightly. Also, what targets on a human being would these kicks be attacking? The angle of his kicks would not allow for a hard leg kick or any vital point. Sure, his last kicks could hit the face but not very hard. A person would just move out of the way of such a wild kick and counter attack with one good solid round kick and he would be hurt. Trying such a kick in a real fight would only put you at risk of being counter attacked with a basic kick that would actually hurt you, and your flashy kick would not have hurt them. Notice how when he landed he was completely off balance and tripping up. This is a big no-no in a true street fight situation. He is open for serious damage.

What is really delusional is that young people or someone not used to watching fights would assume he could actually kick 4 people at the same time with that technique. That he could knock 4 people out with 1 multi-spinning maneuver. There is no way, and it is ignorant to assume so.

Kicking 3 boards:

This guy tries to do a lesser impressive technique, yet which would still be impressive if he could have pulled it off. The only problem is he obviously did not practice enough to perfect it and messes up.  Imagine if he tried to do this in a real fight and messed up and ended up close to his opponent! He would get knocked out with a punch. Doing such a technique would be stupid in a real fight. Again what targets on the body would he be hitting to cause damage? None really. He also messes up. It is impressive he was breaking boards but again these are demo boards and very flimsy. The human body is more solid and sturdy and those kicks do not have power. The video above with the 4 paddle kick contained harder kicks than this video. So when in doubt and if you mess up, simply just do another flying spinning kick such as the 720 spin kick to make up for it so the audience still thinks you are cool, even if you actually suck at what you just did. Again this kick is hard to pull off. But this guy does show talent and skill in acrobatic kicking and it is still cool he can do a 720 spin kick. But it does not mean he is a really good fighter. His make-up flying spin kick he did as a last resort was extremely slow like a ballet dancer and would easily be avoided by an attackers and counter attacked.

So many people waste time only doing fancy kicks instead of working on basic strikes, blocks, and regular sparring for Taekwondo. I have met people who told me that every black belt should be able to do such kicks and Taekwondo is not about fighting. This makes no sense and is a lame excuse for their lack of combat ability. On the other hand some people can pull off great trick kicks like these and also fight good. Not every Taekwondo teacher can do demo kicks nor should they have to. All they need to do is the basics and proper flying, and more basic, spin kicks that can actually work. A Taekwondo instructor or master’s ability lies in his skills in knowledge of the most effective Taekwondo fighting techniques, many which are basics, and his teaching ability. Trick kicks and board breaks like these are simply extra sprinkles on top of an already amazing martial art and are for show. They are extra special things to do to impress an audience, but I believe a true Taekwondo dojang doing a demo should educate the public in simple and effective Taekwondo combat and not simply performance art. Also, not everyone has the ability to do crazy kicks like these nor should they be told they have to be able to do them. Some people have injuries, various body types (many very muscular guys cannot do such techniques but are still scary fighters). You would never see many hardcore, knockdown Karate fighters doing such techniques. Many are built like a tank and are scary fighters to mess with. Doing a quadruple spin kick will not beat them. Think about that.

Trick kicks are cool, but not necessary. If you can do them then enjoy it! If you cannot, do not feel bad about being a black belt as long as you can defend yourself. A good solid right cross might knock such tricksters out if you had to fight them after they do a flying kick and you step out of the way. One simple technique done right can usually beat an overly complicated flashy technique. Some MMA fighters like Anthony Pettis can pull off trick kicks and break boards, and even in an MMA fight he was able to jump off of the cage and do a round kick and knock out Benson Henderson; but if you are a regular Taekwondo practitioner you would know that jumping off of a wall to kick might be an advanced technique yet it is very simple and basic (I was able to do this as a white belt). It is simply a jump round kick which is taught to yellow belts, except using a wall to jump off of. Taekwondo techniques like that can catch people off guard and are flashy yet can be effective, but the extreme acrobatics such as triple spin kicks and backflip kicks after being launched by your demo team members 15 feet into the air are not effective. It is important for Taekwondo teachers to make sure their students understand the difference.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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.