Posts Tagged ‘taekwondo combat’

I Was Able To Train With And Spar Lee Dong Hee

        This month I was able to train with Lee Dong Hee and spar him. If you do not know he is sort of a Taekwondo YouTube celebrity in his own right. He always uploads interesting videos showing a serious combative nature of martial arts. He is a 5th dan black belt and a former Korean Tiger demo team member. So his days of Taekwon-dancing with sexy Taekwondo girls is far behind him and now his goal is real self defense and combat.

        Here are some videos of our day training. The first video is showing an immovable stance to develop proper tensing of muscles, and proper relaxing of muscles in order to keep your center balanced and learn to use your leg and arms for more powerful strikes.

The second video are clips from our sparring session. I had a great time and Master Lee is a great fighter! He is the type of Taekwondo master to enjoy training with. He has a very down to earth attitude and is easy going. You can simply talk to him and enjoy your time.

Of course we did not to no contact and were play fighting. It was just to go through motions and have fun and work on stuff. This is good training to keep you healthy.

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Interview With Master Dong-Hee Lee

 

        When you see a Taekwondo master from Korea demonstrating Taekwondo techniques from poomsae in plausible self defense maneuvers it really motivates the Taekwondo fighter in me. It pumps me up and inspires me to keep developing combat techniques and believing in Taekwondo. Master Dong-Hee Lee is such a master and I found his videos on YouTube recently. I do not believe his channel has many views and he seems to be rarely known. I want to change this and introduce him to my readers so more and more people will see his execution of techniques and fighting concepts and believe that Taekwondo is a fighting art, not simply a sport or performance art. His channel deserves a lot of views so please make sure to check it out and subscribe to his channel.

 


Dong Hee Lee self defense concepts

        I was able to interview master Lee over e-mail. He is a very approachable person and responds to messages and was excited to do this interview. Translation was difficult since I do not speak Korean and he does not speak English fluently yet, but we managed to make it work. I hope you all enjoy it and learn more about this interesting man.

 

Interview:

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: Nice to meet you, my name is Dong-hee Lee. I was born in South Korea in 1988. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get involved in martial arts and how old were you? What made you want to start training? Please list your training history and be as specific as possible. Who were your instructors in the past? Any notable characters?

 

MASTER LEE: I started Taekwondo when I was 5 years old. At that time almost every kid had to go to Taekwondo, even now. I was one of those kids, but unlike the ones who do it because they “have to,” in my case, I started training because I always had envied strength and martial arts. Even now I continue my Taekwondo training and have graduated from Kyunghee University as a Taekwondo major. In other words, I have been training for 23 years in total.
For Taekwondo, I had been taught by a world championship gold medalist teacher (sabum), under his guidance as a sparring athlete for 8 years. Also, I was a poomsae athlete and demonstration performer on the Korean Tigers demo team. 
In between, I’ve also learned Judo and Karate for a bit. After I’ve grown to be an adult I have been trained as an MMA athlete under the guidance of the best Korean Muay Thai athlete, and worldwide Muay Thai fighter Chi-Bin Im. 
Also, I’ve practiced Korea’s traditional martial art (mudo) which is called Hyeondongmu. It is a martial art that incorporates the use of ki.
Not long ago, I had also achieved the instructor certificate for Systema, which is a Russian bodyguard martial art, and Krav Maga as well, which is an Israeli bodyguard martial art. 
The person who taught me Systema in Korea was D.K Yoo (Dae-Kyeong Yoo). he had not only covered Systema but also Boxing. All sorts of Chinese martial arts and weapon martial arts which he had also taught me. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?
 
MASTER LEE: When I was a poomsae athlete I had won a lot of gold medals. In 2006 I was nominated by the Korea Taekwondo Association as rank no.1 of poomsae out of all elementary, middle school, high school students, and adult players. 
Before in 2004 I won 1st place in the Korea Open World Poomsae Championship. 
In Taekwondo I am ranked 5th dan under the Kukkiwon and as for Systema and Krav Maga, I have obtained instructor qualifications for both. I also have Kickboxing certification of Muay Thai/K-1 Instructor from WAKO Korea. 
During my time as a martial art athlete, my record for Muay Thai was 3 victory, 1 draw with 2 KO’s out of 4 matches. 

Taekwondo victory after Muay Thai fight.

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: I’ve entered Kyung Hee University located in South Korea in 2007 as a Taekwondo major and have graduated this year. The very first Taekwondo major that has been created.
I had made a club on actual combat and had been instructing for a few years and also let my club mates take part in games.
I currently don’t own my own dojang but I’m planning to next year.
If I get to own my dojang I would like to teach mainly adults on actual Taekwondo that can compete against any other martial arts. 

Kickboxing practice

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo in a real life fight or self defense situation? Have you ever been given a challenge by someone who wanted to fight you? If so how did you deal with it?

 

MASTER LEE: When I was living in South America a few years ago I ran into two black robbers. I chased them away by kicking them in the private spot. But if they had weapons it would have been hard. Luckily for me they didn’t. 
I myself am not of the personality who likes random fighting, so whenever someone tries to provoke me I usually apologize first to avoid a fight. Most situations there is almost no chance for me to get into a fight. People in Korea say that maybe it’s because I have quite a huge physique and my fierce looks. 
When I was a martial art athlete I had a lot of fights myself and most of the time Taekwondo had been a great help. Recently, I had trained a few martial art athletes and had sent them to participate in matches.

WHITE DRAGON: Why were you living in South America?

MASTER LEE: I was in Ecuador doing volunteer work for 2 years. I was teaching Taekwondo to the people there. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: Is taekwondo a dangerous system used for killing?

 

MASTER LEE: All martial arts contain the system for killing and giving great injuries to opponents. It is just as well with Taekwondo. Most people (including taekwondoin) don’t really know it, but deadly skills do exist in Taekwondo. However the purpose for all martial arts are not specifically for killing people, but defending yourself.

 

WHITE DRAGON: What was the Taekwondo scene like in Korea when you were growing up? How is training different today in most dojangs compared to then?

 

MASTER LEE: I feel that children in the recent era are really blessed. They can learn whatever they want. It was different for me when I was a kid. At that time even the internet wasn’t as well developed as it is right now. Nowadays, kids have to learn everything that they can learn. The current dojang of Korea have become more focused on physical education and recreation for kids, but I believe the trend will change to martial arts dojang for adults.
Back in the day most of the dojangs had armed us with strong training and discipline for our body and heart. But nowadays most dojangs don’t train students as it was before.

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the modern state of Taekwondo? Many feel that Taekwondo has lost much of its combative nature these days. Is it true?

MASTER LEE: I think that Taekwondo has lost a lot of its combative nature. To be exact, a lot of its nature has been latent. On the other hand, Taekwondo sparring has been developed a lot and by itself it is very combative and a very effective combat style. However, Taekwondo contains more techniques that need the application of the whole body.
If such skills become revived I believe Taekwondo will be a stronger martial art.

Dong Hee Lee

 
WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of the ‘taekwondo-dance trend’? The Korean Tigers really promote it and have made it popular all over the world. I would like to know your thoughts on that?

 

MASTER LEE: Adding in dance or other elements to Taekwondo can be said to be as entertainment. It is another trend to the Korean culture itself. I think the Korean Tigers had done a great job in promoting and making Taekwondo famous around the world. It is a bit sad that the actual combat style of Taekwondo couldn’t be introduced, but it is the truth that they have contributed to making the name Taekwondo as well-known as it is now. But for people who don’t really know, they may carry doubt or misunderstandings towards the sport and style itself.
Such traditional taekwondoin must put forth an effort to display this. Tony Jaa is a Thailand action movie star who was cast in the movie “The Protector” and other Muay Thai movies. He has added acrobatic moves to the martial art for movie fight scenes. Even so, nobody will say that Muay Thai is weak in actual combat. This is because Muay Thai has already been recognized for its veracity in many MMA matches. 
As for Taekwondo, its veracity hasn’t been recognized much foreignly, so by the adding of acrobatics, dance moves, and entertainment elements, such as how the Korean Tiger’s display Taekwondo, it easily produces misunderstandings of the martial art. Therefore, I think of it as a cultural aspect of Korea and we have to keep the idea of “taekwondo-dance” in such a light for what it is, but at the same time we have to focus more on the traditional values and martial art (mudo) side of Taekwondo itself.

Practicing for a demo

WHITE DRAGON: What was it like touring with the Korean Tigers? What kinds of performances did you do? How is their martial arts philosophy as a whole compared to you individually? 

MASTER LEE: I was a Korean Tiger member for 4 years. I never did Taekwondo dancing. I focused mainly on kicking such as kyuk pa and poomsae techniques. Their philosophy is just about performance art and not actual martial arts. For me, my philosophy is about martial arts and not the same as theirs. During my time with the K-Tigers I was able to visit several countries such as China, India, Qatar just to name a few. It was a fun experience but I decided I really want true martial arts and to further Taekwondo as a martial art which is different from their focus on performance art. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the International Taekwon-Do Federation?

 

MASTER LEE: I think the International Taekwon-Do Federation itself is a magnificent fraction of Taekwondo. Especially, the fundamentals of ‘sign wave’ is special and remarkable. 

K-Tiger’s promotional photo

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

 

MASTER LEE: By strengthening your body and mind it can bring help to one’s livelihood. It gives you confidence and can let you protect yourself and the people around you. Also, it deepens the understanding of other’s pain, since pain accompanies through the process of training in a martial art. Anyhow, I believe through training it secretly influences others and gives out good influence. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: Who are some Taekwondo masters that inspire you? Also, do you have heroes in other styles of martial arts as well?

 

MASTER LEE: I respect all of my teachers who have taught me since I was inspired by all of them. They have taught me different martial arts throughout my life.

 

WHITE DRAGON: What does it take to become an instructor? What qualifications would you suggest? Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own gyms and become full time Taekwondo teachers?

 

MASTER LEE: At first the person must have good skills. There must always be something to teach. They must also have leadership skills in order to forward the things that one wants to teach. Not just that but during the process in transmitting skills the teacher must have a personality that other people can respect. However, I currently don’t operate any dojang so it is hard for me to give any tips to other masters.

 

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get the idea to join YouTube and begin uploading videos? Do you have any specific future plans with YouTube or video production?

 

MASTER LEE: The idea of making filming a video just popped up one day so I uploaded it onto YouTube. I’m planning to keep uploading videos of my skill system of techniques and poomsae interpretations and application, etc. 
In Korea I have already uploaded through blogs and stuff, especially the response on Facebook was really good. 

 

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

 

MASTER LEE: Poomsae was a gift that was given to me. Through poomsae competitions I could ultimately increase my ego in Korea and throughout the world. However as an aspect of my philosophy it wasn’t important. It only was a great help for training to master techniques and control the body and mind.

 

A focused Lee preparing before a poomsae event back in his high school days.

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?
 
MASTER LEE: After my 8 years as a Taekwondo athlete I don’t especially enjoy it any more. 

Tying a student’s glove for kickboxing training

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!
 
MASTER LEE: Thank you for such an opportunity to give me the chance to have such an interview. I’m really grateful for your interest in me.  

*For more information on Master Dong Hee Lee you can visit his YouTube channel:
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Conor McGregor VS Dennis Sever Is Proof That Taekwondo Fighting Is Exciting

        At the last UFC Fight Night the headlining bout between Conor McGregor and Dennis Sever was action packed. Dennis Sever gained notoriety for his devastating spinning back kick knockouts. He is not specifically a Taekwondo fighter but his kicks are definitely borrowed from Taekwondo. Conor McGregor on the other hand is a Taekwondo fighter, but I must admit, he is an ITF Taekwondo fighter. He has trained much of his life in ITF Taekwondo. Of course this blog has negative opinions on the ITF as an organization, their propaganda, their politics, sine wave, Choi worship, and annoying arrogance, but that is not to say that ITF Taekwondo individuals cannot, and are not good fighters. After all they have basically the exact same techniques as regular Kukki-Taekwondo. McGregor uses them all!

        McGregor and Sever mixed it up with plenty of kicks, McGregor threw spin kicks but missed. He threw round kicks, front kicks and an axe kick. Sever through high kicks as well. Plenty of great punching exchanges occurred where McGregor blocked and parried most of them. McGregor was in total control and looked great. Sever got miserably defeated with a TKO with strikes. It was an awesome fight!

        McGregor and other traditional martial artists are paving the way to re-establish traditional styles as top notch, serious fighting systems that are deadly enough on their own. Conor McGregor shows that Taekwondo is exciting and we need more Taekwondo in MMA!

Military Taekwondo Stock Footage From Vietnam War

        Taekwondo is a traditional martial art, but it grew up as a military martial art as well, not simply a civilian style. Special fores soldiers in Vietnam learned it. The following are various stock footage videos showing literal Taekwondo training in full uniforms as well as combatives practices. Check them out!

Taekwondo was about 25 years old in these videos. The above video shows the primitive techniques and movements that that been of courses tweaked, changed, and developed into better and more practical movements. But it is interesting to see wide stances, wide choonbi  stances and the standard Karate gi style doboks they are wearing. It looks very cool. Even special forces soldiers start out as white belts in Taekwondo and even perform the part. The Vietnamese soldiers are very small people and very thin as well due to growing up in such a harsh place in war torn Vietnam.

You will also notice that one some scenes they seem to be doing parts of ITF forms. This is because the O Do Kwan was still run by General Choi and the KTA still used some of his early forms to be used in the military kwan. Around 1965 Choi had been asked respectfully to remove himself from the KTA and was given permission to develop his ITF organization. So there was some crossover is forms and style going from this time to the ealy 1970’s until the Pal Gwe and Tae Geuk sets of forms were created. Later, the KTA and all kwan groups of martial arts fully committed and promoted the Kukkiwon and the WTF (including the Oh Do Kwan which was Choi’s kwan which he led in the military). So the Vietnam era of Taekwondo is part of both ITF and Kukkiwon/WTF history as it was sanctioned by the KTA to teach South Vietnam Special Forces as well as U.S. Special Forces Taekwondo combat.

Another very important thing to notice is the sign that says “Tae Kwon Do.” It is spelled simply as Tae Kwon Do, which could also be written Taekwondo. Many ITF people strictly spell the style name as “Taekwon-do” or “TaeKwon-Do” with a hyphen. They claim that is the only way to spell the martial art name. General Choi apparently added the hyphen in English for some reason. This shows that historically Taekwondo was not written with a hyphen and it is not important to do so. In original Korean language (hangul) there is no hyphen, and I believe, nor should there be in English.

At the end you notice the Korean black belt instructors kicking and punching the hanging bag. One is doing a toe kick with his round kick. The other guy seems to have some form of gloves on as he punches as well. You never saw that much in Taekwondo gyms in the 90’s when I started training. The primitive and outdated kicking styles are seen as well. For their time it was pretty impressive and this is when the US military and others were just figuring out the martial arts systems for their soldiers.

 I love this footage. It is white belts sparring. I notice a lot of front legged side kicks and some jumping round kicks. The military salute instead of bowing is also cool. The interesting stances and way they are holding their fists is unorthodox for today.

More white belts sparring. Very terrible technique, but they seem to be having so much fun and all smiles. It is horrible to think they may have to fight in the jungles of Vietnam later and end up killing people or getting killed themselves. Hope their Taekwondo training was good if the battle comes down to hand to hand.

Notice the US Soldiers, white men, in the background watching and taking photos. The dojang is very cool with artwork of fists and techniques and a sign that says Taekwondo.

Here is some wild and crazy hand to hand and close quarters combat techniques show with Vietnamese Special Forces. Man these special forces look so young, like cute kids and all smiles. The grappling, flying and throwing techniques are pretty flashy. It is also funny to see these Special Forces guys smoking so much in the background. Clearly it cannot help their Taekwondo and grappling techniques. At the very end of the clip it looks as if they were learning how to fall properly and keep their legs up in a defensive position for ground kicks and deflecting attacks. But I do not really know.

Here are some Army Ranger’s teaching new recruits. I believe it is a continuation of the above video. The trainees clearly have no clue what they are doing. Imagine these guys having to be taught all of these techniques so fast and then expected to use them in actual battle. These are breakfalling and rolling techniques.

I like this video a lot. It shows some basic knife defenses in a dirty and not so perfect looking way. A South Vietnamese combat instructor is teaching the young cadets about what it means “to kill or be killed.”

Well this is some proof that Taekwondo was a military martial art meant for serious combat including killing. Taekwondo grew up in the military where it developed further self defense techniques over time. It was primitive back then but still got the job done, now days it has developed into way more crisp movements and precise movements. Unfortunately, much of the serious nature of Taekwondo as a martial art has been lost due to pop culture and a politically correct mindset that watered down much of Taekwondo. But in the dark corners of the Taekwondo world there are still Taekwondo instructors and fighters like all of us who love Taekwondo and train for realistic combat and self defense.

Using A Double Knife Hand Block In A Fight

        *A MUST WATCH VIDEO FOR ALL TAEKWONDO PEOPLE!

        What is the double knife hand block for? Would you ever use it in a fight? Do you even know what it is for and how one would use it in a fight? Or do you simply want to use it to pose and look pretty in a demo? This video shows you possible combat techniques to use with the double knife hand block.

Start practicing it.