Posts Tagged ‘Taekwondo fighting’

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!

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Taekwondo Dominated The UFC 182 Prelims Last Night

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

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

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

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

BAM!

Slow motion…beautiful!

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

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.

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.

Fighting Is Imperative To Taekwondo Training

       *Authored by White Dragon. 

        If you claim to be a Martial Artist and you don’t fight then you really know nothing of the Martial Arts. This holds true for Taekwondo. You will know nothing of Taekwondo unless you fight. Regardless of physical ability (possibly handicaps, injuries, mental challenges etc.) a student must train to fight the best he can. By fighting, it does not mean you must fight in a tournament, or in a cage fight, or some kickboxing event only. No, by fighting, it simply means at least sparring in your dojang and sometimes going hard on one another. Another way to fight is outside of the dojang. If someone attacks you then you fight them. If no one attacks you then you could provoke them into fighting you so you can try out your techniques, but that really is not a good goal to have, for the essence of self-defense is to only fight back when attacked. Going out looking for a fight is immoral and against the principles of Taekwondo’s martial philosophy. Nonetheless, a Taekwondoin must fight if he wants to prove he knows anything about Taekwondo. This can easily be done in a gym environment supervised by a qualified instructor.

        It is a myth that for one to prove he is black belt quality he has to fight in an MMA cage, or Kickboxing ring for sport fighting. You can still be a decent fighter without competing. An example of this reality is when author Sam Sheridan (2o10) paid a visit to Renzo Gracie’s (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master) gym in New York and met John Danaher “New Zealand John.”  Danaher is Renzo Gracie’s top Professor (Instructor) and a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu genius (Sheridan, p. 235). He has never competed! He had a childhood surgery go wrong on his knee so he does not compete but is excellent in knowledge and physical abilities in the gym (Sheridan, p. 236). He is so respected that even Georges St. Pierre took private lessons from him and many other top names in MMA. The point being, even though he does not train to fight in competitions he is still a good fighter. You can be a fighter even if you do not compete.

        The meaning of being a fighter does not necessarily mean you practice combat sports and are a paid professional fighter. The word fighter simply means “a person with the will and disposition to fight, struggle, and resist.” A Taekwondo fighter is simply that same kind of person with such a will and disposition who trains in Taekwondo. It should be acknowledged that any true Taekwondo black belt should, thus, be a Taekwondo fighter whether or not they participate in combat sports. Also whether or not they are soldiers in the military. Sport fighters and soldiers are fighters, but not all fighters are sport competitors or in the military. All true Martial Artists train to be ready in case there is a need to fight; whether or not they plan to fight in the ring or in honorable duty calls to defend one’s family, friends, and personal interests. Hopefully, all Taekwondo fighters embrace the 5 tenets of Taekwondo and will fight for what is good and not selfish ambition.

        There is no excuse not to spar in your school. At first sparring can seem scary, but over time confidence can be built through contact training drills that build up over time to harder connecting techniques. This can be from defensive drills where you allow yourself to get hit either on your body or padded gear; and also within sparring you can start out light contact with realistic techniques and over time develop into a fearless full contact fighter. Every Taekwondo fighter should experience full contact sparring at some point in their training history, at least in a controlled environment in the dojang under the safety of instructors watching. Hopefully the Taekwondo fighter makes this a reoccurring practice throughout his training life in order to keep skills up. Gradually, the Taekwondoin soon enough will develop self confidence and be able to control his fear.

        Many dojangs today over emphasize self confidence for emotional security and self esteem while spending hardly any time on physical self confidence. If people are built up to believe in themselves without proving it physically they are going to be in a lot of trouble as they will have a false sense of security. Overconfidence destroys Martial Artists. Grandmaster Hee Il Cho 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 means not simply doing sport sparring for a tournament rules format, but free sparring with a wide variety of target areas and self defense techniques. Cho also expresses, “Fighting is imperative in the martial arts. Without fighting, you’re not understanding total and complete martial arts, because until you get physically hit by someone, you won’t know if something works” (p. 52). In the Martial Arts it is expected you will get bumped and bruised and even bloodied. This is just a fact and it is something to expect and fight through. Your instructor should help you with mental strength and pain tolerance. This is not to say it’s okay to be injured, it is not. A real Taekwondo instructor watches for the safety of his students and helps them avoid real injuries. Safety gear is important to start off with and can gradually thin out over time, and if one chooses to spar without gear that is up to them with a partner of mutual understanding and common sense. But bumps and bruises and even blood should be expected! Students must learn to get over it and realize it only makes them stronger when they heal up.

        Training for tournament fighting is a good start for any Taekwondo student wanting a fight experience with some benefits of extra safety. But it should not be the main goal of the overall fighting technique that student will know in his Taekwondo life. Becoming a tournament champion and earning trophies and medals in a point fight system can bread unnecessary arrogance and embellished claims of skill if one is not careful, nor has an instructor there to make him check himself. The development of the W.T.F.  has been a blessing and a curse for the art of Taekwondo. On one hand it brought world-wide awareness of Taekwondo and has received acknowledgment in many countries and governments and within international organizations such as the IOC. This has been great for the spread of Taekwondo, but the curse in all of this is that the W.T.F. explicitly only represents sport sparring and sport poomsae competition. They exist solely to promote the tournament sport with all of its rules and regulations and all of its limitations for real world combat. They do not care about anything else. This has caused so many Taekwondo masters to only care about their students winning sport fighting, point tournaments and poomsae competitions. They have a total lack of focus for open rules competitions such as Kickboxing and MMA, as well as an unconcern for real world self defense.

        If Taekwondo is realistically going to keep up with the times and develop further in the Martial Arts world this overemphasis on sport has got to stop. Sport is great, but not an overemphasis on it. If the Kukkiwon is going to be the leader in Taekwondo development and advancement then they should start developing fighters for other modes of combat sports such as Kickboxing, Knockdown style, and MMA. Why not create a Kukkiwon Fight Team and train them for such events? Taekwondo is, first and foremost, a fighting art. Such competitions will only allow Taekwondo to prove itself in more combative avenues which will increase its credibility. This will only cause people to notice effective techniques that could transfer over to self defense.

        Taekwondo also is in general, a fighting art for self defense. The republic of Korea teaches it’s soldiers Taekwondo, and the Martial Art has been used in the Vietnam War to kill the enemies by ROK Marines. Morgan (1992) concurs,

“As anyone who has faced the army of the Republic of Korea can testify, Taekwondo can be a devastating method of unarmed fighting. But to learn true combat, students must practice without the constraints of tournament rules.” (p. 53)

        To understand fully the art of Taekwondo, the practitioner must spend quality time in sparring; not just for tournaments but also for real life situations targeting all over the body from leg kicks, face punches, knees, and elbows. This can be done in a safe environment and there is no excuse not to spend significant time training in such a way to help the Taekwondo fighter become adequate with the full range of Taekwondo techniques. You cannot simply practice for spin kick tricks, poomsae competitions and demonstrations, or board breaking. One especially should avoid wasting time on “Taekwondo-dance” and all of the other silly antics that people have created to impress ignorant masses of pop-culture followers who have no concern for the warrior way or self defense, and just enjoy showing off and dancing. The Taekwondo student must  practice using Taekwondo for what it was originally intended for, which is fighting.

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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. 

Works Cited

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

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

        Sheridan, S. (2010). A Fighter’s Mind. Atlantic Monthly Press: New York, NY.