Posts Tagged ‘taekwondo in korea’

Sexual Gay Taekwondo Dancing At Kukkiwon Hanmadang

        It never ends. Why….why do they keep doing this! I filmed this today at the Kukkiwon. This was during the World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2016. They literally call the event Taekwondo Aerobics. Like an event for dancing and aerobic exercise which includes drama with props and stuff sometimes.

Yep, this is the direction the Kukkiwon is going…and they wonder why they lose so many students to MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts. Taekwondo black belts fit more into the drama club than anywhere else. This is some seductive and flamboyant crap.

I don’t have to agree with everything the Kukkiwon does or allows. I don’t.

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How To Get To The Kukkiwon In Korea

        If you are ever going to visit Korea you are probably going to go to the Kukkiwon at some point since you are a Taekwondoin. It is absolutely easy to get to the Kukkiwon once you know where it is. The first time I found the Kukkiwon I randomly walked into on on accident in Gangnam. I have since been there a few times doing whatever, namely to go to the Mooto and KSD store. Here is a video about how to find the Kukkiwon.

Basically take subway line 2. It is the light green line. You want to go to Gangnam Station. Once you get to Gangnam station go to exit 12 and walk up the steps. Once you get outside keep waking straight. You will see a McDonalds and Daiso store on the left. Keep walking to the first crosswalk. Do not cross the street. Instead turn left up the steps on the corner. There is a thrift store type fashion store with clothes outside right there. When you turn left up the street stay on that side and walk straight up. The street is a steep hill. You will walk right next to a Mooto store. Feel free to check it out and buy stuff. Or look and come back and buy stuff. Then you will see a park with a pavilion on the left. Keep walking. You will see the Kukkiwon gate, that is the sign you are basically there. Walk up the hill more and take the low road. The high road will take you beside the building and it will not be a good experience. You want to see the Kukkiwon straight on in the front for your first time to get the proper experience. Once you take the low road you will walk right in front of the Kukkiwon and you can walk up the walkway to the front steps.

After that you can check out the Kukkiwon and explore the halls and the dojang floor. It is usually set up like a theater with a stage since they do so many demonstration shows with theatrics. You cannot actually train there. After that go explore the outside grounds and see some rock monuments dedicated to the Olympics and things like that. You can walk around the whole building and behind it there is a pavilion that is nice to sit in and take photos. Behind that is a small fitness park for old Korean people. Across the front parking lot there is an area you can get a few of part of Gangnam with some sky scrapers and things. There is another small fitness park there. Behind the Kukkiwon on the left side the the Taekwondo museum which has a lot of Olympic trinkets and artifacts. It is actually quite boring since it has nothing to do with fighting or interesting stuff except joining the Olympic games. But I have to say there are some old doboks of world champions and some old sparring gear to look at. Other than that there is some faulty Korean history that is simply not true about Taekwondo and a lot of things dedicated to Dr. Un Young Kim. The best thing in the museum are the original Kwan seals on brass plates. It has all 9 kwans listed with their original spellings in English and insignia. Very cool and that is the main reason to go into the museum.

After you explore the Kukkiwon and have your Taekwondo fantasy realized to see the heart of Taekwondo worldwide you can relax as you will somewhat be disappointed in the fact the Kukkiwon is not at all impressive as a building and is boring…but still, YOU DID IT! Take tons of photos and be proud of your black belt rank! I am! Even though it is not very impressive I still like going an I still feel a Taekwondo connection. The next thing to do is go to the KSD store. Walk out in front of the Kukkiwon and turn left down the street and you will walk down a small hill right into the KSD martial arts store. You can buy Taekwondo gear. They usually sell Nike, Adidas, Star, and KSD brand equipment. They have cheap kicking paddles for 17 bucks. Cheaper than the Mooto store. They have some patches and cool t-shirts of the Kukkiwon for very cheap. There are cheap Taekwondo shoes and doboks. You can buy belts and more. The store is more plain than the Mooto store but you need to price shop and check everything out. After you leave the Kukkiwon make sure to buy what you need in the Mooto shop. Buy doboks, get an embroidered belt ordered for pickup, buy more patches than the KSD has, buy MMA stuff, shoes whatever.

Enjoy your time in Korea as a Taekwondoin and make sure you tour the Kukkiwon. You can walk in on your own. It is open to the public. When the Korean Kukkiwon people see foreigners they smile and nod or bow some and are happy to have you. But hardly any speak English so you have to ask for help and they will walk around until they find someone who speaks English and you can ask them what you want.

Finally, make sure that when you come to Korea and visit the Kukkiwon you have time. In the evening they usually have a free Kukkiwon Demo Team show you can just watch. It is top notch and really fun even if it includes some stupid Taekwon-dance crap and slly stuff. The flying kicks are amazing and the poomsae looks tight and it pumps you up. Enjoy it! It is entertainment.

Right now though they have The Greatest Taekwondo Show which is a huge demo which costs 40,000W (about $40 and if you have a dan ID card you get a discount for about 20 bucks). I think I will go to this show sometime just to check it out. This is a special event that has been running for weeks now. Maybe after they finish up they will go back to the free Kukkiwon Demo Team shows again. I am not sure.

 

I Passed My 4th Dan Test In Korea

        I am proud to announce that I passed my 4th dan test in Korea. It was a great experience and such a relief! Finally after nearly 21 years I am a 4th dan black belt, master level, in Taekwondo. Master Jeong helped me register for this and drove me to the location to test. I am so thankful for him!

        The test is split up into 4 sections; 5 if you count basic motions as separate from poomsae. The longest part of the test is waiting for your time to perform as you sit there. Once you start the actual test it is very fast and only lasts about 30 minutes. It is rapid pace and you end up doing everything immediately. How it works is they separate everyone into groups. About 10 people in each group. Once they call your group you line up and perform.

        First, we did some basic motions and kicks back and fourth. They call all of the words out in Korean and expect you to know what they want you to do. So we did various blocks and a few strikes. Then we did 3 kicks. Only front kick, round kick and side kick That was it. After the basics they command you to do poomsae and they have 2 forms chosen. Everyone the entire test does the exact same motions and poomsae. Nothing is different from anyone else. This time they had us perform Keumgang and Taebaek. Lower dan levels had to do Koryo instead of Taebaek. But for us higher dan grades we did those 2 forms. After forms you are told to move to the other side of the room. The room is set up kind of like a tournament, but with only 2 rings. The first ring is for basics and poomsae, and the other side of the room is for sparring. For sparring they will have about 4 matches at once going on. Right away you put on sparring gear. You wear the full gear including a groin cup and mouth piece. But you do not have to wear the WTF tournament feet pads and gloves. You simply have to wear the basic arm guards, shin guards, hogu, head gear, groin cup, and mouth guard. They provided the hogu and head gear. You had to provide the rest of the gear. We then sparred. It’s supposed to be 1 minute of sparring and that is it, but my match went on for maybe 40 seconds. I think they count the 1 minute when the referee calls out the command before you even start fighting. I had to fight a tall guy who was bigger. It was kind of intimidating, but it was ok and I just fought like I was in a tournament. Master Jeong told me not to try and hurt people and not to go all out but in the heat of battle I felt like I had to actually fight. It was okay and no one got hurt. It just feels like a tournament and you have those nerves before you fight. After we sparred and did our thing the other guy was nice and very respectful to me and bowed to me and shook my hand. It was cool. Finally after sparring we had to break a brick. The brick was plastic. About 5 people in a line had to either break a plastic brick or plastic boards. The bricks and boards are supposed to be made to be as strong as the actual things. It is not easy to break the plastic bricks as they are very hard. But of course even a teenager can break them. I broke my brick the first try. I believe you get 2 or 3 times to try and break them. I am not sure, but I heard that breaking is not mandatory and you can still pass without it. So if you cannot break the brick you can still pass if you did well on other parts of the test. After the breaking technique there was  written portion of the test which was a multiple choice paper to fill out with 1 essay question at the end. All of the questions had things to do with Taekwondo history, philosophy, Olympic rules, theoretical knowledge of techniques and such. It was all in Korean and Master Jeong had to read it for me and explain it all in English. After I filled it out I handed it in and I was done. Boom! Test completed!

        Whew! After I did the brick breaking I was awarded a certificate of excellence and a gold medal for performing with top quality, especially for poomsae. They did not give these out to everyone. Only a couple of people got them in each division. I received the award for the adults testing for high dan rank.

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They printed out the certificate right there because they added my name on it, and spelled my name wrong but it is ok and I am so grateful to be acknowledged as a great Taekwondoin. To be acknowledged by the Koreans is so wonderful! I am so proud of myself and Master Jeong really taught me well!

        The Kukkiwon promotion test is not usually held at the actual Kukkiwon anymore. The only people who are allowed to test in Korea are residence. Either you are Korean and a citizen, or you have lived in Korea legally for 6 months. I have lived here for 6 months so I was eligible to test here. You cannot just travel to Korea and test at the Kukkiwon. They expect you to test in your home country and apply by mail. Also, in Korea you can actually fail the test. Unlike in America where virtually nobody fails ever because they paid money. But even so, some of the quality of students testing I saw was very poor and in my opinion not deserving of a black belt. So they still let things slide and allow low quality people to pass the test apparently. Hopefully, this changes. But if you do really, really bad or cannot remember the form or something, you can fail. That is what I have heard. The test is run in a strict way like the military. They yell commands and have you line up and bow. You are then told to move to other areas fast. It is very serious and strict. Testing is usually held in various regions of Korea. For whatever province you live in, that is where you will test. Our test is in Gyeong Gi-do and the city was Hanam. So it was held by the Gyeong Gi-do Taekwondo Association (GTA). Kind of like how in America each state has it’s own Taekwondo association under the USAT. In Korea it is all under the authority of the KTA. But yes, they do still hold promotion tests in the actual Kukkiwon, but not as much as they used to. It is mainly an office place and a place for special events such as demos they do every night for the general public.

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Receiving my new belt for 4th dan from Master Jeong

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        The purpose of the Kukkiwon promotion test is to check that you know the motions of Taekwondo, that you understand how to perform Taekwondo and how to actually use it. The sparring is held just to prove you can fight and know foot work and understand the sport rules as well. They also want to check your power with the breaking to show you are strong with technique. The Kukkiwon test is not to prove you are some gold medal world champion fighter or some deadly killer, but to show you have a mastery of the basics and are worthy of your dan grade. With all of the people testing, time is limited so the test is very short and straight to the point. I am sure the exam your local dojang holds for your test may or may not be much harder and more difficult. All that matters for testing is the Kukkiwon’s requirements of knowledge. Your instructor may have you do other things for him but the Kukkiwon requires just a small amount of things. That is how it is in Korea.

        I had a wonderful experience testing in Korea! I am not 4th dan and worthy of a Taekwondo master! YES!

Taekwondo Applications Fight Scene And Update On My Martial Arts Pursuits

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

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

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

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

 

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

Taebaek Poomsae Application (Bunhae) (Part 1)

        Just for fun I am going to make a few simple, short, not in depth at all but just showing the techniques, videos on TaeBaek and how you could use the movements in a real fight, or self defense encounter. TaeBaek is the second black belt form and it has a few interesting movements. To the untrained eye, the overly imaginative, the martial ballet dancer, mcdojanger, and the combat ignorant these moves look like performance. They sure are, but they are a performance of martial arts techniques that can actually work in a very simplistic way. Forms are a training tool to develop the basic way a fighter moves, his balance, motor skills, and various techniques. You would not fight in a poomsae fashion, but would modify them to a quicker more accurate defense and attack.

        One day I hope to make more serious and in depth videos on such topics, but the lack of people willing to do things with me, lack of skilled people to be in such a video, and and time limit me. But nonetheless here is one short video showing a portion of Taebaek. This shows how to defense against a grab and haymaker that is often used in street attacks. It shows how to block, punch them hard, crack their knee and smash their face with your elbow. It is really strong. I came up with this idea on my own just using logical reasoning on how to actually use techniques in a realistic and simple way. All actual uses of poomsae applications will be done in a very basic and simple way. Not dramatic movements as when performing the poomsae exercise.

Diamond block to punch counter, side kick and elbow strike on the second half of Taebaek:

 

        I hope you got something out of that video. It is my interpretation of the movements on the second half of the form.

        It is a shame that sport poomsae competition does not include actual combat application training. It instead simple focuses on aesthetically pleasing movements which I believe has weakened Taekwondo and made it too soft. The WTF really should emphasize fighting applications for forms training. Also, I do not limit myself to the standard self defense ideas the Kukkiwon says, but include them as well as create my own or find my own that already existed. A lot of ideas can be found in Karate as well because they have most of the same moves.

        Poomsae is also not the full extend of moves in Taekwondo, but a small portion. The forms are just a collection of important basic movements, but there are many other moves and technique soutside of poomsae that Taekwondo has in its arsenal. Many more.

        I will try and make a few more videos on this form and show more self defense concepts from it. Just keep checking over time.

        I must say, Happy New Year people!! May 2016 give you many blessings and good Taekwondo training! May you reach your goals! Thank you for reading my small blog!

Korean Perception Of Taekwondo

        The Korean perception of Taekwondo is interesting. It can vary from people who think that Taekwondo is neat, but not a great fighting art to people who praise Taekwondo as a real martial art and something they are proud of that their country created it. I have heard women say, “There are no good Taekwondo schools in Korea.” This idea comes from the fact that mcdojangism is also a serious problem in the Land of Taekwondo. There are many elementary school children involved in Taekwondo just as there is in the U.S. And often times lik the U.S. instructors only care about money and rank kids up who do not deserve it. There are a lot of poor teachers, but being Korea, there are a lot of great masters here too. Some of the best masters in the world live here and teach. Enough Koreans are preserving the traditional warrior art of Taekwondo, while many of course use it to make easy money.

        Most Korean men have trained in Taekwondo in their life. Most trained in school as kids and almost all men have trained in Taekwondo in the military. I would say probably all of them except a very rare few. Military service is mandatory in Korea at the age of 18 and they must serve for 2 years. During this time many soldiers will earn a colored belt or two and some take it more serious and become black belts. Often in Korea men over time forget Taekwondo and it is more of a fond memory. Life gets in the way and work and family takes over. Many do not keep training in Taekwondo, but everyone respects it. To hear about a foreigner such as myself holding the rank of 3rd dan is impressive to them and many will assume I am a master of Taekwondo already because of it.

        There is a big trend of Taekwondo English schools, or English Academies that also teach Taekwondo in English. It is usually Korean English with heavy accents and most likely grammar mistakes here and there, but it is pretty cool in my opinion and at least they are trying to have a reason to be enthusiastic about English. I also teach 1 English Taekwondo class a week at Master Jeong’s Pure Mind Taekwondo Dojang in Bucheon. I teach 30 minutes for poom grade kids. It is very fun and they are excited to learn TAekwondo from a foreigner as well as learn English words. English Taekwondo classes can train future overseas Taekwondo instructors to help spread Korean Taekwondo around the world.

        Just like in the USA, MMA is very popular and more often they use the term K-1 or Kyeoktooki to describe cage fighting and more serious ring fighting like Kickboxing. I have also heard girls claim they want to learn Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu because someone told them they are the best martial arts. Many are surprised to hear that Taekwondo is also a serious fighting style and strong if taught right. Taekwondo is culturally important and popular in Korea but it is not seen by the majority of young people as a strong and deadly martial art. They have the same view as America and Europe that MMA or Muay Thai is for fighting and Taekwondo is not as great.

        I am fortunate to work extremely close to Master Jeong’s Dojang. Master Jeong is the instructor who is known for his YouTube channel and online Taekwondo study course. He is also known for writing the book Hand Techniques Of Taekwondo For Actual Fighting KTA. I have been training at his gym for 2 weeks now. All of the work I do is highly technical and small refinements of my technique. It is a class for the serious Taekwondo student who wants to master the art. It is not for the impatient. It is worth it because he teaches the self defense concepts found within poomsae and teaches modified motions to quickly use them in tighter ways for actual self defense. It is a breath of fresh air to learn why we do certain moves and what tiny changes I need to make in my technique.

       We are also allowed to “kickbox” and hit the heavy bag with a plethora of techniques including MMA concepts. He encourages it. We are not simply doing Olympic sparring, all though there still is some of that left in to give the training a rounded out feeling. I am really pleased with it and feel so thankful I have thios wonderful opportunity to train in order to become a true Taekwondo master.

        Korea is also a wonderful country and has much beauty and a very cosmopolitan feel. It is so convenient to live in the city. You can also find various parks and even practice Taekwondo outside in front of people in your full dobok without being harassed or made fun of. NO ONE will bother you or care, but maybe some kids might drive by and practice English for 5 seconds before getting embarrassed and riding away on their bike. Koreans don’t usually talk to strangers though, unless you are an old grandma. The old grandmas are called “ajuma” and they are old and do not care about following the rules. They will talk to everyone and maybe will talk to you and say hilarious stuff to you. They are super tough old women so respect them!

Korea, The Land Of Taekwondo

        I moved to Korea and live and work here now. I will be here for as long as I feel led. I am now living in the land of Taekwondo. I will be writing more articles as time goes by about my martial arts experience in this country and give cultural insights about Korea and Taekwondo based on my experiences. I have been able to train with Master Jeong from Youtube in real life and it has been an great experience. I am excited to train in true Taekwondo and will be reporting many things in the near future. Stay tuned!