Posts Tagged ‘WTF Taekwondo’

When Will The MMA Community Get It? It Is Time To Start Hiring Taekwondo Striking Coaches At Your Gyms!

        The last UFC Fight Night showed a one sided beatdown of MMA legend BJ Penn who is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prodigy. In this case, Taekwondo actually defeated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Hard to believe I know! Many probably won’t admit it. BJ Penn could not keep on him or do anything but get hit and evaded.

Rodriguez threw a variety of kicks including a tornado round kick that bashed BJ pretty hard even though he had his arm blocking his face you could tell it still hurt. The video doe snot show the full fight, but even a hopping side kick was thrown that connected.

It is about time that the MMA community stops being biased towards Taekwondo and stops the nonsense claims that it doesn’t work when it clearly does. It is time to start giving jobs to Taekwondo masters and coaches who know the Taekwondo striking game very well and ca benefit your gyms. It is ridiculous not to. A Taekwondo striking coach deserves full respect and should be teaching fighters along side Muay Thai coaches and Boxing coaches. There is no excuse not to. Taekwondo should be equally respected as a serious skillset to teach fighters for MMA and self defense. There are going to be more beat downs like this over time and have been in the past. Taekwondo is dynamic and offers so many angles and ranges of kicking that Muay Thai does not. Taekwondo people have a new mind and idea to teach your fighters new techniques.

Stop the biased hatred of Taekwondo and start being open minded. MMA has progressed beyond telegraphed heavy kicks and boxing.

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Popular Machado BJJ Black Belt Gives Respect To Taekwondo

        I thought this was pretty interesting. Jean Machado who runs TheMachLife YouTube channel that makes many comedy videos about BJJ, the martial arts, and other topics did one on Taekwondo. I thought it was going to be a video making fun of Taekwondo, but instead I was delighted to find out he instead was showing how amazing Taekwondo is and how it deserves respect. That is very encouraging to me and it is great more BJJ guys are becoming open minded about martial arts. I guess he was really a brown belt when he made this video, but he is now a black belt. Watch the video:

The Danger Of Oldschool Olympic Sparring

        Olympic Taekwondo sparring of the World Taekwondo Federation used to be very dangerous and scary. It took a lot of guts to get in the ring and fight someone. Yes, FIGHT your opponent, because that is what it was, a fight. Just as the sport of boxing is a fight, the sport of Taekwondo sparring was a fight. Oldschool Olympic Taekwondo sparring was dangerous. By oldschool I mean the 80’s and 90’s. Here is a clip showing how it was dangerous and how often people actually got hurt in matches. The point of sparring was to show Taekwondo superiority by beating up your opponent as much as you could and scoring hard contact points; and hopefully knocking your opponent out. This is the same as how boxing is about scoring points and also hopefully knocking your opponent out.  Check this out:

I have to apologize for the extremely idiotic music choice for this video. Not everyone has good tastes in music and I did not make this video. So just mute it.

I remember Taekwondo sparring in the 90’s and how it was actually scary and took a lot of courage, and confidence instilled in me by my instructor to be brave enough to fight, especially in the black belt division. Olympic fighters were taught to have a serious fighting spirit and lots of aggression in the ring. You let loose, and went off on your opponent with all of your techniques, trying to cause him damage through the padding. As a teenager my training was so hard that every time I had to go to class I hated it. I never wanted to do the training because it was so stressful and so painful. I did it anyway! Besides regular Taekwondo class, I was in what we called “Champions Class” which was our dojangs competition team. As a color belt I was able to eventually be trained enough to go to the Junior Olympics in 1996 and represent Oregon Taekwondo.

Training was hard, we started off stretching of course (in full padding), then we did extreme plyometrics and a load of kicking and footwork drills. It was 100% cardio and endurance. Foot work and kicking drills could be anything from shadowing it and kicking in the air against nobody just to get the move down, kicking paddles and kicking shields held by a partner, and the majority which was kicking each others chest gear. We would kick each others chest gear hard doing certain kicks over and over, and the person receiving the kick just tried to stick his chest gear out to offer some more space between his body and the kick. It did not help much. So the partner receiving he kicks got beat up going down the length of the gym and the guy kicking would do a bit of foot work then a hard kick over and over until you got to the end. There were various drills and various kicks used with full contact. Then we switched and now the other guy would then be kicking and the previous kicking guy would then be getting kicked.  Also, if we were doing defensive drills we would have to block a kick with out arms and counter. So not only is the chest gear getting kicked hard which hurts your body, but your arm is taking kicks as well and bruising up. We often had bruised arms and legs and sore torsos after every class. Hopefully we recovered the next day before the next Champions Class. We did this for 1 hour with no breaks. There was no “Hey take 2 mins to rest.” It was non-stop. Also, in our class we were taught to keep our hands up the ENTIRE class, even when the instructor was talking to us and we were standing there listening to instructions for the next drill. If we for one second put our arms down we were forced to do 10 pushups. You did not want to do any pushups after all of the crazy workouts we had to do. An entire hour of keeping your hands up made our arms stronger, but extremely sore. It was hard just to keep them up and often students would then be forced to do pushups because they were too tired to keep their hands up. You did not want to have to do pushups when being that tired. It was not a relief to do pushups at all.  The floor was wet with sweat from everyone of us. We wore our sparring gear the entire time. Full gear. This made us extremely hot with drenched doboks underneath that added to the sweat on the floor. Our head gear caused our entire heads to be dripping. All of the hard workouts while wearing sparring gear took a huge tole on your endurance. Working out when you are burning up from the heat makes you even more fatigued. After 1 hour of training we spent 30 solid minutes with full contact sparring. So an entire Champions Class was 1 hour and 30 minutes long, if not more. Class was of course the last class in the evening and was done after standard class of basic Taekwondo training such as poomsae, basics, self defense, curriculum class.

When we did full contact sparring we actually did full contact sparring. No one said, “Hey be light and easy on each other.” We just actually fought in class. Once in awhile a person would take a very hard blow and get hurt and have to sit out the rest of class. But often, our pads and our technique helped us to simply take a huge beating on our bodies and arms just short of shutting us down. It may have been better to get knocked hard so you could quit class, but the gear protected you from that and forced you to keep taking hard beatings. The padding does not exist to make sure nothing hurts, it simply exists to make sure you do not receive a serious injury (which you would if there was no padding worn). So padding still allows you to feel pain and get bruised up.

In tournaments we were told to just fight and go off and win. Just to try your best even if you lost was what made our instructor proud. Not to quit. One of the scariest tournaments I had to fight in was when my instructor forced me as a blue belt (5th gup) to fight in the advanced division of red/brown/black belt. 9th-10th gup and 1st dan and above. I was 15 years old and in the 15-17 year old division. I beat a brown belt and actually beat on him pretty hard and scored the points to win. It was a battle of endurance. I even gave him a 10 count. After that I had to fight a Korean American 1st dan who was pretty solid. I went off on him and did total aggression and did so many body punches he was literally hurt. The problem was, body punches did not “score” if they were hooked upward, or too close. A punch that scored was a straight punch of a full extended arm that created a trembling shock on the opponents body. That means it would have to move him back or cause his torso to be displaced for a moment. Close in punches may hurt your opponent and cause him pain, but they do not cause the kind of “off balance” shock the judges looked for. Also, this was the start of rule changes that awarded jump kicks a lot more points. A jump kick occurred if both feet left the ground even if it was 1 inch high. The Korean American kid worked the system by slightly hopping at moments and scoring chest gear points. I may have kicked him more and harder, but his few hopping kicks scored higher. I would say I lost this match by a point or 2, but I literally beat him up and he was hurt at the end and also very resentful. He was pretty pissed off at me after the match and did not even want to shake my hand when I went up to him afterward. It is because he knew he got his butt kicked even if he got the win. After this I realized the tournament rules were changing. The reason I went so crazy was because I was scared! I am a blue belt fighting advanced levels! I was fighting a black belt! I was proud that I was a true fighter in this tournament even if I lost and I made my instructor proud.

In the 80’s and 90’s Olympic Sparring was about fighting. You beat each other up through the pads. Now days with rule changes of various scoring values and electronic scoring gear, it has now become a game of working a system to register a point with the electronics in the chest gear and other parts of the padding. The chest gear is much thicker now and more like armor than padding. It is also very expensive now to buy such gear and only wealthy people can afford to compete at the high tournament levels. Olympic Sparring while having its rules for very limited techniques such as no face punches, was still a fight and still scary to do.

Olympic Taekwondo Sparring instilled in me a fighting spirit and the will to win. It was an important part of my martial arts training and was very valuable. Black belt division was when tournaments got really serious and more dangerous. Knockouts were legal and expected. I learned many lessons about combat through it all. Over time I began to be disenfranchised with it as the rules were changing to make it less combative, and I realized that I started martial arts training to learn how to save my life in a real life situation. I began more to focus on self defense without rules limiting how I could win a fight. This was also the very beginning stages of Mixed Martial Arts development in America. I began to see the possibilities of fighting and how Taekwondo should develop and progress through watching early UFC fighting and also experiencing my own problems with bullies and gang behavior in my own town. I also got hit by a car which caused sever injuries on my body which took away any athletic pursuits I might have had. I now focus on Taekwondo as a self defense art above sport, and prefer using Taekwondo for Kickboxing and MMA sport over Olympic Sport. Taekwondo has so many techniques that can be utilized and it is being explored because of the popularity of MMA and I find this great.

Even so, I believe Olympic Taekwondo sparring is still important to study as a student, it is part of our martial art style’s culture. A decent amount of the footwork, endurance training, fighting spirit that is developed, and tactical maneuvers can be transferred into other types of fighting with effectiveness. Olympic Taekwondo sport is a noble pursuit even with the rule changes that I disagree with, and my hate for the electronic scoring gear. I still support WTF sparring and enjoy watching it during the Summer Olympics (but not much else). It is an avenue to develop skills and life lessons in students and should not be completely ignored. Supporting WTF sparring, even as a fan, still keeps Taekwondo relevant to society and might cause people to explore Taekwondo training which is good for Taekwondo. It hopefully will cause people to see the full martial art and all that it offers beyond sport. I may not like everything the WTF does, but still can appreciate the sport for what it is. I could never see how one can be a true Taekwondo black belt and never have once competed in a WTF affiliated tournament (such as your local state tournament every year). I personally believe WTF affiliated tournaments are a rite of passage for the Taekwondo student and should be mandatory to earn a black belt. It is an experience that cannot be taught in the dojang. It is okay to focus less on it than other things, but should not simply be forgotten. There is value in it.

Jose Aldo Broken Rib From Back Kick And Out Of UFC 189 Is From Stupid Training Practices

        The terrible news of Jose Aldo, the current UFC featherweight champion, receiving a broken rib from his idiot training partner Alcides Nunes who used a back kick in practice sparring that cracked Aldo’s rib is aggravating for fight fans who were given tons of hype of his previously upcoming fight against Conor McGregor. Now Chad Mendes, a boring wrestler is going to take Aldo’s place (uuuugh! Lay and pray fest). The reason for this broken rib is because of the ignorant ways many MMA gyms practice. Their ignorant ideas of “super tough training” seems to always cause injuries all over the MMA world. Even Cane Velasquez the now former UFC heavy weight champion did not even fight for 2 long years because of injuries at his AKA gym.

        This fight was going to be Jose Aldo who is pretty much a puncher and grappler to fight Conor McGregor who is a pretty decent striker who uses boxing and kicks from Taekwondo. McGregor has an ITF Taekwondo background and uses back kicks often and other kicks with his boxing skills. This was going to be an interesting fight. But of course as is common in MMA hyped fights an injury keeps the fans from seeing what they were told they wanted to see from months and months of intense marketing and “bad blood” between the two.

“The biggest featherweight fight ever? NOT ANYMORE!!!!

Now it’s just a unimportant “interim championship” fight…

        The truth is Jose Aldo’s injury should never have happened (obvious) and the fact it did happen only points us to the fact they have idiots at his gym who have no clue how to carefully train with someone and work on techniques with a proper and safe sparring partner. Chael Sonnen recently commented about the situation of Aldo’s injury and his training partner,

You’ve got to have training partners you can trust. I could be sparring with a guy and he forgot his mouthpiece, it wouldn’t matter. I’m not going to loosen his tooth, ever. If he goes with me, he’s going to leave in the same condition that he showed up in. He can trust me. Those are the kind of guys that you want to be working out with.

This is a very true statement that a lot of MMA gyms don’t seem to understand and allow too much ego and meatheaded jock behavior to injure may of their gym members. I know this for a fact from training at an MMA gym before. A friend of mine had his rib cracked from an moronic wrestler with an ego problem who went for a very hard takedown. People get injured all the time at these kinds of gyms. The problem is MMA has adopted the ignorant attitude that many boxing gyms have historically had that a person needs to fight really hard in sparring and get beat up to prove he is tough or man enough to be worthy to teach or given any attention. This nonsense philosophy loses so many potentially good fighters and martial artists that COULD be trained if given proper training. Not all people can just right away fight like a warrior, it has to be trained in them and taught often. People need to slow up and spar slow, work technique, not be hit so hard right away. Over time they can use harder contact. Not everyone is game to go hardcore in sparring and get hit hard. Beginners need to build confidence and bravery over time for that to happen. Then when someone is tough enough to handle it there is seriously no point in sparring all the way with full contact every night, especially if someone is a top athlete who needs to avoid getting hurt before a bout.

Traditional martial arts in my opinion is the best way to train a fighter or any kind of martial artist. There is a step-by-step process and concern for the student is given and they tale safe steps to get where they need to be. If MMA gyms stopped following the boxing theory of “proving your worth” a lot more martial artists could come out of their gyms who would be great fighters and would not want to quit. MMA is also more intense than boxing with kicks, elbows, knees, grappling and submissions. It is way more dangerous than boxing with a lot m,ore kinds of injuries. MMA training needs to be done safely.

Chael Sonnen also said,

Accidents happen. This could have been an accident. But it was a spinning kick to the midsection. That’s a very hard strike to control – it’s the same reason we don’t throw elbows in practice. They’re just too hard to control, and if one gets away, even a light one, it can cut your opponent and he’s going to need stitches. There are some things you just don’t do on a partner; you save it for the heavy bag. I’m very confused as to how this even happened 10 days before a title fight.

I will have to say while I understand his concerns about elbows, his is flat out wrong about the “spinning” back kick. Taekwondo practitioners have trained all kinds of kicks, especially the back kick without too many injuries. It totally possible to practice sparring with the back kick without getting injured. A back kick is not “hard to control” when done by an expert. Is Aldo’s training partner was an expert in Taekwondo he could have easily controlled the power of his back kick. Just because it is a turning kick does not mean its impossible to kick lightly. Anyone who believes it is too hard to control is ignorant about such martial arts techniques. They have no clue what they are talking about. Sure by the average MMA guy who just picked up the back kick from watching a youtube video, or who was a green belt before in Taekwondo as a child will suck at throwing back kicks. He will be awkward, unbalanced, and lack any sort of control. These types of people are simply white belt level at kicking and need to train more. There are a lot of MMA guys who think they are martial arts masters who actually suck and lack control. Jose Aldo should have simply been drilling the back kick and working counters to it. If he did sparring the back kick should be thrown so Aldo could work on maneuvers to either block it or avoid it and counter. Olympic Taekwondo sparring drills are the best for this.

Another important thing to remember is most of the time in Taekwondo they wear a chest protector called the hogu in Korean. Olympic Taekwondo is a full contact sport so their back kicks are the best in the world. ITF Taekwondo has the exact same technique and obviously can be thrown with extreme power too an that is Conor McGregor’s background. ITF may be light contact but they would even prove more that a back kick can be controlled without injuring an opponent. But McGregor is not going to throw it light contact. WTF Olympic sparring drills wold be best with a chest protector pad worn. One can throw with medium contact and also if Aldo would miss his technique and get hit the padded chest protector would save him from a broken rib. He should have been wearing one.

Taekwondo coaches, instructors and more should be sought out by MMA gyms to make sure their fighters are being protected and given great drills for working on various kicks that Taekwondo is the best at. MMA gyms need less out dated training methods, more safety, more martial arts experts that specialize in systems and not just some dude who wrestled in high school and took a few boxing lessons. The fact Taekwondo coaches are still shunned by most MMA gyms shows that while MMA in top level organizations are increasingly showing Taekwondo techniques as extremely dangerous, brutal, and fight enders with various fighters using them, the average MMA gym and average MMA culture are still in the “Taekwondo sucks” phase of the late 90’s and early 00’s that has been proven as an ignorant view. More traditional martial arts should be embraced, instructors given jobs, safer training methods with logical progression, and traditional martial arts values of losing your ego in the dojang and a moral code to go with your training should be accepted in the MMA world. Jose Aldo should not have been injured and his training partner should be kicked out of the gym for being an idiot or at least disciplined. All of this could have been avoided if the coaches and staff at Aldo’s gym weren’t clueless about Taekwondo.

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

My Life Was Strengthened By Taekwondo

        My martial arts journey started around age 5 watching the movie “The Karate Kid” with my parents and being totally inspired. I thought it was so cool and wanted to learn Karate just like Daniel san! Karate was so mysterious as well! During this time I also would watch pro wrestling and root for Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. I spent many afternoons with the neighborhood kids wrestling in the front yard of someone’s house and pretending we are certain wrestlers. In actuality we would do kicks and punches and pretend wrestling moves so it was more like play-karate-pro-wrestling. Doing this activity we figured out front kicks, side kicks and roundkicks on our own. But we called both roundkick and sidekick “sidekick” because we thought it was the same kick just done different. As I got older, other times we pretended we were ninjas or Karate guys, or even the Ninja Turtles or Batman from Nintendo games we played and fought in the front yard.

At age 6 my mom enrolled me into a neighborhood Karate class that was being held at the local middle school. My dad would walk me to the school for my classes. I probably stayed in that class for 1 month before quitting because it was so boring. I believe it was Shotokan and the Sensei had absolutely no clue how to teach kids or even pay attention to us. He was focused more on the adults. Also, we never actually punched or kicked anything. I wanted to punch pads so bad and we wasted time doing slow motion things almost the entire time because he could not seem to teach well. I was extremely bored so my parents let me quit. In some ways I wish I had not quit because if I stayed I could have been really good, yet my life turned toward Taekwondo later and I am thankful and satisfied.

Later in life in 4th grade I enrolled in my private school’s youth Wrestling program and spent 1 season competing as a youth wrestler. I only won 3 matches the entire year and lost everything else. It was annoying because there was no skill levels, just weight classes. So I was always wrestling kids who had years experience and I could barely ever win because I had only been training for a couple months. After the season was over I did not pursue wrestling again. I also wish I kind of did just like my prior Karate class because I would have been good but I switched to homeschooling the next year anyway and never thought to find wrestling. I honestly did not understand the power of grappling as this was pre-UFC days and felt I needed to learn how to kick and punch. So a few years later in 8th grade, at age 13 I joined a Taekwondo gym.

But before joining that Taekwondo gym, in my life, I had always been picked on by bullies. Bullies in the neighborhood would always harass me and scare me. Older mean kids would chase me when I was riding my bike, and other kids threatened to beat me up. Some would grab me an scare the crap out of me. Around age 11 or 12 I always had one mean kid from another neighborhood show up to some girls house on our street who was a tom boy. This kid would always harass me and threaten to beat me up and tried to get me to fight him. He was a really bad kid with a dysfunctional family, and he also smoked. Apparently, his sister was on a popular 90’s talkshow for sleeping with a large amount of men and people would bring it up to him and he would get mad. That tells you about his family. He was absolutely crazy. One time he even came to my house at night and smacked my bedroom window in the middle of the night to scare me. I was always so scared of this kid because I had never been in a fight before and was afraid I would get beat up. I knew I needed skills, strength and confidence to face my fears. I was probably around 10 when this kid started bothering me and it lasted through to age 13 off and on. This kid talked like he was some gangster and would quote Death Row Records lyrics from various rappers like Snoop Dog. He used to scream “Bowowow yippy yo yippy yay! Death row’s in tha mutherf***g house!!” He was a very strange and disturbed kid. When he would yell at me he would flip his shirt up and I never understood why he did that, like it was some gangster rap thing. The tom girl told me he was doing it because gangsters do it to show they have a gun in their pants. But he had nothing, he would just flip it up and I would see his stomach or belt. Made no sense.

This kid was always threatening me, and I don’t know why he mainly singled me out and not anyone else I knew as much. Well he did harass or have insult matches with some of my friends but he mainly targeted me, probably because I was outside more than the others who were playing Nintendo all day, or because I was shy and easy to pick on. My friends would go to 7-Eleven and play Mortal Kombat and I would watch and one time this mean kid found me at 7-Eleven and began insulting me and harassing me and came behind me while I was watching my friend play Mortal Kombat on the arcade machine. He pushed me trying to get me to fight him and he was flicking my ears and laughing in my face, and this lasted for a few minutes. It was extremely humiliating and I was afraid he was going to punch me, but he didn’t. Another time after playing Mortal Kombat at 7-Eleven my friends and I were riding our bikes back to our street and we saw that tomboy girl and one of my dumb and inconsiderate friends decided we should each scream out a fatality move from the game as if we would do them to this bully. I was coaxed into doing it with them and as we rode by one kid said, “I’m going to blow his head off!” (like Raiden’s fatality where he explodes the head with lightening), the dumb and inconsiderate friend who made up this stupid idea said, “I’m going to rip his head off!” (like Sub Zero’s fatality where he pulls off the head with his bare hands), and I finally said, “I’m going to knock his head off!” (like Johnny Cage’s fatality where he knocks the head off with an uppercut). So we rode by her and it was something like this:

*Tomgirl is walking towards us going to the bully’s house in the other neighborhood*

*we 3 ride by fast and yell our fatalities*:

“I’m going to blow his head off!”

“I’m going to rip his head off!”

“I’m going to knock his head off!”

*she smiles and laughs and walks on and we ride off*

WOW THAT WAS SO COOL!!! And we laughed…but unfortunately that only pissed off the bully, and for some reason he ignored what they said and only focused on me saying I will knock his head off. Then he came to my neighborhood and started screaming and going nuts and calling me out to fight. Even my parents heard him and knew he was out there, and my dad said I should fight him. But I was still so afraid. I would like to say that the story ends with an epic fight where I beat him but no it does not. There was never a fight, I never once got to fight him ever. I was too afraid. Eventually this kid moved on and stopped harassing me for some reason but there was never a reason given. He got bored and moved on. He became a cowboy after this and no longer acted like a gangster rapper. He never bothered me again and I would see him with a huge cowboy hat one and he would just not care I was outside and would walk on. Something changed him. Who knows, but I was just glad he did not bother me anymore even though I was full of anger toward him for his bullying. When I started Taekwondo training I knew that if I did have to fight him I would beat him easily. I got over it and also moved on and no longer thought about him.

Around this time in my life and during times when the mean bully from the other neighborhood was not around or was doing other things and it was during a cycle where he was not hanging out with that tomgirl so much I had other issues to deal with. Another couple of bullies was that tomboy herself and 2 mean male twins who lived at the end of my street. The tomgirl would get them to pick on me and call me names and threaten to beat me up. A couple of times I had confrontations and I then finally had my first real fight! The tomgirl and the 2 evil twins confronted me and a friend who were picking grapes from a persons grapevine that hung over a fence. Eventually through all of the threats and insults I got so pissed off. The girl was behind the twins, the older one was in front of her towards me and the younger twin was sitting on a fence and all 3 were insulting us and threatening me and my friend. I got so mad and fed up I just punched the older twin in the jaw, grabbed the back of the other twins shirt and pulled it and sprang him into a punch to his back while I was still holding his clothes which knocked him off balance on the fence. Then the tomgirl, who was very big and strong I might ad (bigger than me), attacked me and I started clinching the older twin and they tackled me and I fell on my back. The tomgirl began to jump double feet onto my chest over and over. My friend pulled them off and then grabbed a metal yard sign and began to attack them. Then some drunk guy across the street came out and said, “You kids get outa here! Stop fighting here!!!” and then me and my friend ran and jumped over a fence and the tomgirl followed in persuit and said, “You may be faster! but I have good balance!!!” We were fighting in someone’s yard on a street corner. Then she proceeded to jump over a fence and when landing on the street she slipped with her shoes on the pavement and skinned her knee. Then I began laughing soooo hard and mocking her about “Ohhh suure you have good balance!” and we ran away. They stopped following us because her knee was bloody. Other times I had confrontations with her and these twins and 3 more times I punched the same older twin in the face on the same spot and would run away and get away. It was a hit and run each time! Over time though, these twins moved away and seemed to calm down and were not under her influence anymore and all 3 stopped bothering me. It was one of those things where you have neighborhood kids who one day are cool with you, then hate you and fight you, then are cool and friendly again later etc., or just plain forget about you. Anyway after this even more problems occurred.

Still there were other mean kids who liked rap music and claimed they were gangsters and would yell “Westsiiiiide!” because of all the Los Angeles gangster rappers like Tu Pac, Ice Cube, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, Westside Connection etc. were popular on MTV. That was the popular music and all the crazy mean white kids who had a troubled family life would pretend they were Crips and try to beat people up. They hated anyone who did not listen to rap. If you were into rock music or skateboarding or punk you would be targeted. It was gangsters vs skaters in this period of time. Skaters were always the victims of their hate. I still knew I needed to take martial arts classes.

During 6th and 7th grade I talked with some kid in my homeschool group who said he was a black belt in Taekwondo. I thought he must be a crazy awesome fighter. He told me how Taekwondo is the worlds most popular martial art and the best because it focuses on kicking. I thought kicking automatically was the best thing you could do and that’s why martial arts won fights. I did not know that Karate focused on the hand, and of course I thought ninjas were cool growing up. This Taekwondo kid was an ATA student. His instructor was a Vietnam veteran, so he told me that he studied “Military Taekwondo” and there is a camo belt because of it. He acted like he could win any fight and was not afraid to fight anyone. I thought it was so cool. One day my mom found out about a local Taekwondo tournament and she took me to go watch. It was a WTF tournament, but I had no clue about that. During the intermission they had a Filipino martial arts demonstration with sticks I thought was cool. 2 guys were showing self defense techniques doing them so fast and then doing them again in slow motion. It was all about fighting and self defense. With this attitude I assumed Taekwondo was also exactly like self defense and serious fighting techniques. I thought it was so cool kids were fighting and even girls were fighting! I saw a brochure by the host dojang who was running the tournament. The dojang was owned by a Korean master. He taught 3 martial arts: Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Judo. The brochure explained each martial art: that Judo focuses on throws and some joint locks, Hapkido focuses on joint locks with kicks, punches, pressure points, and throws, but Taekwondo focuses on kicks, punches, joint locks, pressure points, knees, elbows and is able to fight multiple opponents. So I thought Taekwondo was the best of all 3 and included every move the other 2 had plus tons of amazing kicks and strikes and was a serious fighting system! I thought Taekwondo contained every move of all fighting basically.

After being totally confident that I needed Taekwondo specifically, I told my mom to let me join Taekwondo and that I need to learn how to fight. I had no clue about Taekwondo being a sport and only considered it as a true fighting art that even Korean soldiers use and it gives you skills to fight in real fights including deadly killing techniques. I told my mom that I am 13 so I need to learn now before I get older. So she enrolled me in a WTF affiliated Taekwondo gym certified by the Kukkiwon. She didn’t understand that stuff and neither did I and had no clue there were other organizations etc. I thought a martial art style was simply a martial art style. But my mom saw the advertisement and went to this instructor’s gym with us and he met with us and told us all about his program. We were sold!

The instructor who ran it was a 3rd dan and eventually got his fourth during my time there. I received my black belt under him, but he took us up to see his teacher who was a Korean grandmaster in another city. I tested under that Korean grandmaster to earn my Kukkiwon ranked black belt at age 16. Before earning my black belt I had experienced various tournaments, lots of Taekwondo training and learning self defense, and even competed in a national tournament. Taekwondo gave me tons of confidence and I felt strong, skilled, and ready to fight anyone who attacked me.

Way before black belt though, I had went through 3 years of training and during that training the problems in the suburban streets did not stop. As mentioned earlier there were all those wannabe gangster kids causing problems everywhere. On occasions they would start fights at their school and also ride together on BMX type bikes in packs and threaten to beat people up. Multiple occasions these kids would ride to my street or I would be going to 7-Eleven or some store and they would stop us and threaten to beat us up. Often times we had to ride our bikes super fast to get away or run. One time me and 2 brothers I knew were riding bikes back from 7-Eleven and a car full of these guys drives by and says something which sounded like “Brazil.” But it made no sense. They were listening to loud rap music and then stopped ahead at the corner of this street. They immediately poured out of the car and flashed the “W” hand sign for “Westside.” They began chasing us and we all had to ride our bikes fast and get away. We were lucky because they were going to beat us up. I think at least 7 guys were in that car.

All of this time in Taekwondo training I was being given a lot of confidence and gaining physical skills and learning self-defense techniques. During my training I often did tournament sparring and a lot of our training was sport specific Olympic rules training. I knew there were all kinds of moves like face punches, knife hands, palm strikes, knees etc we were not sparring with but only did them if there was a self-defense technique for the next belt level we had to learn. We never free flowed with such techniques, nor used much live grappling training. We sometimes did hit targets with them for practice, but no sparring. But we did train for multiple opponents a lot and did drills simulating 5 or so people attacking you as well as sparring 2 or more people at the same time. Unfortunately, my training was not enough.

Around blue belt, and after fighting in a national tournament I got disqualified in for kicking someones head too hard, I was attacked by a local gang made out of the wannabe gangster kids. At least 15 guys and a girl or two were at this park. By this time at age 14 I took up skateboarding and listening to hardcore music. I went to a private Christian school in 8th grade and that ATA Taekwondo guy went to my school as well. So after 8th grade we had remained friends and would skateboard together sometimes and talk about martial arts. He had ninja books and various martial arts books I thought were cool. He was the type of kid who said he wanted to be in special forces when he grew up. At age 15 and a blue belt in Taekwondo I spent the night at his house and we skateboarded and even sparred Taekwondo style in his backyard. It was then I knew he sucked and I could beat him easy. He was extremely slow and I was super fast because of my Olympic style training. Later, we went to this middle school to skateboard not too far off and wanted to come back home around 8pm. By this time it had gotten dark and we had to go through a local park to get to his house. It was dark now and as we skated through the park we came out from a clearing in a pathway with trees to the main parking lot. In the parking lot, just our luck, over 15 or more of those gangster wannabe kids were all in the parking lot hanging out. The baddest of the bad of these kids were all there including people I had never seen before. All of the kids were White kids except one Asian kid who seemed afraid and worried and didn’t want to be involved with violence against us. The entire gang followed us and ran after us and eventually surrounded us because we were too dumb to run because the ATA kid had no clue they were following us. When I informed him he says, “huh? what?” and stops and goes to look (what an idiot) and by this time they showed up and surrounded us walking and circling on on both sides looking so menacing. They repeated, “We hate skaters!!!” and began to threaten us and how they are going to kill us. What ended up happening was the very first and so far only serious beatdown of my entire life. It was a huge wakeup call.

It was me, my ATA black belt friend and his little brother with our skatebaords surrounded by a White wannabe Black suburban hip hop gang in the street in front of the park we skated through. The little brother was able to break through and run away. Me and the ATA black belt remained. One gangster kid says “We hate skaters!!!!” and proceeds to walk towards me saying “Give me your board! Now!” and I said “NO! ITS MINE!” He kept demanding it and I was backing away and kept saying no, and I felt threatened and held my skateboard behind me and I then swung my skateboard at his head the hardest possible way I could and…..ting! It was an “oh no” moment realizing my skateboard only half hit his head only knicking the top of his head as the board turned at impact instead of the hard knockout thud I was aiming for where the full board was supposed to smack him in the head, wheels, trucks and all. Right then 5 guys bulldozed me and took me down to the ground punching me like vicious animals. As I landed on the ground I looked up to see a white high top sneaker heading straight toward my face and *BAM!* I was kicked right in the forehead followed by multiple blows from fists and stomps and kicks all over my head, neck, and back. I was recieving an incredible beatdown that lasted what felt like an eternity. Tons of sreaming and cussing and blows from the gang all over me. It could have been anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 seconds long. Either way it was brutal! Somehow the ATA black belt kid threw them off of me and they left beating me up and then attacked him. I got up extremely dazed but I was not knocked out. Right then the kid I hit in the head with the board came up and I was terrified he was going to kill me and get revenge and he demanded my board. Realizing he could turn it into a weapon I threw it over a fence instead. I was then being punched from every direction on my head and face. My ATA black belt friend was being punched too and ended up fighting 1 or 2 guys in the bushes on his back. The sole Asian guy with these White kids was saying “Hey cmon guys lets just fight them one on one ok!” and trying to get them to not attack us because I guess he had some sense even if he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Anyway, then some gangster wannabe chick appears after we are being beat up and complains that her boyfriends sunglasses were broken. But he had broken them himself beating us up. How annoying! After all this I finally got to a random house and they called the cops and the gang ran away. Apparently, all of the notion I had about Taekwondo being able to defeat multiple opponents did not work in this case.

The next day we were pissed off and mad we got beat up. We talked to the police the night before and our parents both allowed me to stay over at his house anyway. The next day we went skateboarding to defy the gangs orders that we can’t skateboard there anymore. When we were skating down a road a pickup truck with 3 older guys drove by and parked ahead of us at the corner near a stop sign. We thought they were going to attack us because when the truck drove by it swerved toward us. When we stopped going in their direction the driver flashed the “W” sign for “Westside” out of his wonder and we knew they were going to beat us up so we ran behind a fence. The truck turned around screeching and we ran into a random backyard of some old guy’s house. The guys stopped their truck to look for us and got out and they were really huge white guys. We knew they had been told about us and how we got beat up and they saw us skating and were out to stop us. Luckiyl the old guy saw us in his backyard and said “Hey you kids get out of there!!!” and then we told him we were running from guys trying to kill us and then he saw them out front and said “Whats your problem?” and they said nothing and drove off really fast. We ended up talking to the police about it again. We honestly felt these guys including the 15 guys the right before wanted to literally kill us, no joke.

After such instances I realized I need serious fighting skills for self defense for any situation on the streets and I was wondering why me being a Taekwondo practitioner did not save me in this situation. I was a little angry and my mom was also upset at my instructor since nothing I learned helped me. A lack of emphasis on self defense and more on sport started to be promoted at his gym. The understanding I got disqualified for kicking too hard at a national tournament and then got my ass kicked by a gang really made my mother mad. My mom told my instructor, as did I, that I want to know how to really fight! I want real self defense. Otherwise there is no point to train. My instructor then started to teach us more realistic self defense including takedowns and other various things. Honestly it still was not enough but it was better than before. From that point on I realized Taekwondo has to be serious, it has to be full contact, and it has to be about real world fighting and self defense. Not a sport. The sport is just a side thing for fun but not the main goal of training. That is how I felt and still is my opinion today.

Over the years I kept up my Taekwondo training even though the UFC started taking off in popularity with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu claiming to be the only effective martial art in the world as well as Muay Thai guys making fun of Taekwondo. I was able to train under another Korean grandmaster and paid attention to various self defense and even sparred in a real world sense with people who would let me. Over the years I took classes in various other martial arts styles to understand their theories and supplement anything Taekwondo was lacking. I still train in random styles today especially BJJ and boxing. Only one other time did I get into another serious and scary fight. It was before college and I got attacked at a hardcore punk show by some thug and ended up sending him to the hospital. In this instance my Taekwondo saved my life, or at least saved me from serious injury.

With my determination to train Taekwondo realistically for self defense and try my best to perfect it as much as I could for my own bodies abilities and set my mind on serious combat and crisp technique I want to express it to others. I teach Taekwondo to help other people’s lives and give them the same skillset and abilities I have so they can save their lives in self defense situations. I believe Taekwondo is a martial art and is deadly and effective for self defense and should be promoted for such. Otherwise we are falsely advertising our martial art and going to let down a lot of people if they cannot use anything they learned in an actual fight. Taekwondo made a man out of me and greatly strengthened my life and I know it can do the same for my students. Without Taekwondo I would not be who I am today and have a lower quality of life.

The fact popular Taekwondo culture has profaned the martial art of Taekwondo, and has sold out for money and other silly pride inducing things such as showing off with backflips and TKD-dance recitals, really makes me feel sad. Taekwondo was and is a truly hardcore fighting art and this concept is being lost. It should train you to fight bullies and defeat them, handle multiple opponents such as a gang, and other thugs on the street who want to attack you. It should train you to save your life in a fight. So many people will not train in Taekwondo who want to learn self defense or know how to fight, and will thus skip out on a wonderful life experience and instead go to an amoral gym that teaches MMA or whatever the latest combat craze is. Instead, the wrong kind of people will join Taekwondo classes, spoiled brats, egotistical show offs who want to impress people, and other types. Instead of building confidence and strength in a weak person, it will instead poof up the pride of already arrogant kids. The 5 tenets of Taekwondo and the warrior mindset Taekwondo instilled in me is not going to be expressed much in future generations, including those in Taekwondo gyms today since the combative and warrior mindset is not taught and is traded out for dancing and acrobatics and movie fantasy nonsense and sport Taekwondo with its limited techniques. I hope by reading this story someone can be inspired and to train hard in Taekwondo, love the art, and learn self defense; and somehow a remnant will save Taekwondo from the pop-culture masses that have nearly destroyed any worth it has for real fighting. It also has lost respect and its dignity because of this. Even so, I know there are others who love Taekwondo for the truth and just as Taekwondo has strengthened my life, it has and will strengthen theirs.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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

 

ITF Knife Defense Technique, Badass? Or No?

        Here is a video over 4 minutes long consisting of dozens of knife defense and some regular self defense techniques. There are a ton edited into the video!

ITF Taekwon-Doists like to claim their style is the true art of Taekwon-Do (yes they insist you spell it with a hyphen or else it’s not legit TKD), and the true combat fighting system and killing art. Whereas the WTF style (as they constantly call Kukki-Taekwondo) is simply a sport and a joke and sucks and is not the real Korean style as the entire country of South Korea has somehow been brainwashed to believing WTF is Taekwon-Do (since no one teaches ITF there really, unless they already first had a 4th dan in Kukkiwon).

Take a look at these knife defense techniques. Are they valid? Are they realistic? Are they badass? The music sure seems to be used in order to make you think so, and all of the yelling and cool “hard impacts” causing the assailants body to jump look exciting. Make note though, I have seen similar knife defense techniques demonstrated by Kukki-Taekwondo practitioners in much the same fashion. Such ideas for self defense are not actually foreign to the “WTF” as they call it, style of Taekwondo. But they sure want you to think so if you talk to them. So are these knife defense techniques totally awesome or what! Or, are these knife defense techniques unrealistic and simply movie, fantasy, fight scene scenarios made to pump you up and crave action flicks? Would they work and is ITF truly the killing and deadly Taekwon-Do art it claims to be or are they just trying to hard?

DISCUSS IN THE COMMENTS!

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.

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.

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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.