Are the best really the best???

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by ATC, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    Mango.Man made an interesting point in another thread. He said that in order to be World Class you got to write a World Class Check.

    So with that said it would seem that only those with money make it to the top, regardless of their true level of talent. Some poor kid that has better talent never makes it to the top as his/her opportunities are limited.

    Now we know that this is not true for all sports but for a sport like TKD this may indeed be the case. TKD is a pay to play sport on a national level and I am sure that there are many great kids with great potential that never get a chance to even develop because they don't have the money to play on the so called top level.

    So are the best truly the best or are they just the best well off kids? I know that if I have to purchase a UnJust system my kids are done competing on a national level. Just can’t see making that investment, if you want to call it that.

    So now all the kids that my kids beat rather easy may be on top if they can afford to buy the system. So would those kids really the best?

    Thoughts:
     
  2. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's a problem as old as the world.

    Naturally, in an even as TKD were you ideally should not need thousands of dollars worth of equipment it's a double whammie!

    It has always been a challenge to pair the ones that can do with the ones that can pay.
    And there, too, it's more about who you know, much less of what.

    There is no simple answer.
     
  3. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Sport TKD is no different from any other thing that requires education and practice over a span of years in this respect.

    Consider tennis. All the pro players making prize money today started as children. Someone picked up the tab for their coaches, court time, and travel expenses to play in tournaments as juniors. That usually means parents or if they are lucky a national federation sponsored them in some fashion.

    I myself am a product of money. I pretty much burned through my trust fund travelling and studying martial arts for over a decade in my youth. I wouldn't be the martial artist I am today if I had had to finish school and get a paying job as quickly as possible.

    It's unfortunate, but that's the way of the world. Children with financially successful parents inevitably have more opportunities than those that don't.
     
  4. sadantkd

    sadantkd Orange Belt

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    The best are often not actually the ones who go to the top. Not only are there the money issues, but you also have certain masters who out of jealousy, fear of losing their instructor, or for whatever other reason won't allow them to get together with other athletes and coaches who can enable their further development. Then of course there is the well documented problem with biased judging and selection.

    And now, with this ridiculous Olympic system where only a couple weight classes are even represented, it's worse than ever.
     
  5. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    ATC it has always been that way in TKD all the way back to the USAT those that can offord due and those that can;t do not. I mean do you really think it cost all that money to be a coach that is there way of cutting the coaches field, this is there way of cutting back competition and making sure certain groups will be in control of everything. The larger school can offord to buy the equipment and have it for there players while the smaller school will develope athletes for the bigger school to come in and take them away because they have the proper equipment. It is a sad day in the sport of TKD but one that has been coming for years but only a few would listen know it is almost to late, it is a shame when people walk with blind folds on.
     
  6. d1jinx

    d1jinx Master Black Belt

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    you know.... there is no "BEST". there is always someone out there who is better.... question is, did you try to find them before declaring yourself the best?
     
  7. wushuguy

    wushuguy Purple Belt

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    "Maybe you already answered this, but, why exactly are we here?"

    "... We're here because you are looking for the best of the best of the best, sir!"


    The best we see in any venue is the "best" because they were better in that aspect than anyone else who came out to try. it may not mean that they are the "best" in the world, as there are many who may be better but didn't care to play the game (or spend the megabucks to play it).
     
  8. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    It's a self-fulfilling situation. Unless you get the specialized, immersive training early on, you just won't develop your skills compared to those that do obtain the training.

    Joe may have been the most talented kid age 6-8 at tennis in the world. It still means nothing if he doesn't get the training right then and there, and the kids that did will have a chance to play professionally. Meanwhile Joe will be playing 5.0 level tennis if he's lucky and working at a day job like most of us.
     
  9. cmassman

    cmassman Yellow Belt

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    Part of being best in life is having the financial means to pursue your goals in life. If being "best" in TKD means also you have to have talent along with a boat load of money? The just having the best talent does not make you best. It sounds kind of harsh but the reality is that a lot of things in life work this way. Since TKD doesn’t have any programs to financially help athletes, if you don’t have the cash your second best
     
  10. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Are the best really the best?

    They are the best of who did what they had to and had the means to get to the championship. Once they are on the mat, they had to beat someone who had done everything that they had done to get there.

    I am not there. I am not competing to be there. They deserve the title of champion if they have won the matches that they have needed to. They are the best in their division in their sport for that season.

    Realistically, taekwondo is not like football. You do not need to necessarily be wealthy to get into pro football. You do have to work your backside off. There is of course, a steady paycheck for you if you make the team.

    In Taekwondo, you do not have pro teams that pay out salaries and award multiyear contracts. It is very much an amateur sport. In amateur sports, you are fronting most of your own costs. I do not fault someone else for having more money than I do and being able to afford the equipment, the training, or the travel.

    I think that my only comment about it (relating back to the thread where the statement about world class was made) is not that I think that it is ethically or inherently wrong to have to pay out to be able to go the distance, but that the item that will be increasing the costs by a substantial factor seems to be, from the comments I have read, something that detracts from the sport while effectively addressing none of the problems that it in theory could.

    Daniel
     
  11. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    So as I read it form many of you is that cash trumps all. You can be mediocre but have the cash to compete so as long as you beat the sub standard in front of you, you are considered the best, regardless if you walk into many dojangs around the country and get stomped by non competitors (due to lack of funds) at your own sport and rule set.

    As I said in my OP "interesting" in deed.
     
  12. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I have no idea if the scenario you describe happens in TKD or not, but it sure doesn't in tennis. Anyone who has pro aspirations is playing the ITF juniors circuit in combination with receiving high caliber coaching. The average ITF ranked junior at age 14 would destroy any 4.0, 4.5 adult player and those are considered decent skill levels. The typical high school player has no chance to even win a single game, much less a set or match off them. Just won't happen.
     
  13. cmassman

    cmassman Yellow Belt

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    I beleive the quote above sums it up pretty well. Not saying I agree with it but that's who the system works today.
     
  14. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    I get your point, but imagine if Agassi did not have the money to develop his talent. Now think about the many kids that are really in that position.

    Venus and Serena both were self taught and really did not come up playing on the same circuits as many of their peers today. Imagine if they came up the same way some of their rich peers did. Would they even be better than they are now?

    Their start was not the same as others. Their dad just happened to have the drive to first teach himself then teach his daughters. He was not the best coach but their talent and athleticism was just so superior that they had to be picked up because of the few times they did have opportunity to show case they were able to beat the better technically skilled opponents with just athleticism. They got lucky in a one sense but many in their same position don’t get so lucky.

    There is always the exception to the rule and they clearly are, but many that could also be that exception don’t even get a chance.

    How many kids with just raw athleticism are there out there, that if molded from start would not even be better than some of the pro tennis players we see today? So again are they really the best or just the best that the sport has to offer because of the opportunities that money gave them?
     
  15. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    The story of the Williams sisters coming from modest means is true enough, but they had plenty of financial support from the USTA and Wilson Sports and a bunch of other tennis sponsors early on. I remember hearing about Venus Williams as early as when she was 10. You can bet by then she was already getting plenty of assistance from the USTA junior development program by then. Richard Williams didn't exactly work 80 hour weeks to get his daughters the development they needed. They had plenty of money go their way.

    But yes I can imagine talented kids not having the money and thus never making it to the top heights of their sports. Sad but I'm sure it's a story that unfolds thousands of times each year in a variety of activities.
     
  16. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Money helps heaps in most things. Still , mediocre is not good enough to get anyone to the top , natural talent (and a fair bit of it) , is still required. Money alone will only get you so far.
     
  17. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    But lack of money will get you nowhere.
     
  18. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I am going to disagree with your premise, though your premise is not illogical. The equalizer in most sports is scouting and sponsorship.

    The problem that sport taekwondo has is that it does not appear to have such mechanisms in place. It is much more like fencing. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say that it is almost exactly like fencing. You slog it out and go to tournament after tournament.

    Equipment not withstanding, that still costs money. You have to have either the means to take time off of work to go compete and pay to travel or you have to be supported by someone who does (usually parents).

    Football, basketball, etc. all have scouts in the high schools and colleges, so if a kid is dirt poor but phenomenal, he can still get noticed and picked up. In this case, the reason is that football and basketball both have massive amounts of money driving the sport from the top down, rather than players and their families having to foot the bill for everything from the bottom up.

    Unfortunately, sport taekwondo is a bit like gymnastics; once you get past doing it for fun or because mom and dad thought that it would be a healthy activity, there is really no mechanism to do anything but train for the olympics. There is no professional league like the NFL, MLB, NBA, or whatever other sports have strong professional leagues. Essentially, unless you can do well enough in large tournaments to maybe get a sponsor, you are stuck with gut-wrenching slog until you either make it to the top, get into being a paid coach on a national team (assuming that they are paid), become a paid instructor, or open your own school.

    Pro taekwondoist, at this point in time, equals school owner or paid instructor.

    Daniel
     
  19. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    Which is a shame in today's world.
     
  20. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    Speaking of sponsorship, perhaps Gorilla can enlighten us on this message posted to Vladimir Sokolov's Facebook early this morning:

    Here is his page on the Nestle / Power Bar site: http://www.powerbar.com/user/Russo.aspx

    Obviously Olympians like Lopez family and Charlotte and Nia etc got a fair amount of sponsorship money but I don't think I have heard of TKDists that have not even made it onto a USAT national team getting such a deal. Yes, I know he is an AAU team member. I think he is a phenominal talent and likely will make the USAT team at some point in the near future, and a deal like this can only help in the efforts.

    So Gorilla, you have any inside info you can share.123
     

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