ATA's new identity

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by hungryninja, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    I know gross generalizations are rarely accurate, but sometimes they're useful. So would you say that ATA-style taekwondo is kinda like Kukkiwon-style taekwondo because of its emphasis on kicking, but alo kinda like ITF-style taekwondo because of its emphasis on self-defense (as opposed to the Kukkiwon-emphasis on sport).

    If that's true, I think it's a really useful generalization (IF it's true) because (at least to my mind) it explains why ATA-style is interesting.

    I say *if* it's true because I would have though that as General Choi evolved the ITF-style away from being karate-like, ITF would have already picked up a lot more kicking than karate. So I guess the new question in my mind is: is ATA-style more kick-oriented than ITF-style, or are they both about equally kick-oriented nowadays?

    Maybe my generalization is too simplistic to be useful. I'm only a Kukkiwon-style person but I find the history and differences between styles interesting. (I read A Killing Art etc. to learn more, for example.)
     
  2. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    Very good question.

    In general, I would say yes, Songahm is more kick-oriented than Chang Hun. I had the opportunity to watch a friend test for 1st Degree in Chang Hun style a couple of years ago, and also got to watch some of the higher ranks, including a lady testing for 4th Degree who was really good. None of the Black Belt forms that I saw presented had as much emphasis on kicking that Songahm has. I'm not saying that's wrong, mind you, it's just the difference in the philosophy behind the styles.

    An example: Here is the ITF 3rd Degree form called Yoo-Sin. 68 moves (I think) and almost all of them are hand techniques. There are a couple of front kicks and a couple of side kicks. It appears to me that the gentleman performing it has very solid stances, good power, great foot and hand timing on his hand techniques, and his kicks are strong and on target. These are things that I look for when judging forms and I would score him highly on the technical aspects. I can't judge whether he did it correctly because I don't know the form personally.

    Now here is Chung-San, the Songahm 3rd Degree form. It's 83 moves long and the emphasis is on balance and flow (we joke about this form: the name means Peace & Tranquility, and it brings neither :D ). Note the variety of kicks executed in the form, most with power and some with slow tension, stressing the balance factor. We have three judges at tournaments, all of whom know the form. One of the corner judges looks at stances and kicks, the other looks at the strikes and blocks. They are the technical judges, so to speak. The center judge looks at the overall presentation, flow and correctness of the form. I can see the foot judge and the center's scores, and I believe I correctly heard him call the hand score; this form received 8-8-9, or 25 points out of a total max of 27. Excellent presentation.

    I hope this helps explain why I say that Songahm was created to go back to the kicking roots of Korean martial arts, so to speak.
     
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  3. terryl965

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

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    Changing a name might be a blessing for them, since so many think they are not a real martial art
     
  4. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    Wellll.....if I really wanted to be nit-picky and split hairs, I'd agree with them. ATA is the organization. Taekwondo is the martial art, Songahm is the specific style.

    But we're still ATA. ATA Wordwide, to be specific. We had issues overseas using the term Taekwondo, as other organizations have actually trademarked or copyrighted the word Taekwondo in other countries. The name change eliminates that problem.

    The motto Always Take Action is okay, but to us old hide-bound dinosaurs, we'll still be the American Taekwondo Association in our hearts!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. terryl965

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

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    Ok you do relize I was make a statement that in some area's that would be good, like in all arts you have your good and bad. hopefully they will grow and excell under the new name
     
  6. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    Of course. But I was looking for an excuse to unleash my inner dinosaur! :)
     
  7. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    I'm not sure changing the name would change the minds of those thinking it's not a real martial art. Besides, the acronym is still the same.
     
  8. OnlyAnEgg

    OnlyAnEgg Senior Master

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    It's fair enough to say that any sufficiently popularized martial art is prone to becoming a belt mill or McDojo and ATA is no exception and may simply be the most recent casualty.
    I applaud the rationality of this thread and the contributors' ability to be civil and attentive to the conversation.
     
  9. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Welcome back, Jim.
     
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  10. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    I have to agree with you. When the business practices start interfering with the quality of the martial art being taught, that is not a good thing. When Johnny's rank promotion is based on whether the check for the testing fee cleared the bank as opposed to what he actually did out there on the floor, we all suffer - especially Johnny.

    As I mentioned earlier in the thread, there will always be people under the left end of the bell curve. ATA is no different. ATA trains the hell out of us in both physical and teaching techniques, and we still have a few left-enders make it through. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to put up with the fallout from them. No matter what the organization, there will always be people who pee in the pool and ruin it for everyone else.

    People are people. Some are really great, the vast majority are really nice, and some just flat-out suck pond water.

    <bowing while typing>
    Thank you!
     
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  11. Master Dan

    Master Dan Master Black Belt

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    Actually in most cases the majority of the testing fees are 100% for Gup level/colored belt certs and 100% to 1000% mark up on the national or international certification goes to the local Do Jang or head Master

     
  12. Tait

    Tait Yellow Belt

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    Do ATA schools have to remain "affiliated" with the organization? In other words, other than kicking up fees, do owners/instructors have to be "monitored", trained, tested, whatever, by the organization? Or mandatory training to keep using the name, ensuring quality instruction is being taught under the ATA name? (I apologize if the wording is weird, I'm having an issue trying to ask what I'm asking, lol)
     
  13. Tman

    Tman White Belt

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    ATA school owners are granted a license which allows them to teach the Songahm curriculum, guarantees a territory and provides support from ATA headquarters. If you do not have a license or lose your license you may not legally teach the curriculum. Once you are a certified instructor you are required to periodically re-certify, I do not recall how often that happens. Once you reach 4th degree you are also required to earn points before being able to rank test again, you can earn these in a number of ways, by participating in the running of tournaments, attending training seminars and sitting on testing panels. I do know of a school owner who lost his license, in part because he was not reporting his students testings to HQ.
     
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  14. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Welcome to Martial Talk, Tman. :)
     
  15. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    No, it's a good question. ATA does provide advanced training and requires all certified instructors to re certify every three years. This is to make sure that we are all teaching the forms the same way.

    Everyone tests for rank, period. Starting at 4th Degree, you must test in front of the International Testing Committee. Or at least they did until Covid-19 screwed everything up. Now they are trying to put together virtual testings via Zoom.

    I hope that answers your question. If it left you confused, let me know and I can get into more detail if you want.123
     
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