Has olympic Taekwondo ruined the reputation of the art?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Mr. President, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Mr. President

    Mr. President Green Belt

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    I just saw the olympic gold medal match in London. An Italian beat a guy from Gabon. The thing that bothered me the most, is that they were so obsessed with scoring and not being scored on, there was hardly any Taekwondo. They just stood side to side, hovering on one leg, constantly looking for an opening to score. It was pitiful.

    I ran in a few people on the internet that said that Taekwondo's reputation has been damaged by the sporty side of Taekwondo, which is focused on scoring instead of fighting.

    One of them said: It's a disgrace to the martial art and only soils it. These athletes have little to no technique and throw a flurry of weak kicks which though great in speed lack control and power.

    You think it's true?
     
  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Taekwondo does have a negative rep, but IMO most people I've seen complain about it either differentiate between SD taekwondo and sport taekwondo or don't differentiate and give it a bad rep because of all the taekwondo mcdojos out there (not saying there aren't other mcdojos, just that those seem more prevalent).
     
  3. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    The reputation hasnt been ruined, or folks like us wouldnt still be in business.
    Case rested.

    Some folks have a supremacist attitude toward their systems which leads them to attempt to belittle as many things as possible in order to make theirs appear to be on a higher pedestal than its capable of. Nothing to it.
     
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  4. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Firstly, the athletes you see in the olympics are amazing martial artists, their technique is flawless, their kicks would hurt a lot (contrary to popular belief), they are incredibly fit and have reflexes up there with the best of any sport on earth, and you would not want to come accross an "elite" sports tkdist in a dark alley. BUT, has olympic tkd ruined the reputation of the art? Without a doubt it has. Unfortunately, olympic style tkd sparring appeals only to people who participate in it (other than a few small exceptions), and it does nothing to showcase what tkd has to offer. My daughter (first gup tkd) watched a bit during the olympics and had to ask me what martial art it was.
     
  5. Tengu

    Tengu White Belt

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    This is a good topic. As we all know TKD is both a martial art and a martial sport. I think sport TKD has definitely helped hurt the reputation of traditional TKD. However, it also made it more popular. The other thing that gives traditional TKD a bad rep is all the mcdojos. The reason there are so many is simply because there's so many practitioners. TKD is one of if not the most practiced martial art in the world. Your bound to get a certain number of bad practitioners. If (insert ANY martial art) had that many practitioners it would have more mcdojos and bad martial artist too.

    Olympic TKD is pretty bad in my opinion. Yes, they are great athletes and perhaps martial artist as well. But it is simply a game of tag. Sport TKD is just that. A sport. It is not a form of self defense. Unfortunately a good number of TKD schools are very sport orientated. I firmly believe the WTF is the third reason why TKD has a bad rep among some martial artists. Even Choi Hong Hi has said it is an entirely different martial art. Traditional TKD is a very effective form of defense.
     
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  6. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    You are watching an Olympic sport and you are not happy to see the athletes that are playing the game do what they need to in order to win a gold medal?

    Why on Earth would you watch a Olympic sport with the expectation that the players in the game are not out there to try to win a gold medal and will do what they must under the rule set that they are given to reach that goal?
     
  7. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I dont think anybody is blaming the athletes, Im certainly not. It is the ruleset that is to blame, the competitors are just playing within what the ruleset allows. I think people have a bigger gripe with the ruleset than the players adhering to it.
     
  8. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I think the biggest problem is that someone sitting at home watching olympic tkd on their tv thinks that is what tkd is. They think we all bounce around in class, with hands by our sides, throwing heaps of kicks from a distance with no punching. As tkdists we know that isnt the case, but whether rightly or wrongly it doesnt look good to the uninitiated, and therefore paints tkd in a bad light. So to an extent, olympic tkd has been bad for tkd's reputation in my opinion.
     
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  9. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    What reputation did Taekwondo have before that was ruined by Olympic Taekwondo? I think people ignorant of Taekwondo have probably damaged taekwondo's reputation on the Internet, since it's easy to find web content bashing Taekwondo, whether it's bashing kids with black belts, sport training, or mcdojangs. In my experience, the people bashing it usually have no idea what they are talking about or practice a different type of Taekwondo that they perceive as the "right" or "true" Taekwondo.

    Whatever reputation Taekwondo has or doesn't have really doesn't bother me. Where I come from it has a reputation as a popular activity for kids primarily, and as a good form of exercise with some self defense benefits for adults. I don't think Olympic Taekwondo competition had much effect on that reputation.
     
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  10. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I think prior to olympics tkd was just another asian sounding word and the general public think karate, kung fu, tkd, aikido etc are all just "deadly" arts. Now people say "oh tkd, isnt that the one with the bouncing and kicking". Even my father (who knows very little about martial arts other than boxing) commented that I should learn an art that teaches you to punch when he found out I did tkd. Why did he think theres no punching? He saw it in the olympics.
     
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  11. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    This is really my point. I don't think Olympic Taekwondo has harmed any prior reputation. I had a co-worker before say to me, "have fun kicking the air," because his only previous experience was seeing someone doing poomse. He didn't know anything about Taekwondo, so his opinion of it was nothing to me.
     
  12. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I remember in highschool when i did karate and had mates who did tkd and I had no idea tkd was a " kicking art", I just thought it was another word for karate. Basically prior to oylmpics nobody knew anything about tkd.
     
  13. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    Yeah, I don't remember knowing anything about Taekwondo before I started training. My only "knowledge" before that was probably from movies and TV. My sabumnim didn't go into the differences much, either, at the time. For beginners who were curious about the differences between arts it was basically explained that Kung fu is Chinese, karate is Japanese, and taekwondo is Korean.
     
  14. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Exactly the same experience I had. Even when I chose tkd to train in I had no idea the differences between it and any other art. Now (post olympics and ufc), I find people generally know tkd is the kicky one from the olympics, bjj and muay thai are the ufc ones, and know nothing about any othet arts.
     
  15. Mr. President

    Mr. President Green Belt

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    I believe it's rather simple. The purpose is different. In real life, TKD is meant so you'll be able to defend yourself. In sport, you're there to score points.

    Which is why olympic TKD looks like a very hesitant game of tag. In that final I saw, the Italian landed a simple kick and then immediately looked at the ref to see if he got a point for it. It's seemed clear to me that the way they are fighting deprives the viewer of the beauty of TKD.
     
  16. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    Too often the players do look hesitant, but for good reason. Winning an Olympic gold medal can in some cases set you up for life. There is a lot of pressure to win. The athletes also tend to be evenly matched at that level. The slightest mistake can cost you the match, especially with the newer rules giving big points for head contact. If a world class Taekwondo player fought a match against a lower-tier player you would see a much less hesitant game, albeit likely a very short match.

    A lot also depends on how well the players know each other and how they match up physically and strategically. It would be nice if all the players made their fights entertaining/realistic, but just like in football/soccer, the primary goal is to win. Sometimes players will use "negative" tactics if they think it will help them win.
     
  17. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    And yet, Olympic Boxing doesnt get the same rep.
     
  18. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    Plus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Olympic Taekwondo may not look like "your" Taekwondo, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it. I can watch a taekwondoin do nothing but stepping and have a good idea as to his/her competitive ability.
     
  19. Mauthos

    Mauthos 2nd Black Belt

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    I think i all honesty Olympic TKD is a bit of a double edged sword. I for one have never been a fan of TKD, but to be fair I openly admit that I am not really built for fast, flexible kicks and therefore a kicking dominated style was never going to have been for me.

    However, the double edged sword bit. I think on one hand it has damaged the reputation in regards that more experienced martial artist (not TKD practitioners) will see it as a watered down and possibly ineffective way of fighting. Basically dismissing it out of hand without trying to see the sport side of TKD for what it is, a sport.

    On the other hand, the Olympics have no doubt brought TKD to the masses, showing it and displaying it to literally millions who have probably never heard of it before, never thought of trying something like it before and possibly thought it was just another form of karate. Along with a lot of kids and adults who have no doubt watched it and exclaimed 'I wanna be able to kick like that!' and probably rushed out and joined their local TKD club there and then.

    So even though I will never train in TKD again, I can see some damage that Olympic style TKD may have done for the art, but the positives that have come from the Olympics far out weigh any damage that may have been done. At the end of the day, nearly everyone on this site can no doubt find a TKD club near them, but the same can't be said for Wushu clubs, Wing Chun, Shotakan or krabi krabong for example.
     
  20. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Probably the best thing to do if something annoys you is not to watch it rather than bash an art that isn't yours. I don't like Olympic TKD particularly but I do know the difference between that and 'real' TKD. I only watch the Olympic TKD if there is a Brit competing but I'd also do that if Brits were competing in the synchronised swimming, one has to support your team lol! I wonder, does synchronised swimming ruin the reputation of 'race' swimming?
     

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