Has olympic Taekwondo ruined the reputation of the art?

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

  1. Markku P

    Markku P Blue Belt

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    Success of your school has nothing to do what kind of Taekwondo you will teach. More important is the student service, great classes, good marketing and most of all proper planning. I have seen so many taekwondo schools who are teaching "traditional taekwondo" and they are very successful.
     
  2. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'm sorry, Manny, but this is simply not accurate. Olympic taekwondo is no more a game of tag than is boxing, olympic or otherwise.

    Honestly, the rest what you wrote mitigates against calling it a game of tag:

    This can also be said of boxing, point karate, probably MMA (I am not familiar with the scoring system), kendo, kickboxing, and quite a few other martial arts that have a competitive element. I agree with you that what you see in the Olympics is a game/sport. But you cannot accurately call it a game of tag.

    As to whether or not the game and its accompanying rule set is good or bad, exciting to watch or boring as watching paint dry is a matter of one's personal tastes. I get that you do not like it, and as I have said previously, it is not my cup of coffee either.

    Now, I agree with your criticism of WTF/Olympic taekwondo when you say this:
    In fact, I agree 100%. WTF sport taekwondo only showcases a very small portion of the art.

    I'm okay with the rule set as it is, but I feel that adding pumsae to the Olympics would more than adequately show the art as more of a whole while also showcasing the elements that the WTF rule set emphasizes.

    Now, if they made the rule set to resemble the matches in Best of the Best.... but like inclusion of pumsae in Olympic taekwondo, I'm not holding my breath.
     
  3. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    What I find quite puzzling about this kind of thread is this:

    1) If you don't like something, don't do it.

    2) If what you are doing isn't meeting your expectations, either don't do it, or find a way to change it so that it meets your expectations.

    Those that claim Taekwondo is either 'just a sport' or is ineffective yada yada yada simply simply haven't looked hard enough. Whatever you are looking for IS probably out there within the realm of Taekwondo, you just have to know that it does exist, and where to look.

    Finding and practising what you want is your responsibility. Don't complain about shortcomings in a martial art just because other people aren't bringing what you require to your doorstep. You have to go out and find it.

    For me that's what causes slipping standards in martial arts: lazy people wanting to be spoon-fed, and complaining that what they get on their doorstep isn't world class. Well, duh!
     
  4. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    While there are legitimate criticisms that can be made of any martial sport, be it taekwondo, boxing, wrestling, judo, Bjj, MMA or whatever, most of what I see is people who feel it necessary to tear down what others do in order to somehow legitimize whatever it is that they do.

    On the TKD board here, I see a lot of the latter and very little of the former.
     
  5. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    No. Have any of you been to Korea lately? There is no itf, tsd, ata(lol saw an american songham demo in busan and even the locals were laughing)or whatever you want to call traditional tkd. It does not exist there except for a few old guys who collect money from idiot Americans looking for roots to a system that were pulled a long time ago.
    Kkw tkd is the only style of tkd there.
    If you want to point fingers at who is to blame for the state of tkd in the us then look to belt factories and tkd mcdojo's.
     
  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    However what I see on this thread is people who are saying that while it's not for them, Olympic TKD hasn't ruined TKDs reputation, simple as that.
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I said that back on page three:

     
  8. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I can't fully agree with you here Daniel. I see a LOT of honest assesstments of the good, the bad and the ugly of TKD. It has a lot of each (like many arts). It isn't tearing an art down by pointing out the rampant commercialization in some segments of the art, particularly if they affect the overall integrity of the art. It isn't tearing an art down by pointing out that they shouldn't be claiming to teach something that covers all venues. And in fact I've seen, just in this thread, praise for certain aspects of sport TKD.

    If it is good, let's sing it's praises.

    If it is bad, lets discuss it rationally and logically.

    If it is ugly, let's not look the other way and pretend it doesn't exist.

    For example...

    Sport TKD can produce some highly conditioned people. Good.

    Some TKD schools promote children that aren't potty trained yet to black belt because mom and dad paid a lot of money. Bad.

    Some buy/sell rank like it was candy, sometimes based on ethnic discrimination or to enhance a profit margin. Ugly.
     
  9. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    All including mine! Not my best work!
     
  10. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I can't agree with you on this. Just in this thread I see quite a few folks honestly expressing their thoughts/views/experience in an excellent manner. And I say that both on those I agree with and those that I don't. With a few exceptions this has been an interesting thread to both read and participate in.

    Even if I don't agree, I appreciate a well thought out post. It might challenge me (in a positive way). It might make me think about my own viewpoint. Or I may disagree completely yet still tip my hat in appreciation for the person taking the time to share their thoughts.

    Overall, I say bravo so far :)
     
  11. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    That is not what I was thinking of.

    And while it is a legitimate gripe, it is not art specific. When sale of rank happens in taekwondo, everyone agrees that it is a bad thing, but that is not a critique of the art. Rather it is a critique of a business practice which has infected a good number of schools across multiple arts and across multiple organizations within those arts. I will certainly agree with you that TKD has been affected more due to the much larger number of TKD schools as compared to schools of other arts.

    Making the potty trained remark; are you actually saying that this happens or are you just using hyperbole to say "child black belt?" I have never seen, nor heard anyone else mention an instance where a KKW student who was too young to be potty trained was awarded a pum grade. If you've actually seen this, then I would agree that it is not good. If you're just using hyperbole, please don't; call them child black belts.

    Now, I have personally seen kids with black belts (in various arts including TKD) who are not old enough to cross the parking lot without holding their mother's hand. Usually kids between six and nine. While I have mixed feelings on the principle of whether a child should be graded for a black belt, all (not nearly all, but all) of the schools where I have seen this happen are large, commercial schools in strip malls. I never get to the point of considering the principle because I know that such schools utilize belts as a means of income generation (with the black being the most expensive) and that it is a purely financial consideration.

    Regarding belts and fees, I have posted many times that I am strongly opposed to belt testing fees and that aside from the federation registration fee, there should be no fee whatsoever for an ildan/shodan/pum grading. I am also strongly opposed to the big song and dance that schools make of the black belt, but that is a topic for another discussion.
     
  12. Metal

    Metal Green Belt

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    Seriously, then your daughter shouldn't be a 1st Kup in TKD.

    No matter what style of TKD you train, from a certain point on (definitely when you're about to reach black belt status) you should be aware of the main TKD styles that are out there.

    Especially nowadays, since it's way easier to access information.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Personally, I think judging whether or not someone's child should hold the rank s/he holds is unwaranted. His daughter passed whatever requirements her sabeom placed on her and undoubtedly earned her place in the dojang where she trains. Let's keep the conversation away from the personal.

    Having said that, I still cannot connect her unfamiliarity with Olympic taekwondo to Ralph's statement that Olympic taekwondo has ruined the reputation of taekwondo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  14. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Now here is an example of a well thought out post that I can agree/disagree with yet still appreciate. To begin with, I agree with what you're saying about it being more of a critique of a business practice than an art. However, I would like to add that it can/does affect the art itself (any art not just TKD) depending on your perspective of the art. As an example, from my perspective, a kata/form has in-depth information that can be gleaned from a practical perspective. I have done this for years with various forms. My belief is that a single form could last quite a long time training-wise. What I see from the 'McDojang'...and even from the not-so-McDojang is a very cookie-cutter format for forms. Learn a form/get a new belt. I don't agree with this and think it is a detriment to the art. From another perspective I think schools of this type put to much on rank and the gaining of rank and it creates a vicious circle. It feeds into the fast-food mentality of our society. In essence, many people are training for the outward appearance of rank and not the training itself. It happens in many arts of course, but I will say that TKD is on the forefront. Now, as you say it may be because there are more TKD schools than others. Valid point. But as a counter-point, just in my area a plethora of McTKD schools (and TSD) have come and gone with alarming rapidity over the years. The economy is a factor, but the few 'old fashioned' schools I've talked about before pre-dated these Mc-schools by decades and are still here. Some take 10 years to even consider BB and you're a white belt till you get to black. YMMV in your area.

    In regards to children, yes a little hyperbole on my part...but not by much. We have seen even here on this board, people that have promoted 4 year olds to Poom rank (which means their training started at what....3 yrs old?). And some of these same folks have stated that they think it should be a full BB at that age. I think that screams commercialism and $! Again that's just my viewpoint.

    On this point we are 100% in agreement. I have never paid for any test. Conversely I have never charged for a test. I do think BB is a milestone in one's training, but it isn't the pathway to being a super-ninja ;)
     
  15. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    I can agree with most of what you guys are saying here, but I think it's important to note that a school's large size/income shouldn't automatically be considered a negative, at least in my opinion. Sometimes people get upset about certain business practices that increase a school's revenue, yet if you own a business you'd better be increasing revenue at every opportunity (within ethical reason, of course).

    Let me play devil's advocate on the issue of testing fees. I've seen schools that charge no testing fees yet charge higher tuition. Charging testing fees may allow a school to make extra money while not charging for a "service" not received, for example a student who isn't ready to test doesn't test, so they don't pay. Of course, this can be abused, but it doesn't have to be.

    Extra belts may fall into this same category, especially if children are your primary clientele. People often complain about child black belts. Adding extra ranks can lengthen the time to black belt while allowing the kids to still feel like they have accomplished something and are progressing through short-term goals to a long-term goal, while simultaneously adding revenue to the school. This can also be abused, but I would argue that it can also be win-win.

    The fact is, most small businesses fail. The best teacher in the world is likely to fail without finding ways to increase money coming into the school. I think the key is, is the instruction quality and is the service valuable? If the answer is yes, then money shouldn't equate to mcdojang.

    I realize that we often place MA up on a pedestal and want to maintain the purity of the arts, but I still think it's possible to use some of the supposedly "mcdojang" business practices and not provide a bad product. If a school is ripping people off, that's horrible and unethical, but if they are making money while providing a quality service to the students/parents, well that's good for all involved, isn't it?
     
  16. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    No disagreement here; I was simply saying that it is not art specific. So yes, it can affect the art. And yes, those within an art who engage in it are demeaning their art, whatever it may be.

    No disagreement here either.

    Taekwondo is very salable and marketable partly because a lot of people from Korea came to the US to make it such. This, coupled with the MA craze in the 80's and the continual on again/off again fitness craze, attracts the entrepreneurial sorts, who open more schools, enjoy success, and attract more of the same. This leads some school owners to have an 'if you can't beat 'em, join em' attituded, which makes the problem greater.

    As for school longevity, most of the MA schools in my immediate area have been around for awhile and most of these are taekwondo. I've seen a good number of MMA places come and go very quickly, and I've noticed an uptick in CMA schools within the past two years, some of which have been gone within a year, others of which are still going. There are several more traditional schools and several McDojos that have been around for one to three decades, some for more than that. I suspect that the continual development and expansion of the suburbs has been the major factor.

    Child black belts, putting commercialism aside, is a subject that I have mixed feelings about. In principle, I view a black belt as a progress marker and feel that a BB in the childs' class indicates his/her progress in that class. However, due to the very poor understanding that the western public has about what a black belt represents, not to mention a lack of consensus within the arts themselves, very young children (under eight) in my opinion should receive some kind of little ninja/tiny dragons rank that recognizes that they've completed the child's program before moving them into geub/kyu rankings.

    On the other hand, I am not inclined to pass judgement on those who differ with me on this issue. A few years ago, I would have, but not now.

    A lot of things can be milestones. A black belt promotion makes a very nice one, but I am not a fan of the big production that some schools make of it, and I am strongly opposed to treating it as a "graduation."
     
  17. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    I just realized this isn't the mcdojang thread, and my last post has nothing to do with the Olympics or the reputation of Taekwondo. Oops...but I think it's an interesting discussion^^.
     
  18. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    No, but the thread seems to have taken that turn. Which is actually a positive in view. Over-commercialization is really the biggest reputation threat to taekwondo (well, any martial art, but as we're talking about taekwondo specifically...).
     
  19. Metal

    Metal Green Belt

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    Well, this was not meant to be personal. That happens in a lot of clubs and I think the fact that lots of kids only get a limited view on TKD is more of a problem than the limitations of Olympic Sparring.

    While kids who're learning Olympic sparring often only learn the basic techniques that are featured in the forms that they need to learn in order to get their next belt, other kids who learn 'traditional' or ITF Taekwondo aren't familiar with Olympic style sparring.
    Yet those kids are the instructors of the future!

    When I was a kid my instructor switched from ITF to Kukkiwon Taekwondo. We did Poomsae, but still did ITF style sparring. Nevertheless our instructor showed us that there was full contact Taekwondo with body protectors and explained the ruleset. So when Taekwondo was aired on TV during the 1988 Seoul Olympics I knew that this was Taekwondo. ;-)


    Overall I think Olympic Style sparring and competitons in general have helped Taekwondo to spread and become bigger and bigger. The sparring aspect makes it possible for schools, clubs and associations to have additional media coverage. And the sport in general got more attention since it was featured in the Olympics.

    It's today's instructor's task to keep the knowledge about the variety and (true) history of Taekwondo alive. The problem here is that a lot of instructors don't know about the history and/or don't care about the variety of Taekwondo.
     
  20. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'm sure you didn't mean it as such, but you did say that Ralph's daughter does not deserve to be first geub.

    Your experience has been different from Ralph's daughter's experience.

    I know adults who don't know anything about the art they practice except for what they see at their dojo. Their purpose is to go and train. Is it problematic that they don't see the bigger picture? I don't know.123
     

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