Is Taekwondo turning into "the pushing art"?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by skribs, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I've had a few discussions on the Taekwondo subreddit regarding pushing in Taekwondo sparring. Now, first off, I'd like to thank Martial Talk. I know I butt heads with some people here, but this place is far less toxic than that forum. But I digress...

    There's been a few discussions regarding the use of pushing in sparring. My understanding of pushing as the rules have changed since I started:
    • When I started, there was no pushing allowed at all
    • A few years ago, it was explained you could move with your feet, but not use a shoving motion with your arms (i.e. you can block their chest and then move)
    • Now, it seems the rules are you can shove your opponent, so long as you make a kicking motion immediately after
    This topic is coming up a lot on Reddit, specifically in regard to a female world championship fight, where the winner would basically sumo-push her opponent out of the ring, and give a half-hearted kick on the way out to give her opponent a penalty for being kicked out of bounds.

    Even if you take that gamer strategy away, the simplest way to compete in the new rules is to shove someone and kick. While they're recovering from the shove, they're an easier target, and it's a lot easier to follow up on an arm push than a leg push.

    In our sticky on WTF sparring, it discusses how sparring evolved into a rule-set built on high-difficulty techniques being rewarded. Punches are easy to land and don't score. Kicks to the head and spinny kicks are more difficult and score more. But shove-and-kick is a simple tactic, which is rewarded with the same score as using proper footwork to set up your kicks.

    Sorry if this comes across as a rant, but it seems that the sport side of the art is quickly devolving from a technical chess game of kicks and counters, to who has the stronger shove.
     
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  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, I'd recommend not calling it's taekwondo sparring. Because it's not. What you're talking about is Olympic sparring under WT rules. Olympic. Not taekwondo.

    We try.

    Basically, my opinion on this is the same as any discussion of Olympic sparring. It sucks. It's a stupid ruleset. It should be completely overhauled or totally abandoned in favor of a ruleset that actually uses at least the majority of what the Art of TKD teaches. You want to shove? Go ahead. And when you do, I'll throw you.
    Screw the WT. Spar using TKD.
     
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  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It's the sparring style most commonly linked to Taekwondo by non-Taekwondo martial artists, and its the sparring style built around the most prestigious sport. I agree that this isn't the only Taekwondo sparring style, but since we're talking about perceptions and stereotypes of the art, I felt it was appropriate.

    Wait...you try to butt heads with me, or you try not to be toxic?

    Do you think it's possible to design a point game around kicks, which will not end up in a shoving match or in endless chest-bump clinches?

    I do agree I wish we were allowed to use more of our toolkit.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I rarely (if ever) think intentional inaccuracy is appropriate. It takes zero effort to use the more accurate term. And can educate those who don't know any better than to use the inaccurate term.

    I try not to be toxic. And we (meaning the staff) do what we can to control toxic posting.

    I don't know if it's possible, I don't care if it's possible, and I wouldn't even try. Because that wouldn't be taekwondo sparring. Part of the problem with the idiotic WT ruleset is it's total and complete obsession with kicking. TKD is not kicking. That's why it's not called taedo. It is kicking and punching and kneeing and elbowing and throwing and sweeping and locking and...

    Again, screw the WT. Spar with TKD.
     
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  5. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    That's why we dont compete in WT....hate the rule set....we much prefer the all strikes to head or body earn 1 point system regardless of the difficulty of the technique.
     
  6. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Now there you go making me want to go find a TKD school that trains and spars like this! My primary exposure to TKD was from a school that was entirely focused on the WT rule set and it completely turned me off to the art. What you describe here sounds great!
     
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  7. Mitlov

    Mitlov Blue Belt

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    I've watched the controversial Walkden bout that she won by having her opponent DQed by pushing her out despite Walkden being down about ten points. I don't have a problem with forcing someone out being a valid offensive technique--we had that in fencing, and I think it's also part of Sanda kickboxing--but it should result in a point to the pusher, not a penalty to the pushee. That will prevent it from being an escape valve for someone who is losing, which is why the Walkden victory was frustrating to me.

    I disagree with the assertion that WT sparring is fundamentally broken. Even if some don't enjoy it themselves, it's a popular sport for a reason. As a great recent example, here's Aaron Cook at that same World Championships, with an exciting and dynamic (if not close) fight:

     
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  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Do you ever think lifetime boxers go around dissing boxing because all they do is punch? Of course not. World Tae Kwon Do sparring is the counter to boxing, by design. It was assembled by leadership from the primary TKD organizations and remaining Kwan's so yea, it is TKD. There are plenty of TKD sparring forums that use a different ruleset.
    The introduction of the push is not new. More of a re-introduction. That is an original tactic that became banned for a time. It is always a chess match and the best fighters learn how to adapt.
     
  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Hmm, what it the first word? Tae? Yes, it is a "kicking, punching, way of life". You are trying to mix TKD sport and TKD art. Something I have given up on as it is simply a fools errand.
    Last numbers I heard were over 200 countries, 60 plus million students, and 8 million poom-dan students. So love or hate what WT/Kukkiwon have done, they have elevated TKD as a whole far ahead other styles, at least as far as participation. The only MA that can say they are an Olympic sport is Judo. That swings a very big hammer by any standard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    One of the greatest things about most TKD schools is they DO teach everything @Dirty Dog mentioned AND at the same time you can have the opportunity to learn Kukkiwon forms and WT sparring and compete at the highest level. That is a very good deal in my book.
    That said, our GM laments the schools that have devolved into purely sport schools, where a white belt never has a chance to learn that there is much more to the style. They are a real problem for the future integrity of TKD.
    If you have only competed in tippy-tappy points tournaments, I highly recommend trying the accrual system. Until you have competed against someone who can kick you in the head twice before the average competitor punches you, you just can't understand.
     
  11. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    I’m sure they are out there, but I’ve yet to set foot in a “sport” Taekwondo school that only teaches WT rules sparring and nothing else. Competitors are a very small percentage of Taekwondo students.

    Also, from what I’ve seen, lower level competitors don’t use the same “skills” as world class players. It’s unfortunate, IMO, that the rules now favor what I consider to be negative tactics. Competitors use strategies that are proven to win.

    Everyone on the internet Kong’s for the 80s and 90s Olympic Taekwondo with more of a back leg game with stepping. The bad side of that was watching two players stare at each other and bounce for two minutes of a three minute round. I think the best rule set for Olympic Taekwondo is somewhere between the new and the old.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    It continues to evolve. I believe most of this is intentional to prevent complete predictability. Form the competitor and spectators perspective. I love watching boxing but this has been one of its longtime knocks.
     
  13. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    It appeared to be some very bad or biased judging to me. I admit I am not 100% up to date on WT rules but she had to be using a very grey area to her advantage. Kudos to her if the judging was clean. If so, that was a good job of knowing how to use the rules to your advantage. Me and my trainer would watch all the film we could on judges of upcoming matches to see if we could find any tendencies. The bigger the tournaments the better the job of going over rules pre-tourney.
    If you watch the clip below you see warnings for much more subtle pushing. I miss the clinch more.
     
  14. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Any chance one of you could add a video of the fight in question? I get the feeling a lot of fights would come up if i just searched "female tkd world championship", and i wouldnt know exactly what im looking for to find the right one, since i dont pay much attention to sport tkd
     
  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It's more to prevent the cheese that goes on in matches. A lot of the recent rule changes have been made to prevent fighters from abusing the rather strict rulesets to their advantage. For example:
    • It used to be that fighters would lean back so far when they kicked, that the only way to get back up was to roll. This kept your head so far away from your opponent that they couldn't retaliate. Rule was changed that if you fall while scoring a point, the point doesn't count.
    • It used to be that fighters would just get into the "clinch" (can't grab, so the "clinch" is basically pushing chestguards together), so now pushing is legal so players have a way out of the clinch.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm outside the community, but you guys knew it was only a matter of time before I posted in this thread. :p

    I don't have a problem with pushing being part of the game, but the way it was used in that fight seems outside the spirit of the contest. If pushing like that is to be allowed, throwing should also be allowed (because you have to commit a lot of weight to push that hard, and could easily be thrown). Otherwise, there needs to be some allowance for judge's discretion on whether the push is being used specifically to put someone outside the ring or for setting up an attack. Most of hers were clearly trying to push her opponent out. As someone else already said, I think, changing the rules so it doesn't lead to a DQ is an important first step. Why should you be DQ'd for my actions?
     
  17. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I looks a lot like the rule says it is OK as long as it is a straight arm push. Possibly red ran out of gas?
    I loved the clinch. Being shorter and able to kick high from very close range, I could use it to my advantage coming out of the clinch. I have at least two knockouts from front kicks to the chin coming out of the clinch. Ah, the good ole days.
     
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  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    In the clinch, arms had to be straight. The degree that you could fudge this rule was always a question. Coming out of the clinch you could grab the Hogu near the shoulder and pull you opponent and usually get away with it as long as you were still very close. The general perception was that the person with their arms on top had the advantage. Being shorter I had to figure out ways to negate the perceived advantage.
    I never remember a "falling away" kick being a point. Strikes had to be controlled, ending in a return to neutral position (didn't matter how you go there, forward or back) or followed with a legal move. Must have changed after I quit competing.
     
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  19. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    The only logical assumptions I can come to is either Red did not know she could, or how, to push back, red was totally out of gas, or it was very questionable judging.
     
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  20. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    What a lot of people were saying on the other forum is that Blue was following the letter of the rules, where Red and the audience were looking at the spirit of the rules.

    The rules are that you're allowed to push as long as its followed by a kick. So she's pushing all the way across the mat and giving a half-hearted kick at the end. The kick doesn't score, but its enough to justify the push.
     

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