Taekwondo: is it a sport or a martial art? ( again)

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Markku P, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    This I would agree with you on, though I also will say that this is true of most fight sports.

    I will give you that and retract the sweeping generalization statement. Though I still stand by my comment that that is not the general perception amongst either group, though that perception does exist, and that the bolded part is style bashing. If you or others do not feel that it is, then fine; I'm not interested in pressing the issue further.

    So far as I have seen (and I have seen this opinion expressed by far to many others both on and off the web for to be just me), the non MA world's perception is that white pajamas = karate/judo/taekwondo and that the guy with the black belt knows what he's doing. The non MA world doesn't scrutinize taekwondo on enough of a technical level to either differentiate it from karate or to have an opinion of how SD worthy or aesthetically pleasing it may or may not be.

    Most in the non MA world view MA as an activity for kids, teens, and young adults and do not have enough interest in it to care how SD worthy it is or what it looks like.

    As for the opinion of how SD worthy it is within the MA world, I think that it is more balanced than you are characterizing it. Most in the MA world know that each art has its nuances and peculiarities that make more sense to people who practice that particular art. I also think that most of those who post negatively about KKW taekwondo specifically or taekwondo in general represent a very vocal minority.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  2. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Thanks for the clarification. Now, do you view the breaking of boards, precut/demo or no, to be of any value in SD training? No right or wrong answer, but if the answer is 'no' then as far as SD goes, it really doesn't matter if the boards are BS or not.

    Personally, I do not believe that board breaking has any SD value at all, though I do believe that it has value as a training tool and as an attention getter at demos. And excepting children under ten and speed breaking, I feel that the use of overly thin boards negates that value on both counts.

    What about the boards in the demo?


    Sorry to hear that.
     
  3. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    I believe it has a Self Defense Value. GM Sereff has a saying. I forget how it goes butm it is something like "The value of board breaking is in the courage to attempt".
    If you are breaking a sufficient numer of real board there is a known danger of injury. This known danger is apparent in Self defense situations. Irrespective of this danger yuour mind must be ready to do what needs to be done and do it irrespective of the potentila for injury.

    The boards in that schools grand opening were BS boards. That is why the instructor in the audience turned to me and said "I know you break real boards."
     
  4. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    that is a different mindset and reaction from "traditional" reasons for board, tile and/or brick breaking, which was a test to see the quality of one's makiwara and other training. In the past, no one would think about doing any kind of breaking without first conditioning their striking weapons in some fashion. Doing breaking without any of that type of training is akin to entering a sparring competition by training in poomsae.
     
  5. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    He didn't contradict himself.
     
  6. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I'm not talking about perceptions, I am talking about evaluating kukki taekwondo according to kukki taekwondo standards, not looking at kukki taekwondo using some other organization's or your own personal standards.
     
  7. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Not according to peyton quinn in his book Real Fighting.
     
  8. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Master Weiss is not a member of any ITF.
     
  9. chrispillertkd

    chrispillertkd Senior Master

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    :lol:
     
  10. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    All this sport vs. martial arts stuff came around during the 1970's, when taekwondo instructors were flooding into the US by the hundreds every year, forever changing the landscape of the martial arts in America. These instructors had that asian face and name, pretty certificates from korea with large numbers on them, in addition to citations, plaques, international master instructor titles, and it was very difficult to compete with that. One of the ways was to focus on the sport vs. martial art thing, because many korean born instructors were fully supportive of the directive and push to get taekwondo into the Olympics. I think these anti sport campaigns back then were at least a little successful, because there was that large group of teenaged or early 20's males that was focused on self defense.

    Today, the market for taekwondo is focused mainly on children and/or families who can train together. So while some people still try to focus on the anti sport angle as a means of market differentiation, for the most part it does not affect taekwondo schools, especially those located in neighborhoods with middle class or higher demographics. The parents who live in these neighborhoods are not interested so much in self defense, at least not at the level of intensity that the teenagers and young 20s types were in the 70s. Self defense training? They say "yeah sure", why not, but that isn't the primary or even the secondary reason why they signed up their kids or themselves.

    And the instructors from korea keep coming, by the hundreds, every year. In the past, there may have been some validity in the qualifications of some who came over. But not for the instructors who are coming today. The ones who are coming from korea today usually are first recruited by another older more established instructor, to help teach their students. And after a few years, these established instructor help the new instructor open their own dojang in a location that will not affect business. These new instructors coming today get a first class education on how to run a very very successful dojang operation and already made the decision as to whether the commercial dojang lifestyle is right for them. It is hard to say no when you get paid a lot of money to teach what you have grown up with your whole life. These new instructors, more often than not, are highly skilled former world and olympic champions, who received college scholarships because of taekwondo. They are smart, hard working, and motivated, and the things that made them champions serve them well in running their own businesses.

    Add to that are the sons and daughters of those instructors who came in the 70's and 80's. Their children grew up in the dojang, went to some of the best colleges in the nation, and now are taking their father's dojang to warp speed levels of achievement. One famous senior told me recently, my first son went to harvard law school and makes $250k/year, my second son got a Ph.D from Stanford and makes $150k per year. My third son went to a college on the east coast and makes $1 million per year teaching taekwondo. The third son is not even 30 yet.

    All these instructors network and have meetings with other highly successful dojang operators throughout the country, and they get together specifically to get new ideas and to rejuvenate their spirits, because like every one else, they get down in the dumps sometimes.

    Those who teach other martial arts in a commercial setting have no doubt felt the impact of the continuing flood of korean born instructors who saturate and dominate the market with their impeccable credentials, large brand new beautiful schools and a work ethic that is difficult to overcome. I would be seriously afraid if I were not a part of this network, especially in these lean economic times.

    Soon the only place where you will hear anything about "sport vs. self defense" will be in internet message boards such as these. Learning kukki taekwondo from one of these types of instructors is like going to walmart or target, with all of the mom and pop stores closing left and right. You get the same high quality goods, with a better selection, and they atmosphere is nicer and cleaner and, well, just better.

    So sport not so good for self defense? Maybe. But most students and their parents in a taekwondo dojang today will tell you "so what".
     
  11. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    This is your opinion and you of course are entitled to have it. I think people in general were enamored with the, as you put it 'Asian faces'. As time continued however, this was seen to be more of a stereotype than anything else. Not all Asian looking people are kung fu/karate masters as was once the stereotype. Yes, many did have wonderful certificates as well. And many were legitimate.

    Agreed, it would be fair to say that not all were legitimate. Some were 'airport' promotions. As the internet became available it became easier to differentiate between qualified instructors and ones that weren't. That is a good thing.

    With respect, you focus so much of your time hating on SD for a TKD school. Like it is the enemy of KKW TKD. It isn't at all. SD has a place in TKD just as does sport and this allows a person to take TKD regardless of their interest and allows them to focus on whatever their personal goal(s) are. The only problem that will surface is when a school for one teaching methodology claims to cover the other. Then there is an issue that needs to be addressed for the safety of the student(s).

    I think it is fantastic for a family to turn off the T.V. and take up any activity that brings them together. But again, the anti-SD sentiment is there on your part. Maybe they want sport, that's great. Maybe they want SD, that's great. Maybe they don't care either way and just want to get off the couch, that's also great. But you seem to want to speak for everyone. You can't.

    Perhaps another way to look at it, apart from your perspective is that sport schools are more abundant and therefore may be the only option available in a particular area. So it is either a sport school or Dancing with the Stars as a choice. That is a viable consideration.

    I (and I think others as well based on their comments) see a trend where you keep equating $ with quality instruction. Although it can be an indicator, it isn't the best one. Indeed, one can operate a pure 'McDojang/belt mill' with no regard for the student and make a lot of money. That doesn't mean they offer a quality product or have quality instruction. It could merely pander to the lower base by tickling their ego-fancy i.e. here's another belt for you and this one has stripes.

    The measure of an instructor is the quality of his/her students. Can they successfully compete if it is a sport school? Can they successfully defend themselves if it is a SD school? This is by far more important that the type of car the instructor drives in my opinion.

    Quality is not dependent on quantity or $.

    I cannot expound on other areas, but within my own area I've seen a half dozen TKD schools close in the last few years. The ones here that have been around for decades, other than my own are an Aikido school, three Ueichi Ryu schools, one Bushido school and several BJJ and/or MMA schools. There are some TKD schools with staying power in the area to be sure, some large and well known. But I just haven't seen them adversely affect the other schools or my own. And I wish all of them the very best success.

    Actually it remains beyond just the internet. Which is why I have a waiting list. I would not consider the schools I mentioned above as mom & pop stores, and they've been around for decades here.

    I understand you're KKW TKD and want to put it in the best light possible. But perhaps putting it on a pedestal while simultaneously trying to bad mouth or put down other arts isn't the best approach. Is there not room for everyone? Can we not offer the student choices in their martial education. Not everyone wants, needs or desires sport methodology. It is there if they want it, and other options are available if they desire it.

    Celebrate TKD for ALL it can offer. Don't elevate one aspect by putting the rest down.
     
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'm with you right up to this point.:) I find such stores to be fairly bereft of high quality goods outside of maybe consumer electronics, which are pretty much the same level of quality regardless of the retailer. I have never found either walmart or target to be overly friendly or inviting, walmart in particular.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Where did he put the other arts down? He's talking about trends with customer demand. Customers don't go hunting for kendo schools. Wish they did, but they don't. Likewise, SD focused clubs in middle class and affluent areas are simply not popular. That doesn't diminish what they do; it simply means middle class and affluent areas are hard demographics for that type of school. Partly because middle class and affluent neighborhoods tend to be environments where practical SD is not an obvious need, while after school programs, fitness, and self improvement are, and most KKW and ATA schools meet those particular needs very well.

    When my area was more rural and the surrounding areas less affluent, motorcycle shops were fairly common. Now that the area has become much more affluent, most of them are gone excepting the Harley/Yamaha dealer, Battley Cycles, who mainly sells Harleys. Why? Mainly because Harley Davidson has meticulously cultivated the affluent middle aged market. The lack of other brand presence is not a reflection of their quality but rather a reflection of a shift in demographics.

    If I go up to Frederick, I have my pick of brands; Kawasaki, Triumph, Yamaha, Suzuki, Harley Davidson, and even Kymco.
     
  14. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    The "high quality goods" that I am talking about (which may or may not be high quality) are the kind that would be found in a mom and pop store. Fresh milk for example.
     
  15. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Exactly.
     
  16. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I don't focus any time on hating self defense for a taekwondo school. What I don't appreciate is having opinions pass as fact and misinformation shoved into the face of taekwondoin by the opinionated who seem to shrink away and hide when facts are presented.


    Self defense isn't the enemy of kukki taekwondo; ignorance and those who spread it are.


    I don't speak for everyone nor do I pretend to. Instead, what I do is publicly defend and support those who are constantly falsely accused and maligned on internet forums such as this, especially from those who do not practice taekwondo, and never did.

    I never said sport schools are more abundant.

    Wrong again. I equate financially successful dojang with understanding and catering to what people want. And what they don't want is some sort of hard core self defense program which focuses on paranoid thinking and ugly situations. Instead they want to feel good about themselves and their children and learn things that will make them and their children better, more positive people.


    I disagree with the idea that making a lot of money equates with having no regard for the student. What martial arts instructors teach are life skills that students carry with them long after they stopped physically training. Let's face it, 95% or more of students eventually quit, and their physical skills decline, almost to the point of zero. But what they do carry with them long afterwards are the positive attitudes and good habits (not to mention good memories) that stay with them for the rest of their lives.

    I had lunch with one of my long time students on Sunday. He was one of the people that helped me translate the Modern History book. He is a major in the US Army now and was in town with his family for the week. He told me that the training we did made army training feel like nothing, that the discipline and respectful attitudes developed during his time in the martial arts serve him well in his personal life and his army life. My first taekwondo teacher was also eating at the restaurant and came by the table to say hello. I introduced him to my student, telling him that this was his taekwondo grandson. My teacher smiled and it was a moment neither will forget. It is moments like these that we carry with us that make us better people. Maybe his side kick or flexibility isn't what it used to be, and perhaps there are those out there who would take his dan rank away. But who really cares about that stuff? The point is, he is a better person because of taekwondo. We all are, my teacher, my student as well as myself. That is what is important.

    But how is that quality measured? The longer and farther down the road I travel, the broader and wider my measure of quality.


    Again, what quantity and money do measure is what people want from their martial arts training. Obviously, these large martial arts schools are doing something right, if they can attract and keep hundreds and thousands of students under their roof.


    Like I said, if you wish to carve out a tiny niche for yourself, go for it. No one will say anything about it.


    I do celebrate taekwondo for all it can offer, and the fact that you can't see that, is your problem, not mine.
     
  17. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Perhaps you should add a third option, a game of cards. Just watching the Olympic matches, the action keeps getting stopped because coaches are holding up cards,one coach shows one then the other, the contestants are standing around with the referee while videos are looked at and various coaches are showing cards. The commentator has just suggested this is perhaps more like a game of poker. Little action lots of standing around. This isn't a good look guys.
     
  18. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Thats not good to hear tez. Ive just put the olympics on tv and Im hoping to see some tkd. I was really hoping it would be entertaining,
     
  19. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    To be honest it's on live now but I've switched it to the athletics, the decathon is starting. It may be just the ones I saw and the rest are fine but it was disappointing. I'm not a fan of Olympic TKD admittedly but wanted to watch some as I do appreciate good kicking. One a side note though I've discovered handball which is like martial arts netball!
     
  20. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    True. You give competitors the option of a video replay to ensure fairer scoring, and then what? Everybody uses it, every single time, rather than waste the opportunity. Bring on the electronic head gear. And proper contact to the head. Too much surfing around with one leg in the air looking for the light head contact.

    I can always judge by the comments of my family how much the spectator entertainment value of TKD has changed since the last Olympic outing. For as long as they are asking questions like "why did that just happen?", and "why didn't that score?", and "why aren't they doing anything?", we're not looking as good as we need to be. I'm not sure it can ever be as entertaining for the crowd as it is for the players, but we continue to evolve and develop the scoring technology and rules to maximise entertainment value. Although I wonder if we can evolve quickly enough to deal with the ever-decreasing public attention span.

    Oh well, it's a good thing I love Taekwondo unconditionally, with all its flaws. I'll still be there for you when all's said and done TKD. You can come crying to me, and we'll eat ice cream straight from the tub together on the couch watching 'Best of the Best'.

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
     

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