TKD and self defense - a look at qualifications

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Kong Soo Do, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Through the years we've of course had numerous threads on TKD and self defense i.e. TKD is great for self defense or TKD sucks for self defense or TKD was never designed for self-defense etc.

    What I'd like to look at is the 'why' for a person's perspective on TKD. If 'you' feel that TKD is great for self-defense...what do you base that perspective on? If you feel it isn't good for self defense, same question...what do you base your perspective on? Do you have the qualifications and/or experience with real world self defense to make a determination? Was your instructor well versed in what qualifies as solid self-defense and then passed it on to you? If so, what was his qualifications?
     
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  2. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    I don't think the issue needs to be so narrow. It could just as easily be FILL IN THE BLANK is great for self defense. FWIW it's not so much the art as it is the application or training methodology. If you train in an art that has techniques, yet you never practice them or defend against them you can't expect to be prepared to use or defend against them. Examples are KKW people who focus on WTF competition rules being prepared for a head punch, or ITF people who focus on their comp rules to be prepared for kicks below the waist, or either to be able to defend against a grappler adept at neutralizing strikers. Been thru courses that were not TMA related, PPCT, RMCAT etc. Striking and grappling skills learned thru TMA were easily applied.
     
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  3. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    Mission impossible.

    There are hundreds of ways to look at this that doesn't revolve one a constant representation of what TKD is.
     
  4. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I agree. I figured it would be easier to limit it to a specific art, for starters, in order to examine.

    Very much agree with this. As I've put forth many times, there are very distinct training methodologies for the intended goal. While there is a small amount of overlap and useful training strategies that can be shared, they are unique and individual.

    And here is a good example of demonstrating the 'why'. By training in SD-specific courses you have a firm reference point to look at a specific technique, principle or strategy and determine it's level of usefulness from the perspective of SD. By extension, this is information that you can readily pass on to your students. Even if they haven't taken specific SD courses as you've mentioned, they have the benefit of your experience(s) so that they in turn can formulate critical thinking when determining the level of effectiveness of a technique, principle or strategy.
     
  5. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I'm not sure I understand your statement. If you could clarify it I'd appreciate it.
     
  6. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I'll try to explain it by listing the variables
    A persons perspective will vary from individual to individual. Things that affect perspectives:
    1. Did the person train in TKD if so how long?
    2. If the person didn't train in TKD then how would they know what techniques are available for self-defense?
    3. Did the person actually use TKD in a real self-defense situation?
    4. Is the person friends with someone that uses TKD?
    5. Does the person teach TKD?
    6. What type of TKD training does the person do and is it even focused on self-defense training to begin with?
    7. Does the person dislike TKD because they can't kick that high but wish they could?
    8. What does the person consider as self defense?
    9. Does the person think successful self-defense is 100% dependent on the fighting system?
    There are many other things that will shape one's perspective.
    Sometimes real world self defense experience is needed and sometimes it's not even important when it comes to self-defense. Guns can kill so people buy them for self-defense purposes even though they have no experience in killing someone. Martial arts is the same way. I don't need to take TKD and use it in a real world situation to understand not to give a skilled TKD practitioner the opportunity to kick me in my head. Sometimes you can just look at youtube videos or read articles of where TKD is being used in real self-defense situations. You'll also get comments about it's not the skill that is effective it's the fighter that is effective at using the skill.

    Knowing the applications to use in self-defense is different than being able to actually deploy it. If a TKD school isn't teaching TKD for self-defense purposes then it doesn't matter how qualified he is. He could be the best self-defense instructor out there but if that's not the goal of his school then those lessons will never be taught or will be slightly touched on.

    It may have been better to identify the characteristics that are found in a self-defense class and then as people if their style or school contains those characteristics.
     
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  7. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    My two-cents hasn't changed: :)
    • In my limited experience with self-defense situations, the assailants often come at you as a group, often armed (for example with knives), often as an ambush (like being mugged by kids in a gang, for instance).

    • To the extent that a person has the opportunity to defend themselves at all (which is rare), the best thing to have on your side is a weapon of your own, size, youth, and a general level of good physical fitness.

    • If then a person also happens to practice any martial art, that might help a little, because martial arts do keep you fit, and they do give you some useful muscle memory. But at this point, we're talking about like...2nd decimal-place of usefulness (in terms of the effect that it has on the probability of a favorable outcome for you). Like...the difference between a 5% chance and a 5.05% chance.

    • So then to worry about which martial art to practice is basically a question of 3rd decimal-place of usefulness. At this point, we're so low in the probability considerations that the discussion is only interesting in an academic sense. Like...for people who advocate krav maga for self defense, they're arguing that their choice of martial art is giving them a 5.055% chance rather than a 5.052% chance...okay, maybe that's true...but given all the other considerations in choosing a martial art (such as fitness, enjoyment, location, price, etc.), is that 0.003% difference really relevant? It's like choosing a car based on its likelihood to have a flat tire....there are more significant considerations.
    That having been said, there are young-bucks out there who enjoy putting themselves in the way of a brawl. To me, that's not self-defense though...that's just people who like to fight and who intentionally put themselves in situations that they can (erroneously) call "self defense"...when really they could have just avoided the situation entirely. For those people: Yes definitely! Choose your martial art based on its ***-kickiness!

    So to answer the original OP question: I'd place taekwondo in the "good" category. You don't know if the fight you're going to get into might be resolved quickly with a swift kick to the head; if so, TKD is great! Or will somebody surprise-tackle you from behind and start pounding your face into the concrete, in which case...TKD...meh.
     
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  8. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I've limited this to TKD for the purposes of this discussion.

    Alright, this would be a valid starting place. Have they ever used any of the training? If so, what was the result(s)? Did their instructor (or someone in the lineage) have first-hand experience with what may actually work against a violent, resisting opponent in a non-sterile/uncontrolled environment?

    I've already done so, multiple times.

    Self-defense training methodology
     
  9. banshee Ian Williams

    banshee Ian Williams White Belt

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    What is self defense? Seriously, think it through.
    Escape and evade is a simple function of the human survival instinct. If you define self defense as blocking an attackers blows, all martial arts have the basic principles down.
    Tae-kwon-do is (for me) physical therapy. I'm a brain cancer survivor. After I 'graduated' from 'normal' physical therapy I wanted to continue to push myself, and there's a Tae-kwon-do studio in town, martial arts is great...
    'Self Defense' is not something that people can do 'training' for, combative behaviors is not something that can be 'trained'. Focus, mentality, mental toughness and emotional endurance all need to be combined for the 'defense of self'.
    No, Tae-kwon-do, almost any martial art, is not good for self defense.
     
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  10. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I have, which is why I've written numerous articles on the topic.

    Military, L.E. and CQC combatives training methodology disagrees with you. Flinch response can be honed into defensive/offensive action. Experience assists with the OODA loop function. Actual SD options (in addition to) H2H skills can be trained.

    For the most part this is correct, but it is due to the goals and teaching methodology. There are a small number of TKD schools around the world that train specifically for SD (successfully). But for most it is not a primary goal.
     
  11. banshee Ian Williams

    banshee Ian Williams White Belt

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    So, excuse me sir, if you already knew the answer, why ask the question? If you are just trolling for opinions and rebutting those that disagree with you, isn't that a bully mentality? Any schoolkids who try that are bullies, this Internet is like a big school playground for every one.
    I stand ready for the rebuttal.
     
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  12. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, my opinion about TKD is that it isn't defensive, at all. Unless you streatch the meaning to, "getting defensive". It works great on the attack, but it is no shield. The bottom line is that TKD is hard to do. You have to condition yourself to even try it.
     
  13. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I see that you're getting a little defensive because I disagreed with you. In regards to your statement, I already knew the answer, from my perspective, based upon my credentials and experience. You however did not answer the question, at least not fully or factually. Your response that TKD is not for SD solely because you don't train in it for SD isn't a reasonable conclusion.

    Ah, I see. Debaters tactic of placing a label on someone that doesn't agree with you. Discussing a topic, and even disagreeing with someone isn't bullying. If you don't agree with someone, you state why you don't agree with someone. That is a two-sided conversation and not bullying.

    Back to your post; Joining a local TKD school for physical therapy is a fine pursuit. That does not qualify you to say that SD and combative behaviors isn't something that can be trained. I pointed out that military, L.E. and combatives training methodology does indeed train for each. I have the qualifications to make that statement as well as the experience. Disagreement with me is fine and encouraged, but be prepared to back it up. That isn't unfair to ask for in a conversation.
     
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  14. RTKDCMB

    RTKDCMB Senior Master

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    TKD is no harder to do than any other martial art unless you are doing flying double and triple kicks or jumping spinning kicks and other things of that nature. TKD is plenty defensive, there are many defensive techniques and strategies that are taught.
     
  15. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Of course basic defensive tactics are taught, but TKD is a sword, and a used sword never rusts, but let that sword lay around watching TV and eating Cheetos for a while, and it will actually turn orange! A simple kick to the head is a very easy thing to learn, I will grant you that, but pulling it off it a totally different story.
     
  16. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    It's also a fine example of how people who do not practice TKD mistakenly think TKD is used.
     
  17. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    So, TKD is light on head kicks? :)
     
  18. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Wow there's a whole lot of misinformed going on in this thread. It's disappointing that even in the face of direct information from people who practice Taekwondo, people who do not practice the art somehow think they know better. What's up with that?

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
     
  19. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    As it is used in a self defense setting (which is the topic of this thread, in case you missed it...) yes, TKD is "light" on head kicks.
    Doesn't mean that high kicks are not or can not be used, but they're not the "go to" attack.
    Of course, they aren't the "go to" attack for sparring, either. The vast majority of kicks in any setting (other than Hollywood and individual fantasies) are going to be to the body or legs.
     
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  20. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I'm confused, who in the thread hasn't trained in TKD?123
     

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