What exactly is the difference between "modern" and "old-school" Taekwondo?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Ivan, Oct 2, 2020.

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  1. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I don't think any Koreans would take offence at it, they're very forgiving of errors in Korean by those that aren't fluent in Korean and happy that people are trying. I just thought I'd let you know in case you didn't know :) (and may be useful for others too).

    Weirdly, after a while it becomes second-nature. If I'm speaking English to a Korean master/grandmaster I'll put their title before their name, but if I'm speaking Korean to the same named person, I'll naturally put the title afterwards.
     
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  2. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Let's examine history a little.
    First GM Son was no longer CDK president when he placed an ad in a newspaper expelling General Choi and revoking his rank. The same ad also expelled GM Uhm and GM Nam. So, questions should be asked if someone who was no longer president of an organization or even a member had the right to expel people and revoke their rank. We know GM Uhm was president after GM Son was gone and remained so for many decades. GM Nam remained a member as well. So, what does that tell you about GM Sons advertisement and efficacy of the purported actions contained therein.
    Next let us look at what General Choi did. As head of the 29th infantry division, (using the name Oh Do Kwan being art of the genius) recruited, and trained top MA talent in a new system he developed so it could be taught on a wide schedule. Took trained people on world tours to demonstrate, dispatched instructors throughout the world to teach, recruited Korean instructors in other parts of the world (Jhoon Rhee a notable example) to start teaching the system . Lobbied endlessly against resistance to use the name.
    There is no doubt he was successful do to his position and ability to access government resources.
    I asked GM Nam, knowing how people were typically loyal to their instructors / Kwans how it was that General Choi was so successful (again the Name Oh Do Kwan comes to mind) that General Choi was so successful attracting people. His answer was because General Choi had access to resources no one else had. If they wanted to do a demo somewhere they would get on a military transport and go.
    So there is no doubt the motivation was to spread a system on a wide basis taking a page from Funakoshi, Kano etc. with the advantage of modern travel and communications (along with the spread a public relations feat for SK)
    Also no doubt the General Choi's success was due to political influence and resources.
    Now, fast forward 18 years or so, the SK government uses it's resources to come up with TKD v2, and uses it's influence and resources develop a system, recruit, and train instructors, and dispatch instructors across the globe with the now even greater advantage of better communication and travel.
    What other honorable GM came even close to duplicating General Choi's efforts / results notwithstanding his access to resources?
     
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  3. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I completely agree, that's why I always write "(controversially)" when I describe the event.

    I would say that the two are different things. If someone signs my rank certificate and believes that I did something wrong, serious enough that I no longer deserves that rank (even if they are no longer in that position) then I would accept my rank had been revoked as it was their name on it. I maybe would re-apply to the current head to ask for a new rank certificate with their signature, if they felt it appropriate.

    However, if that person no longer held authority in the association, I don't think they can determine who is and is not a member.

    So the two are different in my eyes, but that is my personal opinion.

    I agree, he definitely had a more forward thinking view on how to take this Korean art and make it global. The KKW side of the fence was slower on making that jump.

    I don't know if I'd agree with v2 given that I don't feel General Choi defined all of Taekwondo, but determined what his style was, the unified Kwans on the other side did the same thing as a joint effort. Inside of Korea, there are other Kwans that pre-date Ohdokwan.

    As a group they came close (or some would say surpassed given the Olympics success and much greater size) but that's the difference in thinking for me. I always feel that General Choi was very egotistical. He was "The Founder", he was the one with all the power, the kwan was named "School of my way" (and I know he later apparently clarified that it meant "my as in each member's way", but that feels like political wordplay to me). So comparing him on one side to a group of people on the other side that felt it was a group effort is fair and I would say proven equal over time (even though he did it first).

    That's why I'd predicted the multiple ITF split that would happen after General Choi passed away. He led an organisation where he maintained the power and prestige, so there were always going to be a bunch of people that felt they were at the top table, ready to also hold that same power and prestige.
     
  4. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    "the biggest ego in a room full of egos"
    I suppose it sounds better to you when you say it. :)
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    If you have ever been in a meeting with a group of Korean GM's you know what he is saying. It seems to be a cultural thing to have the biggest ego.
     
  6. Pepsiman90

    Pepsiman90 White Belt

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    I think everyone else nailed it on the head, but to the best of my understanding, the ITF-style is more traditional and focuses on self-defense, whereas WTF/WT-style focuses more on the sport/competitive side of things. Both styles are 100% valid in my opinion as they instill physical and mental discipline (My brother-in-law and his kids currently train under WTF/WT, for context's sake.), but which one someone prefers is based on what exactly they're looking to get out of it.
     
  7. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have met men from many parts of the world. :)
    Goes with the equipment

    Alas, it was what I was saying all along.
    Might be an ego thing?
    Dunno.
     
  8. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    One tip I would say is to listen out for if the school describes themselves as WTF/WT or Kukkiwon/KKW.

    If they use WTF/WT then (IMHO) they're more likely to be sport focused). If they use Kukkiwon/KKW (which is actually correct, WT is just a sports competition body) then they're more likely to do the whole curriculum which either includes traditional ITF-like self defence or more modern self-defence as per the current Kukkiwon curriculum.
     
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  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Fully agree it is an ego thing from an American perspective. It seems to me 'A' type Koreans take it to a whole different level.
     
  10. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think we just don't notice it from Americans or Europeans. Plenty of tail wagging in those cultures as well.
    Most just don't have the national platform and the relative vacuum to thrive in.
     
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  11. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Black Belt

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    IMO when I think of old school MA, I think of people like Bill Wallace (karate) who's side kick is as good as any TKD side kick. A man that enjoys teaching as much as he enjoys doing.
     
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  12. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    While their are undoubtedly some egos amongst some Korean GMs, the most annoyingly egotistical martial artists I’ve come across have been American masters.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Egotistical is one way to put it. Another is to understand he was a General and when the General says do something he expects it to get done. Now, of course this is problematic when the people he tells are not under his command.
    As to the second point - To my knowledge - General Choi never issued any such explanation or wordplay. I never heard this or saw it in print until I asked Nam Tae Hi how General Choi was able to attract followers who are typically loyal to their instructor or Kwan. He explained that this was part of choosing the name Oh Do Kwan or "Gym Of My Way" or "Gym for all of Us" So it could be a place for everyone as opposed to using an existing name which might be viewed as joining an existing competing Kwan. If you haven't read the article which contains the first known published print reference I am aware of I can provide it.
     
  14. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Sometimes the Instructor conveys lessons to the student thru their actions.
     
  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Agree. In many cases though, who do you think they learned from?:)
     
  16. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    True, but as adults, we are responsible for our own actions. I don’t care why you’re a jerk (not you, sir). I care THAT you’re a jerk.


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  17. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    So up until GM Nam's explanation, it could have literally been a pure ego thing "this is MY school" from General Choi's point of view?
     
  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Well said. At least in my Korean environment ego is mellowing out a bit. The A type personality is going to rear it's head in every environment at some point. It is just that it is more conducive in some environments than others. You would be amazed how prevalent steroids were in 80's college football and regional/national level TKD competition. Made for some real axxholes. And no, I did not need steroids to be an axx.;)
     
  19. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Not at all. Up until GM Nams explanation Non Korean Language speakers misunderstood the meaning. This fit nicely into their pre conceived notions and was then misapplied to bolster the egotistical critique. It was gym of "My Way" . (not "My School") as each person speaking in the first person at the Gm would use the name. He also said it could be translated as "The Gym for all of us." Here is the interview. https://1c47d0f0-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites...K1jgOfmRgf9e8TrX4LOc41Z-yKxks=&attredirects=0
     
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  20. Mitlov

    Mitlov Purple Belt

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    just one opinion, but I think the difference between 1990s taekwondo and modern taekwondo can really be tied to the electronic hogu. And I can relate it to something I've seen in fencing. In saber, where you need a judge to recognize that you got the touch in most situations, saberists are very aggressive and theatrical to get the judge to feel that they're being dominant. Complete with loud yelling whenever they think they scored, to try and convince the judge that they did in fact score. In epee, were electronic scoring is completely determinative, people tend to be more relaxed and hit no harder than they need to hit to set off the sensors. Relaxed is fast, and hitting harder than you need to hit doesn't help with speed, so epee looks much less intense to a spectator than saber does.

    I think that the electronic hogu may have changed WT TKD from a saber dynamic to an epee dynamic. No less intense from a competitor standpoint, but perhaps less action-packed from the standpoint of a spectator.123
     
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