Are ITF and WTF the only notable styles?

Kenlee25

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Just wondering. I see a lot of different acronyms thrown about when it comes to Taekwondo, including ATA, ITF, WTF, and USTT and others I can not remember.

What organizations are offshoots of what? And generally, which are bad ( everyone seems to hate ATA for example ) and which are good?

Also, I would like to know what the ATA hate is about. Is it because they are known for Mcdojo's? What's up.
 

ETinCYQX

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WTF is not a style. WTF is a sport sanctioning body.

The style you mean is Kukkiwon.
 

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The org doesn't make the TKD good or bad. The instructor does.

The ATA has plenty of fans, or they'd be defunct by now. They also have a number of practices (5 year old black belts, for example) that many practitioners find objectionable.

The KTA would have to be considered the oldest org, so nearly all TKD organizations could be considered offshoots of the KTA.
When General Choi died in 2002, the ITF splintered into at least 3 groups, all of which claim to be "the" ITF. There are tons of other orgs (such as the GTF) and unafiliated schools that can be traced back to ITF training. The Kukkiwon has done a better job, I think, of keeping schools "in the fold".
You can get a pretty good idea of the schools background by looking at their forms. Do they use the Chang Hon (ITF), Palgwe (original KTA/WTF), or Taegeuk (modern Kukkiwon/WTF) forms?

Unless you (generic you) have a specific goal in mind (you must [currently] have Kukkiwon certification for the olympics, for example) then I wouldn't worry about which org a school is affiliated with. I'd look at the quality of the instruction, as shown by the quality of the students.
 

ETinCYQX

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"Are ITF and WTF the only notable styles"

Yes, the WTF is an organization. They still have nothing to do with curriculum.:)
 
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Kenlee25

Kenlee25

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So ITF would be considered under the "Traditional" Category? If I'm correct, Traditional is the type the Korean Army uses?
 

Dirty Dog

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You'd first need to define "traditional"...

If you're talking about sport orientation, then no. All TKD orgs (so far as I am aware)have some form of free sparring, and thus have at least some degree of sport orientation.
The ITF training I had was not very sport oriented, but neither is the Moo Duk Kwan/Kukkiwon school I train at now.
Again, it's the individual school and it's masters who determine these things.
 

ETinCYQX

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Although I'm not sure I'd bet anything that the South Korean army trains in Kukkiwon Taekwondo, not ITF. Choi aligned himself with North Korea early on.
 

Dirty Dog

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Although I'm not sure I'd bet anything that the South Korean army trains in Kukkiwon Taekwondo, not ITF. Choi aligned himself with North Korea early on.

Actually, General Choi was greatly responsible for TKD in the Korean military before he moved to Canada.

At this time, though, since the South Korean government runs the Kukkiwon, it's safe to say that their schools are KKW affiliated.
 

dancingalone

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At this time, though, since the South Korean government runs the Kukkiwon, it's safe to say that their schools are KKW affiliated.

Anyone ever heard of Tukong Moosul? I know of 2 different groups that use this name and they both claim they are the South Korean 'military martial art'.
 

puunui

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The KTA would have to be considered the oldest org, so nearly all TKD organizations could be considered offshoots of the KTA.

I would have said that the kwan are the oldest organizations, but you mentioning the KTA made me stop and think. I have to think more about this.
 

puunui

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Anyone ever heard of Tukong Moosul? I know of 2 different groups that use this name and they both claim they are the South Korean 'military martial art'.

I believe the story behind tukong musul is that some captured North Korean soldiers and tested their hand to hand combat ability. Hapkido, Judo, Taekwondo trained people went up against them, and the result of these experiments was the creation of tukong musul. I think.
 

dancingalone

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I believe the story behind tukong musul is that some captured North Korean soldiers and tested their hand to hand combat ability. Hapkido, Judo, Taekwondo trained people went up against them, and the result of these experiments was the creation of tukong musul. I think.

So the claim that it is taught to the South Korean army is legit?
 

puunui

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So the claim that it is taught to the South Korean army is legit?

I don't know if it is taught to the south korean army. Perhaps in some specialized units today, maybe. I think the only art that is taught to south korean soldiers is taekwondo. I think I have a book on it at home, let me go see what it says. Hopefully it is in english.
 

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I would have said that the kwan are the oldest organizations, but you mentioning the KTA made me stop and think. I have to think more about this.

I thought about the kwans being the oldest, but they were, essentially, independent schools directly under the control of their kwan jang. In todays world, unaffiliated strip mall dojangs. That's neither good or bad, in and of itself, but to my way of thinking it does keep them from being an organization. I see organizations as being somewhat more corporate (that's not worded exactly right, but it's the best I can do - I'll give it more thought).
 

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I wouldn't particularly like to call any Taekwondo 'traditional', nothing to do with it's history, more to do with the fact that it is a martial art based on modern scientific principles. Theory of power generation comes from body mechanics in place of something like Ki/Qi/Chi. Also, it should evolve around what is proven to work, that's why the KKW change things, it's why you have some people in the ITF trying to change things, to fit in with modern knowledge of what works and what doesn't, how to train and fight for longevity, not training to a point where you reach 40 years old and your news are gone and you can't make a fist through arthritis. To me, the true essence of Taekwondo, regardless of organisation, is evolution.

I realise that's quite off topic, but if you're looking to train in Taekwondo, forget which 'style' or organisation you should train with, and concentrate on the school and instructor. Who knows, if there's an ATA dojang in your area with an amazing teacher, why would you disregard him to go with an inferior ITF or KKW teacher?
 

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I would avoid trying to label or lump into groups. It just doesn't wash anymore. It's about the individuals.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Just wondering. I see a lot of different acronyms thrown about when it comes to Taekwondo, including ATA, ITF, WTF, and USTT and others I can not remember.

What organizations are offshoots of what?
Readers Digest version:
The Kukkiwon is the actual style that is promoted via the WTF, and the Kukkiwon is the result of the merger of the nine kwans extant prior to Unification act of 1973 (?).

The WTF is the World Taekwondo Federation and is the sport sanctioning body of Kukki Taekwondo and the governing body for Olympic taekwondo.

The USTU was the US Taekwondo Union and was the national governing body for Olympic Taekwondo in the US. It was reorganized into USAT, which is USA Taekwondo.

The ITF is the International Taekwondo Federation and promotes Chang Hon taekwondo. The ITF was established by General Choi Hong Hi. The ITF developed, if I'm not mistaken, prior to the completion of unification efforts and predates the Kukkiwon.

The ATA is the American Taekwondo Association and promotes Songahm taekwondo. It was founded in 1969 by Haeng Ung Lee. I was led to believe that they originally used the Chang Hon forms prior to establishing the Songahm forms and I also have heard that he came out of the ITF (not sure of the details there).

There are some smaller organizations:

Jhoon Rhee Taekwondo, which promotes 'Might for Right' taekwondo, is an offshoot of the ITF. I trained at the Jhoon Rhee dojang back in the late seventies in Kensington Maryland. Fond memories. I know that early on, he taught Chang Hon forms. I have no idea what they teach now.

The NPTA, National Progressive Taekwondo Association, which I'm pretty sure uses Chang hon forms and is an offshoot of the ITF.

The ITA; International Taekwondo Alliance, which promotes Ho-Am (Tiger rock) taekwondo, and is an offshoot of the ATA.

There is a small, but present contingent of ITA members here, but I haven't seen any presence of the NPTA here at all.

And generally, which are bad ( everyone seems to hate ATA for example ) and which are good?
Not so much a good or bad, but a 'good' for you based on what you are looking for. If you want to be part of a large, international organization that has portability of rank and through which you can potentially go to the Olympics, Kukkiwon/WTF/USAT is your ticket. Way more schools than pretty much any of the others, using mostly the same curriculum, with dan grades registered with a central body in Korea, so rank portability is actually meaningful on a worldwide basis.

ITF folks frequently call the Chang Hon TKD 'traditional' or 'original' TKD. Whatever the nomenclature, it is a very well developed system that incorporates a more ballanced sparring style (more hands and feet) and incorporates some elements of hapkido. The organization is somewhat fractured (I believe that there are three different groups claiming to be the 'real' ITF), so I don't know what rank portability is like. Earl Weis or Chris Pillars could tell you a lot more than I can.

The ATA is pretty huge in the states, though there are no schools anywhere near my own area, and within the organization, there is portability of rank like the Kukkiwon has. Their sparring style is a light contact style that resembles WTF's full contact style with regards to how it looks and what the available targets and techniques are. They aim at suburban kids and teens and hit the mark very well, though they do have adult programs as well.

Smaller orgs will tend to mirror whatever larger org they came out of.

The school that is 'good' has more to do with the instructional staff than it does with the organization. A lot comes down to what type of sparring you like.

Also, I would like to know what the ATA hate is about. Is it because they are known for Mcdojo's? What's up.
Mainly they are criticized for issuing black belts and first dans to young children (five), light contact/heavy padding sparring, having a bilevel, eight tiered belt system (each belt has two levels), the camo belt, and for having a commercial feel. The schools tend to be financially successful and the ATA seems to have mechanisms to support school owners on the business side. This brings me to the last criticism: they're expensive, though that criticism cannot be leveled at them alone.

I've seen youtube videos of ATA practitioners posted on various forums, only to receive snyde comments and harsh critique, and seen videos of people of other styles who look no better lauded as being technically gifted.

By and large, I think that the 'hate' comes from the fact that the ATA promotes itself as a family organization and makes no pretenses about being the 'uber tough style'. The ATA demographic reflects the demographic that I see in most of the MA schools in my area: kids, moms, and some dads, along with a smattering of suburban teens and adults. And they seem to embrace the image.

Perhaps some see themselves reflected in that image a bit too clearly for their own liking?
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I wouldn't particularly like to call any Taekwondo 'traditional', nothing to do with it's history, more to do with the fact that it is a martial art based on modern scientific principles. Theory of power generation comes from body mechanics in place of something like Ki/Qi/Chi. Also, it should evolve around what is proven to work, that's why the KKW change things, it's why you have some people in the ITF trying to change things, to fit in with modern knowledge of what works and what doesn't, how to train and fight for longevity, not training to a point where you reach 40 years old and your news are gone and you can't make a fist through arthritis. To me, the true essence of Taekwondo, regardless of organisation, is evolution.

I realise that's quite off topic, but if you're looking to train in Taekwondo, forget which 'style' or organisation you should train with, and concentrate on the school and instructor. Who knows, if there's an ATA dojang in your area with an amazing teacher, why would you disregard him to go with an inferior ITF or KKW teacher?
Had to rep you for this one!! Especially the last paragraph!
 

Daniel Sullivan

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So ITF would be considered under the "Traditional" Category? If I'm correct, Traditional is the type the Korean Army uses?
I trained under two Korean masters who served in the ROK special army. Both said something to the effect that you get a Kukkiwon ildan and a black belt for serving your tour. They also indicated that the 'taekwondo' that they received in the ROK was more along the lines of functional H2H and some hapkido-esque grappling. The art that they learned in the special army was called Teuk Gong Mu Sul if I remember correctly.

Regardless, both had excellent taekwondo and were a blast to work with.
 
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