I wish World Taekwondo didn't allow knockout kicks

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One of the nice things about Taekwondo compared to something like boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai is that the point system is generally safer than a full contact system. And for the vast majority of demographics, World Taekwondo is a purely point system. It's only when you get to black belt as an adult that you can start knocking each other out.

I don't really like this. On the one hand, it is more realistic, and gives some validity to the internet trolls that say Taekwondo isn't realistic. But one of the things I enjoy about it is that it is relatively low-risk. I might get some bumps and bruises (especially when knocking knees), but knees heal. Brains don't. My biggest problem is that you can't do this at lower belts or ages, so you might get used to competing, and then get turned off later on when you are high enough level to go for KOs. If you were to start with Muay Thai, you would be going for knockouts much earlier in your career, and you would start training with the understanding this is where your competitions are going to be. Personally, I don't consider it worth the potential brain damage. I do enjoy the kicking game, and I don't like that I've gotten to the level where I have to put my long-term mental health at risk in order to participate.

I wish World Taekwondo would put player safety first in this regard. I know there are MMA fighters that switch to exclusively competing in BJJ so they can avoid CTE. I wish there were competitive options for high-level adults that did not involve a high likelihood of a KO.
 

MetalBoar

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One of the nice things about Taekwondo compared to something like boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai is that the point system is generally safer than a full contact system. And for the vast majority of demographics, World Taekwondo is a purely point system. It's only when you get to black belt as an adult that you can start knocking each other out.

I don't really like this. On the one hand, it is more realistic, and gives some validity to the internet trolls that say Taekwondo isn't realistic. But one of the things I enjoy about it is that it is relatively low-risk. I might get some bumps and bruises (especially when knocking knees), but knees heal. Brains don't. My biggest problem is that you can't do this at lower belts or ages, so you might get used to competing, and then get turned off later on when you are high enough level to go for KOs. If you were to start with Muay Thai, you would be going for knockouts much earlier in your career, and you would start training with the understanding this is where your competitions are going to be. Personally, I don't consider it worth the potential brain damage. I do enjoy the kicking game, and I don't like that I've gotten to the level where I have to put my long-term mental health at risk in order to participate.

I wish World Taekwondo would put player safety first in this regard. I know there are MMA fighters that switch to exclusively competing in BJJ so they can avoid CTE. I wish there were competitive options for high-level adults that did not involve a high likelihood of a KO.
It's funny, I have a friend who was doing both MT and BJJ very seriously and he felt that small, frequent, concussions were much more common in BJJ than any concussions in MT. Single data point, but he felt strongly that I should do MT over BJJ if I had CTE concerns.
 

Tez3

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A friend of mine has been doing a lot of research on brain injuries and martial arts. He's on FB, and always open to questions.
 

tkdroamer

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One of the nice things about Taekwondo compared to something like boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai is that the point system is generally safer than a full contact system. And for the vast majority of demographics, World Taekwondo is a purely point system. It's only when you get to black belt as an adult that you can start knocking each other out.

I don't really like this. On the one hand, it is more realistic, and gives some validity to the internet trolls that say Taekwondo isn't realistic. But one of the things I enjoy about it is that it is relatively low-risk. I might get some bumps and bruises (especially when knocking knees), but knees heal. Brains don't. My biggest problem is that you can't do this at lower belts or ages, so you might get used to competing, and then get turned off later on when you are high enough level to go for KOs. If you were to start with Muay Thai, you would be going for knockouts much earlier in your career, and you would start training with the understanding this is where your competitions are going to be. Personally, I don't consider it worth the potential brain damage. I do enjoy the kicking game, and I don't like that I've gotten to the level where I have to put my long-term mental health at risk in order to participate.

I wish World Taekwondo would put player safety first in this regard. I know there are MMA fighters that switch to exclusively competing in BJJ so they can avoid CTE. I wish there were competitive options for high-level adults that did not involve a high likelihood of a KO.
I'm not certain I can follow that logic. Think of things like smoking and alcohol. They are not legal until a certain age, for numerous reasons. The option for an adult to compete at a higher level of risk is in this same category to me. This is consistent across many platforms other than just TKD. Plus, TKD has the advantages of limited or partial exposure to the risks, allowing a person to gain some level of proficiency. This is where training and exposure really come to the surface.
Many local tournaments control the contact much closer than larger events, where points for Gran Prix's and regionals and nationals really matter.
There are certain TKD systems that really control contact. ATA comes to mind. If a person decided they wanted to get into upper-level WT sparring, they really need to get with a good coach or at least a good sparring school.
This is a good example of where the name of what we do (martial arts) really applies.

The WT sparring model has been in a flux of change for decades. It has never really solidified, especially compared to something like boxing. I have no guess at where the electronic scoring will end up, but I do not see head kicks changing much, at least in the near future. The dynamics alone of throwing the fastest kicks possible limits the practicality of this. As the old saying goes, "speed kills".

It seems you are trying to take the contact out of a contact sport. Plus adding fuel to support the argument that TKD is soft.
 
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tkdroamer

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It's not an option. It's mandatory in WT for adults to compete at a higher risk level.

So that makes it right?

Again, you make a peer pressure argument.
Can you show me where it is mandatory for adults to compete in WT? I know Some schools require it for testing (which is very odd to me) but certainly not all do. These are usually the schools that are purely sport WT focused.
Isn't there a level of risk from day one in a martial arts class?

I am not saying right OR wrong. I am just saying the risk increase in many other sports in a similar fashion. At adulthood, a person should be able to evaluate the risk and decide if they are worth it or not.

I do not mean to 'make a peer pressure argument'. But how it this not true? As a black belt, your skills should be better than your previous belt. So, it is only fair that you compete against other black belts. Do you see adult red belts competing against yellow belts?
 
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Can you show me where it is mandatory for adults to compete in WT? I know Some schools require it for testing (which is very odd to me) but certainly not all do. These are usually the schools that are purely sport WT focused.
It's not mandatory to compete. But if you want to compete, you do not get the luxury of the safer conditions you had in intermediate belts.

You see something similar in BJJ, where more dangerous submissions are allowed. But the point is to tap before you get injured. There's no warning to tap before you get a concussion.
Isn't there a level of risk from day one in a martial arts class?
So then why have any safety precautions at all?

Risk isn't all-or-nothing. You can mitigate it or avoid it. There's a big difference between a 25% chance each class of getting bumps and bruises and a 0.1% chance of concussion, and competing having a 15% chance of a concussion (read: permanent brain damage).
 

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It's not mandatory to compete. But if you want to compete, you do not get the luxury of the safer conditions you had in intermediate belts.

You see something similar in BJJ, where more dangerous submissions are allowed. But the point is to tap before you get injured. There's no warning to tap before you get a concussion.

So then why have any safety precautions at all?

Risk isn't all-or-nothing. You can mitigate it or avoid it. There's a big difference between a 25% chance each class of getting bumps and bruises and a 0.1% chance of concussion, and competing having a 15% chance of a concussion (read: permanent brain damage).
True. If a person wants to stay in the higher safety range, they need to be prepared or choose not to compete in that area. Some people get all the competition they want out of regular classes. Some people are more competitive.
It is a personal choice. No harm, no foul.
 
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True. If a person wants to stay in the higher safety range, they need to be prepared or choose not to compete in that area. Some people get all the competition they want out of regular classes. Some people are more competitive.
It is a personal choice. No harm, no foul.
That's a very, very political way of saying "if you don't want brain damage, then you're excluded."
 

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That's a very, very political way of saying "if you don't want brain damage, then you're excluded."
Essentially, yes. If you don't want to compete in a combat sport with the potential for brain damage, than you cannot compete in that sport. Same is true for muay thai, boxing, kickboxing, basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, rugby and probably a ton of other sports. In the same way that there is flag/touch football, you're more than welcome to go to competitions that care more about safety than anything else, but don't expect that to become more popular.
 

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Essentially, yes. If you don't want to compete in a combat sport with the potential for brain damage, than you cannot compete in that sport. Same is true for muay thai, boxing, kickboxing, basketball, football, baseball, wrestling, rugby and probably a ton of other sports. In the same way that there is flag/touch football, you're more than welcome to go to competitions that care more about safety than anything else, but don't expect that to become more popular.
They may well become more popular in time as more information is coming out about sports and brain damage. We have several well known rugby and football players with various degrees of brain damage campaigning for better awareness and safety. There's also been deaths in boxing that have caused a lot of people to question safety in boxing.

 

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I think if WT wanted to get rid of the hard contact and potential for knockout, they would have to reevaluate their entire sparring model. Otherwise, they would have the same contact as the ITF or sport Karate... except they wouldn't be allowed to punch to the head (which is not allowed precisely because of the full contact component if I'm not mistaken).

While I personally don't enjoy how the WT sparring rules have changed over the years (I think the old school sparring was much better), if they made the changes you suggest, how would they be any different than these other arts?
 
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If you don't want to compete in a combat sport with the potential for brain damage, than you cannot compete in that sport.
For an adult in their first few years of Taekwondo, you are not allowed to do knockouts in competition, so the potential is significantly less.

To use your football example, it would be like if you could go play flag football for 3 years, but after 3 years you have to move on to tackle football, because you can't play flag football anymore.
 

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That's a very, very political way of saying "if you don't want brain damage, then you're excluded."
Not at all. It is just saying if you do not want to play the competition game, then don't play.
There is no 1:1 relationship that competitive sparring equals brain damage. The same is true in soccer, rugby, and football, where repetitive contact is much greater.
 

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Not at all. It is just saying if you do not want to play the competition game, then don't play.
There is no 1:1 relationship that competitive sparring equals brain damage. The same is true in soccer, rugby, and football, where repetitive contact is much greater.









No evidence that sparring, not even competitive sparring causes brain damage?????
 
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Not at all. It is just saying if you do not want to play the competition game, then don't play.
There is no 1:1 relationship that competitive sparring equals brain damage. The same is true in soccer, rugby, and football, where repetitive contact is much greater.
A concussion is brain damage. A knockout is a major sign of a concussion. If you can win by knocking someone out, you are encouraged to give them brain damage.
 

tkdroamer

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Not at all. It is just saying if you do not want to play the competition game, then don't play.
There is no 1:1 relationship that competitive sparring equals brain damage. The same is true in soccer, rugby, and football, where repetitive contact is much greater.
A concussion is brain damage. A knockout is a major sign of a concussion. If you can win by knocking someone out, you are encouraged to give them brain damage.
Then why are you even asking the question then? If you understand the rules and do not want to enter the ring/mat under those rules, don't. Or train better. Like I said no harm, no foul. I just understand why you are trying to penalize others for choosing to.
Any contact sport has inherent risks. Very, very few of the wins in TKD are by true KO's. Some to several TKOs, compliant by the competitor or by referee guidelines.
How it this a 1:1 relationship that you are going to get knocked out or brain damage from WT/TKD sparring?
Help me understand you point here.
 

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No evidence that sparring, not even competitive sparring causes brain damage?????
Who ever said there wasn't? I said there is no 1:1 relationship that a person will get knocked out or brain damage from WT/TKD sparring, as the OP infers.
Plus, some of your list makes my argument. They are not all related to WT/TKD. You could make a list like that for any contact sport.
 
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Then why are you even asking the question then? If you understand the rules and do not want to enter the ring/mat under those rules, don't.
Because I would like to compete without that risk. As I was able to before I got my black belt. That option is no longer available. I would either have to change organizations, or I would have to sandbag (pretend to be a blue belt so I could compete with their rules).

It would be like if I joined an adult flag football league, but after 3 years I wasn't allowed to play anymore and had to move into a tackle league. Yes, there are risks of injury in flag football, but there's a lot less contact.
Or train better.
You can't train yourself out of a KO.
I just understand why you are trying to penalize others for choosing to.
Plenty of sports, including the aforementioned football, and including MMA, have changed rules for player safety. A lot of techniques have been banned from UFC, for example.
How it this a 1:1 relationship that you are going to get knocked out or brain damage from WT/TKD sparring?
If a win condition is KO, then at some point you're likely to get KO'd. At the very least, it's significantly more likely than it was before.

You're treating risk like this binary thing. It is so much more complex than that. There are many factors that determine the likelihood and effect of a risk. Athletics carry risk of concussion. That risk can be increased or decreased by rules that favor or ignore player safety. Risk itself can be ignored, accepted, avoided, mitigated, or a number of things.

I don't know why I'm stuck trying to explain to you that if you go into a competition where a KO is a win, that you're more likely to be KO'd. It would be like trying to explain why you're more likely to drown while swimming than riding a bike.
 

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Because I would like to compete without that risk. As I was able to before I got my black belt. That option is no longer available. I would either have to change organizations, or I would have to sandbag (pretend to be a blue belt so I could compete with their rules).
Perhaps the answer to your concern is right in your paragraph above. Seek competition outside the WT. There are open tournaments all over where you can choose which ruleset you want to compete under (WT, stop-point, semi-contact continuous, etc). You don't have to leave your organization, just compete on your own terms where and how you want.
 
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