Improving TKD's Image

stoneheart

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Exile, your post is all too rational, but I really don't think logic can or should apply here. Martial arts is obviously something we all spend a lot of time on. We believe it's a worthwhile activity and many of us, particularly those that teach, even evangelize martial arts as a life-changing opportunity.

I myself am a teacher. I have a responsibility to my art to advance it, and that means educating others about the benefits my art has to offer. It does not mean I have to hide my art's weaknesses nor do I need to be untruthful in any way to promote my art. It DOES mean I should take any chance I get in a forum like this or in person to answer when someone is misrepresenting my my art is.
 

FieldDiscipline

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I myself am a teacher. I have a responsibility to my art to advance it, and that means educating others about the benefits my art has to offer. It does not mean I have to hide my art's weaknesses nor do I need to be untruthful in any way to promote my art. It DOES mean I should take any chance I get in a forum like this or in person to answer when someone is misrepresenting my my art is.

It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways - Miyamoto Musashi.




Not to contradict my previous about more training or anything...!
 

Brad Dunne

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"then real remedy is for people to eliminate those doubts by shifting their training to a format which will allow the intrinsic effectiveness of the art to emerge. If we could magically bring the RoK White Tiger commandos from the Vietnam War era into the present with their battlefield combat skills intact, I somehow doubt that they's be particularly worried about how people viewed their fighting system"............[Exile]

This is the entire heart of the TKD problem. There's an old saying, "one is judged by the company one keeps". Just as with people, attempting to get other's to view you differently, while still hanging around those that tant your credibility is an excersise in futility.

"I understand where you are coming from, but abandoning the name Taekwondo is abandoning all those who went before us and disrespecting our teachers"............[FieldDiscipline]

If what is being taught (by the majority) is not what was taught by our teachers, is not that disrespect? Look back at all the different named styles/disciplines that are out there. They all were part of something and went off on their own with a new name. {Shotokan = TKD} There comes a point in time where trying to revive something that's broken will take more time an effort than trying to start a new.

I've gotta ask, is that what Taekido is? [FieldDiscipline]

Yes. It's what we like to refer too as "old school" TKD. The sport connection/training is removed and focus is on self defense.
 

exile

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Less time worrying and arguing, more time training.

The main point, in a nutshell. It's all in the training. The primary source of satisfaction from the art must come from the activity, because if it doesn't, then the MA (TKD or whatever) becomes... well, a job (at least, given what most people's jobs are like). The whole point of doing something you don't have to is the pleasure of the immediate experience, and the secondary pleasure of knowing that the activity which you find rewarding to carry out just for the pleasure of doing it has very useful applications, should you need to call upon for those purposes.

Truth. At the end of the day most TKD people know that there style came from Shotokan, at least any of them that cared enough to do any looking. Yet we still see adds and documentries proclaiming it as a 2000 year old art. Yes, there is a continous trail backwards in any style to the beginning of time, but that doesn't make the current practices 2000 years old.
[/QUOTE]

The need for an invented ancient lineage is again something I take to be an indication of an external need that has nothing to do with the satisfaction due to the activity itself. As Gm. Kim Pyung-Soo in Rob Mclain's interview in MT's magazine points out, Gen. Choi himself didn't begin the `ancient lineage' business until much later in his career, when he was consciously trying to purge TKD of any connection to Japan (including, ironically, Okinawa, another victim of Japanese colonial occupation).

Exile, your post is all too rational, but I really don't think logic can or should apply here. Martial arts is obviously something we all spend a lot of time on. We believe it's a worthwhile activity and many of us, particularly those that teach, even evangelize martial arts as a life-changing opportunity.

Stoneheart, that's precisely why logic and rationality must apply: they're our best method for guaranteeing that we can identify and focus on the essentials, undistracted or misled by things which only look important, but which turn out to be irrelevant. Particularly when there's a big emotional investment involved, clear thinking is crucial. And if we're trying to interest others in this (or any other) activity, it's very important I think to understand exactly what it is about the activity is important and beneficial. What I was trying to suggest in my earlier post, for the reasons stated, is that what is important and beneficial has nothing to do with the perceptions of people whose impressions are based on complete lack of familiarity with the art, or on a casual awareness of only the tournament sport side of the art, or on what they read on other MA fora , or see demonstrated on TV specials intended more to generate a big viewership than to inform and educate. It has to do with the benefits and advantages of the activity itself, and these are exactly the sorts of thing that logic and rationality are necessary for.

For example, take Andrew's point about Shotokan. Understanding that the technical content of TKD arises directly from that of Shotokanthe nature of its strategic plan, the use of deflection to divert attacks and impose control over the attacker's limbs to force vulnerable points on the upper body into range of explosive strike to crucial weak points, such as eyes, throat, or the carotid sinusgives TKDists insight into the fighting tactics embodied in their own hyungs, largely borrowed from Shotokan kata or reconstructed and mixmastered on the basis of subsequences from these kata. The tremendous wealth of research on the inherent combat logic of the Pinan/Heian kata, for example, which is currently being carried out, can be directly applied and trained in hard, noncompliant `live' format by TKDs who either have been fortunate enough to learn the Korean `translations' of these kata, the Pyung-Ahn set, or have discovered the many subelements of the Pinans that persist, in recombined forms, in the Palgwes, for example. Understanding how the `down block', in Rick Clark's brilliant analyses of classical kihon elements in karate, can be decomposed into a series of pining moves, elbow strikes, and hammerfist, is something we can apply directly in our own practice, training, and teaching. Focusing on these essential kinds of elements, as vs. worrying about why people on some of the nastier discussion boards of our acquaintance seem to love dissing TKD, seems a far more constructive and therapeutic activity, no?


I myself am a teacher. I have a responsibility to my art to advance it, and that means educating others about the benefits my art has to offer.

Of coursebut doesn't the kind of focus I'm suggesting, as vs. the kind of fretting people do about why outsiders don't take TKD as seriously as we think they should, lead to more advancement of the art, and more content to the education that we hope to offer others? Telling people is never quite as good as showing them; that's why I believe that if we cultivate our own garden, and develop the TKD that we want it to be, we'll communicate its value to others much more convincingly than otherwise...
 

FieldDiscipline

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If what is being taught (by the majority) is not what was taught by our teachers, is not that disrespect?

If you are saying that it is what they taught you then yes. I believe it is disrespectful to fail to attribute your art to those who taught it to you, and to call it something it is not.

Look back at all the different named styles/disciplines that are out there. They all were part of something and went off on their own with a new name. {Shotokan = TKD} There comes a point in time where trying to revive something that's broken will take more time an effort than trying to start a new.

When the Chung Do Kwan was founded in 1944 the art taught was called Tang Soo Do. This was the korean translation of one of the interpretations of Karate. They didnt go off with a new name. In 1955 when the systems were first amalgamated to provide a governing body this was changed to appease other kwans.
 

Brad Dunne

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When the Chung Do Kwan was founded in 1944 the art taught was called Tang Soo Do. This was the korean translation of one of the interpretations of Karate. They didnt go off with a new name. In 1955 when the systems were first amalgamated to provide a governing body this was changed to appease other kwans.

Excuse me, but that statement "they didn't go off with a new name" smacks of contradiction. OK, so they called it Tang Soo Do, which was what, Japanese Karate. So they did not want to keep the Japanese title, we all understand that. But from TSD came TKD, so they did rename it, even if it was to just appease the kwans and in turn, it took a different direction than TSD. Today, TKD has again redefined itself from it's original concepts, when it seperated/differed from TSD. All were doing is rehashing what has already been stated in other threads. The question was/is Improving TKD's image and aside from all the history rhetoric, TKD does have a negitive image and will have for a long time. There's only 2 things that can be done; either stay the course and wait/hope things turn around or go into a chosen direction with a new name and remove yourself from the stigma that most folks associate with TKD.
 

exile

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I've gotta ask, is that what Taekido is? [FieldDiscipline]

Yes. It's what we like to refer too as "old school" TKD. The sport connection/training is removed and focus is on self defense.

Brad—I gotta ask this, because I'm a bit confused: when I checked out Taekido in the `articles for creation' page of Wikipedia (here), this is what I got:

Taekido

It encourages: confidence, discipline, self defence and respect . Taekido encompasses the physical, mental and spiritual issues of training.
Taekido is known for it’s dramatic flying and spinning kicks, holds, throws and locks. The name comes from the Korean word tae (foot), Japanese word ki (vital breath, energy), Korean and Japanese word do (way). Taekido is more than a science of tactics and self defence, it is a discipline for perfecting the spirit.
In the process of training in the art of Taekido, you will learn resolve conflict without harm to yourself or others. From this practice of "moving Zen",there comes a greater sense of well-being.​

(my emphases in bold). So now I'm wondering: is there more than one picture of a KMA which `Taekido' refers to? Because I have a pretty good idea of what you're talking about when you say `old-school TKD': Kwan-era, Koreanized karate, SD emphasis, a lot of hand/arm techs in addition to kicking. But what I've cited doesn't sound very much like that! Did the guys relying on Kwan-era TKD—with its low Shotokan-style kicks and emphasis on upper-body techs—to keep in one piece on the very mean streets of post-occupation Seoul really think of what they were training in as `moving Zen' (Zen being a tradition pretty foreign to Korea in any case... )? So I'm asking myself, is `Taekido' all that standardized a label for something?
 

Brad Dunne

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is there more than one picture of a KMA which `Taekido' refers to? [Exile]

The information you were able to locate comes from an Australian based school/organization, which is Japanese influenced, ie; Hombu/Sensei/Dojo. There is a TaeKido organization based in Germany, which also falls under the same criteria. Our affiliation is American/Korean based. The term TaeKido is used as a generic term, much like "Karate" has become, because it can relate to various styles. Although it's primarily directed at/for TKD practicioners, other Korean based styles that focus on self defense can be/are included.
 

exile

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is there more than one picture of a KMA which `Taekido' refers to? [Exile]

The information you were able to locate comes from an Australian based school/organization, which is Japanese influenced, ie; Hombu/Sensei/Dojo. There is a TaeKido organization based in Germany, which also falls under the same criteria. Our affiliation is American/Korean based. The term TaeKido is used as a generic term, much like "Karate" has become, because it can relate to various styles. Although it's primarily directed at/for TKD practicioners, other Korean based styles that focus on self defense can be/are included.

Ah, OK. Thanks for clearing that up, Brad. BTW, do you folks have your own web site yet?
 

FieldDiscipline

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Excuse me, but that statement "they didn't go off with a new name" smacks of contradiction. OK, so they called it Tang Soo Do, which was what, Japanese Karate. So they did not want to keep the Japanese title, we all understand that. But from TSD came TKD, so they did rename it, even if it was to just appease the kwans and in turn, it took a different direction than TSD. Today, TKD has again redefined itself from it's original concepts, when it seperated/differed from TSD. All were doing is rehashing what has already been stated in other threads. The question was/is Improving TKD's image and aside from all the history rhetoric, TKD does have a negitive image and will have for a long time. There's only 2 things that can be done; either stay the course and wait/hope things turn around or go into a chosen direction with a new name and remove yourself from the stigma that most folks associate with TKD.

That is the Japanese title, in korean. There was little doubt what it was.

Today's Tang Soo Do (Moo Duk Kwan) is (and was at that time) a different art, with different origins, to the Chung Do Kwan TSD that later, due to political pressure, became TKD.

'Removing yourself from the stigma' seems a dishonest thing to do. I think it would be far better, if you are above the things TKD has been accused of, to maintain your standards and prove these people wrong.
 

Brad Dunne

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'Removing yourself from the stigma' seems a dishonest thing to do.
I think it would be far better, if you are above the things TKD has been accused of, to maintain your standards and prove these people wrong. [FieldDiscipline]

We seem to be talking in circles here........... Your content, to as I said "stay the course" and that's fine. My personal political viewpoints in reguards to KMA's and TKD in general have been tainted to say the least. I feel no obligation to "honor" those, that have dishonored their own, just for the sake of the allmighty dollar...........
 

deadhand31

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To improve TKD's image, I would try to make sparring more combative and a lot less like a glorified game of tag. How about allowing head punches? How about allowing kicks to the legs? How about allowing fights to go to the ground instead of stopping the match?

If we made all of those changes, the art of TKD in the public eye would be radically transformed. You wouldn't see people sparring with their hands down, or throwing weak kicks that barely offer any contact. Hands would start to be used instead of relying solely on the feet. We wouldn't see any more people standing belly-to-belly to score a glancing shot on the way out. In my opinion, these are changes that would help to remove the stigma that is plaguing our art.
 

terryl965

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To improve TKD's image, I would try to make sparring more combative and a lot less like a glorified game of tag. How about allowing head punches? How about allowing kicks to the legs? How about allowing fights to go to the ground instead of stopping the match?

If we made all of those changes, the art of TKD in the public eye would be radically transformed. You wouldn't see people sparring with their hands down, or throwing weak kicks that barely offer any contact. Hands would start to be used instead of relying solely on the feet. We wouldn't see any more people standing belly-to-belly to score a glancing shot on the way out. In my opinion, these are changes that would help to remove the stigma that is plaguing our art.


You can find all of that if you asre at the right dojaang.
 

deadhand31

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You can find all of that if you asre at the right dojaang.

Which is why I'm glad to be training at my dojang. The problem is that the training I get isn't the training that the public sees. In our Wal-Mart society, the only organizations that hit the public eye are those with the most money. Such is the case of the WTF in the Olympics. The WTF system of sparring which is showcased is the reason why we get the bad rep. If the WTF decided to change for the better, then the exposure that the art would get in the public eye would be more positive.

Had they changed, my school might still be a WTF member. We had to break off after the new "Revised" rules only furthered the art as a game of tag.
 

terryl965

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Which is why I'm glad to be training at my dojang. The problem is that the training I get isn't the training that the public sees. In our Wal-Mart society, the only organizations that hit the public eye are those with the most money. Such is the case of the WTF in the Olympics. The WTF system of sparring which is showcased is the reason why we get the bad rep. If the WTF decided to change for the better, then the exposure that the art would get in the public eye would be more positive.

Had they changed, my school might still be a WTF member. We had to break off after the new "Revised" rules only furthered the art as a game of tag.


I'm glad you are training in a great school.
 

exile

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Had they changed, my school might still be a WTF member. We had to break off after the new "Revised" rules only furthered the art as a game of tag.

But what you've just said is exactly what happens from the logic of the situation: those who want to follow the course that the WTF is following&#8212;which I believe will in the end lead to a sport with little more matial content than figure skating&#8212;will happily go along with the TKD directorate as it drives its version of the art in that direction. And those who do not will reach their own respective sticking points, when they can't stomach it any more, as your school did. My own dojang is affiliated formally with the WTF/KKW, through our chief instructor, but we follow their curriculum no more than you do, either in our forms (Palgwes, Rohai, various Shotokan kata at Shodan and higher levels) or in our emphasis on SD via controlling moves and hand/arm techs, principally upper body strikes, with lots of elbow use, based on hyung sequences). Officially or unofficially, more and more schools will weigh in in this fashion, and people who are disaffected with the Korean TKD directorate will pursue their own vision of TKD, which will, I'd predict, come to look more and more like the more combative side of TSD. And the WTF/KKW will go its own merry way.

That's why I really don't think anyone needs to worry about `doing' anything. People will vote with their feet (or their membership dollars, more literally). The big mistake, as I see it, is to think of this as a kind of global problem that must be `solved.' It isn't; the solution is strictly local&#8212;you either join a dojang with a ring-sport orientation or a dojang with a CQ combat/live training orientation. You try to make contact with other dojangs, or dojos, on the same wavelength, get together to demo your techs for them and learn from theirs. You do the same thing with other arts&#8212;drop in on them and invite them to drop in on you, to see how their insights can enhance your own use of your technical toolkit. It's a wide-open world, now, especially in the MAs; no one need feel limited any more by the parochial agendas of massive supranational sport promotion bureaucracies.

And the most important thing is for people to remember that they can shape the future of their own view of TKD through their teaching. Stick with your training, get the expertise that qualifies you (in part; you also need to learn how to teach) to pass on your knowledge, and work out a curriculum which follows the logic of effective combat. Learn from the history of your art what kind of applications various hyung moves were intended for; figure out how to get students to learn how to react to the standard initiating moves that assailants will almost certainly use in an attack, and work out skill sets, and training ideas, for each belt level that will bring the student to the point where, if they work hard enough, they're going to hold the hex sign on any single attacker stupid enough to thow the first punch (or look like they're going to throw the first punch&#8212;preemptive strikes, IMO, definitely have a place in the curriculum). Teach your vision to students...that I think is the way that those who think TKD is in serious trouble to solve the problem: one class at a time, one student at a time: re-create the art according to your own vision of it. The poet of the Rubaiyat put it perfectly:

Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits&#8212;and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

We would indeed!

There's work to be done&#8212;and that doesn't include worrying about what people who get their information from television think....

just my .02$
 

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I'm sorry to have come to this discussion so late, but I would like to offer a few observations from the perspective of a non-TKD practioner.

On the surface, to a layperson, TKD would not appear to have an image problem. It is massively popular, gives practioners the chance to win the super-kudos of an Olympic medal, and has a strong governing body. All looks pretty good to mr and ms Joe Average.

As a martial artist I can see that there are problems and they form an interesting set. Firstly, there is the fact that the governing body is favouring one aspect of the art rather than the art as a whole. Then there is the fact that there are actually a number of governing bodies with conflicting approaches. But these things can only be seen by those who have some understanding of them, that is, martial artists in general and TKD proponents in particular.

So to the question of improving TKD's image I have to ask which image? The ultimate public image is actually very good. It encourages thousands of people to take up the art each year. Or is it the practioner's image? The one that martial artists can see. I think that many people have already given good examples of how to deal with this image issue.
 

FieldDiscipline

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You do the same thing with other arts&#8212;drop in on them and invite them to drop in on you, to see how their insights can enhance your own use of your technical toolkit. It's a wide-open world, now, especially in the MAs; no one need feel limited any more by the parochial agendas of massive supranational sport promotion bureaucracies.

Sounds very JKD Exile... The thought police are on their way!

Teach your vision to students...that I think is the way that those who think TKD is in serious trouble to solve the problem: one class at a time, one student at a time: re-create the art according to your own vision of it.

Therein lies the answer. The only answer.

Steel Tiger:
I'm sorry to have come to this discussion so late, but I would like to offer a few observations from the perspective of a non-TKD practioner.

On the surface, to a layperson, TKD would not appear to have an image problem. It is massively popular, gives practioners the chance to win the super-kudos of an Olympic medal, and has a strong governing body. All looks pretty good to mr and ms Joe Average.

As a martial artist I can see that there are problems and they form an interesting set. Firstly, there is the fact that the governing body is favouring one aspect of the art rather than the art as a whole. Then there is the fact that there are actually a number of governing bodies with conflicting approaches. But these things can only be seen by those who have some understanding of them, that is, martial artists in general and TKD proponents in particular.

So to the question of improving TKD's image I have to ask which image? The ultimate public image is actually very good. It encourages thousands of people to take up the art each year. Or is it the practioner's image? The one that martial artists can see. I think that many people have already given good examples of how to deal with this image issue.

I agree entirely, cracking post.
 

exile

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Kwan Jang, I very much appreciate your words, coming as they do from someone who has been a master to my sahbumnim in TKD.

:asian:
 
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