Is TKD a Martial Art?

punisher73

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I think you’re making my points very well. Some folks are traditional. Some evolve. You can consider whether something is traditional or not at every level: individual, school, and system.

Boxing as a system has traditions, but is not traditional, because the focus is on the end result, not how you got there. My impression of TKD is that how you train is very important... doing things the way your teacher did them, and replicating as closely as possible the techniques and movements of your teacher. So, even though there is a combat sport element to some TKD, it remains traditional.

And both are martial arts. In my opinion.
First, I agree with what you said. Just adding a little bit more perspective.

What we call "traditional" didn't really exist until around the mid 1900's. Before then people were taught individually by the instructor and they were private classes (even with a group). The instructor would teach students different katas from what he knew based on their temperament, build etc. to suit the individual. Often times even modifying the kata between students to help them get the most benefit.

All this changed when karate became "public" and was taught to large groups and was based on the Japanese military style of learning. Lining up according to rank, doing things "by the number" and everyone doing it the same way so you could look at large groups.

THEN add into public classes became a way to make money and you needed YOUR way of doing things and needed to separate yourself from others. Now things became set in stone and unchanging and "not how we do things". So, what used to be more fluid and a "use what works" method became very systematic.
 

Buka

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All kicks in Tang Soo Do are useful for combat.
I think you could say that about any style of Martial Arts. I’ve been around a lot of TSD over the years, don’t really see a difference.
 

gyoja

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I think you could say that about any style of Martial Arts. I’ve been around a lot of TSD over the years, don’t really see a difference.
I didn’t mean that others are not. Just making a counterpoint to the claim that TSD kicks are worthless.
 

Buka

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I didn’t mean that others are not. Just making a counterpoint to the claim that TSD kicks are worthless.
Well, whoever said that doesn’t know squat. That would be the equivalent of saying all kicks are worthless, all punches are worthless etc.
 

gyoja

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Well, whoever said that doesn’t know squat. That would be the equivalent of saying all kicks are worthless, all punches are worthless etc.
It was a troll that was apparently on here before my time. No worries
 
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isshinryuronin

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So, it seems from all the discussion, the general consensus (certainly by TKD people, as well as others) is that TKD is a separate martial art from karate, just like judo, kung fu or aikido are. This, in spite of looking similar to most karate styles, it is not called karate, but TKD, because Korea/TKD organizations say so (and I fully understand the nationalistic emotion involved here, considering WWII). And if it's not called karate, it isn't. I guess there's a certain logic there.

Another factor brought up is that sportification of TKD has led to some different training and the stressing of specific techniques and execution. This is also true of competitive sport karate where I can see it evolving into its own style. And perhaps, later, its own martial art with its own name. I'll support that.

The divide between traditional self-defense karate and sport karate is growing. IMO, a similar situation to the divide between TKD and other karate styles ;). Others see the divide already significant enough to warrant elevating TKD to a separate MA. I'll just have to live with it :).
 

Hot Lunch

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This is also true of competitive sport karate where I can see it evolving into its own style. And perhaps, later, its own martial art with its own name. I'll support that.

The divide between traditional self-defense karate and sport karate is growing.
I think this could happen, but I don't think it is happening.

For example, I'm positive that everyone in Karate Combat has learned the curricula (including katas) of their respective styles, and have moved up the ranks accordingly. I'm also fairly certain that Rika Usami has trained in kumite.

Now, is it possible to pull a guy off the streets with no prior karate training, and train him specifically to fight in Karate Combat? I think it is. This is similar to a debate we had before on whether or not "MMA" is a martial art (i.e., can someone bypass traditional martial arts training, and go straight to being trained to fight in the cage). I just hope this doesn't happen.
 
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isshinryuronin

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For example, I'm positive that everyone in Karate Combat has learned the curricula (including katas) of their respective styles, and have moved up the ranks accordingly. I'm also fairly certain that Rika Usami has trained in kumite.
This is true, but amongst competition-oriented schools, kata may be taught but without application and consist of only a very small percentage of class time. Kumite has become a competitive sport too, but the techniques and strategies are by necessity (due to the rule set) different from traditional self-defense-oriented karate. The divide is real. Rika-san has great ability and is probably one of the few that can still successfully straddle the sport-traditional fence.
 

_Simon_

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Yeah I gotta say TKD is its own thing. I feel its different enough (in philosophy, strategy, emphasis, training methods) to warrant its own claim to being a separate style. It's also interesting, I can look at someone training and almost instantly pick what style is going on... and TKD I can usually pick. I know that's not a scientific measurement of whether it's a style on its own, but it's something.

So it's settled, this oft-used image really sums it up, glad we're in agreement!

images.jpeg
 

skribs

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In the end, it's all just words and definitions. I've had students transfer into my TKD school from TSD or Shotokan and assimilate easily. I've gone to other TKD schools that are so different (in the wrong ways) that I didn't want to train there. I've found more similarities between my old TKD school and my current Muay Thai gym than I did with that other TKD school.

Where's the line between each of Kung Fu, Karate, Tang Soo Do, and Taekwondo? Where's the line between each of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Instagram model? In the end, they're all just words to help structure what you do.
 
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