KKW TKD, only for sport?

Markku P

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Maybe not the TKD you teach. Others teach TKD that is very effective for self defense. I'm guessing your training and focus is strictly sport TKD?

No, I have been training "traditional" Taekwondo over 30 years. ( Both WTF and ITF ) and I still believe that Taekwondo is not most effective for PURE self defense training. For those who are looking for ONLY self defense, then I recommend to them Krav maga, Systema, Defendo, Keysi etc.
 

Metal

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No, I have been training "traditional" Taekwondo over 30 years. ( Both WTF and ITF ) and I still believe that Taekwondo is not most effective for PURE self defense training. For those who are looking for ONLY self defense, then I recommend to them Krav maga, Systema, Defendo, Keysi etc.


That's the way I see it.

Everybody's pointing out how wide the field of Taekwondo is and that it covers all kinds of aspects, like mental & physical, sports and self defense, forms and competition and so on.

When you start Taekwondo you won't go straight to the point of self defense. You'll learn basic techniques, you'll learn forms, you'll learn the basics of sparring and you may learn the basics of self defense. If you go for a special self defense course you'll only focus on the practical use of simple techniques then you'll have good results in a short amount of time.

But TKD isn't about learning a few tricks in a short amount of time. It's a long road and those who train for a long time will definitely be able to defend themselves. But those who're only learning Taekwondo for self defense reasons won't experience the full variety of Taekwondo, plus willl waste their time with stuff they're not interested in.
 

Jaeimseu

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If your goal is to learn only self defense, then Taekwondo is not the best choice.

I'm inclined to agree with this statement if your ONLY goal is to learn self-defense. I'm sure there are self-defense only Taekwondojang out there, but I'll bet they are by far the exception.

We've had the debate about people's reasons for training before. There are so many potential benefits to be gained from any type of Taekwondo training, but I'd still probably say that someone solely interested in SD would likely be better served by another style.
 

Kong Soo Do

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When you start Taekwondo you won't go straight to the point of self defense. You'll learn basic techniques, you'll learn forms, you'll learn the basics of sparring and you may learn the basics of self defense.

This is a good example of the differences in TKD schools and philosophies. For many arts, including some TKD schools, the basics & forms are the source of self-defense information. And sparring is quite a bit different than in a sport-focused school. As an example, Kong Soo Do is another label for Old School TKD in regards to how we use and define it. By the time I've taught a student just the usual line drills i.e. high block, low block etc, they've learned a fair amount of balance displacement and grappling as well as the ability to block an incoming attack and counter-strike. As a note, I place the word block in italics because we don't use blocks in the fashion of most schools. Some that are gross-motor skill can be use to intercept/deflect an incoming attack, many martial-arty blocks cannot but are actually (in my professional opinion) something quite different. And forms are the same way. By just the first movement sequence in our Mu Shin Kwan form the student is deflecting and incoming attack, using lateral movement to gain an advantageous position, counter-striking and using locks and/or takedowns. Without is sounding like a boast, the best compliment I ever received from the BB of another school that was visiting us, who was watching one of my yellow belt classes was that our yellow belts knew more than his schools BB's in terms of SD.

In essence, one doesn't need to wait for an extended time to get to the 'good stuff'. They can learn basics and what others may deem advanced methods almost simultaneously. We've been doing it successfully for years. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying on day one they're learning to walk through walls and leave no foot prints on the rice paper, but what I am saying is that they leave the first class with viable/useable information/training. We then tailor the training to each student.
 
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O'Malley

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Thanks to all of you! It will surely help me in my choice ^^

@Dobbelsteen: I live in the French-speaking part of the country, we differentiate the two words.
 

ETinCYQX

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Okay, let's do this one more time.

Hello everybody! :D

Welcome.


I've been thinking about taking up a new martial art and, as Taekwondo was my first love, I looked for dojangs in my surroundings. I found only two in my city and they both belong to the Belgian branch of the Kukkiwon. I looked up their websites and they seem very sport-oriented. They refer to themselves as "clubs" or "academies", not as dojangs, and to Taekwondo as a sport. I only saw the word "martial art" once as they were talking about the origins of Olympic TKD. They were talking about it as if it was football. There are no ITF dojangs here. Well, according to what I've read so far on this forum, the Kukkiwon federation is heavily focused on the sport aspect of TKD, gives away black belts quite easily, etc. That bothers me a little: I wouldn't like to (accidentally) get involved in a dangerous situation, think that I'm able to defend myself and then wake up in a hospital because no one taught me how to block a punch properly.

Kukkiwon doesn't care about sport Taekwondo. The WTF and the Kukkiwon are not related except that a KKW style of sparring is the style that the WTF chooses to recognize.

Typically if you spar, you'll be told to watch your hands. Most KKW teachers won't have you sparring like a WTF fighter if that is not what you are interested in. What you will do is kick and punch another TKD practitioner as practice and sport.

The KKW does not monitor the quality of black belts. Any 4th dan or higher can award a black belt.

There is a pretty strong anti-KKW sentiment here at times, the bottom line is you should try both clubs.

Although the competitive side could be fun, my prime goal is to protect myself and those around me. So, could I achieve it by learning TKD in one of the two schools mentioned above or should I completely forget about TKD as the schools are too focused on the Olympic sport?

ITF teachers don't know any special self defense move that you can't learn in a KKW dojang. I don't know where the idea of ITF being a street fighting system came from.

I need your advice, maybe a KKW member (or someone else ^^) could help me.


Thanks!


Mal'

PS: I looked for the answer on the forum but some people were saying that the only "good" way to learn an effective form of TKD was to go to an ITF school and that KKW/WTF TKD was merely a sport.

Lots of people say that.
 

Dirty Dog

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Okay, let's do this one more time.

Oh no... we'll go through this a lot more than just one more time. :)


Kukkiwon doesn't care about sport Taekwondo. The WTF and the Kukkiwon are not related except that a KKW style of sparring is the style that the WTF chooses to recognize.

Given what could be described as the incestuous relationship between the leadership of the two groups, I don't know that this is entirely correct.

Typically if you spar, you'll be told to watch your hands. Most KKW teachers won't have you sparring like a WTF fighter if that is not what you are interested in. What you will do is kick and punch another TKD practitioner as practice and sport.

Ehhh... again, I don't know that this is really correct. While the Kukkiwon may or may not care about the sport of TKD (I believe that they do), it's certainly true that many, if not most (virtually all, in my area, but since I'm 50 miles from the OTC it's a biased location) KKW-affiliated schools are very heavily sport oriented.

The KKW does not monitor the quality of black belts. Any 4th dan or higher can award a black belt.

True. There are too many KKW Dan holders for there to be chance for central control.

There is a pretty strong anti-KKW sentiment here at times, the bottom line is you should try both clubs.

I don't know if it's so much anti-KKW as anti-KKW-Uber-All.

ITF teachers don't know any special self defense move that you can't learn in a KKW dojang. I don't know where the idea of ITF being a street fighting system came from.

Probably because, on average, ITF schools are less sport oriented than the average KKW school.
 

Markku P

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Kukkiwon doesn't care about sport Taekwondo. The WTF and the Kukkiwon are not related except that a KKW style of sparring is the style that the WTF chooses to recognize.

I don't think this so "black and white". I think many in Kukkiwon feels that "sport aspect" is also part of taekwondo. There was been some Kukkiwon seminars where had been former world championships as a teachers.

Also WTF is now focusing more poomsae competitions :)
 

Kong Soo Do

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There is a pretty strong anti-KKW sentiment here at times....

I suppose that anti-KKW sentiment is accurate to a degree on the parts of many. But perhaps a willingness to point out KKW flaws that give the art as a whole a black eye is also perceived as anti-KKW sentiment? I would call it self-policing. For example;

The KKW does not monitor the quality of black belts. Any 4th dan or higher can award a black belt.

Very true, and not very good policy. We have schools, I believe in this thread, that take 3 years (or more) to be eligible to test for BB. That's reasonable. We also have BB's in Korea almost passed out like candy in about a year for children. Quite a range of standards. Additionally, last year we had posts where some KKW instructors were giving BB rank to non-KKW members who did not know the KKW curriculum and stated they had no intention of learning it. Both are examples of padding the numbers for quantity rather than have standards of quality. To me, this is a negative for the art of TKD. This isn't anti-KKW sentiment, it is taking an honest look at less-than-satisfactory practices that affect the perception of the art as a whole.
 

Gorilla

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Lots of anti KKW/WTF feelings on this BBS. Lots of biased opinions based on one's affiliation. This is what makes the BBS interesting. Lots of I international posters a good cross section of people.

Really only a minority of sport focused people on this BBS.

Love SD just not a focus right now!
 

ETinCYQX

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I suppose that anti-KKW sentiment is accurate to a degree on the parts of many. But perhaps a willingness to point out KKW flaws that give the art as a whole a black eye is also perceived as anti-KKW sentiment? I would call it self-policing. For example;



Very true, and not very good policy. We have schools, I believe in this thread, that take 3 years (or more) to be eligible to test for BB. That's reasonable. We also have BB's in Korea almost passed out like candy in about a year for children. Quite a range of standards. Additionally, last year we had posts where some KKW instructors were giving BB rank to non-KKW members who did not know the KKW curriculum and stated they had no intention of learning it. Both are examples of padding the numbers for quantity rather than have standards of quality. To me, this is a negative for the art of TKD. This isn't anti-KKW sentiment, it is taking an honest look at less-than-satisfactory practices that affect the perception of the art as a whole.

There are standards of quality, but they aren't enforced by the Kukkiwon, they're enforced by the instructor.

The sheer number of Kukkiwon Taekwondo practitioners makes it impossible to enforce black belt standards on a case by case basis. What you don't seem to acknowledge is that there are lots of crappy ITF black belts as well and the ITF does no more in regulating standards.
 

ETinCYQX

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Lots of anti KKW/WTF feelings on this BBS. Lots of biased opinions based on one's affiliation. This is what makes the BBS interesting. Lots of I international posters a good cross section of people.

Really only a minority of sport focused people on this BBS.

Love SD just not a focus right now!

I am of the opinion that being able to fire off a hard roundhouse kick first is better self defense than most of the "grab my wrist, no my other wrist, no my other wrist with your other wrist" crap I've seen.
 

Gnarlie

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There are many aspects to KKW Taekwondo. Unless you've personal experience of training at many different schools affiliated with the KKW, you're not really qualified to make credible generalisations.

Here are some things I have find to be generally true on my travels:

The minimum standards set out by the KKW for their black belt exam cover all aspects of the art. The balance of time and effort spent on each aspect is down to the individual instructor, but candidates must demonstrate competence in all areas to pass regardless of who you test under.

Self defence is not the main focus of KKW TKD. That said, anyone who thinks it is ineffective or cannot be used for self defence purposes lacks imagination and critical thinking skills. I have generally found this to be the case when discussing with people why they believe the art is ineffective.

Sport is also not the main focus of KKW TKD. That said, you will learn sport techniques and strategies that will help you to win. Again, those who are unable to clearly differentiate sport from SD and assess what is effective for each must lack imagination and critical thinking skills. The same is true for those who believe learning sport techniques has no transferable value to self defence application.

The main focus of TKD is self improvement. This can be borne out through whatever avenue the instructor sees fit. Most people practice KKW TKD for one reason: enjoyment.

Gnarlie
 

Gnarlie

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Had to go out so never got to the point: the KKW syllabus is a good starting point for a pretty comprehensive Taekwondo course.

How the student processes that information and what they choose to do with it will determine how effective the art is in meeting their individual expectations and needs. You can't expect to be handed everything on a silver platter.

Gnarlie
 

Kong Soo Do

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There are standards of quality, but they aren't enforced by the Kukkiwon, they're enforced by the instructor.

Yes, but as we've seen on this very board, that doesn't work very well. There are KKW black belts, some of master status that don't have any idea of the KKW curriculum.

The sheer number of Kukkiwon Taekwondo practitioners makes it impossible to enforce black belt standards on a case by case basis.

But when the numbers are inflated just for the sheer goal of gaining numbers it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy and too be honest, a sort of cop out. As I've said, quality over quantity in my humble but professional opinion.

I am of the opinion that being able to fire off a hard roundhouse kick first is better self defense than most of the "grab my wrist, no my other wrist, no my other wrist with your other wrist" crap I've seen.

We are now in 100% agreement. I don't like the 'Rex Kwon Do' approach to martial arts either. It leads to sloppy technique and a false sense of security.

Gnarlie said:
Unless you've personal experience of training at many different schools affiliated with the KKW, you're not really qualified to make credible generalisations.

Valid point. But on the flip side, those of us that have had extensive dealings with KKW schools, instructors and students shouldn't be dismissed off-hand simply because we point out the good, bad and ugly. Particularly if the points are specific.

Self defence is not the main focus of KKW TKD. That said, anyone who thinks it is ineffective or cannot be used for self defence purposes lacks imagination and critical thinking skills.

Can't agree with you on this point. This is more the domain of how the instructor teaches, based upon their personal experience. If you have an instructor (of any art) that has no clue what self-defense actually is, they can't effectively teach it. If you are a student with no practical experience, you won't know what is a valid strategy, tactic or technique against a violent, resisting attacker and what is a bunch of nonsense and fluff passed off as self-defense. This is why I've had KKW BB's come to me, or were sent to me for self-defense training. What they were training in, at their KKW school didn't qualify as SD. This isn't a boast on my part, it is a pat on their back (or the person/instructor that sent them) for recognizing what the KKW school offered and what it didn't and then seeking out someone to fill in the gap(s) if that was also desired.

The main focus of TKD is self improvement.

With respect, I cannot agree with this either. The main point of TKD, or any art, is personal and may differ from person to person. Using TKD as an example, it is an excellent sport art for those that want to have a focus on sport. TKD can be an excellent self-defense art, at the right school, if that is their focus. And of course, TKD can have many other excellent things to offer in either venue i.e. conditioning, socialization, purpose etc.

A KKW school, like any other, can have a lot to offer if the schools goals coincide with what the student is looking for. But if someone is looking into a KKW school and seeking opinions then we should all be honest and give the good, bad and ugly. This way the person seeking information can then make an informed decision as to whether or not it is for them. This information, along with personally visiting the school (and knowing what questions to ask) can greatly assist them.
 

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As Ive said here countless times, I dont see the point in any business/organisation having standards if they are not going to check those standards are adhered to. I run a business and pride myself on the fact that if you deal with any of my employees you will receive the exact same service. This way people can speak of my business in either a positive or negative light with a degree of credibility. It makes no sense to meto hear people say "kkw tkd is the best/worst", because kkw tkd cant even be defined. From one school to the next it can mean something completely different. Ive had fourth dan kkw instructors offer me kkw certification and I dont even know the curriculum. To me, this is ludicrous.
 

ETinCYQX

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Well, there are millions of KKW black belts. It isn't possible for KKW to sanction all of them and make sure they're all up to snuff. That's the whole point of the instructor.

I'm sure the ITF has the same problem on a smaller scale.
 

ralphmcpherson

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Well, there are millions of KKW black belts. It isn't possible for KKW to sanction all of them and make sure they're all up to snuff. That's the whole point of the instructor.

I'm sure the ITF has the same problem on a smaller scale.
saying there are too many black belts to sanction them all is a classic example of putting quantity over quality, which in any business or organisation is not a good idea. Imagine if every second iphone started breaking down within a week of purchase and apple saying "we just sell too many phones to ensure the quality of our product". No one would accept that as its poor business practice. The funny thing is that I have friends who think their black belt is somehow more "credible" because its a kkw black belt, but then the kkw itself admits it cant keep tabs on ensuring their black belts meet a certain standard. I think as someone who runs a large business myself, I just cant understand the whole concept.
 

Jaeimseu

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What more would you expect the Kukkiwon to do? They offer materials both online and in print. They offer education both in Korea and abroad. Ultimately, they trust individual instructors to uphold standards. To me, it's not surprising that some people fall short or don't know the standard. Up to date information on a global level is still a relatively new phenomenon, and there are many many people out there who were taught or learned incorrectly who believe they were taught "original" or "old school" or "military" or whatever Taekwondo (I don't mean that as a dig against people here who use these terms to describe what they do, only that there are large numbers of people who I believe do so incorrectly). Even if Kukkiwon had some kind of official "regional" standards enforcement, they'd still be trusting a number of individuals to uphold the standards, albeit a smaller number.

I think with any kind of "franchise" headquarters puts systems into place to try to get a standard, but they can't be everywhere at once. And even the biggest franchise in the world is dealing with fewer numbers than current Kukkiwon black belts, to say nothing of color belts.
 

Gnarlie

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Valid point. But on the flip side, those of us that have had extensive dealings with KKW schools, instructors and students shouldn't be dismissed off-hand simply because we point out the good, bad and ugly. Particularly if the points are specific.

I've nothing against presenting a warts and all view, but points presented here are not being backed up with evidence. I've visited a number of KKW affiliated schools in a number of countries, and largely the curriculum and standard is good and uniform, especially where the link back to the Kukkiwon is a clear one I.e. The instructor has done the instructors course and visits the Kukkiwon on a regular basis to keep up to date with their standards and expectations. It's an instructor's job to stay up to date. It's irresponsible instructors who pose the problem - those who let their standards slide and then continue to offer KKW certification when what the student is learning is nothing of the sort. KKW standard TKD close to the source covers a pretty comprehensive syllabus for each of the areas sport, SD, and philosophy.

I'd recommend to anyone starting the art that they either train under an NGB with clear links back to KKW or under a KKW recognised independent instructor who has attended the instructor's course and continues to visit KKW regularly.

Can't agree with you on this point. This is more the domain of how the instructor teaches, based upon their personal experience. If you have an instructor (of any art) that has no clue what self-defense actually is, they can't effectively teach it. If you are a student with no practical experience, you won't know what is a valid strategy, tactic or technique against a violent, resisting attacker and what is a bunch of nonsense and fluff passed off as self-defense. This is why I've had KKW BB's come to me, or were sent to me for self-defense training. What they were training in, at their KKW school didn't qualify as SD. This isn't a boast on my part, it is a pat on their back (or the person/instructor that sent them) for recognizing what the KKW school offered and what it didn't and then seeking out someone to fill in the gap(s) if that was also desired.

See above. Instructors with close and up to date links to the KKW don't teach fluff and will offer enough information to allow the student to fully explore the SD elements of the art if that is the student's passion. Instructors will even encourage cross training in other arts and with people with recent live experience of violence to incorporate into the student's knowledge, if that is the student's wish.


With respect, I cannot agree with this either. The main point of TKD, or any art, is personal and may differ from person to person. Using TKD as an example, it is an excellent sport art for those that want to have a focus on sport. TKD can be an excellent self-defense art, at the right school, if that is their focus. And of course, TKD can have many other excellent things to offer in either venue i.e. conditioning, socialization, purpose etc.

I think we are agreeing. What I mean is, KKW TKD does not have a specific focus unless the instructor makes it so. The syllabus from KKW is a balanced mix of sport, SD and Philosophical elements. That said, it's absolutely the philosophy that drives the other two aspects and how and why they work, and that for me makes the main point of KKW TKD all round self improvement, 'graduation into life' as illustrated through its Poomsae and Philosophy. It's just a question of how long it takes the student to realise the deeper meaning of their practice.

A KKW school, like any other, can have a lot to offer if the schools goals coincide with what the student is looking for. But if someone is looking into a KKW school and seeking opinions then we should all be honest and give the good, bad and ugly. This way the person seeking information can then make an informed decision as to whether or not it is for them. This information, along with personally visiting the school (and knowing what questions to ask) can greatly assist them.

I agree that we should be honest, and will concede that there are instructors out there offering KKW certification who aren't adopting the standard. But you and others here have been making negative generalisations about KKW TKD which are not necessarily true when the individual instructor's influence is removed from the equation. At source, the art offers practical methods for SD and sport. It's also made clear which is which.

Therefore the best advice we can give to a beginner is to assess the instructor and their relationship with the KKW before starting. Anyone not attending seminars in their own country though an NGB, or visiting the KKW in person if they are independent, is not going to be able to teach or provide reliable information about KKW TKD.

Where there is a link to KKW, it will be clear. There will be posters, Licensing information, certification from courses, and so on readily available and recently dated.

Gnarlie
 
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