Newbie to Tae Kwon Do


Senior Master
MTS Alumni
Apr 12, 2005
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The Desert
1) I am curious how long it normally takes for the things you learn to start "clicking". .

I began "clicking" at blue belt. Your results may vary :)

2) I am making progress on stretching etc but am really having a tough time getting the right stretches to help with the flexibility doing a side kick. Any advice?.

I'm an old guy and stretching is an ongoing issue for me. Learn proper streching techniques from those with proven results and don't get "innovative" here.
3) any advice on a magazine that will cover the three arts taught at this school? I have bought Black Belt and it is good but there isn't much TKD in it. Is TKD Times good?

I like it but I've learned much more here than there.

Welcome! :)

Last Fearner

2nd Black Belt
Jan 21, 2006
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While I do not want to de-rail this thread, and get into a heated debate about differences of opinion among professionals and experts - - suffice to say that not all experts on this subject agree, or have come to the same conclusions expressed in exile's previous post. While he has the right to state these opinions, and facts quoted by some experts may support the conclusions he has drawn, they are still "conclusions" and are not necessarily absolute confirmed truth.

It is only fair to present to the readers that there are many life-long professional instructors and experts who have a different understanding of what the pieces of the puzzle really mean when put together. Some research disproves previous theories, while other claims are merely hunches drawn on a lack of complete evidence to historical events.

(TSD is an identical twin MA to TKD; they only look different now because their life experience has left scars on them in different places)
There are experts who do not consider TSD and TKD as "identical twins" for many reasons beyond recent "scars."

raving on about the supposed two-thousand year ancient history of the KMA,
Just so Taekwondo enthusiasts don't accept this as the "final word" - - not all contention that KMA stems from a native history dating back two-thousand years are "ravings."

from an historical perspective, it becomes apparent that any appeal to the Muye Dobu Tong Ji as evidence for the antiquity of any Korean modern art is unacceptable today.
Again, not to be the "final word" that suggests all experts agree historically that the Muye Dobu Tong Ji is "unacceptable" when discussing the validity of Korean Martial Art. The existence of this book and its apparent date in history has significance beyond where the text itself came from. In other words, I don't want readers who are new to TKD to accept blindly that any reference to this book by experts in support of ancient KMA has been unilaterally dismissed as "unacceptable" by all experts.

This kind of bogus legendmongering as history
Some twisting of historical events pertaining to KMA might be accurately described as "legendmongering" if one wants to term it as such, but for novice readers to keep in mind, not everyone agrees that any reference to KMA, and specifically Taekwondo, is "bogus" as to being terms used to describe ancient native fighting systems of Korea.

following a similar development in karate, TKD's parent art, over the past decade.
Here again, to the impressionable mind of other readers who might subliminally record statements such as this as a "well-established fact," there are many experts who do not agree that "Karate" is Taekwondo's "parent art." This is not supported by un-refutable proof. There are opinions and specific perspectives that focus on the recent Kwan development and those people's involvement in the unavoidable Japanese Martial Art presented by an occupying foreign nation, but Taekwondo is also defined by many to specifically refer to that which existed in Korean before any Japanese influence, thus the broader term of "Taekwondo" can not be descended from Karate. Not to debate the issue here, just so that readers know that there is more than one side to that viewpoint which is also held as a genuine expert perspective.

Finally, saying that we don't have proof or written documentation as evidence to support claims of ancient Korean Martial Art does not prove a counter-claim that it never existed. If the only evidence we have is weak, perhaps it needs further exploration rather than total abandonment. Some will wait till they have the concrete proof they need before they accept an inkling of oral history, but others have a different interpretation based on personal understanding of the culture. In any event, Mile's conclusions are mostly logical, and sound based on some expert's research and theories drawn from that research, but it is not conclusive, and not shared by all Taekwondo and KMA experts.

Other threads are out there for those who wish to debate this, but my reply here is just so that both points of views are put out there. If people hear the same statements over and over, and they go unchallenged, they begin to accept it as fact. The facts are inconclusive in all directions here.

CM D.J. Eisenhart


To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Sep 7, 2006
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Columbus, Ohio
I'm going to reply to LF's previous post in a way which, I hope, keeps a close connection to the OP so far as the question of `which magazines', and more generally, which parts of the TKD literature, are worth looking into and taking seriously.

There is fairly basic methodological concept which is typically overlooked in many of the articles published by Black Belt and other popular MA mags, but also by the vast majority of work I've seen on KMAs (in marked contrast to what I've seen in the Okinawan/Japanese karate literature, where writers seem to be much more aware of the issue). This concept is standardly labelled burden of proof, and it works like this: in a situation about which nothing is known, no statement has inherently greater plausibility than any other, very roughly speaking. Therefore, a particular claim about that situation—which simultaneously asserts X and denies the truth of mutually exclusive alternatives to X—has no greater claim to believability than a similar claim asserting Y, or Z, or... Hence, in such a situation, no assertion has privileged status. Suppose now that we discover some fact A which is compatible with X, but not Y or Z or etc. The picture changes radically from one where no particular claim has privileged status to one in which X has that status. Hence, someone who wants to promote X over Y, Z, ... needs to come up with one or more facts like A; otherwise, the situation continues to be one in which no particular claim is more likely than any other. This is just a basic constraint on arguments about empirical domains like physics, history, psychology and so on. The point is in asserting X convincingly, you take on a burden of proof, which a fact like A would meet, at least in large part.

Now when claims are made about the history or technique of a particular MA, the general requirement of meeting a burden of proof applies as much as it does anywhere else. The claim that TKD has a 2000—or 1000 or 500 or whatever—year old history is subject to the requirement that there be positive evidence making the likelihood of the claim superior to the alternative, that TKD is no more than 70 or 80 years old, say. One of the frequently repeated bits of evidence intended to meet the burden of proof for the `ancient KMA' assertion has been, for a long time, the Muye Dobu Tong Ji. It's worth pointing out at this point that the MDTJ says almost nothing about empty hand techs—something pointed out in the in-depth scholarly literature on the subject I've cited, but not in the BB magazine article I mentioned nor in virtually any of the KMA texts I've read which allude to it; the sheer fact of this book's existence seems to be taken as sufficient evidence for ancient indigenous empty-handed techs somehow ancestral to those in modern TKD. But let that go, for the moment; the point is, the MDTJ is, as Dakin Burdick observed in his 1997 JAMA article, one of the three pillars of the claim for the roots of modern KMA in a distant antiquity.

What we now have is a body of detailed, linguistically and philologically well-informed critical literature which has shown—by meticulous side-by-side textual examination of both the MDTJ and several other still earlier Asian treatises on combat techniques—that the MDTJ is in essence a literal translation of a Chinese military text written ten generations before the MDTJ appeared. The content thus represents Chinese weapon and their use, Chinese strategic and tactical concepts, and is in effect a presentation in the Korean language of a substantial chunk of Chinese military culture and practice. There is no martial content in the MDTJ which does not appear first—by 250 years!—in the New Book of Effective Discipline. Exhaustive documentation for this claim is provided by the JAMA articles by Burdick, Henning and Androgu矇 that I cited in my previous post. The conclusion which follows—and note, by `conclusion', I mean nothing other than a deduction based on the available evidence—is that the MDTJ, by virtue of it's completely Han military content, has no bearing on the antiquity of modern KMA's origins, and therefore fails to meet the burden of proof for any claims that these origins are ancient.

In order to restore the MDTJ as a source meeting that burden of proof, it would be necessary for supporters of ancient KMA to counter the translations, analyses and documentation of the scholars I've cited, at the same or a superior level of detail. Burdick, Henning and Androgu矇 have amassed an enormous body of evidence on behalf of their assessment of the MDTJ's provenience and content. To meet the burden of proof for the CLAIM that LF makes—that `The existence of this book and its apparent date in history has significance beyond where the text itself came from', insofar as it has any bearing on the question of ancient KMAs—would require a demonstration, at the same level of detail, that a book with completely Chinese content tells us something about the KMAs. If the MDTJ is, as the mass of evidence alluded to substantiates, a manual, written in Korean, consisting of Chinese military techniques taken text-for-text from a Chinese source, then the default inference is that the KMAs of the time consisted of Chinese military techniques, a point discussed in detail in Burdick's article. In other words, the claim that the MDTJ most clearly does support is that, at the time it was written, Korean military techniques were the same as those practiced throughout the vast Han empire 250 years earlier. To try to use the MDTJ to support the existence of an ancient (or even contemporary) native KMA set of traditions, a rather crushing burden of proof therefore needs to be met.

Now, exactly who is doing this `meeting?' LF comments that `I don't want readers who are new to TKD to accept blindly that any reference to this book by experts in support of ancient KMA has been unilaterally dismissed as "unacceptable" by all experts'. Well, who are the experts who have met the burden of proof imposed by Burdick, Henning and Androgu矇—at this moment, the outstanding Western experts on the history of the KMAs, as attested by the documented published work (which, interestingly, tend to reinforce each other's conclusions, even though so far as I know the three have worked completely independently of each other during their careers)? Who has shown either that their conclusions are incorrect, or that in spite of them, there is still evidence in this literal translation of an older Chinese military manual for ancient Koreran military practices—including empty-hand techniques, which, as noted earlier, have almost no place in the MDTJ (following, of course, the Chinese source of this work), and where they do appear, seem to involve nothing different from chuan fa methods of the time? Where is the work of these alleged dissenting experts? I am familiar with the content of JAMA, and they haven't been publishing there. And I try to keep an eye on the TKD literature, particularly books with any kind of historical coverage; I haven't seen anything in the past 10 years that even remotely addresses the discoveries that Burdick, Henning and Androgu矇 have made, let alone counters them.

If claims such as one that appeared in BB were made instead in Journal of Asian Martial Arts, you can be sure—from the content of JAMA from the time it first started—that there would be massive attention paid to this issue of meeting the burden of proof. The articles of the three scholars I've cited are documented on an almost sentence-by-sentence level of grain; certainly, any substantial claim is supported either by citation of sources or by the author's own up-front presentation of his own translation from the relevant texts. But the BB article contains not a single piece of critically vetted support for the claim, just as LF's claim offers not a single actual piece of scholarship that meets the burden of proof for the subclaim that the MDTJ, in spite of being a translated Chinese document, still tells us something about ancient KMA practice. Instead, we get either no support at all, or else vague claims that other experts possibly disagree, all of it unanchored to a single piece of in-depth counterargumentation—no articles or monographs, no citations, no names, nothing.

The BB style, in which the burden of proof is conspicuously ignored and instead, old misconceptions appear to be endlessly recycled as though they has never been severely undermined during the last decade of peer-reviewed scholarship, is unfortunately the norm in MA magazine publishing (TKD Times has been guilty of the same critical irresponsibility). What makes JAMA immeasurably superior to these other sources, and the reason I suggest it in place of anything else I've seen published in North America, is that the peer-review process requires substantiation of claims by full explanation of reasoning backed by up-front citation of sources. Similar remarks apply MA texts.

And the issue isn't restricted to issues of historical accuracy and well-supported argument. Issues of technical content in the MAs can't really be totally decoupled from issues of history; look at all the arguments for what the optimal bunkai for karate kata (including TKD/TSD hyungs) are. Your view of the history of TKD and that its methods are going to be linked; the article in BB I've been alluding to is a perfect example of that. Invoking the totally undocumented, fantastical picture of Hwarang warriors (about whom we actually know almost nothing) developing high kicks to knock fully `armored', weapon-wielding Koryo warriors off their horses, gives a rather different picture of the role of high kicks than the well-documented history of modern KMA, where it is apparent that these kicks have entered the technical lexicon in response to tournament competitions.

Historical interpretations condition our thinking and expectations about actual practice at many levels, and any magazine or book which presents an extremely dubious legendary fantasy in place of carefully reasoned history is very likely to be unreliable on the technical side—certainly insofar as issues of self-defense are concerned—as well. Caveat emptor, caveat lector.


White Belt
Apr 13, 2007
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Yes, I am at his school. You do know that he passed away on the 1st of June. ?? Devastating news for everyone at the school. I have only been at the school since October of last year but still felt like I knew him much longer.


Purple Belt
May 31, 2004
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Arlington, TX
My Condolences to the Family and friends of William T. Alexander Major USMC (ret). I learned of his passing in Fresno from Bob Mckenna. WT was an associate of mine as a referee and coach. We normally caught up with each other at the gym at between 5-6 am. He'll be missed by all.

Honor, Duty, Country - Siemper Fi WT


Blue Belt
Dec 10, 2006
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Reynoldsburg Ohio
Welcome to MT and TKD. As with anything you get out of it what you put into it. Practice often and get well rooted in the fundimental moves. You can throw a kick a thousand times and still not have a good grasp on it if you don't have the fundimentals down pat.

The same for stretching. I found a link on the home page of MT that helped considerably with stretching the inner thighs. I do the Balistic stretching mentioned after a workout.

Good stuff here.

As far as a magazine, I don't subscribe to any. Every instructor I've had has had different ways of doing things. Where to start a move from to where it lands. I've picked up a few things from books and mags, but I don't let it contradict what my instructor is teaching.