Olympics and TKD

terryl965

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If not for the Olympics would TKD be as water down as it as become over the last twenty years.
What do you believe to be the way of TKD if there was no Olympics for it would the direction been different and how so?

Terry
 

IcemanSK

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terryl965 said:
If not for the Olympics would TKD be as water down as it as become over the last twenty years.
What do you believe to be the way of TKD if there was no Olympics for it would the direction been different and how so?

Terry

I think it would be the art I remember from the early 80's. SD would be incorporated into regular classes. We'd borrow throws from Judo & joint-locks from Hapkido (and we'd say so). I think we'd be known for more than being a "one-trick pony" in the MA world. I think we'd get the chance to show that TKD has more going for it than the Olympics have shown.

(Getting off soapbox)
 

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terryl965 said:
If not for the Olympics would TKD be as water down as it as become over the last twenty years.

First, I would like to clarify this by saying that I do not see Taekwondo, itself, as being "watered down," but many schools do provide instruction in "watered down versions" of genuine Taekwondo. Would there be as many of these "watered down" schools if it were not for the Olympics - - probably not. Why is this so? Olympic competition requires a great many hours of training in a specific mode - - fighting according to the rules!

Many of these instructors, and their students, are not interested in the complete Art, the philosophy, the discipline, manners, respect, or self defense. They are a different breed of students - - they are "athletes," and in many cases, are not truly "Martial Artists," in my opinion. They are most certainly not teaching Taekwondo, but rather "Tae-Kwon techniques" for competiton. On the other hand, many genuine Taekwondo instructors maintain a healthy balance between Art, philosophy, self defense, and Olympic competition - - as it should be.

"What do you believe to be the way of TKD if there was no Olympics for it would the direction been different and how so?"

I believe the Olympics is helping the popularity of Taekwondo, but, in many apects, hurting the reputation of legitimate schools. Taekwondo was introduced to the U.S. on a major scale in the 1960s. It gained enormous popularity in the 1970s, well before the Olympic fever (first Olympic Demonstration - 1988 Summer Olympics, Seoul, Korea.) During the 70s, the ATA was spreading like wildfire across America, converting failing Karate, Kung fu, and Judo schools. Business was slow for these schools, so they needed a boost in marketing, by joining the ATA and offering "Taekwondo/Karate, etc."

Many of these instructors knew very little about Taekwondo, and still taught using Japanese terms, and their old curriculum, with a few adjustments. I was part of an ATA Board of Chief Instructors back then, that GM Haeng Ung Lee sent around to new schools in the midwest region to "convert" them to ATA "Taekwondo" schools. We conducted seminars with the Black Belts, and sat on judging panels for their student's tests. We took a portion of their testing fees, shook hands, and left them until the next visit.

Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Taekwondo's popularity was on the rise, regardless of tournaments, or Olympics. The format of the schools, their organizations, the influx of Korean "Masters" coming to America, and a hunger for something new drove the market place. In addition, Chuck Norris was becoming popular in Bruce Lee movies showing a different kind of fighting method, and began making movies of his own. "Watered Down" look-alike versions were bound to spring up, as many amateurs wanted to be known as a "Black Belt" or "Twi kan dew Master" even if they had to print their own certificates (and many did, and still do!).

I think that without the Olympics, we would still be faced with the dilemma of uncertified, and untrained individuals capitalizing on the popularity of Taekwondo's rapid growth in the market place, yet not bothering to get proper training. On one hand, the Olympics is adding fuel to the fire, while, on the other hand, it is providing for international recognition, increased popularity, and some degree of standardized credentials.

Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? :idunno: Only time will tell!

CM D. J. Eisenhart
 
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