Perception of Tae Kwon Do a Problem?

Zepp

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Ya know, it was really bothering me for a while how other martial artists view Tae Kwon Do. Everyone always talks about Tae Kwon Do's great, flashy kicks, but lack of hand techniques, or mentions how the way to beat a TKDist is to get close to them, or wait for them to kick high. The way they talk is as though TKD is lacking in basic fundamentals that are part of any martial art.:tantrum: I know it's not their fault that they've had crappy instruction themselves, or that the TKDists they've met have had crappy instruction, but it still almost made me angry to hear/read it. Of course, this perception of Tae Kwon Do is propagated by McDojang's and by organizations that put Olympic competition ahead of quality martial arts instruction.

Then I thought: why does this frustrate me so much? It shouldn't really bother me at all, should it? So what if other martial artists think Tae Kwon Do is crap? It doesn't affect what I practice. If anything, it just gives me an advantage the next time I spar some cocky UFC fanboy who thinks I can't hit him with hands or elbows.

So now my questions for all of you: Is there a problem with the way other martial arts perceive Tae Kwon Do? If so, in what ways does it affect us? If there isn't a problem, is it perhaps a good thing that we get so little respect?
 

TigerWoman

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Zepp said:
Then I thought: why does this frustrate me so much? It shouldn't really bother me at all, should it? So what if other martial artists think Tae Kwon Do is crap? It doesn't affect what I practice. If anything, it just gives me an advantage the next time I spar some cocky UFC fanboy who thinks I can't hit him with hands or elbows.

So now my questions for all of you: Is there a problem with the way other martial arts perceive Tae Kwon Do? If so, in what ways does it affect us? If there isn't a problem, is it perhaps a good thing that we get so little respect?

It didn't bother me before I got on this board. But lately it has too. See: my newest pet peeve. My school is/was not a McDojo-Karate, McDoJANG for Taekwondo-- by any means. So how many of us "good guys" are out there? Maybe we are there in alot more quantity than most other disciplines would like to think. Maybe it is the most popular sport/discipline/art for a reason. Maybe they haven't experienced Taekwondo so they can't really criticize it. Just like I haven't experienced Kenpo or Hapkido or Judo so I can't criticize them either. We can talk about each others's art all we want and we will never really KNOW what it is to practice it unless we do. I would like to possibly learn Kenpo or learn of it more but I cannot KNOW it until I have devoted alot of time to it.

I wish everyone would respect each other's art for the fact that is IS and that it has a large following, and is an art to be respected and not trashed in public because "its flashy" or does that mean impressive?... and not familiar enough to them to be good in self defense. They don't know that, because they don't walk in our shoes. I personally don't care what they think, because I and many others love TKD and we are second to none. TW
 

Andrew Green

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Zepp said:
Is there a problem with the way other martial arts perceive Tae Kwon Do? If so, in what ways does it affect us? If there isn't a problem, is it perhaps a good thing that we get so little respect?
Only if you percieve a problem ;)

Seriously though, who cares?

TKD does focus heavy on kicks, yes.

TKD hand techniques are not used as frequent in sparring, yes.

TKD sparring is usually restricted, this places it at a disadvantage when sparring without those restrictions against someone who usually spars without them, yes.

But who really cares?

Is it fun, Yes. So don't worry about how it does in competitions under other peoples rules...
 
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Zepp

Zepp

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Thank you for your responses Andrew and TW.

Let me clarify something: I didn't intend this thread to be another place for people to post their opinions about TKD. There are already plenty of places on this board where people can, and have, done that. What I did hope to get from people are their opinions about the common opinions of TKD. I know that seems like a limited topic, but I'd like to see where it goes.
 
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Tkang_TKD

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Hello,

I too have been a little bit bothered by some of the other MAists that make remarks about Taekwondo. I've given it some thought and I basically decided that I won't let it bother me.

If they want to think that TKDists can only kick, or have limited hand techniques, it doesn't matter. I train mostly tradititional TKD, but with a WTF rank structure.

My KJN always tells us that if we need to fight, or defend, we should use our training and not try to fight the other guys fight. To explain that, it simply means that if you're fighting a boxer, don't try to box with him(her). You'd be playing to their strengths.

I know with sport TKD, alot of emphasis is placed on valid point areas (above the waist, no punching to the face, etc...) If I were to fight where that style is ineffective, I know that I have at least been taught to properly deliver low kicks to the knee's, shins, etc... I also do work on several grappling techniques, although nothing that would be consistent with some of the grappling arts. My grappling comes only from a background with folkstyle/freestyle wrestling.

Just ask yourself this question: If a differnt stylest had to fight with the restrictions placed on the sport aspect of TKD, would they really be all that effective?
 
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Tkang_TKD

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Wow...I hope my message wasn't too confusing. I think maybe the last paragraph is all that really makes sense LOL
 
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Tkang_TKD

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On the subject of why we get so little respect, I really think that has a lot to do with seeing so many TKDists getting into MMA type events and being at a disadvantage because of their unfamiliarity with grappling, submissions and what have you.

(sorry, I'm a n00b so I haven't figured out the whole concept of putting all my thoughts into one post LOL)
 

MichiganTKD

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What I have observed is this:

It is not that Tae Kwon Do is inherently worse than other styles, it is not. What it suffers from is a plague of overpublicity from the wrong sorts.
Traditional schools by definition tend to be more solitary and word of mouth, unconcerned as much with publicity and hype. You have to seek them out because they are not easy to find.
Conversely, the half-assed low class Instructors, and we all know who they are, are all too eager to get themselves into magazines, videos, and advertisements. These are the ones most people see, not necessarily the best representatives of the Art. In my area too. The Instructors I consider the worst are the ones most willing to whore themselves. Comes with the territory.
Does it irritate me? A little. However, I absolutely refuse to lower my standards to attain the number of students they have, knowing I would lose personal integrity.
It's kind of like the band that remains true to its fans by staying small. In going mainstream and acquiring lots of fans, maybe something is lost.
For example, the ATA is undoubtably bigger than our Organization. Would I join the ATA? Nope.
 
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Anna Bastiaans

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The opinion of other MA's does bother me for a while. I hear very often from them (especially kickboxers and streetfighters) that they would easily overpower a TKD artist on the street. I usually don't start discussing it with them, but invite them to participate in my class, so they can experience and appreciate TKD. One of them, btw, was bragging that he will kick everybody's asses in a TKD training. But once he came and had to spar with a couple of our guys (no high ranks, btw) he said how challenging and hard TKD is. So I think that most people have all these negative ideas just as a result of ignorance.
Another point that many MAs don't realize is that many TKD schools also teach Hapkido as a complementary skill for self-defence, which is very effective on the street. So once again, 90% of the critique we get comes from ignorance.
Anna.
 

MichiganTKD

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What many people don't understand is that in sport or Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do (which is where much of the derision is probably directed toward), technique is purposely limited in the goal of attaining points. Kicking and punching techniques have purposely lost much of their original power, because winning is emphasized over self defense. Kind of like judo vs. jujitsu. The really painful actions were removed because the need changed.
However, as stated before, in traditional Tae Kwon Do things are different. And don't kid yourself. Traditional TKD is very hard to find because of the way it is practiced. Not as much of a market for that. Anyway, traditional advocates practicing difficult techniques because if you practice difficult, other techniques are easy. If I practice head kicking often, kicking someone in the groin or knee is not going to be difficult. If someone takes me to the ground to grapple, I'm still going to use my arms and legs to kick, punch and block. Not to mention attacking vital spots. But many MMA or UFC people think Tae Kwon Do students can't or don't do this. Maybe sport Tae Kwon Do people don't. That's also why I don't practice Hapkido by the way. Not that it's ineffective, I just never felt a need for it.
Basically, I think non-TKD or UFC students deride Tae Kwon Do because they get their info from the wrong sources.
 
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Tkang_TKD

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MichiganTKD,

I agree fully. I am fortunate that I do get some of the hapkido thrown in with my training. I tend to believe that my school is a traditional school since we put so little emphasis on olympic style sparring.

We do spar about 1 day per week, but also throw in alot of the hapkido techniques and some ground work.

Just this week I had a situation in the street that looked like it could get ugly, and during the whole thing I found it weird that I was visualizing several different techniques that I would execute, depending on what type of attack the adversary would have come out with.

Throwing kicks really never even came into play, although several and strikes and redirections came to mind. If the scenario would have played out, it would have been my 230lbs versus a guy pushing 400+ lbs. My main thought patterns were avoidance, and if necessary joint manipulations...I certainly don't like the thought of it coming down to grappling. I would have been giving up way too much weight.
 
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Hanzo04

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I used to get really irritated when i would read or hear someone talking bad about TKD. i always some of it was true but people stereotype everything. it really doesn't matter what people say because they're gonna talk. they just like to hype themselves up because they suck. people have never seen my teacher and what he can do. and no he's not Korean. he's bulgarian and has been training for 15 years. extremely fast and dangerous all the teachers i've worked with have been very good. so i don't listen to people who just mouth off.
 

MichiganTKD

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It's funny. Going back to my comment about getting your info from the wrong sources: Years ago, our local paper would occasionally do a story about Tae Kwon Do, because our school was quite large and its students had very good reputations. However, instead of interviewing our Grandmaster or any of his students, they always ended up interviewing the Director of Facilities at the YMCA where our class was headquartered. This guy was not a Tae Kwon Do student, as far as I knew had never practiced Tae Kwon Do. What he was was the YMCA judo Instructor who disliked our class because it competed with his class and kept him from gaining students.
Needless to say, we came off looking like idiots because the Judo Instructor was determined to explain where Tae Kwon Do came from. And because he was the Facilities Director, the paper assumed he knew his stuff. That and the fact he was ALWAYS willing to talk to the paper about stuff he knew nothing about.
Just goes to show: be careful where you get your information from. Tae Kwon Do has suffered for years from bad publicity from nitwit Instructors who really should keep their mouths shut.
 

Shu2jack

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It is not that Tae Kwon Do is inherently worse than other styles, it is not. What it suffers from is a plague of overpublicity from the wrong sorts.
Traditional schools by definition tend to be more solitary and word of mouth, unconcerned as much with publicity and hype. You have to seek them out because they are not easy to find.
Conversely, the half-assed low class Instructors, and we all know who they are, are all too eager to get themselves into magazines, videos, and advertisements. These are the ones most people see, not necessarily the best representatives of the Art. In my area too. The Instructors I consider the worst are the ones most willing to whore themselves. Comes with the territory.
Does it irritate me? A little. However, I absolutely refuse to lower my standards to attain the number of students they have, knowing I would lose personal integrity.
It's kind of like the band that remains true to its fans by staying small. In going mainstream and acquiring lots of fans, maybe something is lost.
For example, the ATA is undoubtably bigger than our Organization. Would I join the ATA? Nope.
Wait, people shouldn't knock on TKD for various reasons, but it is ok to knock on the ATA for basically the same reasons?

As for advertising and "whoring" ourselves out....I love to teach TKD. I love the art and I want to give back what was given to me- my life. I want to teach TKD for a living because it is a passion. For this reason I hate charging students money. I hate collecting money. I hate asking for it for my teaching fees, but my instructor explained it to me like this.

What does TKD teach? Integrity, honor, discipline, respect, self-control, etc. How much is that worth to a parent to have their children learn these things? Instructors are like candles. To illumiante the path, the instructor must sacrifice himself to do so. Isn't that time you spend and the sacrifice you make worth something? Isn't what you teach worth something? Yes, we would teach for free if we could, but the fact is we have bills to pay and our own children to feed.

This is a basic summery, but we advertise because I can be a much more effective TKD instructor and I would be much happier with my life's work if I could have 100 students. Train during the day and improve myself while others go to work and school and teach at night to help others. Much better then spending 8 hours a day doing paper work. Does have a large school mean I have poor students? No. It means I know how to run the business side of things. As long as my students are receiving quality instruction, then having a big student base is a benifit not only to myself but also my students.

Sorry to get defensive, but when I see the same people trash the ATA are some of the same people who say others shouldn't trash TKD, it really irritates me. The ATA is like any other TKD school. We have our good and bad apples.
 
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Zepp

Zepp

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Shu2jack said:
Wait, people shouldn't knock on TKD for various reasons, but it is ok to knock on the ATA for basically the same reasons?...

Sorry to get defensive, but when I see the same people trash the ATA are some of the same people who say others shouldn't trash TKD, it really irritates me. The ATA is like any other TKD school. We have our good and bad apples.

Good point. It's easy to pick on the ATA for the same reasons it's easy to pick on TKD as a whole- it's the bad apples the world tends to see and hear from more often.

So it sounds like we all agree with regards to TKD's reputation, that we shouldn't let image affect us or our training. Anyone think that image matters?
 
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Disco

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This is a basic summery, but we advertise because I can be a much more effective TKD instructor and I would be much happier with my life's work if I could have 100 students. Train during the day and improve myself while others go to work and school and teach at night to help others. Much better then spending 8 hours a day doing paper work. Does have a large school mean I have poor students? No. It means I know how to run the business side of things. As long as my students are receiving quality instruction, then having a big student base is a benifit not only to myself but also my students.

There are some, very few in my opinion, that can and do pull this off. The focal point on the above statement is "as long as my students are receiving quality instruction". That statement is a loaded one. Anybody can rationalize what is good instruction, as long as there are plenty of students and money rolling in. In actuality, it's serving 2 masters and that really can't be done. One will force itself above the other and it will the business - money, at least 99% of the time. As I said prior, there are some who can and do make it work. But that number is few and only temporary at best. They eventually will fall prey to the allmighty dollar. It's a flaw of human nature - greed.
 
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Tkang_TKD

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While I don't run a school, I'd like to offer my perspective on school size from a student perspective.

My school has about 60 students, combining the childrens class with the adults. We do train separately on most days, but some days we combine the child and adult advanced students. I feel that I get much better instruction when a class size is 20 or less students. This due to the fact that having smaller classes gives my KJN the ability to tailor the training to a more personal level. Moreso, the KJN can better evaluate rough spots in a particular students learning. With less students in the class, each individual student seems to get problem areas discovered and corrected.

I do not underestimate the need for a school to make money either though. I would prefer that the Dojang make enough money to where there's not going to be the chance of the school closing due to lack of money.

My school doesn't advertise any other way, but seems to do well just the same. I can't beat the deal I get for monthly fees. I pay for 4 people in my family training what some people pay for 1 person to train monthly at other schools, and our curriculum seems to be really good as we focus on traditional TKD, along with some sport TKD aspects.

I was almost faced with having to leave my school a while back, and I looked all over within a reasonable distance from my house, and I couldn't find the type of curriculum I wanted regardless of price.

In summary, I like being a member of a smaller school, and have thoroughly enjoyed my 3+ years of training there. If the school were to get too much bigger, I think the level of training would really go down.
 
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Mark70Z

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Ok...my .02.

ATA is one of, if not the largest MA organizations in the world. Now, it was mentioned that ATA was like any other TKD school. Also, there are good and bad apples in every group, which is true, but you know what bad apples do for all the apples in the basket...they all rot...correct?

Now, I'm not saying all the ATA schools are bad, because I'm sure it's not the case. It's the perception and the "real" problems with this organization. Here's a few:

- 2nd Degree black belts at the age of 7
- More belts, with more stripes, = more money.
- Test every two months, with a testing fee that continues to go up as you go to higher ranks.
- Never really learn the bunkai to the forms.
- Don't teach you a whole form till you get to be a BB, etc. etc.

These are a "few" of the things that give TKD a bad rap. There are many more, including not being able to defend yourself at the BB level.
 

bignick

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Mark70Z said:
These are a "few" of the things that give TKD a bad rap. There are many more, including not being able to defend yourself at the BB level.
just because you are a black belt doesn't give you any "special" power to defend yourself..i'm about 6'5''(1.95 m) and 335 lbs(152 kg)...technique matters...a lot...but strength and size matter too...i know quite a few black belts that probably couldn't defend themselves against me...and they've admitted this...this is an ego boost on my part...i know quite a few black belts that could eat me alive...including one that only weighs about 160 lbs...soaking wet......

just trying to expose the myth of the almighty black belt...
 

Marginal

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There's a difference between expecting a BB to be invincible and expecting a BB to be competant. One's delusion, the other's just flat out dissapointing to witness when the expetation's not met. Doesn't even have to be physical. If they're mentally just playing around, haw haw-ing about how much they stink at doing a turning/round kick, if they are in terrible shape for no better reason than they simply don't try etc, then you are being presented with someone that makes you wonder why the heck you're bothering with the school at all.

Along those lines, if an org is awarding BB's in 1 1/2 years, but has brown belts opening schools, that would indicate that they don't even care about basic technical competency being a requirement for an instructor. Dunno how theyr'e going to turn out a BB that's anything but a joke with that kinda zippy turnaround.
 

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