Should I continue Taekwondo after transferring from ITF to WTF?

Ivan

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To put this in context, I am blue belt in ITF at a club back home at which I trained at for two years. I went there with the intentions to expand my striking game by learning kicks, and I am very pleased with what I have attained. I specifically focused on nailing four kicks which I prioritised as basics, the front kick, side kick, round kick and hook kick. Before I moved out and moved to Uni, I had just started training more complex maneuvers, like spin and jump hook kicks. I would love to perfect those flashy kicks.

However, after settling in to my student accommodation, the only Taekwondo classes that I have been able to find which are accessible to me, are those provided by a club based at my university, the University of Glasgow. They are strictly WTF. A very big reason for why I want to continue Taekwondo, is because as someone who has moved around a lot, and due to different circumstances with my family and where I lived, it was difficult for me to dedicate myself long enough to one martial art to the point where I reached a black belt. I have had experience with martial arts since I was a kid, and I strongly avoid telling people I do martial arts because of the well-known awkwardness of telling them I am not a black belt. Regardless of the age-old wisdom that belt ranks don't mean anything, I am still 18, and still only human - I can't help but feel self-conscious about it. Given that the club has allowed me to keep my rank, I feel as if it would be the closest route to a black belt right now. More over, I don't want my striking or kicking to stagnate as most of the martial arts available to me revolve around grappling.

As for the club itself, I have mixed feelings. For starters, when I look at WTF sparring online, it's honestly appalling. I mean there are literally people who fall over on purpose after landing a kick to avoid getting countered. It's embarrassing. Some of the kicks look like they have immense power, but others are specifically meant to score points, not cause damage and just look cheap overall. The forms that they do are odd (which was expected), and I was never taught "short stance" at my old club since we never used it in any forms. Looking at people in my club doing "short" stance, and doing it myself makes me physically cringe as it's the most casual, off-balanced and vulnerable stance I have seen in any martial art.

I am honestly conflicted. I know that WTF could teach me many kicks and help me to keep my current arsenal polished - it would also help maintain my flexibility, allow me to eventually attend competitions, and let me keep my current rank instead of having start over as I have way too many times in the past; my white belt is basically yellowy-brown from sweat and other muck. However, I feel as if it could engrain some bad habits in my natural fighting style when I actually need to use it for self-defence. What are your opinions on this?
 

dancingalone

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What are your opinions on this?

1) When you have a black belt (or three) under your belt (heh), you'll realize this is a whole lot of worry about nothing. You will inevitably change how you thing and approach everything as you gain in experience, skills, and yes, age. Nothing is static. You might even move onto another art eventually than TKD. I understand you want the BB. Well, go ahead and train in TKD until you get one. You'll realize quickly it's no magic bullet and you'll eventually wonder what the big deal was.

2) Get comfortable using a high stance - how to move in one and being able to take and give hits while still being stable. It's a good understanding to have. Keep in mind the higher stand makes you more mobile. How might that change your understanding of being solid?

3) Just train.
 

skribs

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First off, get over yourself. Being embarrassed for not being a black belt? Most people who train martial arts aren't black belts. Stop being embarrassed about being intermediate at something.

As to WT, those falling kicks are now banned. If you fall, it's a penalty, and you can't score while committing a penalty. They've done a lot in recent times to liven it up. Yes, there are some things that are done for points...but that's the nature of any sport with points. They do ban "monkey kicks" which are specifically designed only to earn points.

If you like the school, then train there. Don't worry about what other schools you've seen on youtube do. If you don't like the school, pick another art.

You're 18. You're a grown man. You're legally an adult, which means your actions have greater consequences. It's time to stop letting yourself be ruled by embarrassment and doubt.
 

Acronym

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Kickboxing would suit you better from an ITF background.
 

KOKarate

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Awkwardness of not being a black belt?....no one cares.....anyone in your club doesnt care because they know everyone goes through lower ranks and anyone outside of marital arts just doesnt care period. Why would someone really care at all if you are a black belt or not? They just dont
 

Buka

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Ivan, do you know what the very best thing in life a person can have is? Choice(s). They are a beautiful thing. May you always have them.

While you may legally be a grown man, you are not in actuality. You are a work in progress. And in the blink of an I you'll be forty years old.

Don't sweat things, just train, enjoy the process. Frankly, it's the balls. It really is.
 

skribs

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What are these falling kicks? Never heard of it

Basically you kick while falling so they can't hit you back. You're rolling away from any counter they might give you.
 

jobo

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Basically you kick while falling so they can't hit you back. You're rolling away from any counter they might give you.
well that would look very awkward if you just moved to avoid the kick
 

jobo

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To put this in context, I am blue belt in ITF at a club back home at which I trained at for two years. I went there with the intentions to expand my striking game by learning kicks, and I am very pleased with what I have attained. I specifically focused on nailing four kicks which I prioritised as basics, the front kick, side kick, round kick and hook kick. Before I moved out and moved to Uni, I had just started training more complex maneuvers, like spin and jump hook kicks. I would love to perfect those flashy kicks.

However, after settling in to my student accommodation, the only Taekwondo classes that I have been able to find which are accessible to me, are those provided by a club based at my university, the University of Glasgow. They are strictly WTF. A very big reason for why I want to continue Taekwondo, is because as someone who has moved around a lot, and due to different circumstances with my family and where I lived, it was difficult for me to dedicate myself long enough to one martial art to the point where I reached a black belt. I have had experience with martial arts since I was a kid, and I strongly avoid telling people I do martial arts because of the well-known awkwardness of telling them I am not a black belt. Regardless of the age-old wisdom that belt ranks don't mean anything, I am still 18, and still only human - I can't help but feel self-conscious about it. Given that the club has allowed me to keep my rank, I feel as if it would be the closest route to a black belt right now. More over, I don't want my striking or kicking to stagnate as most of the martial arts available to me revolve around grappling.

As for the club itself, I have mixed feelings. For starters, when I look at WTF sparring online, it's honestly appalling. I mean there are literally people who fall over on purpose after landing a kick to avoid getting countered. It's embarrassing. Some of the kicks look like they have immense power, but others are specifically meant to score points, not cause damage and just look cheap overall. The forms that they do are odd (which was expected), and I was never taught "short stance" at my old club since we never used it in any forms. Looking at people in my club doing "short" stance, and doing it myself makes me physically cringe as it's the most casual, off-balanced and vulnerable stance I have seen in any martial art.

I am honestly conflicted. I know that WTF could teach me many kicks and help me to keep my current arsenal polished - it would also help maintain my flexibility, allow me to eventually attend competitions, and let me keep my current rank instead of having start over as I have way too many times in the past; my white belt is basically yellowy-brown from sweat and other muck. However, I feel as if it could engrain some bad habits in my natural fighting style when I actually need to use it for self-defence. What are your opinions on this?
you should generaly avoid telling peopke very much about you at all, unless or until they are friends, try being enigmatic , id never volunteer that i did ma, so the topic of belt level would never come up, it tends to lead to very dull conversations about when they did ma

of course if you think it may go in your favour, with a young lady, then go for it and if necessary lie about your belt level,
 
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Earl Weiss

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If you are planning on returning t your home turf, then use the School club to hone your skillset and whenever you are home go to that club to keep up with technical requirements. When I went away to college I was aware many clubs practice the Chang Hon / ITF system but were not part of the organization. I called te local schools and asked what patterns they practiced as opposed to what organization they were part of. I found one that had the WTF flag on the wall General Choi's 1972 Book on the desk - in Korean, followed ITF sparring rules and did the Chang Hon patterns. Of course things were different then since WTF was new and many of the members were doing the Chang Hon system. There are many independent groups doing the system.
 

granfire

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at 18, you are at the beginning of your journey! Through life and martial arts.
and as you progress on the journey you will realize that these milestones we were lead to believe are imperative are only that: one step in a row of many others.
To be honest, a great many practitioners don't even consider anybody under 18 a real BB.
because there is so much more involved (or should be) than kicking and punching.
and once you reach the level, you will understand that you know nothing and there is so much more to learn.
Of course, to some it's an item to checked off on their list of 'things done'
Those are the ones who volunteer that they used to do this, they used to ride horses (on a dude ranch on a dead broke horse) they fish (on a summer vacation, they bought a charter trip) etc.

BB is 'you learned how to walk grasshopper' on the journey through the arts. Now the real learning begins.
and who knows where life takes you.
Stick with the new school for a while, you meet people in the big city. You will learn new things, not necessarily TKD things.
Growing older, you will be faced with many decisions to make, picking the right TKD school is the most benign.
all those guys there once tripped over their feet, they are lying if they say they didn't
and those who harp on you for not being a BB, well, they make it easy to avoid them. Nobody needs them!
 

_Simon_

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at 18, you are at the beginning of your journey! Through life and martial arts.
and as you progress on the journey you will realize that these milestones we were lead to believe are imperative are only that: one step in a row of many others.
To be honest, a great many practitioners don't even consider anybody under 18 a real BB.
because there is so much more involved (or should be) than kicking and punching.
and once you reach the level, you will understand that you know nothing and there is so much more to learn.
Of course, to some it's an item to checked off on their list of 'things done'
Those are the ones who volunteer that they used to do this, they used to ride horses (on a dude ranch on a dead broke horse) they fish (on a summer vacation, they bought a charter trip) etc.

BB is 'you learned how to walk grasshopper' on the journey through the arts. Now the real learning begins.
and who knows where life takes you.
Stick with the new school for a while, you meet people in the big city. You will learn new things, not necessarily TKD things.
Growing older, you will be faced with many decisions to make, picking the right TKD school is the most benign.
all those guys there once tripped over their feet, they are lying if they say they didn't
and those who harp on you for not being a BB, well, they make it easy to avoid them. Nobody needs them!
Beautifully said @granfire :).

I'm also in a transitional phase so to speak, having left my old school a couple of years ago, and will be coming to the end of my journey to find a new style and starting afresh, and I am really looking forward to strapping the white belt back on! If I grade faster than usual that's fine, but by no means will I expect it or ask for it, as I want to take my time in learning from the ground up wherever I end up.

To me my MA journey has absolutely reflected my life journey, and every step along the way has absolutely served a purpose. I've grown so much in my own practice in this transitional time, moreso now than when I was with any club!

Wherever you end up @Ivan , they're all stepping stones in some way, shape or form. I also would like to devote myself to a system in which I achieve black belt, but I'm learning there's so much more to training than that :).

Visit whatever clubs are around and available, and I would go by feel. What place would you love to be training at? Of course there are certain skills you'd like to maintain and improve upon, but there's always time for that at some later stage I'm sure if needed. Let your love for training guide the way bro :)
 

andyjeffries

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Looking at people in my club doing "short" stance, and doing it myself makes me physically cringe as it's the most casual, off-balanced and vulnerable stance I have seen in any martial art.

So when someone approaches you in the street you go in to a long stance? (front stance, forward stance, not sure of the ITF term)

It's most likely you'll be standing normally, which is pretty much a short stance. On the Kukkiwon courses, they demonstrate the correct length by walking along and stopping, then say "there, that's short stance". People ask why short stance is so narrow (inside edges of the feet on the same line) but when you walk, that's the width, people don't walk like John Wayne having just got off a horse.

I wouldn't adopt any traditional stance of Taekwondo during a fight, like the Karate Kid they are there to teach muscle memory and engage/train small stabilising muscles that most people don't normally use. In modern Kukkiwon Taekwondo, the self defence syllabus isn't done using traditional static techniques/stances.

Remember also that "poomsae" means movement and position. It's not intended that you'd stay in short stance for any long period during an encounter, you use it and then move to the next thing.
 
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Ivan

Ivan

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So when someone approaches you in the street you go in to a long stance? (front stance, forward stance, not sure of the ITF term)

It's most likely you'll be standing normally, which is pretty much a short stance. On the Kukkiwon courses, they demonstrate the correct length by walking along and stopping, then say "there, that's short stance". People ask why short stance is so narrow (inside edges of the feet on the same line) but when you walk, that's the width, people don't walk like John Wayne having just got off a horse.

I wouldn't adopt any traditional stance of Taekwondo during a fight, like the Karate Kid they are there to teach muscle memory and engage/train small stabilising muscles that most people don't normally use. In modern Kukkiwon Taekwondo, the self defence syllabus isn't done using traditional static techniques/stances.

Remember also that "poomsae" means movement and position. It's not intended that you'd stay in short stance for any long period during an encounter, you use it and then move to the next thing.
That's not to say I go into long stance in the street. But let's not beat around the bush, the natural stance any taekwondo pracitioner takes during sparring or street fighting, or competitions isn't in any of the poomsae. In sparring for both ITF and WTF videos the stand completely sideways, for better access round, hook, and side kicks. The long stances are natural as they are in almost every martial art, and they exaggerate the leg movement needed to drill in the importance of balance in your fighting stance; they are also excellent for building flexibility and strength.

On the other hand, the short stance, when I have watched it demonstrated, consists of having your front leg completely straight which, in the street you were quick to bring up, is asking for an oblique kick to the knee that will make sure you never walk again.
 

dvcochran

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To put this in context, I am blue belt in ITF at a club back home at which I trained at for two years. I went there with the intentions to expand my striking game by learning kicks, and I am very pleased with what I have attained. I specifically focused on nailing four kicks which I prioritised as basics, the front kick, side kick, round kick and hook kick. Before I moved out and moved to Uni, I had just started training more complex maneuvers, like spin and jump hook kicks. I would love to perfect those flashy kicks.

However, after settling in to my student accommodation, the only Taekwondo classes that I have been able to find which are accessible to me, are those provided by a club based at my university, the University of Glasgow. They are strictly WTF. A very big reason for why I want to continue Taekwondo, is because as someone who has moved around a lot, and due to different circumstances with my family and where I lived, it was difficult for me to dedicate myself long enough to one martial art to the point where I reached a black belt. I have had experience with martial arts since I was a kid, and I strongly avoid telling people I do martial arts because of the well-known awkwardness of telling them I am not a black belt. Regardless of the age-old wisdom that belt ranks don't mean anything, I am still 18, and still only human - I can't help but feel self-conscious about it. Given that the club has allowed me to keep my rank, I feel as if it would be the closest route to a black belt right now. More over, I don't want my striking or kicking to stagnate as most of the martial arts available to me revolve around grappling.

As for the club itself, I have mixed feelings. For starters, when I look at WTF sparring online, it's honestly appalling. I mean there are literally people who fall over on purpose after landing a kick to avoid getting countered. It's embarrassing. Some of the kicks look like they have immense power, but others are specifically meant to score points, not cause damage and just look cheap overall. The forms that they do are odd (which was expected), and I was never taught "short stance" at my old club since we never used it in any forms. Looking at people in my club doing "short" stance, and doing it myself makes me physically cringe as it's the most casual, off-balanced and vulnerable stance I have seen in any martial art.

I am honestly conflicted. I know that WTF could teach me many kicks and help me to keep my current arsenal polished - it would also help maintain my flexibility, allow me to eventually attend competitions, and let me keep my current rank instead of having start over as I have way too many times in the past; my white belt is basically yellowy-brown from sweat and other muck. However, I feel as if it could engrain some bad habits in my natural fighting style when I actually need to use it for self-defence. What are your opinions on this?

Ivan, assuming your white belt is not 'brownish' due to a nervous hand habit or hygiene, that is Awesome!!! It speaks to the work you have put in regardless of belt status. It may also contribute to your worry over not being a higher belt. Do Not Sweat This Too Much! If you cannot backup a certain rank (BB) then why would you want to wear one or even say you do?

I will reiterate what others have said:
You are young and active. Very good things.
You are curious. A good thing.
You are young and get bored easily looking for different stuff. Normal but not such a good thing.

Try to use your experience in other styles as building blocks, not as 'that is not the way we did it'.
Especially being in school keep your priorities straight and use the accommodations that are afforded you. In other words go to the WT school if it is your best time/financial option. You will have plenty of time down the road to settle into the fields/styles you want to focus on long term.
My advise is don't rush it, experience all you can, and enjoy the ride all the way.
 

skribs

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That's not to say I go into long stance in the street. But let's not beat around the bush, the natural stance any taekwondo pracitioner takes during sparring or street fighting, or competitions isn't in any of the poomsae. In sparring for both ITF and WTF videos the stand completely sideways, for better access round, hook, and side kicks. The long stances are natural as they are in almost every martial art, and they exaggerate the leg movement needed to drill in the importance of balance in your fighting stance; they are also excellent for building flexibility and strength.

On the other hand, the short stance, when I have watched it demonstrated, consists of having your front leg completely straight which, in the street you were quick to bring up, is asking for an oblique kick to the knee that will make sure you never walk again.
Have you seen Muay Thai fighters? A lot of them have a straight leg in their stance.
 

granfire

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as far as stances go....
you can always adopt a straight one, but you have to train the lower one.
Back in my youth, I used to fence. (too much Dumas in my life)
we did the 'sky scraper' in training. The isntructor called out a number between 1 and 10, and you raised or lowered your stance accordingly. It builds leg muscles you'd otherwise not use.
standing taller isn't a feat. Having to squat for a while not having trained for it can be a killer.
And I think that is were most people get forms wrong.
they are not a dance. Sure, they are a choreography.
But those are each a technique one might not be able to practice on a partner. Eye gauges, etc....
the stances are exaggerated. the movements are bigger.
They build strength and muscle memory.
you have thrown a punch after a block so many times, you cannot not throw a punch after that block.
and that is how it is supposed to be. You block you counter.
you move.
Kind of like the 'focus kicks' we did: Holding on to a door frame or the wall, we did a set number of a certain kick. slow and deliberate without putting the leg down.
It strengthened the core muscles and the legs, while perfecting the technique of the kick.
Hey, it is cool when you can stand on one leg, the other chambered, your oponent will have to figure out how to get around you. And if you can kick more than once without dropping the leg...
(ah, I miss that! I was good at that!)

As a side note, it always helped me to visualize being a marionette with a string coming out of my head, holding me up. It was something I learned from Ballett class as a wee one. It helped me tremendously with balance while standing there like a footsore albatross
 

andyjeffries

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That's not to say I go into long stance in the street. But let's not beat around the bush, the natural stance any taekwondo pracitioner takes during sparring or street fighting, or competitions isn't in any of the poomsae. In sparring for both ITF and WTF videos the stand completely sideways, for better access round, hook, and side kicks. The long stances are natural as they are in almost every martial art, and they exaggerate the leg movement needed to drill in the importance of balance in your fighting stance; they are also excellent for building flexibility and strength.

On the other hand, the short stance, when I have watched it demonstrated, consists of having your front leg completely straight which, in the street you were quick to bring up, is asking for an oblique kick to the knee that will make sure you never walk again.

So if you don't go in to a traditional stance, what is the problem with Kukkiwon Taekwondo's short stance? It's a training aid the same as the other stances, and it's a natural stance (the one used in walking).
 
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