Tae Kwon Do obsolete for Self Defense


Yellow Belt
Nov 18, 2008
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if someone gives a legitimate threat of physical harm to me, i go back to my old standard.


but really, if someone comes looking for trouble from me, then i can dish it out however they want. if it's a drunk kid, they can expect some BJJ treatment for a softer knockout via blood choke. if it's someone that actually makes me worry that i will incur serious damage, then they get the TKD stand up until they fall over, where the BJJ will come into effect. they will be lucky to only have one broken bone when i'm done.


Green Belt
Oct 25, 2008
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Got your attention? : )

One thing that occasionally goes through my mind is that Tae Kwon Do is a very hard striking, brutal art when it comes to application of the techniques. When we talk about 'traditional' Tae Kwon Do here, we talk about the Korean military being feared for their deadly skills. Tae Kwon Do is not about control and submission, it's about damage and destruction. It's about disabling or killing an enemy combatant before they kill you

Now, in reading various threads about practical application of self-defense, one thing that stands out to me is an emphasis on de-escalation, and a minimal response. LEO's and bouncers and such talk about (the need for) controlling the situation and the person, not about rib cracking sidekicks. About legalities and repercussions, not ridge-hands to the trachea

We talk about the effectiveness of traditional hard-core Tae Kwon Do, but the examples we often draw from are from a military application, which is not the environment most of us find ourselves in.

So the question that occurs to me is two fold. One is "self-defense" for Tae Kwon Do a misnomer for the sake of acceptability, that Tae Kwon Do is simply and really about 'personal combat' and entailed in that is a significant offensive component. Two is... given the legal and social context most of us find ourselves in, does that render Tae Kwon Do obsolete as a truly practical means of self-defense?

Sorry if I dont read the whole thread, just throw my two cents into it. Obselete? No. Too sport oriented imho, hell yes. The techniques are fine, the way they are taught could use some fine tuning is all.


Orange Belt
Nov 16, 2008
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Deescalation only works before they attack. Once they attack, I am a firm believer in disabling my opponent, not deescalation. I have no interest in trying to figure out what to do with the guy I've just grappled into a pretzel and hope that he doesn't get a hand free to pull a knife. Nor do I have any interest in maintaining such close proximity to an assailant. No, I want him down and unable to continue, preferably unconscious. TKD works quite well for this.


This is my train of thought as well. Once its ON, its ON.

Disarm, disable get out of harms way as fast as you can. I think by its implied definition and implementation in the U.S., Martial Arts are used for self defense, which means you have done all you can to avoid the confrontation are are left with nothing more then to fight.

As stated, the trick is knowing how much force to apply since every situation is different. A person with a gun sneaking into your house should be dealt with differently than a drunk college kid at a bar.