The future of TKD

terryl965

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What do you see to be the real future of TKD, will the sport grow and become so big that SD TKD will just slip into a coma? Will the SD principle come back and force the sport side to become the distance cousin to Karate?

I know we have touched on what is best, but I am really looking for solid comments about the real future of the Art we practice.
 

BrandonLucas

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What do you see to be the real future of TKD, will the sport grow and become so big that SD TKD will just slip into a coma? Will the SD principle come back and force the sport side to become the distance cousin to Karate?

I know we have touched on what is best, but I am really looking for solid comments about the real future of the Art we practice.

I think the sport side will continue to grow and become increasingly popular...but as to what the future of the art will be....it's uncertain at this point.

In my opinion, I don't think it's going to be too much different than it already is right now...other than the sport will catch on with more people. But I don't think that the SD aspect will lose popularity, necessarily. I just think that the sport side is becoming more of what people want to go after, not that they are going to completely forsake the SD side.

But, it really all depends on what happens with TKD being in the Olympics, in my opnion. If TKD leaves the Olympics, we'll see a drastic change in the marketing, I think. The sport won't be pushed near as much as what it is now....but, again, that's pretty unclear right now.

I still think it's too early to tell what the future holds for the art. I think the best we can all do is continue to train and teach to the best of our abilities and hope for the best.
 

YoungMan

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This is up to future generations to decide. If Taekwondo loses its Olympic berth, then changes certainly will be made, since the Olympics can no longer be used to market it.
Since you will have people who only know the sparring aspect, you likely will have a split into the sparring system and the traditional system. This system may or may not be called Taekwondo, but it will certainly incorporate traditional technique, culture, power, basics, Korean kicking, and self defense. I think also Taekwondo will align itself more closely with Taekkyun, so that they may become very hard to tell apart. I say this because I see Taekwondo shedding even more of the Japanese karate influences and separating from the pure sparring. I also think new forms will be developed that incorporate the best of the old while emphasizing the Koreanness of them. Just my theory.
 

Galen

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Frankly, I feel that the 'sport' aspect is being pushed way too much. Not many students make it to the olympics and those that do train only for that.

In essence, the split between the WTF and ITF isn't actually terrible, what is terrible is that they're still called TaeKwonDo and marketed similarly. If you want sparring intensive training, you go WTF, if you want 'traditional', you go ITF. Mind you, I'm over-simplifying, but only to make a point. So, perhaps what we need is a more apt naming system so that less laypeople are confussed.

I was trained in ITF TKD and found the focus on tradition a plus. I was never a huge fan of competition and ITF really seemed to be my cup of tea. I can't say there is a large amount of ultra-realistic self-defense in either school of thought, unless added additional from other methods. At the end of the day, it almost seems as though MMA is going to assimilate the most people.

I'm more concerned that with UFC, Pride, EliteXC, etc, that the original arts are loosing their traditional feel. If TKD looses Olympic status, I won't be too sad.(As I said, that form of competition isn't my desire). From my talks with some big MMA enthusiasts, a fair number of figthers take TKD for some kicking/striking game, but nothing more. To me, it seems more is to be lost from the rise of MMA than from being in/out of the Olympics. Though, this is another topic entirely.

To address your SD point, I would really love to see more SD oriented TKD around. My school had some good instuctors from my backgrounds, but not so many of us martial artists are so lucky. Perhaps if TKD is to keep it's 'traditional' feel and incorporate more SD, then it should, as you say, evolve into something now.
 

RobertS

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I'm more concerned that with UFC, Pride, EliteXC, etc, that the original arts are loosing their traditional feel. If TKD looses Olympic status, I won't be too sad.(As I said, that form of competition isn't my desire). From my talks with some big MMA enthusiasts, a fair number of figthers take TKD for some kicking/striking game, but nothing more. To me, it seems more is to be lost from the rise of MMA than from being in/out of the Olympics. Though, this is another topic entirely.

Not to get further off topic but I agree that MMA should be much more of a concern to those who are worried about the future of Tae Kwon Do. I don't think that Olympic sparring is popular among the general public at all. MMA is very popular and gaining in visibility all the time. I think many MMA fighters take only the aspects of the fighting arts that work for the sport leaving behind the traditions, cultures, philosophies, and respect that dedicated martial artists have. That's a generalization obviously, (and I do enjoy watching MMA) but I think UFC style events are going to influence the reputation of martial arts more than the every four years, barely viewed, olympic taekwondo events.
 

BrandonLucas

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I think those are all accurate ways of looking at things.

To elaborate a little further...

I don't think it's necessarily any one faction or aspect of the sport of the MA's...be it MMA, the Olympics, or any tournement style....

I've thought about it since posting previously about this, and after reading the other replies...I realized that the general public isn't really looking for martial arts anymore. Not for the same thing that the public was looking for in the past...the most recent being up to the mid to late 90's. That's really when the public's perception, that I can tell, started to change.

Now, people look at martial arts more from the fitness aspect and sport aspect than anything else. I can't really say that the UFC started this particular trend...I don't think it was really just that, but it did, in my opinion, have something to do with it.

Just take a look at how martial arts in general are viewed today: back in the 80's, ninjas were all the rage. It was cool to take martial arts, because everyone in the movies were depicted as being almost super-human. Now, ninjas are made fun of to no end...and, in a way, it's because of the over-popularity of ninjas.

Chuck Norris. He used to be "the guy" to watch in movies...now, how many Chuck Norris jokes can everyone think of???

I think that martial arts, in general, are viewed the same way. People look at it now and think "What is this really going to do for me? Am I going to get into better shape? Can I take this and compete in the UFC?"

It's not really about the non-physical any more, not that I can tell. Tradition and honor seem to be misplaced...people would rather learn how to beat someone's face in than learn how to be at peace with themselves.

The best way that I can put it...

I was leaving class about a month ago, and was on my way to my car. A small boy, maybe about 10, was walking by with his dad. I overheard the little boy say to his dad, "Look, dad. Those guys in there are playing karate!" His dad's response, thankfully, was "I think they're doing more than playing in there, son."

Now, this child was about 10 years old. When I was 10, if I had walked by a dojang, I would have been hypnotized. But this child was actually almost making fun of what we do. To me, that's how the general public sees TMA's now, not just TKD. I don't think it's everyone in the public that sees things this way, but it's certainly more than a handful.

The good thing is that new students still sign up...although, in our town, it seems to be younger children that want to sign up, with very little adult response. But if we can get them in young, and teach them that we're not just "playing karate", then I think TMA's have a strong chance of changing in the eyes of the public.

Do I think that martial arts are going to be viewed the same as they were 20 years ago? No. But if you really think about it, society now seems to be harder to please than 20 years ago. There needs to be something fresh brought to everyone's attention.
 

punisher73

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I think there will be more of a distinction between the SD and sport aspect of the art. But, I also think that the big push is to run it as a business which will emphasize what the consumer wants. They want large kids classes and to have them have fun and do what they see on TV.

You also have to remember that MMA while gaining in popularity is still a smaller niche market. They aren't the average person going to an MA school.

Most people don't know WHAT style they are looking for, they go to what is the closest and most convienent to them. To the AVERAGE person, everything you do is "karate". They don't know the differences between styles.
 

dancingalone

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It's really hard to reverse a trend with momentum behind it... I believe TKD will continue to fragment with the sport & self-esteem building schools receiving the bulk of the attention from the public becoming the de facto image of TKD (if it is not there already).

I think people are not stupid. They know their Little Johnny is not getting true self-defense training but to them it's OK. Their little one is getting some exercise and a lot of patting on the back. Frequently the kids placed in TKD today don't fit in well and are picked on in school. TKD gives them a little oasis where they can have fun and be be given praise and smiles.

Those seeking the more serious martial arts will unfortunately gravitate to MMA or to systems that market themselves as reality-based like JKD or Krav Maga or the Keysi Fighting Method. Judo seems to be picking in popularity in neck of the woods, possibly because of the rise in MMA.
 

Manny

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What do you see to be the real future of TKD, will the sport grow and become so big that SD TKD will just slip into a coma? Will the SD principle come back and force the sport side to become the distance cousin to Karate?

I know we have touched on what is best, but I am really looking for solid comments about the real future of the Art we practice.

As long has I 've been see it, TKD has evolved in some sort of sport/olimpic disipline, sadly the MA and SD thing is diying.

The only way that this would reverse is if all the grandmasters (I mean the old ones) reunited and start to teach MA TKD only.

Terry, sometimes I think if I was a sambunim I would teach my peers more MA/SD than olimpic TKD however, lets face it I will not have so many students cause olimpic TKD is what sells my friend.

Manny
 

Galen

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I think people are not stupid. They know their Little Johnny is not getting true self-defense training but to them it's OK. Their little one is getting some exercise and a lot of patting on the back. Frequently the kids placed in TKD today don't fit in well and are picked on in school. TKD gives them a little oasis where they can have fun and be be given praise and smiles.

This is what bothers me most. I wouldn't say people are stupid either, but naive/ignorant, absolutely. Sure, Little Johnny has all the confidence in the world. He meets a bully and says 'hey, I know TKD. I can kick his butt,' then gets himself stabbed or seriously injured.

To train someone, kids especially, in a martial art without the SD side of things, or at least a speech every so often about what they're learning is 'sport' and should never be used, is dangerous. To a degree, it's up to consumers, but it's also responsibility of instructors to tell their students and student's parents that there is a big difference.

The world is still a violent place. People get taken advantage of everywhere. I friend of mine went to Southern Connecticut State University. She told me of a recent incident where a woman was raped right next to the library, which is well lit. To me, this is unacceptable. Every has a duty to protect themselves, or at least to the best of their ability. Let's say that this girl took a 'sport' martial art. Sadly, I doubt anything would have been different. That hurts me deeply. SD is and must be integral to all martial arts.

I acknowledge the sports interest, and sure, a lot of what we do in martial arts is very athletic, but it's more than that. It pains me to see this current trend that is disregarding the most important aspects of martial arts: the spiritual, philosophical, the self-defense. Baseball is a sport; martial arts transend such a simple statement in my belief.
 

dancingalone

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I agree, Galen. But the problem lies within all of us. Every time 'we' take our students to a point tournament, we are promoting sports MA. Every time 'we' teach unrealistic one-steps, we institutionalize MA as a role playing game. Every time we pass a student to black belt even though his physical fitness ranges between Butterfingers and DoubleGulps of soda, 'we' sully the meaning of a Dan rank even more.

There are surely more examples. I think many of us would be surprised at how much sport MA has infiltrated our daily practice, even though at the face of it, we would all say we value self-defense above all.
 

Sylo

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What do you see to be the real future of TKD, will the sport grow and become so big that SD TKD will just slip into a coma? Will the SD principle come back and force the sport side to become the distance cousin to Karate?

I know we have touched on what is best, but I am really looking for solid comments about the real future of the Art we practice.

I think TKD will be seperated.

One side will be focused on sport, the other side on self defense. It will be easily distinguishable which organizations focus on what.

IE.. ATA, WTF will be strictly sport related.

ITF will continue to be more and more SD oriented.

I don't think TKD in general will get any worse than it already is.

There will still be Mcdojo's and people will get smarter to avoid them.
 
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terryl965

terryl965

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Sylo that is probaly right, but what will become of it after the aftermath of all the great Master going to there place in the sky?
 
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