TKD Changes

terryl965

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What has been some of the most practical changes in TKD over the last twenty five year in your opinion and why have those changes been good or bad for TKD?
 

WMKS Shogun

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Well, obviously, Tae Kwon Do got more practical once I started training in it! HAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding. Maybe one day in the future someone will list me as a significant factor in the current state of Tae Kwon Do (hopefully for the better). In all seriousness, TKD getting into the Olympics has been 'practical' for the spreading of the art, though not necessarily good or bad in my opinion. Other changes.....of late in many dojangs there has been a rededication to bringing back the traditional side and self defense techniques as opposed to only the sportive aspects.
 

tellner

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What do you mean by "the traditional side"? Do you mean doing the Korean equivalent of kata, forms of etiquette or something else entirely?
 

IcemanSK

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My experience in 25 years has seen a lot of changes. When I started, headgear was not widely used. I recall it starting about 1986. In the dojang where I started, v-neck doboks were optional.There was a period there guys at tournaments would wear their cups on the outside of their pants.

On the none fashion/protection front: Where the kihaps are in the Tae Geuk poomsae have changed several times. That's what I can up with off the top of my head.
 

Kwan Jang

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Well, I've seen the pendulum swing in a direction that I didn't approve of. The change from Olympic TKD fro more of a power-based "knock out as the goal, but I can win on points" type of combative sport to a game of who can slap the hogu with a round or cut kick the quickest. Also, how many schools have lost the combative roots of TKD or teach it as an effective self defense system or martial art.

Luckily, it finally appears that at least in a decent percentage of schools, that pendulum is starting to swing back i a more positive direction. Even the WTF is making at least some reforms, so there is hope.
 

exile

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Well, I've seen the pendulum swing in a direction that I didn't approve of. The change from Olympic TKD fro more of a power-based "knock out as the goal, but I can win on points" type of combative sport to a game of who can slap the hogu with a round or cut kick the quickest. Also, how many schools have lost the combative roots of TKD or teach it as an effective self defense system or martial art.

Luckily, it finally appears that at least in a decent percentage of schools, that pendulum is starting to swing back i a more positive direction. Even the WTF is making at least some reforms, so there is hope.

I hope you're right, KJ. It's an uphill battle though, because so many of the the people who start TKD probably do so in part on the basis of the images of the art that have been presented along the lines of Olympic foot-fencing. It'll take a generation or two, I suspect, for different images of TKD to get established...
 

Jai

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I have seen massive amounts of changes in TKD, some good, some bad. I see TKD on the down swing currently with the fly by night schools, I am pleased to see alot of these schools do not last long. Alot of schools that do manage to stay around reform to a point, so there is hope for them. I hope things pick up in general and TKD turns around. One can hope!
 

Laurentkd

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There was a period there guys at tournaments would wear their cups on the outside of their pants.
quote]

This is one change that I think has been a GREAT one!!! There is nothing less appealing than watching a guy walk around with a cup and jock on the outside of his pants! I am so glad that you don't see that like you used to! :)
 

Laurentkd

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Luckily, it finally appears that at least in a decent percentage of schools, that pendulum is starting to swing back i a more positive direction. Even the WTF is making at least some reforms, so there is hope.

This site has done a lot to help me realize there are others out there also trying to swing back! I hope that in the next few years we see even more of this, especially in our TKD media as a world-wide movement of sorts.
 

foot2face

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What has been some of the most practical changes in TKD over the last twenty five year in your opinion and why have those changes been good or bad for TKD?

I would have to say that the inclusion of sparing gear has been one of the most practical changes for TKD. I believe TKD more than other traditionally inspired MAs has embraced the use of protective equipment while sparring. At my school we geared up from head to toe and often joked how we resembled astronauts with head gear, some face-cages, mouthpieces, chest protectors, forearm pads, gloves, cups, shin pad and foot gear. When ever I described how we geared up at my school to some one from a different style or even "old school" TKDers they would typically mock me for being soft and then tell me how they sparred with no gear, that just sounded crazy to me. My master was a believer in the philosophy that if you want to be good at fighting then you have to fight. At my school we sparred every class, hard, with little restrictions and not much holding back. The only exception was the week before a promotion in order to avoid the possibility of injury that was still present even with all the protective gear. The protective equipment allowed us to spar with an intensity approaching a real fight, without it I believe we would have had to hold back too much, pulling all of our strikes or restricting them to very specific locations for safety (developing habits which I believe are counter to real SD) if not, we would run a much higher risk of seriously hurting a training partner or accumulating injury that would later hinder out ability to train and fight.
 

DArnold

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I would have to say that the inclusion of sparing gear has been one of the most practical changes for TKD. I believe TKD more than other traditionally inspired MAs has embraced the use of protective equipment while sparring. At my school we geared up from head to toe and often joked how we resembled astronauts with head gear, some face-cages, mouthpieces, chest protectors, forearm pads, gloves, cups, shin pad and foot gear. When ever I described how we geared up at my school to some one from a different style or even "old school" TKDers they would typically mock me for being soft and then tell me how they sparred with no gear, that just sounded crazy to me. My master was a believer in the philosophy that if you want to be good at fighting then you have to fight. At my school we sparred every class, hard, with little restrictions and not much holding back. The only exception was the week before a promotion in order to avoid the possibility of injury that was still present even with all the protective gear. The protective equipment allowed us to spar with an intensity approaching a real fight, without it I believe we would have had to hold back too much, pulling all of our strikes or restricting them to very specific locations for safety (developing habits which I believe are counter to real SD) if not, we would run a much higher risk of seriously hurting a training partner or accumulating injury that would later hinder out ability to train and fight.

My master was a believer in the philosophy that if you want to be good at fighting then you have to fight.

Did this mean that to be good at fighting you needed pads?

Many would disagree with you as most that fight with pads have no concept of focus. Once you get good, the pads are insignificant as I could hurt you with or without them. They usually give students a false sense of security and have nothing to do with fighting. You may consider blocking as a higher premium!
 

foot2face

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My master was a believer in the philosophy that if you want to be good at fighting then you have to fight.

Did this mean that to be good at fighting you needed pads?

Many would disagree with you as most that fight with pads have no concept of focus. Once you get good, the pads are insignificant as I could hurt you with or without them. They usually give students a false sense of security and have nothing to do with fighting. You may consider blocking as a higher premium!

Do you need pads to be good at fighting? Absolutely not, but you need to fight! The issue is not one of focus but one of intensity. Fights are violent, chaotic and take place at a much quicker pace then many can handle. One needs to become accustomed to this level of intensity if they are going to rely on their skills to protect them. As I mentioned before, at my school we sparred hard. We weren't trying to collect points or work on our footwork and distancing, our goal was to learn how to quickly overwhelm and dominate our adversary with a barrage of fast and powerful strikes as well as defend against someone who is bombarding us with aggression. When training like this the protective equipment is not insignificant, it saved many of us from serious injury. Did people get hurt, yes, but the difference was often between a bad bruise or a break, an injury were one can continue to train within a week or an injury requiring several weeks of recovery before one can continue training. Another thing to consider is that it's not the well focused blow that one needs to worry about while sparring but the awkward shot that doesn't quite hit the mark. One of the few targets we weren't allowed to hit was the throat, but accidents still happen. Someone would aim for the chin but mid punch their opponent would move and get it on the throat. Now I don't know about you but if I were to accidentally get hit in the throat I'd much rather it be with a soft, cushy glove then with bare knuckles, especially if those knuckles were conditioned to punch through a big stack of boards.

When my master was young, MA training was rigorous and the sparring was very intense. The possibility of seriously harming a fellow student or getting seriously hurt was a consequence of training that only the dedicated few were willing to accept, but as TKD grew in popularity this aspect of training was frowned upon. Many considered it to be uncivilized. I believe that the introduction of protective equipment has allowed current TKD practitioners to reintroduce a vital aspect of training that was once abandoned.
 

Kacey

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I have to say I disagree. I've seen many fights of the type you describe both with and without pads - and the opponents who fought without pads had better focus, higher intensity, and more power than those who have only ever fought with pads. Just because you're wearing pads doesn't mean that you have to beat the crap out of your opponent to be intense, to show focus, or to demonstrate power; instead, it means that you have to be able to place your technique exactly where you want it, without considering potential damage to the target, because you know, through intensive practice, that you can hit any point you want, without relying on 1/2" of foam rubber to protect your partner against your mistakes.

Here's something to demonstrate what I mean, an exercise my instructor repeats on a regular basis. Face a partner, and, full speed and full power, punch at your partner's belt knot, 10 times. Touch every time. Then, still full speed and full power, punch at your partner's solar plexus, 10 times. Touch every time. Then, still full speed and full power, punch at your partner's nose, 10 times. Touch every time. This is focus. If you can do this exercise on a stationary target, change to a moving target. Expect to get hit a few times - after all, it's a martial arts class, and you're fighting - you're going to get hit, right?

Now, if you think the above exercise can't be done, then you're right - for yourself, anyway, because as long as you tell yourself it can't be done, your belief in that will prevent you from doing it. I didn't think it could be done until I saw it demonstrated, and now my students do the same exercise - and not just with punches, but with other hand strikes and kicks. They can spar both with and without pads, and the level of intensity doesn't change; in fact, they're more likely to be careless when wearing pads than not, because of the false sense of security that pads provide.
I believe that the introduction of protective equipment has allowed current TKD practitioners to reintroduce a vital aspect of training that was once abandoned.

And yet... they are a primary reason why so many MAists in other styles look down on TKD as watered down, and over-emphasizing the sporting aspect over the defensive aspect. And if you think people can't get hurt when you're wearing pads - think again... Pads aren't for students - they're for insurance companies.
 

foot2face

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And yet... they are a primary reason why so many MAists in other styles look down on TKD as watered down, and over-emphasizing the sporting aspect over the defensive aspect.

Who cares what MAists in other styles think, they don't define TKD for me. MA practitioners have always made up reasons to denigrate different styles and methods. If you listened to all the detractors no one would practice any style because they're all useless.


Here's something to demonstrate what I mean, an exercise my instructor repeats on a regular basis. Face a partner, and, full speed and full power, punch at your partner's belt knot, 10 times. Touch every time. Then, still full speed and full power, punch at your partner's solar plexus, 10 times. Touch every time. Then, still full speed and full power, punch at your partner's nose, 10 times. Touch every time. This is focus. If you can do this exercise on a stationary target, change to a moving target. Expect to get hit a few times - after all, it's a martial arts class, and you're fighting - you're going to get hit, right?

I have seen this before but it was a simple demonstration of control not a training exercise. You mention full speed and full power but not full contact. Why would you spend your time practicing punching at your adversary and not through them. This sounds like exactly the type of exercise I mentioned in my earlier post, one that develops bad hobbits that are counter to SD, such as instinctively punching just short of your target.

Please understand I do not wish to insult you, I'm sure you and your instructor are quite capable of defending yourselves. All I am trying to say is that I'm positive that the manner in which we sparred at my school contributed significantly to my ability to defend myself and I don't believe we could have sparred as we did (without a much higher rate of serious injury) if not for the protective gear.
 

newGuy12

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I will chime in. I prefer to spar without the pads. That is how I was taught, and we learned to focus because of that. The skill of a student can improve to the point where they can discern EXACTLY how much penetration they give to the target!

Now, that said, it is also okay to occasionally don the pads and to use them to get used to the "tournament ways". But, day to day, no. No pads are needed. Control is needed.

I will say that some students would use the shin pads, the cotton ones that would also cover the top of the foot. I have used those, because the bones in the foot get bruised! But, they are not needed, in my estimation.

Now, some new students today may wish for the pads, but, after they get used to the sparring, and become accustomed to the contact (they become desensitized, they are no longer scared of it!), then, its okay, they will realize they are not necesary.
 

tellner

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Who cares what MAists in other styles think, they don't define TKD for me. MA practitioners have always made up reasons to denigrate different styles and methods. If you listened to all the detractors no one would practice any style because they're all useless.

Sometimes the criticisms are worth investigating. People said "Thai boxing has lousy handwork" thirty or forty years ago. They were right. Muay Thai incorporated better punching and became much better than it had been.
 
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