TKD self defense


Senior Master
Apr 30, 2007
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I have made a group of martial arts senseis, a very prural one in fact: Mark (3rd degree black belt Lima Lama and kendo sensei), Daniel (1st degree Okinawa karate Do and 1 st degree Budo Tai Jutsu), Omar (3rd degree black belt kenpo karate), Josep (3rd degree black belt TKD and 1st degree black belt HKD) and myself (a humble 2nd degree black belt TKD).

We meet in the cofee shop once in a while just for funn, have a nice cofee and chat about projects,techs,martial arts philosophy,etc,etc. Our grup is not big but is the only one I know so plural in my city. As you may know, every one defends his point of view about his martial art, howevere we are open mind respect each other way of thinking.

In one of our meetings Mark cuestioned about TKD is more an sport than a martial art, so Josep and myself gave him a good explanation. Yes, TKD is a awesome full contact sport, so harsh that competitors need to use the protective gear to not been hurt so badly. TKD is full contact oposed to light contact (point fighting) used in the open karate tournaments that Mark take his students.
However I told Mark that TKD is first of all a Martial Art so capable like anyother to be used in real self defense and the arsenal that TKD has is much more than just kicks.
Josep who is a TKDoing as a Hap Ki DoKa reforce this telling Mark that even in TKD there are some techs that he teach in HPK and both korean Martial Arts blend very well.

I am very open mind, I have tried some Budo taijutsu from Daniel and when we got inside his mat we interchange some techs and way of view them, also I've been learning some Kenpo from Omar (my kenpo sensei).

I think we are in good tracks of achieve a good friendship and maybe we can make an organization where we can colaborate and make interseting things.



Master of Arts
Dec 17, 2009
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That's great Manny, I love it when martial arts professionals can come together to talk shop like that! You can learn alot about martial arts, including your own that way.

Daniel Sullivan

MT Mentor
May 27, 2008
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Olney, Maryland
Sounds like a fun group!

Regarding taekwondo and self defense, I find that a good amount depends upon how one defines 'self defense.'

To some, the idea of simply 'being able to fight' constitutes self defense.
To others, the content of one's fighting skills determine if it qualifies as "self defense" or not. For some, grappling = self defense. They won't say so, but in the back of their mind, that is what they believe. For others, striking is where its at. And still others seek a combination of the two.

Then you have the whole, 'that's sport and not real' crowd, for whom nothing is self defense if can be done in the ring.

Then you have those for whom every technique must be taught in a kind of role play scenario to make it "realistic."

As a general rule, having some kind of tools to use in the event of a violent encounter, tools that can be used without thinking, covers about 90% of the physical aspect of self defense (there is a huge mental aspect that includes awareness, common sense, and verbal components that are unrelated to fighting skills).

Different arts approach self defense differently, so it is important to understand the philosophy of a given art towards self defense.

In theory, I could teach all of the mental aspects and very little of the physical and my students would probably fare fantastically in keeping themselves alive. They'd never win a tournament and would probably get their clocks cleaned in a multi-round fight, but they'd be able to get through life unscathed. Without a plethora of physical skills to go along with it, however, most would not consider my classes to have a very strong SD component.