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Han-Mi

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I recently went on vacation. I was in Seal Beach(Orange County) and I took the opportunity to train with another school down there. I trained with more than one but, for all intensive purposes only one is important. The school trained Kyin Kung Fu, which was a practical modification on a more traditional Kung Fu. They encourage cross training and welcomed me and even asked me to show them some TKD drills.
The reason I'm posting this htough, is because of something one of the black belts said after we were done. He said that he had been looking at TKD schools and hadtaken a class through the local ollege but, was not impressed. In fact, he appologised to me afterwards because he had seen TKD on my shirt and made the assumption that I was going to be Mcdojang trained, or olympic style(not to burn on them, that's another discussion). I assured him that we aren't all so bad and reminded him not to judge any style by a few practitioners.
The problem is that there are so many Mcdojangs out there that they easily outnumber the good schools. So I have one question and one charge to all of you TKDers that read this.

Do you encounter the same stigma toward TKD when in such a situation?

If you are a good TKD practitioner, share it. Get out there and show people that we are out here, don't let the rest make us all look bad. Make it known that TKD isn't completely lost.

BTW, my vacation was great. I hated to come home.
 
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Han-Mi

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I just found a similar post by Zepp.:whip: Sorry to be repetitive but, I think my post is just different enough to be left up.


THanks
 

terryl965

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The problem comes from withen, the Mc Dojaang has way more money then the traditional schools, so they are able to outway traditional by far and then the big deal to traditional school is we don't care about those McDojaangs enough to really give a sh#t!! Sorry Han mi these decussions has been around the block a houndred times and there is nothing anybody can do except keep teaching the traditional way for those that care about the ART of Tae Kwon Do....GOD BLESS AMERICA
 

glad2bhere

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Dear Terry:

Not to gang-up on Han-mi ( I still think the issue is worth talking about) but I have to say you are pretty much right on the money. In fact I will go a step farther and say that the issue is not unique to TKD at all. Each of the Korean traditions seems to get handled pretty capriciously by the public at large and I sense that it has a whole lot more to do with the relationship between commerce and what I call "martial theatre". As I look at the Hapkido arts, the Kumdo/Kum-Bup arts, TSD, TKD, Ship Pal Gi etc etc I find that the overwhelming majority of folks who are involved seem to be after the novelty and romance of exotic practices. They like the dress-up, the posturing, the terminology and the image of "lethal power". They like it so much that they will pay extraordinary amounts to be associated with it. They join organizations, buy the equiptment, put on the patches, join chat rooms and so forth. They do everything but practice the martial value system that underpins these practices. Start talking about belief systems, and living the Warriors' Path, acting in the best interests of ones' community, or accountability and conversation dries up in a hurry! For myself I have stepped way back from a host of folks when it became fairly obvious that it was the IMAGE of being a KMA practitioner that kept them around rather than the obligations. In the reading and research that I have been involved in I note that martial art practice in Korea and just about anywhere else is about steeling oneself and learning how to take on responsibilities that most people want to find a way around. This is hell-and-gone from what most people are looking for in the KMA. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

terryl965

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glad2bhere said:
Dear Terry:

Not to gang-up on Han-mi ( I still think the issue is worth talking about) but I have to say you are pretty much right on the money. In fact I will go a step farther and say that the issue is not unique to TKD at all. Each of the Korean traditions seems to get handled pretty capriciously by the public at large and I sense that it has a whole lot more to do with the relationship between commerce and what I call "martial theatre". As I look at the Hapkido arts, the Kumdo/Kum-Bup arts, TSD, TKD, Ship Pal Gi etc etc I find that the overwhelming majority of folks who are involved seem to be after the novelty and romance of exotic practices. They like the dress-up, the posturing, the terminology and the image of "lethal power". They like it so much that they will pay extraordinary amounts to be associated with it. They join organizations, buy the equiptment, put on the patches, join chat rooms and so forth. They do everything but practice the martial value system that underpins these practices. Start talking about belief systems, and living the Warriors' Path, acting in the best interests of ones' community, or accountability and conversation dries up in a hurry! For myself I have stepped way back from a host of folks when it became fairly obvious that it was the IMAGE of being a KMA practitioner that kept them around rather than the obligations. In the reading and research that I have been involved in I note that martial art practice in Korea and just about anywhere else is about steeling oneself and learning how to take on responsibilities that most people want to find a way around. This is hell-and-gone from what most people are looking for in the KMA. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
Very well put Bruce Very well put.. GOD BLESS AMERICA
 

bignick

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two of the arts i practice, judo and taekwondo are both olympic sports as well..and therefore...kinda share the same stigma...when somebody in tkd sees me fall, they're like oh right, you do that other crap...and when i was talking about getting ready to help hold targets and stuff for my taekwondo instructors 4th dan test...one judoka was like, "What do you need to get ready for...". I told him i needed to have an idea of what was going on...didn't want to get smoked in the head or something...he just shot back, "Yeah, but it's only a taekwondo kick...so how much could it hurt?"

keep in mind usually when this is done, including the above examples, it's just some good natured ribbing...they're not really trying to rip on either art...but i do know what you mean...therefore, i lay low...and very few people know i practice martial arts...my close friends...family...that's about it...i think that's another thing that makes it hard, real martial artists don't need to go around publicizing what they do...so it gives a chance for the shallower people to proclaim loudly from the mountain tops that what they do is taekwondo...when really sometimes it just a fancy version of aerobic kickboxing...
 

MichiganTKD

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Not only have I noticed it, I tend to downplay being involved in Tae Kwon Do because of it. In my area there are several Tae Kwon Do Instructors. Some of them are affiliated with one high ranking Instructor that many would recognize, one teaches at Eastern Michigan University, and the others are just BAD. Whenever someone from the area hears I am an Instructor, they usually ask me if I am affiliated with such-and-such, because he is one of the better known ones. He is better known because he is a total whore-willing to do anything to publicize his classes. Producing high quality students apparently never occured to him. I tend to answer the "are you a member of _________'s organization" question with "uh, no." I would be embarassed to be affiliated with any of those jokers.
But Terryl is right. We have two options. We can stay on the sidelines and let these guys define what Tae Kwon Do is, or we can do it. I do believe in this bit of political advice: If you do not define who you are and what you stand for, your opponent will do it for you.
 
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Fortis

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The thing I hate the most is when I tell a non-MA person I take Tae Kwon Do and they immediately think I'm talking about Tae Bo. How it irks me so. It always makes my skin crawl when people assume I'm studying some sort of aerobic. Hehe, I must sound so indignant to these people when I try to explain it.

I agree that TKD tends to be stigmatized, however I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's so popular. With so many studios, of course there is going to be more of a chance of bad apples. Plus, I think people who study other arts take pride that they do something less known and many probably study those arts solely for that reason. Hence, TKD makes for an easy target from these types.
 

Raewyn

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where are the other threads here that knock TKD???. Why is is bad mouthed???? Over here TKD is another from of MA and it is well respected.
 

hardheadjarhead

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I see it all the time. I hate to say it, but the "McDojang" rep is deserved.

There is a reason for this.

During the seventies there was a huge martial arts explosion in the U.S. Korean TKD instructors capitalized on this and opened up schools all over the country. This was all before the Olympic style had surfaced (though it was gestating in Korea) and before the "traditional" V neck top had even been designed.

A lot of the instructors I knew back then were pretty good. They were the old warhorses that earned the black belts in Korea in the mid to late fifties or early sixties.

But Korean instructors kept on coming over...and kept on coming over. It was a Diaspora of sorts. More schools opened. Subsequent waves brought instructors that weren't perhaps quite as hot as some of those from earlier days. One "master" I know of had a brown belt when he stepped off the plane from Seoul...but his family was connected well in the local Korean community and he was soon hanging a "master" shingle on his door.

Soon there were TKD schools all across the country. Franchises started opening. The ATA started growing in the late seventies and early eighties by opening up schools with Nautilus gyms, which were the latest fitness rage. You could drop off your kids for Tae Kwon Do and go work out right next door.

Franchises watered down requirements for black belt...it was critical for growth. Many of them awarded black belts (and franchise dojangs) to a person with two years of fairly light training. When I got out of the Marine Corps in 1982 (I was a black belt in TKD) a franchise owner approached me and asked if I wanted to teach for him at the school he owned and operated and was chief instructor at...as a red belt. I politely refused.

Understand that the martial arts explosion fueled all of this. TKD stood poised and ready to take care of the market demand. Sadly, the resultant commercialism wrecked the reputation of the art. While there are McDojos and McKwoons, there are far more McDojangs because of the huge number of Korean immigrant instructors that came over thirty years ago.


Regards,


Steve
 

bignick

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When the battlefield was still the primary focus of the martial arts...and you could only train if you were born into the right family, martial artists never trained to win popularity contests, they trained to live and survive. Obviously, your chances to use your training on the battlefield today are slim...and hopefully you'll never have to use them in your life ever...but you should still train for the same reasons...for yourself...who cares what others think...

also after thinking about my previous post and reading MichiganTKD"s post...i have to say sometimes i think the good taekwondoists don't always help that much either...sometimes it seems we have insecurity problems with or martial art because we know the way other people feel about it...well i say it's about the time the good started talking louder than the bad...to drown them out...
 
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Han-Mi

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bignick said:
also after thinking about my previous post and reading MichiganTKD"s post...i have to say sometimes i think the good taekwondoists don't always help that much either...sometimes it seems we have insecurity problems with or martial art because we know the way other people feel about it...well i say it's about the time the good started talking louder than the bad...to drown them out...
Well put, I was trying to say that, but I think you said it better.

Raisin said:
where are the other threads here that knock TKD???. Why is is bad mouthed???? Over here TKD is another from of MA and it is well respected.
I don't see much down talking about TKD on these forums, it is more of a stigma in America I suppose. :idunno:
 

Raewyn

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I was just reading in an Austrailian ITF magazine that when General Choi Hing Hi passed away the leadership went by the way side and other federations started to do their own thing. I didnt actually realise there were so many federations. I dont really understand why things could be so diferent between them all. (Dont mean to go off on a tangent, may be asking the wrong questions in the wrong thread. If so please advise)
 

glad2bhere

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Sorry, Raisin.

".....I dont really understand why things could be so diferent between them all. ...."

The fact is that things are NOT all that different between them. Fact is that in many of the KMA the leadership are too small-minded to work together for a common good. Look what happened when Gen Choi died. Wouldn't you think that these people would pull together? Instead they split into three organizations. Why? Because the leadership was too immature and short-sighted to work together. Ever wonder why there is a WTF AND an ITF? Don't swallow all that crap about Communism VS Western Democratic Freedom. Its all about the status, prestige and money. The whole time that these big names are talking about character-development, standards and martial discipline the fact is that they couldn't put that stuff into practice if they wanted to. Nor are the TKD people particularly special. We have the same thing in Hapkido. The big names would rather be big fish in their small separate ponds than work together to build a better art. Shame on them. FWIW.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 
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MichiganTKD said:
... He is better known because he is a total whore-willing to do anything to publicize his classes. ...

Way to go Michigan.... Comments like these are sure to improve the image of TKD.
 

The Kai

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I think it is a sense of frustration that Michigan was letting out. maybe not the most postive reponse but understandable .t is hard to counter the dynamics perhaps not the most usefull but tilting agaainst windmills gives ya something to do.
 

glad2bhere

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Dear Kai:

I think it goes beyond tilting at windmills. Speaking only for myself I can say in all honesty that I am roundly fed-up with the Korean martial arts being defined by the Lowest Common Denominator. I once was told that the reason people will run a school full of "dancers" was to be able to be available for those few dedicated practitioners who actually wanted to learn authentic Korean MA. Do you see the consequences of this, now? Certainly there are dedicated folks in the KMA but they are totally eclipsed by the thousands of "dancers", Kids' Class members, stage-door parents and tournament whores. ( I suppose it would not be unlike the people who admire the US Marines with their sense of code and solidarity, but fear that they would not be able to cut the training. The result are wannabees who buy fatigue shirts at the local surplus store and patches out of the back of vets magazines. Add an affect or attitude and they might be accepted as the real thing by the unknowing.) An observer could say to me, "but Bruce, their only kidding themselves." Fact is though, thats not accurate. The public, as we see from this string, begin to believe that those affecting membership represent the real deal.

Some years back a guy I knew started a kick-boxing class and had about 40 guys sign-up. After a week of training he was down to 20. At the end of the second week he was down to 5. Finally the students didn't come at all. And I am sure the training was nowhere as tough as one might run into in Thailand or Burma. Fact is that the students were more interested in dabbling in kick-boxing than actually make the sacrifices necessary to become what they were seeing in their day-dreams.

In closing let me say that I have a private school--- not open to the public. I often get calls from people wanting to "stop by", "come and watch" or "see what its like". Guess what. The answer is "no". The typical caller finds this curious and some even ask me how I expect to be a commercial success, make any money, or expand to other schools with that kind of attitude.

See what I mean?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

bignick

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glad2bhere said:
In closing let me say that I have a private school--- not open to the public. I often get calls from people wanting to "stop by", "come and watch" or "see what its like". Guess what. The answer is "no". The typical caller finds this curious and some even ask me how I expect to be a commercial success, make any money, or expand to other schools with that kind of attitude.

And that's the problem, not that i'm saying you should throw open your doors to the public and open a branch school everywhere you can find...but a lot of the bad schools will....and the public will see all of them...and not the good ones...
 

The Kai

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Bruce

You are preching to the choir. I understand the frustration of trying to better the quality of the Martial Arts, cuz I am out there too!
The genie has been let out of the bottle, Pandora has gone and opened that dammed box! How, do we ever counter it.
BTW I've had people with less than 4 yrs experience in the arts try to tell me what it is all about!
In this day and age of dojo hopping you hate to push limits or standards!
 

MichiganTKD

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I call'em like I see'em. And he is a total whore. Everything is for sale, he can't advertise enough, and his teaching is third rate. I know because I've seen it. Don't blame me if you choose to associate with the ones who give Tae Kwon Do a bad name. That's your choice.

Anyway, since you practice Hapkido, why do you care about Tae Kwon Do's image?
 
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