Why is Taekwondo looked down on?

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by shotokantiger9, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. shotokantiger9

    shotokantiger9 New Member

    Why Do People Bash Tae Kwon Do?

    I've seen and heard a huge amount of bashing of TKD during my involvement in martial arts.

    I have never practised TKD but am wondering why this is. What aspects of TKD make it succeptible to criticism?

  2. paddy ska

    paddy ska Valued Member

    There could be a number of reasons,
    1 - bad teachers ( i've seen my share)
    2- terminology, it does involve a lot of knowledge
    3 - misconceptions, most people thinks it's all kicks
    4 - different arts,they've been brainwashed into thinking their style is the best
    5 - Grappling, BJJ is trendy just now and some people think that's the ultimate, never to be beat, superduper, oh look I'm an MMA, thing to be just now.

    there is more reasons but i can't think of any!!!
  3. paddy ska

    paddy ska Valued Member

    I should add that I'm not slating BJJ, It's an awesome art and I've been to a few weekend seminars with Royce Gracie.Those were excellent.
    It's just certain people that mouth off about it that's kind of annoying.
  4. martinnharvey

    martinnharvey Valued Member

    All of the reasons stated above plus

    1) TKD is the most popular MA in the world, so it has more schools and practitioners than any other art. If you say 10% of practitioners are rubbish(made up %) then that 10% makes up a lot of people. Other Ma'ists are more likely to see a crap practitioner/school than they are to see the crap ones in a less popular art.
    2) People repeat what they have been told by someone without finding out for themselves.
    When I was a pub landlord I overheard someone telling their mate how crap TKD was. I know for a fact that he has never done any art. I was a bit annoyed by that so I abused my position by butting into his conversation and asking him in detail exactly why he had that opinion. He couldn't tell me.
    Made him look stupid and made me smile!

    I have been doing TKD (and other arts) for over 30 years and have met a lot of people who were very good, some average and some realy bad ones.
    Like any style, the bad ones outnumber the good, but thats life. I'm sure everyone who plays football isn't like David Beckham!

    Sorry to go on but I really get annoyed by the 'TKD sucks'.
    It's like any art. It's as good as the person doing it. I have had occasion to use it many times and it's never let me down.

  5. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    3 Reasons Id say

    1. Because they are ignorant and either simply repeat what other ignorant people have said to them, or base their opinions on what they have seen/experienced - which is usually a small portion of the whole art (ie. a youtube competition video or a dodgy school/class)

    2. Because of a bad experience themselves because they trained at a Mcdojang.. which is their fault for not doing their homework

    3. Because TKD does have McDojangs & Belt factories and the decent schools are often obscured by them.

    1 & 2 are just Mr Ignorant being ignorant
    3 is TKDs fault and obviously something that decent instructors hate but can do little or nothing about.

  6. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    I think one of it's greatest benefits can be seen as a watering down of martial arts. The fact that it can be done by anyone from 5 to about 80 means that not all of it's practitioners are as fit as there might be in say a boxing gym. Get to the top end of the scale and the folk there are incredible.
    Different people want different things out of martial arts, TKD can provide.
  7. Incredible Bulk

    Incredible Bulk Eat-Lift-Eat-Sleep-Grow

    modern TKD has been diluted and made more flashy for the viewer.

    Jump spin hook kick is one of those
    Jumping 360 inside crescent kick is another

    like Judo, moves have been added into the art to make it more popular to watch
  8. bigreddog

    bigreddog Valued Member

    TKD is a very broad topic - there are Olympic level sportsmen, people who train very good self defence, people train forms for self expression, children, people who are there for fitness etc.

    What it isn't (usually) is a bad ass streetfighting style for tough guys. So casual investigation tends to say 'MMA (or bjj, MT or whatever) would kick your asses - therefore it is no good' This misses the point (MMA is not suitable for everyone), but has also lead to some ridiculous statements from teachers (the 'TKD is too deadly for the cage' rubbish), which leads the sport open to ridicule

    When you accept it for what it is (fitness, competition, discipline etc.) it's fine.
  9. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I did TKD with the largest TKD association in Britain (not sure if it still is) up to getting my BB. I feel I'm representative of an average disgruntled ex-practitioner of TKD.
    Here're some of the many reasons why I slate TKD even after not doing it for many years. They are also the main reasons why I left TKD to do other things.
    In no particular order...

    Prohibitive and restrictive sparring formats (no low kicks, no kick grabbing, no clinching, no throws, undue credit given to kicks etc etc).

    Flawed tactical structure (making kicks first line of defence rather than part of the support system).

    Patterns that don't relate to what happens in sparring/fighting.

    No proper pattern applications shown. Applications that are shown are generally of the block/strike variety which are outdated and outmoded. I think there's a general across the board lack of knowledge on the part of many high grades as to what the techniques they practice can actually be used for. Many applications shown are downright stupid. You need only see a picture of General Choi blocking two simultaneous jumping side kicks with a W-shaped block to see that this lack of knowledge goes right to the very top.

    Undue respect (and training time) given to flexibility and flashy kicks rather than solid fighting skills.

    Lots of line work but not much pad/bag work. Making practitioners good at punching air but not people.

    Self defence gets treated as something seperate to sparring, basics and patterns rather than mutually supporting facets of one art.

    The slef defence that is shown is of the "grab my wrist" variety.

    No real weapon defences.

    Unrealistic expectations of what techniques will do (reverse punch smashing rib cages...breaking one white board is the equivelant of breaking a rib for example).

    No groundwork.

    Over inflated stories of what TKD is "back in Korea". Then all we see of Korean TKD training is more formal line work and fancy kick breaks.

    Gradings based on rote recital of patterns, basics, korean knowledge and sparring rather than actual performance.

    Limited syllabus in order to reach black belt.

    Still being touted as a good art for self defence while these criticisms are still valid.

    If your TKD club doesn't sound like the above then great. However you probably don't represent what the majority of clubs are like.
    Now...as I'm sure you'll agree much of what I've said is down to how TKD is actually taught rather than the art itself but sadly my criticisms are so endemic within TKD that it's very hard to rectify such things on a large scale.
    I believe that what makes up the "identity" of an art is the actual physical form of the techniques AND the way they are taught AND the environment and structure they are taught in.
    Arguably once you start to change the structure to the degree that my criticisms stop applying to what you do then you are probably doing something that only has a very feint resemblance to TKD as the majority of people know it today.

    Also bear in mind that I criticise other arts for the same things.
    If they apply of course.

    I'm sure people like Stuart A will have much to say here but I think even he will agree that many of my criticisms are still very valid in the vast majority of TKD clubs today. And as long as that remains the the same TKD will get slated.

    Let the fun begin. :)
  10. Freeform

    Freeform Fully operational War-Pig Supporter

    I've heard the Kodokan make the same claim about Judo. I couldn't tell you who's right, but I believe that the TKD organisations have better records, there are lots of Judoka running around who's memberships have expired but are still training (bad Judoka! :D ).

    Now, unlike many of the 'alive' brigade, I have trained in TKD (ITF) for a short period of time (3 months), at this time I was a qualified Goshindo Tai Jitsu instructor, a self protection instructor and had belts from other styles falling up of my ass (inc Judo, but my membership was still paid up back then ;) ).

    The big thing that bugged me was the unrealistic self defence training and scenarios. As a bouncer at the time, and having grown up in a very 'working mans' environment, I wasn't unfamiliar to the odd 'scrap'. My GTJ and Self Protection training had done me very good in these regards.

    The 'self defence' was very 'relaxed' and unpressured, and IMHO to 'hollywood'. It was being marketed as SD, but I think it was very mis-guided to sell it as such. If anything it was creating a fall sense of security in on the part of the students which could lead them to think they could 'handle' situations that they could not.

    The second thing that bugged me was the 'TKD is the most powerful MA', that was espoused (not by all the instructors though ;) ). The chief instructor of our club constantly kept coming over to me and saying things like: "I can see you have trained before, but now I will show you why TKD is the most powerful martial art".

    Thirdly, the whole focus on grading. I missed a grading because I'd already planned to go fight at a Judo grading (you need to fight, win and earn points to make the next belt). After that, I wasn't allowed to continue training with the people who had become my 'peer group' because we didn't have the same belt. I wasn't allowed to train what they were doing because I wasn't at their level (even though I trained more than most of them).

    Fourthly, the cost of the 'official' doboks. What a rip off.

    Fifthly, Sine wave theory with regards to horizontal punching. I'm an Engineer by trade and frankly it's testicles.

    Sixthly, the whole 'Master' issue. The worship thing made me feel sick.

    Seventhly (is that even a word), swearing alliegance to the Korean flag. Dude I'm Scottish, I have a hard enough time swearing alliegance to the Union flag! :D

    There were many other points, but you don't want to me go on ;)

    Now, people could say 'That was just a bad school', whatever. I've had the opportunity to watch many TKD classes/clubs and I would say that the club I trained at was one of the better ones.

    This is just my opinion.
  11. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Actually I haven't seen much serious TKD bashing in a long time here at MAP. I think I did some early on... I remember MarioBro got really wound up. I haven't seen him here on ages... but come to think of it... my flamethrower has been hella busy... and I've been doing time in the hole... but for a long while now... TKD really hasn't taken much of a beating here on MAP. :p

    Actually in retrospect... one person that I thought was a great spokesperson for TKD is MAP member Thomas(?). He's always real level headed and comes off like someone who gets it and in general posts in a way that doesn't let TKD threads just descend into mad flaming destruction. It's interesting to see. I think at some point I stopped winding TKDers up and actually got more interested in what he had to say about. Don't get me wrong I didn't run out and sign up or anything... but he's had some posts that have really been very informative on TKD.

    That's gotta be for the better. :)
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  12. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Not really, Im still chortling at seeing you still quoting me :)

    I do.. and it falls into No 3 of my former post.

    I could argue against your points in relation to my school and a few others that I know (Like Pauls etc.), but not on the General, one cap fits all TKD tip.

  13. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong


    I've not found anything better to quote.

    and it falls into No 3 of my former post

    You see I don't think that the majority of TKD schools are McDojos or belt factories (and therefore covered by your point three).
    People have to do the training and come up to scratch.
    I just think that the general TKD club outlook is very narrow and what's required of people very limited. That doesn't make them a McDojo.
    People run clubs like the clbs they trained in. If youy go through a limited grading structure you in turn put your students through a limited grading structre. Instructors like Stuart A are rare in TKD circles.
  14. Satsui_No_Hadou

    Satsui_No_Hadou Ultra Valued Member

    I left an ITF TKD club because of a few reasons:

    1) Techniques I felt I would not use in self defence and I felt weren't as effective as ones I already knew from other styles.
    2) Classes were overly simplistic, even the BB's were training in stuff that people without belts train at in my current Kung Fu school!
    3) The grading structure which can lead to me having to do a low block in class, while blue belts and above get to do low block + punch (I can see why, I'm just nowhere near that level of skill, however would I cope with such intricate moves :p) and actually getting told off for putting a punch in!!
    3) Too much emphasis on Korea. I don't care which Korean patriot founded some group in 224BC. I don't care what the Korean for fist is. I don't want to learn Korean language or history, if I did I would go to a Korean language and history class.

    And yeah I guess I learn a little Chinese from Kung Fu, but its not like we are tested on it in gradings!
  15. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    i agree with PASmith, you basically posted for me.

    about the "back in korea" thing. i have had instructors here in the states say that to me, and i chuckle. There really isn't much difference for the most part. It might be a bit more intense and militant, but it has the same problems over there as it does here. Although my brother and father studied in Taegu and they said the country boys really made TKD a very effective stand up system. I always studied in Seoul, so i wouldn't know. i will say they're not as willing to just give a belt away as i've seen from some McDojangs around here.
  16. paddy ska

    paddy ska Valued Member

    I don't get the Korean language thing either!! Most of it isn't even real Korean. I have to try and get my junior students to memorise pattern meanings, yet I'll ask them what a pseudonym is or what Confuscianism is and they don't know.
    With the patterns meaning we're meant to draw inspiration. Why don't they change the pattern meanings to each countries hero's, Change Yoo-Sin to Willie Wallace etc!!!

    A few of us instructors went to the head honcho in Scotland and asked if kids could be let away with learning all this and we were shot down in flames. It is pointless.

    During my last grading I was asked if I thought it was stupid to learn all this Korean, I said yes. ( i failed the grading!!!!)
  17. DaeHanL

    DaeHanL FortuneCracker

    that's funny. i have written about this is the past. i gladly learn other countries languages when taking the arts for two reasons. 1- i like to speak many languages. 2- if i'm learning a country's fighting culture, i think it's only right to learn some of their real culture.

    -what's with the I LOVE YOU in the sig?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  18. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Okay, i agree.. maybe a bit of a blanket statement that should have included "limited training/grading structure"

    Why thank you, Im humbled.. I do wish it wasnt so though!

  19. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    I do, its meant to create uniformity within the system. I know many dont like it, but Ive always found it okay, just its not the be all & end all of training... and the examiners were out of order if they failed you for simply stating you dont like it!!!

    I, like DaeHanL enjoy the little snippits of history, do they affect me.. no, but Ive learnt more about my art and Korea by it, as its made me look into things in more detail.. I actually think the big books interpretations are a littlle too brief.

    I also understand why Gen Choi implimented them.. it wasnt about TKD per se, but about National Pride at the time.. in that respect, hes done a great job and more people know about Korean Historical figures via TKD than any other way!

    Bottom line.. to me, its interesting, fun, non-essential stuff.

  20. john3:16-3:18

    john3:16-3:18 New Member

    I am sorry that the school that you went to was like that I school that i went to and would someday like to go back to (left for personal reasons) was more of a comon sence TKD school. My teachers were all studing different arts as well and made a different type of school a Mixed Martial Arst School. There we would learn every thing from self defence to reversing the defence to an offence and we would use are hands as well as are feet for the defence, and the offence. We would also learn wepons training but that was for the uper belts because they have more self control then the lower belts we would start wepons at Red Belt. We also did Grappling and other Arts that would make us more efficient on the street if some one was to attack us (which was very possible because we lived in a city). We had a wide range of traing and it was the best time I ever had. Some schools only train for Ternaments and they mainly focus on kick traing because TKD ternaments mainly focus on kicks that is how you score in them and some times that is the only way that you can score, Because alot a ternaments won't score ponches.

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