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  • Martial Arts, a sport or way of life?
    What are your thoughts on Martial Arts as being a sport or a lifestyle? For example, I take Taekwondo and I have read some strong opinions on what the Olympic involvement has done to the art, or "way".
      • 2
      Dave Magliano For me, training is a daily discipline that touches every part of my life. I have not been involved in sport for a very long time but that's me. I've had the opportunity to train with and get to know a few Taekwondo practioners (karate guys also) who were very disciplined, excellent competitors and downright scary. If you practice for sport and put your 100% into it, there will be natural benefits...same for a person who does not compete. Diligence, patience and tenacity transcend art.
        • 1
        David Ianetta I totally agree, Dave. It truly does touch every part of my life as well.
      • 2
      Mike It’s a way of life for me. I lift weights, run, do bag work because of martial arts. I try to educate folks about martial art. I’m more disciplined in my business dealing in and in life in general. I don’t pay much attention to the nay sayers, most have never spent the time to be proficient martial artists anyway.
      • 2
      Will - Black Belt Wiki David

      Sorry for the late approval. I was out traveling and this was the first chance that I could log into the community.

      Will
      • 1
      vspani For me I strongly emphasise that martial arts lead humans into some equilibrium state. Any martial art, if a person concentrates he will achieve a better state of confidence, concentration, endurance in order to face the challenges in daily life.
      • 1
      Richie I think you can find depth in sport as well as MA. It is the focus and dedication that seeps into our lives out of the dojo. Budo is not just for MA it is for everything. It is when you stop thinking about winning and think about living do you find value in what you do.
      • 1
      David Cochran Very well said Hermit. I align much more with the Moo Duk Kwan. Hwang Kee and Choi are of the same era and background. Call what you want as long as you do it with passion.
        • 1
        Hermit Hmm I re-read my post from yesterday, I see I may have been a little standoff-ish, I hope I did not insult anyone, I wasn't having the best of days so my reply may have seemed a little condescending when read. I did not mean for that, that's the fun of posting online you never get to hear the tone of voice something is said in. All in all the info I was relaying is correct, so hopefully it's taken for what it was. If I did offend anyone, oops, sorry, not the first time, probably not the last time either (I gotta stop going online when I'm annoyed at something in real life lol, one of the big reasons I gave up on social media like Facebook).
          • 1
          David Cochran No harm, no foul. I appreciate someone with passion and the knowledge to defend their art verbally. Written correspondence is so easily misunderstood for all the reasons you listed and more. I agree that it hard to positively argue for WTF from the perspective of history. One valid point for me is the consolidations of most of the Kwans which was a good move toward solidarity for TKD. I so appreciate my Moo Duk Kwan background largely of the history I likely would have never been exposed to.
          Side note: I was in a small town in east TN earlier this week. The only dojo I could find was a Chong Sil Kwan TKD school. Ever heard of it?
      • 1
      David Ianetta [259093,Tracy] , if you want to get an idea of how much more there is to TKD, I highly recommend this book, "Taekwondo: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior", for a start. It is loaded with great history and Information that helps explain many of the "whys" of what we do. I think, do to time restraints many of the classes don't go into this kind of detail.

      I've come across a few books that are pretty awesome , but this would be the first I'd recommend.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1886969930/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
        • 1
        Tracy Thank-you:) Yeah - I suspected that might have been a big question for [200995,Hermit] to answer.
        I'll look this up.
          • 1
          David Ianetta Let me know what you think if you get it.
            • 1
            Tracy You bet. However, please keep in mind that I'm still fairly new to MA. I don't know what sort of input I could give. So much is very interesting to me, though. I've learned so much just from from what I've read on this site - from all of you.
              • 2
              David Ianetta I think that makes you observations all the more valuable. You look at things with fresh eye, unbiased. Even just learning what stands out to you is valuable in my opinion.
              • 0 2 votes
      • 1
      David Cochran I love the logic that Olympic TKD Is largely the way it is to complement boxing's style of being only hands.
      • 1
      David Cochran It's hard to say it hurts TKD from the business aspect since it is exponentially larger in membership over other styles. I agree WTF only schools are a bad model. If there is only sport sparring and Taeguek forms being taught something is definitely missing. For me, a MA student should look at it a part of their lifestyle. If a school's environment is more akin to a gym, it isn't a Dojo/Dojang. It is a very short list of sports that can say they are part of the Olympics. Why not carry that flag proudly? Again, that is only one component.
        • 1
        Tracy Why are WTF only schools bad models? With your next sentence, do you mean when only sport sparring and forms are taught - and nothing else - that something's missing? Are there schools like that? Or do you mean other types/styles of forms should be taught in conjunction with the Taeguek forms? If yes, which ones? Just curious and naive here.
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          • 1
          David Cochran My opinion alone, and understand I am an older guy. I don't know if you have read my profile but it hopefully explains a lot of where my perspective comes from. If a Dojang doesn't work on self defense specifically as self defense and only spars and does forms, you will not be ready for an encounter. Sparring has tons of benefits, conditioning, learning what it is to be hit, overcoming fear, and yes some techniques that would work in most circumstances. But it doesn't prepare for you for the environment of a real life situation (if one can even be defined). Poomse's are awesome, my favorite part of MA as I have gotten older. I have practiced for 33 years and still I am not sure I could explain all of the benefits of Poomse. One of the most important is lineage and history. They are the ballet of the Martial Arts, performed by Superman/woman. I am a WTF guy but the Taegueks are very young created about 1970. Wiki does a good review of them. I feel they are strongly geared toward children. By far my favorite poomse are the Palgwae's but I think the most elegant forms I have ever seen are in Kung Fu. In my Kali days the forms were very demanding. It is predominantly a knife fighting style and you use the blade in forms. Very different though because there are no formal stances. That said, if you are taught Taeguek's only, embrace them. Dig deep and entrench yourself in more that just the motion. It goes much deeper. Corny maybe, but true, yes!
            • 1
            David Ianetta Poomsea are my favorite as well, David. Our school practices both Taeguek and Palgwea, as well as the named forms like Koryo. (we are WTF, Kukkiwon). For me there is so much I'd rather not just focus on one aspect, but get it all if I can. Reading "The Making of a Martial Artist" by Sang Kyu Shim just got my brain thinking, I do feel that those who focus only on the sport are missing out, but I in no way judge them.
            • 0 1 vote
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          • 1
          Hermit WTF is a branch of TKD that had split off from ITF back in the 70's (the original TKD federation) and many feel turned their backs on what was the original teachings of General Choi (and when comparing the teaching materials a lot of time times this is true). It has become (for many clubs) very heavily weighted towards only sport sparring, and in a different style than was originally taught (ie not as much use of hands, padding different etc) even the Taeguek forms (while from an older MA style) are not the original tuls set out by General Choi. Also many WTF schools will hold sparring at the top/ most important thing they do, verses a well rounded education in Martial Arts. There is much more teaching material in TKD than sparring and patterns (especially since the patterns taught in WTF are different than the rest of TKD). The Olympics cast a bit of shadow over TKD due to they style of sparring looking a lot like dancing at times to the uneducated observer (I will admit this is due to how their points were being scored). When you take a wide and varied sport like Taekwon-Do having one disciple represent on the world stage tends to stereotype all of that martial arts as being like that one in the light, and with TKD with is definitely not true. Many practicioners of TKD were not happy with what the Olympics made our Martial art look like.
            • 1
            David Cochran The last numbers I saw show a ratio of 5:1 WTF schools worldwide over all other styles combined. I disagree with the split reference as it is simply not true. Yes WTF is a branch but so is the ITF. My point is all TKD is a derivative. Taekkyon is believe to be the root. Research Korean history. I do not think there is another country with so much turmoil in their past. It is still very cut throat with leaders coming and going. Not many sports can align with the Olympics. I would hope all TKD practictioners would be proud of that fact. It helps us all.
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              • 1
              Hermit Lol, and if you look in the right place you can find the opposite for numbers, especially if you take into consideration all the disciplines of ITF (ITF, ICTF, ATF, etc etc). Also ITF is not a derivative as much as others. General Choi created the ITF, which was his federation for the marital arts that he created, which was Taekwon-Do. Taek Kyeon is one of the styles that he was trained in, being an older Korean Marital art. The other was Japanese Karate. He took these 2 styles (and maybe bits of others) and created Taekwon-Do (funny side story, some of that type he used to develop it was while he was in a Japanese jail for being a Korean supporter). Now Taekwon-Do was officially a martial art in 1955, the WTF did not come along until I believe the early 70's or late 60's (all this info is off the top of my head). It was when a bunch of ITF black belts decided they wanted to cha nge the marital arts into their image. General Choi tolerated this, but did not support the WTF or the changes they made. It was often argued that it should not be considered TKD as it was too different than the original version.
              So I do know my history, which is one of the things I teach at my club, do you? A lot of WTF schools don't even teach General Choi's Tenants, Oaths, or theories of power? That's the core theory behind TKD.
              Not many sports can align with the Olympics yes, but many people feel that the TKD demonstrated in the Olympics was not what we do. And if your wondering I have been in both WTF and ITF, I will take ITF hands down.
              • 0 1 vote
            • 1
            Tracy Thanks Hermit. That's interesting. I'm not sure how much my school is like what you outlined above, but I suspect it's better than some, since we are often educated in real-fight type sparring as well as sparring for competition (the little bit of sparring that we do). I'm curious to find examples of what you mean by the "much more teaching material than forms and sparring". Do you mean history and language? Or much more?
      • 1
      Superamazingbadgerman I, for one, like a good Taekwondo match.
      • 1
      Superamazingbadgerman I think martial arts as sports are fine.

      If someone wants to take it as a sport, they can do sports fighting.

      As for its influence on the art itself, I think they highlight a few important aspects of being a complete martial artist. If a person chooses not to pursue the rest of the art, it doesn't make them wrong. They just have to accept the fact that it will not make them a complete martial artist if they solely focus on that sport aspect.
        • 1
        David Ianetta I agree, nothing wrong with taking it just as a sport. The challenge can be in finding a complete experience when a school is sport oriented. I met that challenge personally being luck enough to train with a 3rd Dan who is interested in working on the things that are often overlooked in class. Things like extra stretching, (for those of use who are older!) One step sparring, self defense and weapons). It's amazing how , with a good partner, how much you can learn online and in books. But I do feel for those who are not as fortunate as I am to have these resources.
      • 1
      Will - Black Belt Wiki Also I think the Olympics hurts Taekwondo. Too many artificial sparring rules which hurts Taekwondo's martial image and self-defense value (i.e. too many kids hanging hands during sparring to block kicks because they don't have too worry about punches to head).

      Will
        • 1
        David Ianetta That's what I've seen in my class as well. When I first started sparring by habit I kicked to the head, blew over the shoulder and a few inches from the face. 30 years ago that's how we scored a point in class (light contact to the body, no contact to the head). I was quickly told no kicks at all to the head. Also can't use side kicks or front kicks to the body. I've also seen over emphasis on conditioning for sparring and kicking hard, but less emphasis on form, technique etc.
    • 8 more comments

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