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Lv 5
ATWolf asked in SportsMartial Arts · 1 decade ago

What's with all the Tae Kwon Do hating?!?!?

I keep hearing criticisms of Tae Kwon Do (or karate) - it's too flashy, it won't help you in a fight, all TKD schools are McDojos, etc., etc.

Quite frankly, the criticisms I have heard about "McDojos" do not apply to my TKD school. We do full-contact sparring, we focus on the more basic kicks that DO work, and we devote a fair amount of our lesson time to punching as well. In addition, my school also offers Hapkido and Beksudo courses. We've learned a few throws as well.

Also, the feared Korean Marines trained in TKD, and it's been around for several centuries. If TKD was useless, why did the Koreans stick with it for so long?

I know TKD has its limitations, especially in ground fighting- I think that's why my school also offers Hapkido and Beksudo. And doubtless there are many "McDojos" out there because it's an Olympic sport and it's so popular. But why condemn all of TKD if you went to ONE lousy school or watched a TKD tournament (where they had rules, like they do ...


…in pretty much every tournament, regardless of what martial arts it was)? In addition, do you really have a right to criticize TKD if you’ve never even tried it?

Also, why take martial arts classes SOLELY for self-defense and fighting? I keep hearing references to “the street” and to fighting and UFC and whatever. Come on, people, there’s more to martial arts than just combat. I mean, there are so many more benefits. Many, many people in TKD (and other martial arts as well) report that they are more fit, they feel better about themselves, they learn more about respect, discipline, self-control, etc.

I have also heard success stories from people who dropped opponents much bigger and stronger than themselves using punches and roundhouse kicks. (techniques that my school emphasizes.)

So come on, lay off TKD, will ya? ESPECIALLY if you know next to nothing about TKD.

Update 2:

Edward: last I checked, you don't go to my school, right? How do you even know we do point sparring? We don't go up to 3 or 4 points and then stop! The only time I've ever done this is when I was in a tournament (and this was for belts under black belt. Black belt sparring in my school's tournament is by-the-minute, not point-sparring.)

Also, 99% is way too much of a generalization. If you've checked out every single TKD school in America and you can personally attest that 99% of schools do not use full-contact sparring even once, then I'll believe you.

And believe me, if I was ever in a real fight, I would NOT limit myself to rules or "sports" TKD. I'd just punch and kick in one of my opponent's vulnerable points and once the other guy was down, I'd just get out of there.

Update 3:

*edit* not just ONE of my opponent's vulnerable spots- I'd just hit him wherever it hurt with whatever worked- this includes heels and elbows, and a couple other stuff I've learned.

Update 4:

Joe Nickson: “It takes dedication and lots of practice to be able to use it successfully…” Exactly!

Foofoo: Yes, I am very happy with my school. We’re not as extreme as Smootoyou’s school, (most of our students just do not have the time nor the resources to come to class and spar for FIVE days a week) but I think we’re pretty darn good.

Dogpreacher and Hood: THANK YOU! Somebody had the sense and thankfully, the experience, to point out that jj and bjj are not the greatest martial arts ever invented, and they do NOT make you invincible. And Hood, you gave me especially good info about WTF and ITA. Thanks.

Saint G: Even though you’re not into TKD, I appreciate that you didn’t badmouth the style. To each his own. And I guess you’re right, I should just ignore this stuff. But it gets frustrating sometimes though, hearing all this negative stuff about TKD from people who have very little knowledge about it. :(

Update 5:

Smootoyou: Yikes. You had a tough instructor. But I agree with you about marketing; if a school is more sports-geared, they should point that out. I definitely do not believe a instructor should lead or encourage his students to believe that simply because they’re a black belt, they’ll be able to beat everyone they meet. Fortunately, my instructor doesn’t do this.

Mehereintheeast: You made a VERY good point that I neglected to mention: a martial arts school, no matter what style, has to make money. It’s good business sense. And unfortunately, since TKD is so popular, it has also become so easy to commercialize. Hence, the McDojos/McDojangs.

Thanks to everyone else for answering; I didn’t get as many negative answers as I had expected (OK, was afraid of)- only two people so far said outright that TKD sucked. It seems that the ones who criticize all of TKD are just loudmouthed egoists who never took the incentive to try out a decent school or spar a real master.

20 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    So I'm getting a little tired of people NOT understanding TKD. As it originated in Korea, where they picked it up and adapted it from Japan, it has evolved into two different areas. WTF and ITF.... ITA is a joke (spawn) off of those two, and they are the main. Korea had a General at one time with great influence in that country. He was being persecuted for certain things most of which i don't have the time to go into. He fled to Canada and started the International TKD Federation. While in home land Korea, the south developed what is known as the World TKD Federation. The distinct difference of these two styles is what they learn. ITF is, you could say, the more traditional style of TKD. They do full contact sparring.... yes I said full contact for you morons who don't know what it means. They use fist and foot pads, the chest protector was only invented since the late 80's for the Olympic rules. Most schools I have seen never use the chest pad. ( as if that some how makes you more tough....). WTF has evolved into more of the Olympic style of martial arts. They have perfected their kicks to be faster, maybe not stronger, to get points in the games. They still practice traditional TKD but with their own changes, while North Korea is ITF. Neither is worse or better, they are just different.

    I am tired of hearing people say that BJJ or JJ is the end all of martial arts. In fact, I went to an open tourney the other weekend and saw an entire school of BJJ dorks get their asses handed to them. Sure they could get you on the ground, but before that they would take such a beating from everyone else, that once it got to that point it was a mute point. That is not to say that other martial arts are not good. Don't get me wrong, each has their own strength and weakness. for example if you were to take a Mui Thai fighter to the ground... guess what.... he is toast.... but let him pound on you for a bit and see how you feel.

    My point being is not to get angry with the people who hate on TKD... Most of them have been taught that way from an instructor of theirs who was either beaten by someone, or lacks the respect because of ignorance. I have yet to meet a master that doesn't think the art they practice is damn near full proof! So when you hear them say things like that, just smile and realize that they know very little of what we practice. And most if not ALL of their knowledge is based on the bad schools that EVERY ART HAS. They are the ones that get the most of the attention, not the good schools.

    To put things into perspective, i have a TKD and hapkido background. I fought a BJJ guy two weeks ago. I got a few good body kicks to his chest in, but he eventually.... YOU GUESSED IT.... went to tackle me! So while we were on the ground and he was trying to mount me (don't laugh just cause they love mounting men...) I used hapkido skills i had picked up to even things up. You see BJJ isn't the only art that teaches grapple tech. I ACTUALLY SUBMITTED HIM, with a simple arm bar from the down position. Later he said how he thought he would run the tape with me because i was into that "lame tkd stuff". After that I got the **** beat out of me by a kung fu/boxer.... so its any ones game!!!

  • 1 decade ago

    In a nutshell the issue isn’t with Tae kwon do or Karate but with many of today's practitioners and "Masters".

    In my humble, or not so humble, opinion there are two major issues:

    Issue one, the McDojos or McDojangs as they are called. When you run a business, ANY business, you have certain economic realities to contend with. If you don’t make money, you don’t stay open. There are many considerations including taxes, electricity, rent or mortgage, insurance and many other costs of doing business. So right away you have to make a certain dolor mount or you don’t stay open. One way to offset some of this is to run a school out of your home. But then you are accused of not being a legitimate instructor and you also have zoning laws to contend with.

    So you need to make a certain dolor amount per month just to keep you doors open. To so that you have to have students who pay. So now you have to compete with the other schools in the area. Well, one of the things many prospective students ask when they sign up is, "How long will it take to get my Black Belt." Well, if you tell them 5 years and the school down the street is telling them 3 years, guess what school many of prospects will be joining. (Don’t argue this point! If the answer was the tradition school telling people 5 or more years, then the McDojo wouldn't be doing so well today. The scary thing is that this is transferring into our academic schools as well. Now you have colleges advertising that you can get your Bachelors Degrees in 3 or even in some cases 2 and a half years. If you thin McDojo's are bad, wait for the McCollege! Spooky isn't it?

    The other problem with people perception of TKD (Tae kwon do) is that TKD has a very unusual and extremely complex history. I mean really! Once a person has been in a karate school for a few month they usually understands that there are many different styles of karate. (Goju Ryu, Shorin-ryu, Wadoryu, Isshinryu, Shotokan, etc...) Many people don’t know that there are different systems of Tae Kwon do, each with it's own set of Hyung (Forms) and different areas of focus for training. The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) uses the Taegeuk Hyung and emphasizes on Olympic tournament sparing and forms competition. The International Taekwondo Federation uses a setoff forms called the Chon-Ji Hyung after the first form in the series and focuses more on self defense and self development. Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan also focuses on self development and defense and teaches the Palgue Hyung as well as some of the same forms taught in Tang Soo Do.

    When all is said and done, the truth is that although I personally dislike the McDojo and have a very low opinion of the teachers that operate and instruct at such schools, I understand the reasons. One thing to note here is that most of the McDojo teachers dislike the situation they are in but really have little choice. They can either do what they do and hope for the occasional good student that they can nurture and focus their attention on or they can close their doors.

    The rest of us work two jobs killing ourselves during the day so we can make enough money to run a school and hope we break even at the end of the year. Meanwhile our girlfriends, wives, siblings, parents and other family members wonder why we don’t just open a McDojo like everyone else and stop struggling. Oh well. I guess you can’t win them all.

    Source(s): 30+ years in the Martial Arts including 12 studying Tae Kwon Do!
  • 1 decade ago

    i have a 4th dan in tae kwon do & in Hapkido, when i was learning TKD we sparred every night, 5 nights a week full contact the only exceptions were no face punches & no kicking below the belt. The broken fingers, cracked ribs, egg sized lumps felt real to me. My instructor was Korean, ex body gurd corps in the Korean army so he trained us full on & for the streets not comps.

    You cant blame a lot of people for the way they think of TKD when their are so few real schools around anymore.

    TKD like everything evolves, i have no problem with "Sports" style TKD as long as thats what they call it & no a martial art unless they teach it the martial way. I do have a huge problem with instructors who sell the dream to students that they are now unstopable fighters who then go out & get hurt.

    I cant blame all the instructors as the students are responaible for finding the right school for them not just the closest to home also the door is always open they can leave any time if their ego lets them.

    I was disapointed with the way the majority of TKD has gone i havent trained in it for 17yrs. Hapkido is what i have stuck with even after doing many differnt styles, they all have good & bad points but HKD fills my needs & has kept my respect.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's really easy to badmouth something especially if you have either no knowledge of it or if you have had a single bad experience with it. For every good school out there of any given style there are probably a couple of mediocre or poor ones. It is easy to lose sight of the "art" when it becomes a "business" and therefore it can get a bad name.

    I think TKD has been given a black eye because people can't get past what they might have heard about it from someone who hear from someone who heard from.... (You get the picture) who had a bad experience with it, and because of TKD's popularity when it became an olympic sport. Judo had the same bad press. People like to take shots at those more popular than themselves.

    I studied TKD and MDK for a short time in high school (I had two friends that were senior students at seperate schools, and one I traded guitar lessons for MDK lessons). I found it difficult for me because I wasn't as flexible as I needed to be, but it was a good martial art.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't hate TKD. I am not particularly a fan either.

    I am big believer in the quality and frequency of training, this being said I notice more half-hearted practitioners in TKD than many other arts. This may be because there are just SO many TKD schools out there that it is natural to run into some crappy ones.

    I also think that the Korean men tend to be very shady in business matters, it s a matter of cultural difference although Americans should not be surprised that their are frauds out there.

    I am not being prejudice here, I handle a lot of international business and my Korean contacts never play by the rules.

    As a style TKD is a direct interpretation of karate from Japan, so why do people not seek out the original Japanese style, this is what I often wonder? I understand that geographically people are limited to the good schools in their town but given a choice between two schools of equal quality , one style was copied from another style, all things being equal I would pick the original style.

    Things like this lead to a general bad taste for the whole style.

    I do not by into it, i treat every school and individual as such.

    Source(s): 13yrs training.
  • 1 decade ago

    Don't care what other people think of Tae Kwon Do. Alot of people will criticize you about Tae Kwon Do. When ever somebody says stuff about Tae Kwon Do being useless, i always think "I could so beat them up!". Sometimes people want you to fight them, becuse they think they can take you. Ignore them! Yeah, there alot fake dojos and "Black Belt Academys". But you train at a real dojo. Be gratefull you did not start training at a McDojo!

    Source(s): Brown Belt Tae Kwon Do
  • 1 decade ago

    I wonder the same thing. In part I think it's do to the influence of Olympic TKD, which I don't like, but to each his own. I am a TKD instructor so I might be a little biased. Every commissioned officer in the S Korean army has a black belt in TKD. It is a prerequisite.

    Those who doubt their own ability frequently try to build themselves up by tearing others down. Pathetic.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it's mainly that a lot of dojos aren't like the ones you've described, so people become disillusioned concerning all of them. I knew a girl who felt this way and would pronounce Tae Kwon Do as "Take Your Dough".

  • 1 decade ago

    look people i am doing Taekwondo for 14 years now and i am a 3rd Dan and i am only 19 years old and 5 times SA colours. everyone can make fun of any sport even me i like the guys from karate and the moves they do because it is really strong moves but if someone ask me what should they choose Karate or Taekwondo i always say Taekwondo.bescause it is really good self defence programe and it teaches you to control yourself mentaly and fisicaly but sometimes it just doesnt work i will know.i was mocked last year and i just hit a blank spot i couldn't do anything.afterwards i could kick myself because i could have defended myself.the thing is people that say these two sports really bad don't know the sport that is why they say bad things about is really sad for someone that is doing Taekwondo for 14 years and to hear things like that.but the worst thing is, is when you are overseas and say bad things about your country that is really sad.for someone that is in korea now like me and went to championships and to hear this things is not really F's up your game and mind set.but hey that is just me to say it.14 years in Taekwondo and i had more S*** then anybody in the SA team and in all the clubs i have been couch kicked me full and i just had to stand there and i was pushed to the limits so i know exactally when someone says something bad about Taekwondo or Karate.but good luck and good luck if you are doing Taekwondo.

    Source(s): P.S remeber i am a 3rd dan i know what i am talking about
  • 1 decade ago

    Because most TKD schools are McKarate. Koreans trained in traditional Korean karate. I took Korean karate almost 40 years ago before there was TKD. TKD evolved as a sports version that was marketed mostly to young people. Also, two TKD schools offered to make me a Master when I was a Brown belt, if I would come and teach at their schools.

    By the way, I refer to the TKD school up the street as the Falling Down Style, because if you watch through their window, all the students are taught to fall forward when they kick or punch, something that the "Master" and his sons don't do. I guess it makes it easier for the "Master" to retain his position of superiority.

    Source(s): I was there.
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