Anonymous asked in SportsMartial Arts · 1 decade ago

whats the differences between ITF and WTF?

ppl said ITF is more like self defense, mixed with karate, WTF is traditional korean TKD, sport fighting etc. i want to know the specific differences, like the patterns or forms, the way they kick, skills, the way they train etc. im studying TKD and just want to find out more about my ITF TKD.


itf is international taekwondo federation n wtf is world taekwondo federation lol

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Take a look at this website:

    You will see a table the lists the forms for the ITF, and also the WTF.

    The WTF forms are the "Palgwe" and the "Taeguk" forms listed. If you watch some of these, you will notice that the Palgwe forms look more similar to the ITF forms you know.

    The WTF style is constantly changing and evolving and is the style recognized by the South Korean government and the IOC (International Olympic Committee.

    WTF is an Olympic sport, but there is a common misconception that WTF schools only teach sport, or that they do not include self defense. While sport is a major part of WTF TKD, you have to realize that it was also a combat art and is still currently taught and used by the South Korean military and secret police.

    An example of a kicking difference is the WTF evolution of the rear leg round kick, versus traditional rear leg round kick found in ITF TKD.

    In ITF, the chamber position is paralell to the floor, turning the hip over and delivering maximum power from the hip.

    In the modern WTF version, the chamber position perpindicular to the floor (the same chamber as a front kick) and the hip is only partially turned at the last second.

    The idea behind this is that you are eliminating movement and adding a slight deception in the delivery of the kick.

    Opponents say that this results in less power because you don't use all of your hip, but advocates say that the increase in speed more than makes up for that because mass (your foot), times acceleration (your speed) = force (your power).

    I have done both, but I've only done WTF the last 2 years. My personal opinion is that the WTF kick is significantly faster and is not lacking in power. It does not look as good on video, it's not as pretty, but it is more effective in sparring.

    There are also differences in the sparring and rules. The WTF is 100% full contact, no points are awarded for light contact (with the exception of local tournaments with kids and stuff). There is also no break after each point. There are 3, two-minute rounds of continuous action. Judges score the bout and you can see the score on a monitor as the match progresses. There are no hand techniques to the head, and no kicking techniques below the waist. Scoring to the body is worth 1 point, kicks to the head are worth two points. Also, wearing a hogu (chest protector), shin and forearm guards, and head gear is mandatory. Fist and foot protection is optional.

    In contrast (unless it has changed), ITF sparring does allow hand techniques to the head, but not at full contact. Foot and fist protection is mandatory, but other safety equipment is optional. Matches are scored on a point by point basis, meaning a restart after each clean point (like in the movie karate kid).

    There are also a few historical arguments between the two factions. There are also now 3 different ITF organizations each claiming to be one that goes back to General Choi.

    My feeling is that they are both good styles. ITF is definitely more traditional and has a heavier influence from the Japanese/Okinawan styles of karate. WTF is using scientific methods to further develop and modify techniques. Both have big internal politics to deal with too.

    According to TKD Times magazine, a merger between the WTF and ITF will happen in the next few years. TKD, as a style, has been taking a beating from other styles and people trying to discredit it as a legitimate form of self defense or fighting. I think a unification would help strengthen the style and help fight back against this bad publicity.

    Good luck.


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  • Gilda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Crazy answers so far. I study both ITF and WTF taekwondo, so here goes: ITF - This was the original version of TKD after the kwans unified in 1955. It is based on self defense, forms, one steps, etc. The forms they study are the hyongs which start with Chong Gi. Sparring is softer style with little protection, only hand mitts and foot mitts. The kicks are more about power than speed. WTF - This was a breakoff from the original TKD right around 1980 in an effort to make TKD the second martial art in the Olympics, Judo is the first. Most study self defense, forms, one steps, etc. The forms they study are the Taegueks, starting with Taeguek Il Jang. Sparring is done with head, chest, forearm and shin protection and is full contact. The kicks are more focused on speed in order to score points versus power, but many schools adapt the power with the speed. The kicking thing is confusing for people that way. ITF focuses on power kicks but not in sparring since there is no body protection. WTF focuses on speed to score points but sparring is full contact with the protection and to score a point there must be power behind the kick or there is no point awarded. They are both very good styles and both are very effective. Anyone who says WTF is ONLY about point scoring doesn't know WTF. Both styles focus on self defense. If you are trying to decide between the two, visit both dojangs and get a feel for the quality of instruction. That is much more important than the style.

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  • 1 decade ago

    ITF is the Chang Hon style of TKD, WTF is the Kukki style and is what you see in the olympics.

    Terminologies are quite different, for example: WTF round kick equals ITF turning kick. WTF spin hook kick equals ITF reverse turning kick. WTF front stance equals ITF walking stance. Then there is the sine wave motion that separates the ITF from most other martial arts. ITF allows leg sweeps and head strikes. WTF does not for competitions, but WTF schools do teach these things in self defense/punching defense applications.

    ITF sparring should be non-contact or semi-contact for higher belts (depending upon the school and instructor). WTF sparring is full contact but does not include punches to the head (ITF does). This difference is actually very important and it has led the different styles to grow apart. You can almost always tell which someone practices just by watching the first few seconds of any match. There are arguments on both sides as to which is better - WTF claims to be more realistic whereas ITF claims to be safer and more practicable.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    WTF? - What the f u c k ?

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