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312312 asked in SportsMartial Arts · 1 decade ago

ITF or WTF Taekwondo?

My school has a Taekwondo club, ITF has 3 lessons a week, WTF has 2. There seems to be more people in ITF. Prices are very reasonable. I'm looking to train to get fit and have fun, to participate in a sport, not for self-defense. Which would be better for me?


Hey thanks for the answer. ITF sounds like it's more relevant to my interests. They both train on different days so I might try both but I'm leaning towards ITF right now

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    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.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If you entirely want to do it for fun and sport I would recommend WTF. I know it might sound weird considering that I'm an ITF purist.

    But here are the reasons:

    ITF has a really important portion for patterns and WTF not so much. Again it depends which school you are going, some will do them and other not. But in ITF you always do it and a lot of efforts are done for details. Personally I think it's fun but I'm a crazy perfectionist. :)

    Another big difference is that ITF uses the sine wave for power and WTF doesn't.

    WTF has been victim of their success due to Olympic Games and because of this many schools started to focus only on sparring for the Olympics. It has for consequence that it became more and more, for those schools, like a gym class specialized in sparring and kicking without any martial arts philosophy. Not to mention that some unscrupulous persons decided to use that popularity to create McDojangs.

    Previous posters are right, WTF do not use their hands. So not so realistic but ITF even though they kick and punch it is restricted to be over the belt and to some techniques (no elbows or knees for instance) so a little bit more realistic but still "sport like".

    And no James, it's not like Karate kid :) That's one of the silliest type of competition I have ever seen... For color belt it’s no contact on the face and light contact on the body and it's only one round of 2 minutes non stop. And for black belt, it's full contact to the body and contact to the face (in international competitions it's often full contact even though it's not supposed. Many you tube videos can testify for it) and it's generally two rounds of 2 min with a break of a minute in between.

    But if you have a window of 3 classes a week instead of 2 it's already a good thing to lean towards ITF.

    Source(s): ITF TKD Black belt holder for many years Participated in several WTF-ITF exchange seminars
  • 1 decade ago

    I hold a 2nd Dan in both ITF and WTF. Basicly, the ITF is more martial art. IT focuses are traditional martial arts skill sets and, if the teacher follows the ITFs founder, Grand Master Choi Hong Hi's philosophy, then the focuses is on forms and technique.

    The WTF is more of a martial sport. They teach forms, but the focus is on competition. Some schools/clubs devote time to all levels of competition, that includes sparing, board breaking and forms. Others focus on Olympic style sparing. After all, the WTF is the official style of taekwondo in the Olympic.

    So, if you are looking for a well rounded martial art that is fun and useful, then ITF is for you. If you are looking for a sport that can take you to national and international sporting events, all the way up to the Olympics, then you want the WTF. Both will provide you with a physical workout and both have their uses. The choice in yours.

    I hope this helps.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    HI i train in the UK and we train under an organisation called the TAGB

    which is both itf and wtf tkd. saying that both organisations will allow you to participate in sport but just with different rules. wtf doesn't allow punches to the head where as itf does. itf is more like kick boxing. i personally prefer itf. but if you can try and find an organisation which incorporates both in its training and competitions then that would be your best bet.

    both will defiantly get you very fit though its just that itf is alot more practical and will help you more in a street fight than wtf. hope this helps.

    Source(s): my experience in tkd.
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Train in ITF. ignore those that bad mouth all other MAs.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    WTF is sport fighting

    ITF is self defense mainly

    WTF's fighters always put their hands down when comes to fight because they concentrate on kicking rather than punching (youtube WTF). i think it is not very realistic, when they are really close, they still perform kicks even tho they are really close whereas ITF (that guy has already explained it.). you might find ITF's kicks are not WOW compare to WTF but once again, ITF is for self defense. i always wanted to go WTF but my ITF TKD school is really good and reasonable price.

  • 7 years ago

    **** her right in the pussy

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