T Nation

Taekwondo Considers its Future


I thought id share this article, Taekwondo is one of the most maligned martial arts going mainly because of the sheer number of bad schools and heavy kiddie emphasis. But if it can find relevance through mixed martial arts maybe peoples opinions will change. My opinion is still on the whole that taekwondo In WTF format has no future, olympic taekwondo is dull as dish water, I analysed 16 hours of Sydney olympics taekwondo matches for a reserach study.

I have black belts in Both ITF and WTF taekwondo, even in korea taekwondo isnt taken very seriously by fight trainers. When joining my current MMA gym the muay thai coach laughed and said "I not scared" when I mentioned my TKD credentials before my submission grappling or kyokushin ones. I want to be proud of the 10 years I devoted to the art but its reputation prevents me from doing that.

What I can be proud of is my taekwondo instructor (despite losing his MMA matches) recommending cross training which has gotten on the path i am now.


Definitely an interesting article.


Thanks for that link, Wayland. I'm sorry to say my impression of Taekwando has indeed been colored by a glut of sorry schools. Though I will say one of my krav instructors came from a TKD background (WTF) & he is an insane badass. I have a feeling he wasn't much different when he was practicing TKD.

I used to attend a karate school that, like the WTF, had the main goal of having me feel, "peace within myself". Actually, all I got was a serious case of overconfidence, because no one was ever really hitting me.

But there is no reason for you not to be proud of your 10 years of training in TKD. 10 years of training in any style shows an enormous amount of dedication. You probably have a superior sense of timing and distance, and your kicks are probably out of this world. Apply that, plus your strong dedication to training, to your new style, and you'll be an incredibly strong fighter.


Indeed, many of the serious TKD practitioners/instructors do cross-train. I had some bad-ass South American instructors for years that did full-contact and BJJ, and started teaching KM about 8 years ago, and I learned a lot from them. TKD is a lot of fun (still my favorite), but not very practical. Adding to this perception, as you mentioned, is the glut of McDojos and the vending-machine black belts handed out by these schools :frowning:


Great article and thanks for the link. I disagree, however, that the lack of MMA exposure has left it dying. There's plenty of kicks in MMA, and TKD practitioners have some of the best. It would work fine, just as karate has worked well for Machida.

I believe its a combination of having too many shitty dojangs and a stupid point-based sparring system that teaches people to pull their punches. Once you get into the habit of doing that, it becomes worthless for self defense and unrealistic for MMA. What's the benefit then?


You can integrate some TKD into your Muay Thai, dont let it go waste.


While I was studying Korean Arts we always studied TKD for the tournaments and Hapkido was for the streets. The person I studied the most from was a 3rd generation Grand Master named Yung Han Joo. It was of course a WTF affiliation and Master Joo had always said that TKD was sport and not meant to be an art per se.

Other schools with Korean masters (I never studied under an American Master)were doing the same and either using Hapikido, or Tang Soo Do as an adjunct or even the meat of the trianing and reserving the TKD for tournament.
I was surprised that American schools were teaching TKD as a stand alone art.


For what it's worth I second that.

I sparred with a TKD friend once. His kicks were beautiful but there was nothing on them, and left too many openings. Now he's working with a coach to cros train for MMA. If you could get some serious contact behind the speed and angles TKD can do. That could be a handful in the ring.

on a side note, the side kick is one of the most underutilized strikes in MMA. just my opinion. And TKD guys throw and transition into some nice ones.



That's why TKD is a weird art. An art doesn't have to be successful in MMA to legitimatize its value as a self-defense art, but what with the pulled strikes, it loses its value all the way around except to win TKD tournaments and give its practitioners a false sense of confidence.


I'd agree. But any striking art that goes into the Olympics (boxing and TKD) just turns into a bastardized form of crap that I disdain with extreme vigor.

I hate Olympic Boxing and TKD with the same zeal.

I think what happens is white people start teaching Asian martial arts, then the shit just McDojos out of control. Am I racist that I don't trust a TMA master whose not from the country his art sprang from?

I don't want to learn kung fu from someone, unless they look like the attached photo, and yell at me in Chinese and call me guilow and shit.
/end rant


too funny : )


My Muay Thai coach is a former taekwondo instructor, He helped me modify my kicking especially my round kicks the generate far more power using good rotation, hip movement and leg whip. Taekwondo kicks are snappy but powerless, experianced muay thai guys eat them and keep coming. I do however still use spinning heel kicks and back kicks mainly because I can and I catch sparring partners who are looking for the high head kick.

Whats strange in korea is that the idea pervades that TKD is the best martial art in the world koreans being arather nationalistic bunch, despite K1 and UFC thaks to Yoshiro Akiyama being extremely popular.


this used to be referred to as generations- how many generations is your instructor removed from it.. that and you are a funny MF- must be the WUTANG...
Really I have always had an issue with this or with younger instructors-
( even though I might fall into that category)

I guess Im not too sorry for the hijack..



I always shared the same perception of the style when I was competing...my last fight was against an owner and head instructor of a school and I KO'd him because he could only kick and didn't know what to do on the inside. Not enough emphasis on hands in my opinion.


How's the footwork in TKD they always look fluid.


At least someone thinks I'm funny.


I have built my striking base off TKD, being that I have done it for thirteen years I am well tuned to its kicking style. I always despised the lack of punching in WTF sparring, so i found a boxing coach and blended the two styles. I don't necessarily believe taekwondo is irrelevant in the world of MMA and I can see a fighter emerging into the spotlight who has found a practical way to incorporate the style.

Zelg Galesic, Fights DREAM and Cagerage, is from a TKD background.


Toughening up TKD is like those weenies who put big exhausts and spoilers on their 90hp Hotwheels cars and pretend their muscle cars. If the Koreans want to have a MA they can have pride in they need to admit that taking the punching out of Shotokan and calling it TKD didn't work.


True. The story is often forgotten how Choi Hong Hi earned a 2nd degree black belt in Shotokan, made some very small changes and created Tae Kwon Do. And of course Shotokan, created by Funakoshi only dates to the early 1900's. Yet TKD claims a history thousands of years old.

An instructor I had many years ago had a 3rd degree in Shito-ryu Karate, 2nd degree in Goshin Budo Jujutsu, and brown belt in Kamishinryu Kempo. He taught the Jujutsu and Karate as seperate arts. He taught two 3 hour classes each week, 2 hours of Karate and an hour of jujutsu. We combined them as we wanted - perhaps I liked Ogoshi as a throw, but my classmate like Tai-Otoshi as a throw....we learned them as seperate arts, yet together, but the two of us demonstrating the same arts might look entirely different. I feel this was a true MMA (mixed martial art) because it was 2 arts we mixed. Now adays the MMA is "premixed" - students learn a preblended art. As a result MMA is a new style, the fighters look very similar, as they are essentially learning a preblended art. I have actually used Nami Juji Jime to choke someone out in a fight - and I know Nami Juji Jime as a choke because I learned Japanese Jujutsu - maybe I am wrong but I doubt many MMA students even know Nami Juji Jime - but many might like it for their own personal MMA if they learned it. I like it.

Ii think TKD can be good, and its good your instructor urged cross training. The new preblended MMA teaches its own limited version of techniques that many have found useful in NHB (no holds barred) fighting - but NHB is only one thing MMA is good for. Martial arts can be blended other ways to create other versions of MMA - MMA that are useful for things other than NHB. Nami Juji Jime is not useful in most NHB because of the lack of shirts, but it works for me ( or has worked for me once) in a real fight.

I would like to see a blend of TKD, boxing and Aikijutsu.


ITF taekwondo looks alot like Shotokhan, problem is both ITF and WTF sparring styles emphasis a hands down side stance for sparring which is terrible for defending shoots and easy to lose balance doing.

Nami Juji Jime is a collar choke, anyone who trains purely no gi won't know it. But its white belt stuff in BJJ, If you watch the rorion gracie video where he comments on dojo challenges alot of the victories are with that exact choke.