As Tae Kwon Do gains in popularity worldwide, we are seeing significant changes in the style and purpose of the art. Most notably, TKD has become a modern-day sport of precision and skill. Having been altered from a weapons-free personal and military defense system TKD is now a game with the objective of scoring points. This change has affected methods of training and style. As well, it has opened the door for other combat sports to become popular. I feel this is due to the desire for a more realistic style of defense.
Arguments have been made that in a “real-life” situation TKD won’t be effective, while the other side can justly argue that if TKD is taught and practice as intended it is superior to “entertainment” sports. I side with the latter. Tae Kwon Do is a life-long journey which nourishes a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has the potential to develop great character and physical conditioning of the practitioner. It’s value far exceeds that reflected by a score board, or win-or-loose. However, much of this is getting lost among the sport-minded population of today.
To better understand the points I am making hear I invite you to watch each of the videos I have linked to below. One is of a World Championships finals match and another on the history of Okinawan Karate. I choose the karate clip because it most closely reflects the style being preserved by schools like our own and some other Chung Do Kwon TKD schools. The third clip is of two of our yellow belt students, each with less than one year of training. Notice how the WT fighters keep their hands down, have relatively low energy and kick mostly to the head for greater points. Our young students are fighting more like those you see in the old-style matches toward the end of the history video. Imagine if our students shown hear continue to train smart and stick with it for life. They will unlock the power and secrets which makes TKD special and valuable.
Another comparison I noticed is the attire of the Masters and Grand Master. Modern WT officials are always dressed in dark suites while the old masters are in traditional uniform. I have never seen Grand Master Kim on the training floor wearing anything other than his dobok (traditional uniform). This, I feel, gives soul to the gesture “In Mutual Friendship”.
Take note of the points I am making. They will serve you well in your TKD journey.
In Mutual Friendship,