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#424547 - 01/24/10 01:43 PM My take on the TKD world and its controversies.
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
I have a first-degree black belt from the WTF, and I could probably have qualified for a second degree at my prime. I have also studied under one of the founding pioneers of TKD, whose name has been mentioned here, and so I know of the ITF tradition.

I agree that the WTF has been overly politicized, and its rules have taken a lot of the combat techniques out of the art, particularly in regards to hand techniques. I will say, for example, that, when I was a blue belt, I fought a black belt, and I used a hand technique against his head - he was totally unprepared and became incapable of fighting. He never liked me, but, after that, he had a healthy respect for my abilities - and all because of one backhand strike.

I'm not much of a fighter, but I observe people and I draw my conclusions about what I see. I think the WTF has lost a lot of the martial in the martial arts, and its problems with corruption and its political footseeing with the Olypmic committees have degraded its reputation, not to mention its integrity.

The ITF, meanwhile, has fractured into at least three different federations, and those three will fracture further, as each grandmaster goes off on his own and starts his own religion, with him as high priest. These institutions will never get back together again, because of the gigantic egos involved.

I also know of many ITF masters and/or grandmasters who have gone off to start their own unique, special martial arts, again with them as gods. Trouble is, most of them cannot compare to General Choi Hong Hi, Mas Oyama, or Gino Funakoshi. Still, ego is as ego does.

I think that, over time, the various ITF federations will die, because, once their god passes away, so will the federations. I also think that, if the WTF loses its status as the unique guardian of the olympic sport, it will also whittle away, as people leave to form their own schools and institutions. But that's not a bad thing. The history of capitalism and commerce is one of creative destruction - old institutions become rigid and inflexible, and they are replaced by better ones with better ideas. Social hierarchies are broken down, and this leads to social mobility and opportunities for people to move up - and there is a problem with a feudal structure in the martial arts, as no one will deny.

So, yes, there are problems in the TKD world today, and they will hurt TKD. But these problems will also be the catalyst by which a new and better world will emerge.

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#424554 - 01/24/10 06:19 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies. [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
ITFunity Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/15/06
Posts: 2053
I agree with most of what you said, especially the current state of ITF affairs & the future. One thing I would add, while I am not as educated as I would like to be for the other legendary MA founders, Gen Choi did have a big ego. It was one of the reasons why he was able to do what he did.
Also if TKD is dropped from the Olympics I don't think that the WTF or Kukki TKD will fracture. The WTF & KKW get a tremendous amount of support from the SK govt. It is a valuable cultural asset & propaganda tool, so it is not going anywhere. Far too many people around the world think of SK as the mecca of or for TKD, so SK will continue to accomadate them & many around the world will still look there for TKD leadership. The WTF & KKW will adapt as well, which maybe will be a good thing if their rules evolve

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#424556 - 01/24/10 11:27 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: ITFunity]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Originally Posted By: ITFunity
Gen Choi did have a big ego. It was one of the reasons why he was able to do what he did.


Most successful people have large egos - it comes with success.

As for the WTF and KKW, you're right - so long as the South Korean government supports them, they will survive. But, if they don't have a monopoly on the Olympics, many of the other countries' TKD schools will just drop the affiliation, because there will be no further reason to bow to the President of the WTF or KKW, when they can bow to each other or themselves.

Furthermore, there seems to be an oversupply of martial arts schools, TKD or otherwise, and, just like the recent bust in real estate, there will be a bust in the martial arts industry.

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#424819 - 02/09/10 01:33 AM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
One more thing.

One of my friends is a grandmaster in Aikido, and he told me that Aikidokas also have their Aikido wars, and there are now various organizations in the world, each independant from the other. I checked out the Wiki entry on Aikido, which seems to confirm that.

I got curious, so I checked out the Wiki entries on Shotokan Karate as well as Mas Oyama's Karate, and they all also fractured into various organizations after the death of their founder. In no case have those organizations ever gotten back together.

So history will repeat itself with TKD - the organizations have fractured, and they will remain fractured, just as the other martial arts styles have fractured.

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#424830 - 02/09/10 09:10 AM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Possibly, but there are other examples of MA making it work and staying under a unified banner internationally.

Judo has remained pretty pure (governed by the Kodokan and IJF). It hasn't really split up in to various factions (although there can be various orgs at a national level).

Amateur boxing has been governed solely by the AIBA for close to a century.

IBJJF pretty much runs international BJJ tourneys.

FILA is the only body that runs Freestyle & Greco-Roman Wrestling internationally.

So there are examples of bodies that split up and those that stick together.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#424836 - 02/09/10 11:57 AM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: Prizewriter]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Hmmm, I never knew that. So, yes, it is possible. But I think that, given the animosity in the TKD world, there will never be unification.

Thanks for the education, bud. smile

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#424845 - 02/09/10 03:59 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Well, I was generalizing to a degree! I mean, you could argue BJJ and Sombo are splits in Judo!!!

I actually think the fact that most of the above are considered sports above everything else is what helps with the unity. They have a common set of rules that associations and individuals across the globe adhere to. Part of this is the Olympic influence IMO.

With TKD, it seems to have been caught between the Eastern ideal of being a traditional method of self-improvement and fighting and the more Western ideal of being a competitive sport. Certainly it's not the only MA to suffer this identity crisis.

As long as you have people who want TKD to be one thing and not another though, you'll never have total unity. Some people think it is better to present modern TKD as a sport, others think it's better for it to retain more "traditional" meaning.

Then again, hasn't there always been differences in opinion about what TKD is and should be, right from the get go (ITFUnity would be better placed to say than me)?
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#424850 - 02/09/10 05:56 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: Prizewriter]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
What's BJJ again?

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#424853 - 02/09/10 08:01 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#424854 - 02/09/10 09:30 PM Re: My take on the TKD world and its controversies [Re: MattJ]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Interesting. I wonder how it compares to Hapkido and Aikido.

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