How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Friday, June 18, 2010

The Short and Painful Truth About Taekwon-do

Depending on your view of a certain word, there may be a mild language issue with the following. My usage is technically correct.
I just read, in a forum elsewhere, some comments about taekwon-do and karate that were absolutely painful to read.

Now, before I carry on, let me make something clear: I am not trying to "run down" taekwon-do. I trained in taekwon-do for some few years, a long time ago. Was 1st gup (kyu) when I left, as a matter of fact (for the uninitiated, that means my next test would have been for first-degree black belt). If I lived in some part of the country where the only martial arts instruction available to me was in taekwon-do, I would certainly enroll and make the best of it.

My annoyance is only with the relatively painful ululations of those taekwon-do practitioners who have bought, hook, line, and sinker, into the mythology perpetrated by so many taekwon-do organizations, and I seek only to utter a small corrective.

Taekwon-do is not the modern form of some centuries-old Korean battlefield martial art.

Taekwon-do is not "super karate," which is the way one local chain used to refer to it.

Taekwon-do is not even, in my opinion, despite much bloviating to the contrary, a blend between Japanese karate and an art indigenous to Korea, called "tae kyon."

It's bastardized Shotokan, that's what it is. Look, Choi Hong Hi was a nidan in Shotokan, and I defy you--flatly defy you--to identify any significant differences between Shotokan and the taekwon-do you'll see in older books like Duk Sung Son's (which is, of course, actually named "Korean Karate") and Jhoon Rhee's old series. In the old days, the Koreans used to actually use the Okinawan forms--which, of course, were the forms used in Shotokan. I have found that some taekwon-do teachers have actually gone back to those forms.

Some years back, the Koreans decided, apparently, to go over almost completely to the sport side of Korean karate taekwon-do, and gradually made modifications that have, shall we say, stripped it of much of the combat power that Shotokan had. In other words, yes, unless you are lucky enough to find a taekwon-do school that's still teaching taekwon-do as it was taught back in the sixties, taekwon-do is bastardized Shotokan.

Again, I'm not trying to run it down. If that's all that's available to you, or you happen to like it (and millions of people do), by all means, go for it. I just get mildly annoyed every so often at some of the pretentious nonsense I read about it.


  1. There are some really good TKD schools, and systems but they are few and far between. It's an art that had a bad teacher who trained other bad teachers who trained other bad teachers etc. I once heard a state that 90% of TKD black belts wouldn't know how to defend themselves on the street.

    Wonder if you know anything about Bushidokan? ( Jim Harrisons system.)

  2. I've heard of Bushidokan, but really don't know anything about it. Certainly am not in a position to comment on it.