View Full Version : Neo-Newbie here. TKD vs American?

8/26/2013 9:38am,
Alright, a little back-info here.

So, I'm turning 30, and want to not be an out-of-shape putz anymore. I'm jumping back on the cardio bandwagon, and I'd like to get back into Martial arts.

Now, I've tried a few martial arts over the years, but things have come up to where I end up quitting. Many times financial, sometimes, other, but it happens.

I've tried traditional Japanese Karate (Shorin-Ryu) and some Korean (Tang Soo Do), but the most fun I honestly had was when I was a teenager taking American Karate. Yes, I know it's not the most effective combat style by far, but I honestly enjoyed it, and that kept me going. I stuck with it for about a year until my studio closed, and then my parents couldn't afford anything else at the time (I was like 14).

I want something fun, and something that implements a lot of sparring. I'm fine with learning a "combat-sport" over an actual fighting style, and I know that both American and Tae Kwon Do tend to be more of a sport than anything else. They are also both fun, active, and competitive.

I'd like some recommendations on American Karate vs Tae Kwon Do, namely reasons why you think one would be better than the other. And yes, I read the FAQ about ATA before I posted this. Much kudos on the guy being as blunt and honest as he was.

Also, I live in Duluth, GA, so bonus points for anyone who has a specific instructor or studio/dojo to direct me towards.

I'm an empty cup, guys, Fill me up or smash me to bits, your call.

8/26/2013 11:02am,
Ok, guys, I know you probably aren't the biggest fan of these posts, but I'd really appreciate help here. I'm not looking to have sugar-coated happiness fed to me, just honest advice. If I'm in the wrong forum, tell me, and if you think I'm being a dummy, I'll take that too. I just want some honest words from a group that won't fluff things, and this is the best place for it.

8/26/2013 11:05am,
Just to clarify what you are saying. You want a sport with realistic sparring that is competitive, but without it being to hard core, is that correct? Do you just want to American Karate/TKD? Are you open to other styles of karate?

8/26/2013 11:07am,
I'm open to a lot of things, but price is an issue. American and TKD are usually the easiest on the wallet. I do prefer Korean-style kicks over Japanese, however. And I don't mind it being "hardcore", but I do want active sparring involved. Shorin-Ryu had no sparring, whatsoever, and it was somethign I missed.

8/26/2013 11:15am,
If your looking for American karate there is Tracy Kenpo in Atlanta. However if you looking for realistic sparring I would look at World Oyama Karate. Sparring in TKD varies so you might wan to check out some places on your own. Hope I helped out.

8/26/2013 11:20am,
You did help. Any information helps. I'll start looking into those schools now. Thank you much. :-)

And guys, any other opinions are very welcome.

8/26/2013 12:23pm,
World Oyama Karate seems like a good suggestion as it is the closest to the Karate you enjoyed before but with sparing.

Might be worth checking out Judo, boxing or wrestling if you want to try something really different to to what you have done before, I mention it more because in the U.K at least they tend to be at the cheap end

8/26/2013 5:50pm,
Just because you liked something when you were 14 doesn't mean you're going to like it now, 16 years later. I'd make a list of what's available and just go try a few of them out with an open mind.

I don't know about American Karate, but TKD is not usually the easiest on the wallet. Also, if you're looking at it from a price perspective, try and be clear about what you're getting. Eg BJJ can often seem expensive, but you usually get a lot of classes for your dues. Some karate places can seem reasonably priced, but have few classes or frequent, expensive belt tests.

8/26/2013 6:45pm,
@CrackFox: This is in the agenda. I plan on looking for a few places within my accepted travel range before I settle on one, and I'm going to be severely scrutinizing any sort of contract. I so appreciate the advice, though. It's good to see people helping to make sure someone doesn't get monetarily nailed. :-)

I like BJJ, but the schools down here are pricey, generally between 150 and 200 a month. Given, the ones I have looked at give you your money's worth, but I just don't have that kind of capital right now.

Also, likely not going to go somewhere charging for belt tests. Just always rubbed me the wrong way.

8/27/2013 9:21am,
Keep us posted. This could be a good reference for people in the ATL area looking for the same thing.

8/27/2013 11:36am,
Oh, I'm happy to, Galope. Currently, I'm trying to research options, which is proving to be more difficult than I'd originally intended. It seems that a lot of small schools open and close rather quickly around my area, but the listings stay posted. Is kinda funny to Google street-view a potential school, only to find a literally vacant lot.

Here's the places I've been able to find so far, good and bad.

Elite Martial Arts
2000 Ray Moss Con
Johns Creek, GA 30022
(770) 663-4114

This place honestly worried me a little. Has a lot of McDojo indicators. However, it's on my way home from work, so I might was well give due-diligence, check it out. I'll post more later.

Choe's Martial Arts Academy of Johns Creek
Johns Creek, GA
(770) 713-1706

This one is also on my way home, but it worries me more than the last one. It's Hap Ki Do, and the site talks more about Chi than Technique. I might look at it if nothing else pans out.

Karate Atlanta
5354 McGinnis Ferry Road
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 569-5560

This is ATA. Prob not gonna try there.

The Dojo American Karate Centers‎
3005 Old Alabama Road #60
Johns Creek, GA 30022
(678) 822-3656

Ok, this franchise was actually founded by one of my former instructors from when I first took American Karate, So I have to look into it for no other reason than that. It's been relatively successful in the Atlanta area, and currently has six locations. It seems to have gotten mixed reviews, though they lean more positive.

Atlanta Choong-Sil Kwan Tae Kwon Do
3131 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd.
Ste. A-3
Suwanee, GA 30024

Now, this one may have a location much closer to me, which would be a draw. It does have a few things that worry me, however. A big one is that the owner and chief instructor, John Salama, "has been training in the Choong-Sil Kwan Taekwondo Federation (CTF) since 1987 under Grand Master Robert Hardin." Now, this is ambiguous as to wether they mean that the "Choong-Sil Kwan Taekwondo Federation" is recognized by the CTF, or that they are calling the "Choong-Sil Kwan Taekwondo Federation" the CTF. I was under the impression that the CTF was the Chin Mu Kwan Taekwon-Do Federation, though I could be mistaken. Still, when two organizations share initials, it tends to make you think one may be trying to ride the coat-tails of the other.

Now, these are just the ones closest to me to be relevant and that I could reasonably confirm to be open. There could be more, but I'll have to look around a it better. If anyone has had experience with any of these schools, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Thanks, guys.

8/27/2013 12:26pm,
oh, almost forgot

@CrackFox: The Oyama Karate site for Atlanta is down ( www.atlantaoyama.com) so I'm not sure if they are still open or not. Still looking through the Tracy Kempo Atlanta site. It's a little cluttered, but I don't want to email the poor guy asking for info he's already posted.