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View Full Version : But Tang Soo Do isn't karate....right?



PizDoff
4/11/2005 4:33pm,
http://www.record-journal.com/content/articles/2005/04/10/news/news03.jpg
Michael Valentin, 4, goes through some karate exercises during a class at Valentin Karate in Southington. He is the son of the school's owner, Justin Valentin. (Dave Zajac / Record-Journal)


Korean martial arts system gaining in popularity

By Jesse D. Smolin, Record-Journal staff

SOUTHINGTON To the casual observer, Tang Soo Do could be identified for its flying kicks and jumping kicks. But that is just a small portion of what Valentin Karate is all about.

The Korean system of ancient martial arts is known for its emphasis on discipline and character building skills.

"I don't want to be known as the school with the best fighters. I want to be know as the school that develops the best characters," said Efrain Valentin, the martial arts center's co-owner and fifth-degree black belt, said. "We want you to get to your best personal level." There are nine degrees of black belt. Edit: hey, if you can't produce good fighters...

"When I tell parents that my son is in karate they say that I am teaching him to be aggressive, but he is learning self-defense. He (Valentin) teaches them not to fight," Amanda Agnew said.

Tang Soo Do, "the art of the knife hand," is a Korean martial arts system. It contains characteristics of Chinese internal methods and Japanese striking styles.

It is not a sport, although the center does participate in competitions. They do it to compete against themselves.

"We look at the competitions as family gatherings. It is a chance to meet Tang Soo Do members all over the area," Valentin said.

Unlike other physical activities, the parents who watch their children are calm and do not yell. "We tell our parents that it is about the kids going out and performing. We just want their son or daughter to reach their potential," Valentin said.

Wendy Hannigan enrolled at the center in January. She enjoyed it so much she signed her four children up. Wednesday was the first class for her 9-year-old son and her 5-year-old triplets. Hannigan said she surveyed several other centers in the area, but picked Valentin because of the children's behavior.

"The instructors had positive attitudes and a lot of enthusiasm and the children showed a lot of respect for their teachers," she said.

During the Hannigans' first lesson, Valentin emphasized individual responsibility. "You know what we call doing things without being told self-discipline," he said. Valentin told the students to exercise self-discipline by picking up after themselves. "I'm going to ask your mom about that to make sure you are doing it," he said.

Valentin Karate II opened at 991 S. Main Street in Plantsville two years ago as an expansion of its center in Meriden, which has been open for 16 years.

"I already had 10 to 12 students from Southington and when I was looking to expand Southington made sense," Valentin said.

Valentin Karate is a true family affair.

Valentin co-owns the buildings with his wife, Rachel Valentin, a fourth-degree black belt. Six of Valentin's seven younger siblings are black belts in Tang Soo Do and the sister who does not hold a belt helps in the family business. Even his 12 nephews and nieces practice karate at the centers. Rachel Valentin runs the Southington center and his sisters Madelyn and Yajiria run the Meriden center; Efrain Valentin floats between two schools.

Although he has tried other forms of karate, his first love will always be Tang Soo Do.

"I believe in order to master something you have to do it forever," Valentin said. Edit: That's nice and deep and all, but when do you master it then?!?

Valentin met his wife through the karate. He had needed help training and a Tang Soo Do master at the Recreation Department in Thomaston offered to help him. While training at the recreation department he met Rachel, then a first-degree black belt. This month marks their 13th anniversary.

Valentin has been practicing Tang Soo Do for 28 years. Growing up in Meriden he was a smaller child and was often picked on in school, he said. He watched a lot of Bruce Lee movies and became interested in karate. His father, Efrain Valentin Sr., signed him up after he received a coupon for a karate center, which was across the street from the YMCA on 107 W. Main St.

Valentin loved Tang Soo Do; he attended the center every day and earned his black belt in just three years.

"It was the only thing I could get to," he said. Edit: *Snicker*

Growing up, both of his parents worked but his dad drove him every day to the practice and sat through every one of his son's practices. He was even his practice partner.

At the age of 19, Valentin opened the first Valentin Karate in a 900-square-foot center at 57 Twiss St. in Meriden, in what is now an empty lot, Valentin said. He next moved to Pratt Street, then East Main Street. "We had to move because we needed more space," Valentin said. He finally moved to his present location on 82 Camp St., a 7,500-square-foot center.

Agnew signed her 5-year-old son Ian up for a class in the Southington center three months ago. "I like how he works with the kids," she said, "and teaches them respect, good behavior and positive attitudes."
http://www.record-journal.com/articles/2005/04/10/news/news03.txt

Family business to rake in the $

m4949
4/12/2005 8:10am,
I saw the other article posted with the TSD school being called a karate school.

I don't really see a problem with calling it Karate. Whether Koreans admit it or not, TSD (and TKD) has it's foundations in Karate. As long as these guys are not trying to pass themselves off as Japanese stylists.

Z'dime
4/12/2005 9:41pm,
The part I really enjoyed was this:


Valentin Karate is a true family affair.

Valentin co-owns the buildings with his wife, Rachel Valentin, a fourth-degree black belt. Six of Valentin's seven younger siblings are black belts in Tang Soo Do and the sister who does not hold a belt helps in the family business. Even his 12 nephews and nieces practice karate at the centers. Rachel Valentin runs the Southington center and his sisters Madelyn and Yajiria run the Meriden center; Efrain Valentin floats between two schools.


It's like a whole generic Tang Soo Do clan!

EternalRage
4/13/2005 1:00am,
"We look at the competitions as family gatherings. It is a chance to meet Tang Soo Do members all over the area," Valentin said.

This is becoming too true of Tang Soo Do in general. Its become so family oriented that "daycare" is an understatement.

So sad. I been to US Soo Bahk Do Federation tournaments, and believe me it looks alot like a daycare.

PunkBoy
4/13/2005 12:43pm,
^What do you mean by "daycare?" If family comes to cheer for a competitor, I don't see any problem with it.

EternalRage
4/17/2005 11:33pm,
^What do you mean by "daycare?" If family comes to cheer for a competitor, I don't see any problem with it.

Sorry, I used "daycare" in a different context than the author of the article. I mean it is a daycare in that Tang Soo Do on a general scale (at least from the tournament scene/belt test scene) has been targeting mainly youth - prepubescent children. Although this creates a large economic base on which to establish thriving schools as well as starting potentially good Tang Soo Doists (assuming they stick with it), often times the tournaments and belt tests are more geared towards entertaining children, which often times turns alot of events/training into bullshido/mcdojo. Of course you can argue this is what happens when you have lots of enrolled kids, but the effects are undeniable regardless.

I have no problems with family support in anything really. That's not what I meant.

PunkBoy
4/18/2005 12:15pm,
Sorry, I used "daycare" in a different context than the author of the article. I mean it is a daycare in that Tang Soo Do on a general scale (at least from the tournament scene/belt test scene) has been targeting mainly youth - prepubescent children. Although this creates a large economic base on which to establish thriving schools as well as starting potentially good Tang Soo Doists (assuming they stick with it), often times the tournaments and belt tests are more geared towards entertaining children, which often times turns alot of events/training into bullshido/mcdojo. Of course you can argue this is what happens when you have lots of enrolled kids, but the effects are undeniable regardless.

I have no problems with family support in anything really. That's not what I meant.

Ah. Yea, I can see your point. That does sound pretty...bleh.