TKD a history of dissapointment
Hello there, I'm Tim Adams; My story's now a few years old, but after checking out your guys threads I know it will be appreciated here. First off, I was a wrestler in Junior High and studied traditional Hapikido, Takeda Ryu Aki Jujitsu in a closed door school in Korea during my army service. When I came home I couldn't find a school (1986) so I wound up at a local TKD place that had been opened by a Korean teacher whose former army students had brought him to Kentucky and opened some schools. I decided early on to excell at my study and so became an assistant instructor after a couple of years practice. Yes, despite the fact that we had a traditional instructor, we were often passing on highly useless techniques, especially in one step training or self defense. (You guys know already what I mean) but basic kicks, punches and some knees and elbows thrown in did a pretty good job, so I kept at it. Knife and stick defenses taught by a non weapons style were comical at best, I used to have some new black belt wear goggles and hold a kicking shield, then launch into them with a rubber knife in a real life type attack. The looks on their faces was the best part. By the way I have been attacked a couple of times with blunt impact objects and have had a couple of knife fights as well, so reality is something they don't train for in the Mcdojang. Eventually, I was working directly under our master instructor and his american piece who was a chubby white girl whose skills matched her ability to fufill the Sabunim's other needs (ha ha). The school had an official quota of 75 new students every month, because after taking out those who dropped out, etc, we had to replace almost every single student bi annually or annually to stay in business. Of the ones who started with me, two men were left out of the entire local school circuit when we made black belt.
Costs were astronomical, I estimate my costs for the first couple of years to have run around 3,000.00 dollars. Please remember this is back in the day when monthly fees ran about 25 dollars a month. While I worked for Master ...... and his now defunct organization, the fees increased to 40 or 50 a month. Black belt certificates, counting belt, testing, (three stages) and actual documentation could run as high as 500 or 600 dollars. Master charged 200 dollars just to put his signature on your instructors certificate. (this is separate from earning belts) So, our organization grew for a few years and we were everywhere, we had clubs in every small town and community in our area, and storefront schools in malls in every large city, at its peak, we had 75 or more full time clubs and schools stretching from western Ky to North Tennessee to Cincinnati, Ohio, money was rolling in, and Master .... moved to Bowling Green, Ky to open a flagship school by the University campus there. I shagged a four hour drive one way at my own expense for weeks to follow my boss and basically ran the local school at the mall in Danville, Ky where I was living. I was by now a full time instructor, and my friend was in the same boat I was, working his butt off at a club site in the local national guard armory in the next community. We would work 70 hours or more a week, and not have enough cash to buy dinner, we'd gotten a cash tip from a student one night and went over to McDonald's to buy fries, because that was the most calories we could get for the money. My weight dropped to around 132lbs. I was teaching four or more classes a day, one hour each and training on my own skills in between. Master... would come by a couple of times a week, run some business, about once a month show up during a class for advanced students or when we had testing, because that was cash day. I used to see Sabumnim smack his fat american girl "senior instructor" around when she talked back to him. One day, he was just gone, another Instructor from a nieghboring city was suddenly now supposed to be my boss. He had an established school and now was taking over mine, which in reality had always been Master's. I got fed up and left, and a couple of months later the cops were around because my new boss had went to the bank one day and found all the assets of the school had been taken by Master to pay to build his new flagship school. The many clubs were no longer supported, they'd give some six month student a red belt and thereby continue to honor the already paid for contracts, or you could go to one of the remaining schools. Bit by bit, the organization crumbled, the Master was eventually removed as persona non grata by the INS.
But, it didn't end there....
I traveled and worked around the country and went to several schools over the next few years, doing WTF style, which I think is appropriate, WTF is it? And studying and sparring other places, like Muay Thai, that were a lot better. So eventually I wound up back down home and one of the guys I came up with in the Master's schools back when now had one of his own in our hometown. Same old stuff, nothing in the training or anything had really changed. He seemed more honest however, and as I had turned back in my black belt to Master and told him so long, my friend asked me to bring my experience and come finish my Chun do Kwan training with his school, so I went. Over the next year or so I excell and get 1st dan, but bad seed spawns more bad seed. My friend whose married and has a couple of kids, is busy chasing not only every available woman that comes in the door, but the teenage girls from the local high school too. Big problems and a public incident or two and I leave my dojang keys with one of the senior students and walk out. So, my advice is to run from the McDojo's as fast as you can, this bunch still has a few surviving instructors around, you can count them on less fingers than one hand. My old friend avoided prosecution and has joined one of these pre packaged, martial arts marketing bunches that includes programs like the black belt club and now they even have a Master's Club as well. He is centered in a small county seat, a city of about 17,000 people, so he manages to squeeze out most of his competitors, old school guys from the 60's who taught traditional stuff from some small school by their houses mainly. So I no longer teach or advocate most of what passes for TKD or karate. The spinning head kick looks great, but when are you ever going to knock some guy off a horse? It don't work for real life. Even my basic Jujitsu and wrestling skills are more than enough to undo these head kicking, arms down fighting guys. The thing I feel bad about is that I helped support these guys mainly because I wanted in. I wanted to make a career of being an instructor, and so I did lots of things I didn't want to nor should I have taught the "techniques" these guys passed out. I hope I never got anyone hurt because they reacted with some BS edan hoo roo chirigi and got they're clock cleaned. Basic striking skills are great and useful for most regular folks, but while I've had the benefits of old style hard and bloody training, these folks that line up at the storefront have no idea about suffering, pain or fear. When folks used to ask me about the training overseas, or traditional training and the instruction in sport karate they get here; all I could say was:
"Its very different". Someday I might train students again, if I do, I'll train them how I know, and what I know, not what some guy in a higher ranking belt is teaching to make his cash. Peace. :f-off::ninjafigh