This thread is wonderful
I come from an ATA school as well. I have referenced my TKD background a few times in various threads, but I haven't really been around this forum long enough for people to know who I am, so I will tell my story briefly to contribute to the knowledge base.
I took TKD in the early 2000's for about 4 years, earning a Black Belt Recommended (I was surprised no one mentioned the two different ranks within each belt... that might be a regional thing). From other people's stories my club was pretty decent. We mostly did forms but also made time for physical conditioning and medium contact sparring (no face punches). I suspect most of my positive experience comes from the fact that the instructor was an honest, realistic dude. He told us to cross train if we wanted to get better, that boxers would manhandle us, and so forth.
However, testings were always silly. It was memorization of one steps and forms and no-contact sparring (and I always ended up paired with some 8 year old... which as a 6'3" man makes no-contact sparring look even more unimpressive). The only people who were ever failed were people who completely failed to fulfill the "know your form" paradigm.
After leaving (and several years of no martial arts) I eventually ended up at an MMA gym that emphasized no-gi MMA. There I learned that I had no ground game or sub defense. The kickboxing classes there also taught me that I had little to no kickboxing skill beyond a nice left - right - front kick combo that my TKD instructor liked.
Eventually I took up Judo. I learned that I could be taken down at will by anyone who was trained in grappling. I also learned that the friendly Dojo atmosphere of friendship and mutual learning was something that could be found in more practical martial arts.
I think ATA TKD taught me a few things. I did learn to punch and kick hard, and to do some of the more practical spinning kicks pretty well (back - kicks etcs). I credit my instructor actually bothering to emphasize good technique with the teens and adults with doing that. But really, it did not teach my to fight.
Do with that as you will.
Hi all, I wanted to PM some of the more experienced posters in this thread before I did any posting but if there is any chance to update the FAQ and to answer more I'd like to help where I can. I used to train with shu2jack in Tecumseh back in the day. If he's still lurking around here: Hey Jack, it's been a long time but I hope all is well.
So if you'd like to talk to someone part of the ATA but not a clown like so many of the posters here seem to be, just get a hold of me, I'm not interested in sugarcoating anything and will be frank and honest. Many thanks guys, love the site.
Who cares? ATA is just another McDojang chain.
Apparently, you do since you bumped a 6 month old thread.
So unless you're scheduling a throwdown to put some walk to your talk, come at us with at least a degree of intelligence next time.