Posted On:3/03/2010 4:04am
Style: traditional tkd
For those students of TKD, TSD, or HKD - when you were a beginner, did you feel overwhelmed (rightly so, not just because you were indeed a beginner) with the number of techniques/patterns you were required to learn early on?
How much was/is expected of your white/yellow/green (or whatever your early beginning ranks are)?
The school (and federation) I study with, in my humble opinion, deluges new students with too much, too soon. Some students manage this fine, but most don't. When I was an assistant instructor, I used to run the beginners class as well as the regular classes at least a few nights a week. I was required to teach the curriculum as it had been taught to me, and to just about every one else that started with our school - we did have a few students who started in another ITF style school, and the occasional TSD student.
A brand new beginner would be taught front, back, and horse stances, straight punch, reverse punch, inward/outward knifehand strikes, inward/outward backfist strikes, ridgehand strikes, low, middle, and rising blocks, twin knifehand blocks, twin forearm blocks, middle forearm blocks, inward forearm blocks, and the high spear hand strike. They were also subject to stepping front, side, round, hook, and back kicks, along with jumping, reverse jumping, and stationary jumping versions of the same. They would also be taught Chon-Ji hyung, and four three-step sparring patterns. All of this information dumped on a white belt!
Aside from a new hyung and a few new step sparring patterns, there wasn't a lot of new ground to cover stance/block/strike/kicking wise until the student had a couple promotions behind them.
The thing that bothered me a little then, and a lot now that I've got hind sight and time to think on these things - is how all of that information seemed to overwhelm a lot of students. Instead of being tasked with mastering just a few basic stances, blocks, strikes, and kicks before being taught new techniques, we flooded their minds with too much information. I wonder now, if maybe that is one of the reasons for so much attrition of the low ranking students? I started as one of about ten beginners - and was the only one from my beginning class who made black belt. I struggled as a low ranking student trying to perfect all these things that were expected of me - but I loved it and I think that's why I stuck with it (that, and encouragement of my parents.)
About a year after I became a 3rd dan, I had a shift in priorities - working to pay for college, serious romantic entanglements, and other crap that I should've handled better. I recently began training again, and have taken on a student - a close friend of mine who has wanted to take martial arts training, but due to his work schedule and lack of funds for private lessons, couldn't make it happen.
In taking on a student of my own, I have begun re-evaluating everything I learned, how I learned it, and when. I'm working on developing a better curriculum - one that starts out with just very few basic techniques and builds - adding new techniques with every rank up to the 2nd kup level. I've decided not to waste time with the patterned step sparring patterns we learned - they never seemed particularly useful for anything other than getting a back & forth rhythm down - as full hard contact with blocks was discouraged at low ranks. I think instead that we'll replace the step sparing with random block and counter drills, and more sparring. I don't want to do to him what I was subject to (and subjected other beginners to) by pushing too much to learn too soon. I want to keep things interesting for him, while giving him time to master a few techniques at a time.
I haven't sat in on many other schools in this area - we're over saturated with WTF style mcdojos, with damn near one in every shopping center or business park - and I don't think I've ever actually seen adult classes in any of those schools - just lots of children with a whole rainbow of belts and one or two black belts leading the show, and they were almost always doing line-kicking drills. I only know of two other ITF style schools in the greater Portland metro area, but I've never visited them yet. I do know that the leader of one of the schools started training under our grand master before splitting off on his own many years ago.
I'd like to hear from current or former TKD or TSD practitioners on this - do you/did you feel that you had too much pushed at you in the beginning? What was expected of you as a 9th Kup, 8th Kup, or 7th Kup? What kept you motivated to stick with it, or conversely - what lead you to abandon your TKD/TSD training or an individual instructor or school?
Posted On:3/07/2010 9:36pm
Style: nothing currently
I did not feel that overwhelmed with the amount of techniques I learned, but then I also practiced a lot. Personally when I teach people stuff now I only teach the basic 3 kicks plus boxing techniques. However, my current teaching situation is NOT normal. I run a small school affiliated club at Oregon Institute of Technology.
I do not teach forms unless someone really wants to learn them. Although I admit I love doing them I know that not everyone finds them useful or enjoyable. I also do not claim to be some sort of fighting expert but we do spar. Our club has students of all sorts of styles attending and I let them teach stuff regularly; we really sort of coop every thing we do and are completely informal.
Posted On:3/08/2010 11:22pm
Style: The Way of Hand and Foot
Wasn't overwhelmed at all. They gave me basic kicks, punches and blocks to learn. That was it.
Merry Christmas! shitter's full...
Posted On:3/08/2010 11:55pm
i started in ITF, went WTF, my uncle in law owns an ATA dojang, and i teach for young champions karate/self defense.
i felt that at the ITF, our basic punch/kick combos were great. our forms were simple enough to learn, but taught us good stances and didn't eat up the whole class period. by the time i was a green belt i could throw awesome round kicks, and my blocks/deflections were pretty tight. i could barely keep my balance on a spinning heel kick, but i didn't care.
when i went WTF, i knew all the techniques they were teaching (i started over as a white belt in WTF), but i saw a lot of people getting very frustrated at the eleventy million things to learn in the first 4 belts, and their technique suffered greatly for it.
keep your techniques to those that are most usable in the most situations. i drill my kids on round kicks and front kicks more than any other kicks because you can use those two in any application of striking inclusive martial arts. everything else i teach i teach in descending order of usefulness and practicality. don't be like so many store front mcdojos; inventing shitty techniques to fill up a bloated belt ranking system.
Last edited by omoplatypus; 3/08/2010 11:58pm at .
Originally Posted by it is fake
yeah, normally i'd get a quote, but couldn't be bothered.
Posted On:3/09/2010 12:56pm
I didn't learn the more advanced stuff until I got to blue belt. Even so nothing was too overwhelming and again it was kept simple. For each belt in every category (kicks, blocks, stances then poomsae) there would be maybe three techniques at the most required to learn.
For example take green belt. For kicks you had double kick, narabam (360 roundhouse or tornado kick) and variations of back kick. Blocks would be single and double knife hand combinations. Stances was mostly transitioning between back to front stance. If any school is throwing dozens and dozens of techniques to beginners then that is very questionable.
Posted On:3/09/2010 1:58pm
Style: Judo+soon 2b bjj,boxing
When I started tkd, the curriculum was kept relatively simple, and I think it had to do with me starting in an after school program and staying with that for a number of years. The main school may have been more technique-heavy (as was the case with the main school's hkd classes), but whenever I trained there for tkd, not much was different.
At white belt, I started off learning horse, front, and back stance, raising, inside-out, outside-in, and down block. I also learned reverse punch, knife-hand, and front, round-house, and side kicks (and don't forget your one-step sparring!). Each class until yellow belt level would focus on just one or two of those techniques, and in effect, you would put them together after you got your yellow belt.
Time was mainly spent on learning proper chambering for kicks and just getting the gist of the techniques rather than refineing them. We also learned two forms at each belt (both ITF and WTF forms), but it was not as much as a priority as learning to kick and maintain a proper stance, untill you were a higher belt. Then it was expected that you get good at all the fancy stuff (around mid purple belt).
So basically we were taught many techniques at white, but they were broken down over a period of months, and then refined when you got your yellow belt and beyond. Thereafter, you would learn a couple kicks at each belt and the two forms, but refineing the basic kicks and stances was always at the center of learning, as it was believed to be the best way to better everything else you were learning in tkd; what good is your jump-spinning-hook kick when you basic side kick sucks?
Anyways, I no longer train tkd for a few reasons, one of them due to a lack of wanting more alive training than what I was getting, but this was after years of thinking I was learning some "real self-defense stuff". After being at tkd for about 6 and 1/2 years and almost getting my black, I started to want more than was being offered by my tkd classes.
What did keep me going for all those years was not really the art itself, but mainly the people who taught me tkd and the respect and bonding I had with them as they were all geat people to learn from. I would have stuck with it, too if it weren't for some major personal setbacks and realizing my martial arts training at the time was not what was really motivating me to do it. I started to train tkd as a kid, because I thought I was learning to "kick butt", or as I would now put it, learning techniques in an alive manner that could save my ass in a worse case scenario, along with training with nice people and getting fit.
Also, there was way too many middle school and elemantary kids in the class, and I was 1 of 2 high schoolers, and the focus was on them training. I tended to get the short end of the stick and spent my last year helping to teach for a good portion of the time. Now I don't mind teaching, but I wanted to come to class to learn, not to teach! Not to mention I was also teaching a 6-8 year old tkd class each monday as well after normal class.
I guess you could say I "grew out" of my tkd school as I wanted more, and they just didn't have it.
Let your anger be like a monkey trapped inside a pinata; waiting inside, hoping that the children don't break through with the stick.
-Master Tang (Kung Pow! Enter the Fist)
A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones who need the advice.
— Bill Cosby
The believer is happy, the doubter wise.
— Greek proverb
Originally Posted by Nicko1
Martial Talk is not neutral, it's just neutered.
Posted On:3/09/2010 3:27pm
you have a good round kick, and your spinning back kick hurt my chest.
you're doing something right.
Posted On:3/09/2010 5:16pm
Originally Posted by White Kimbo
you have a good round kick, and your spinning back kick hurt my chest.
you're doing something right.
Lol thanks. I got that from my tkd instructor!:laughing9
But what I was trying to say is that the vast majority of my tkd training was ok, but could have been much better if we had trained more alive (we meaning myself and the others in my class only did tappy point sparring at the best). I have always been quite good at spinning back, and also attended a moo sul kwan seminar once where we had an Olympic tkd alternate show us some ways to make the spin back kick faster and less telegraphed. Besides that, I did learn some great stuff while doing tkd, and am thankful for it overall.
In terms of what I want now out of training is different than what I had years ago in tkd; I am more aware of what I want out of training, as I am no longer a spastic preteen (just a spastic teen now), and was just trying to say how I would like something different than what I did in the past, as well as something more alive and more practical.
[windbag]I can recall in my last year or so in tkd where my instructor was teaching me and the other redbelt at the time how to do a double-flying side kick. We would take a great deal of time and effort in class when I was not helping to instruct setting up mats on the floor and on the wall to practice it, as I was told it would be required for me to do this for the black belt test.
Not to mention the several other crazy kicks I had to learn and perfect for the test, I also had to learn 2 forms a belt (by brown, I had learned 12-14 forms!), and then I had to learn 3 at redbelt! Tack on about 20-23 one-steps, and I was not enjoying myself.
Now compare this with how it started out for me in tkd as I stated in my previous post in this thread, I learned a few good techniques and for the first 2-3 years was spent refining them. They were mostly practical, and the basics were emphasized and drilled. Then at around mid purple and onward, they started to teach a whole bunch of crazy stuff that made me at first think, "Cool! These are the real deadly tkd techniques that only the higher ups know and can use to fight!"
Needless to say that even when I tried them in point sparring, I could not use them as I originally thought. So it went from useful techniques and emphasis on basics in class, to crazy non useful techniques emphasized in class.
Also, it seemed that there was more pressure and emphasis on advancing in rank after the first few years, then when I started out. It seemed as if the instructor went out of his way to "teach the curriculum so the students could earn enough points to test (yes, we had a points system)." rather than, "teach the students things that will help them in self-defense", which I did not like.
I have thought for quite some time that your ability to fight, or at the least the ability to use what you know and time spent learning the art, not just how many points you attain for each class, should tell you your rank.
That is what I did not like and led me to not want to train tkd anymore, at least not train it the way I had first experienced it. I may take it up again if I ever get the chance to train with you or your Uncle in-law, as their training is more of what i want now, but judo is really what I am set on.[/windbag]
So I got a good back kick and round kick from ok, mostly non-alive, tkd training, which in the same time if I trained more alive could have been much better. :5badair: Better than nothing, but I can't change the past, and am thankful that I at least have some skill.
Last edited by ZenOfAnger; 3/09/2010 5:23pm at .
Posted On:3/09/2010 8:39pm
Thanks for the replies so far. Its good to hear that it was mostly a progressive environment. I guess the way my school taught is the oddity in how much we pushed at the white belts.
As a color belt I never felt pressed by my instructors to promote - they didn't care how long it took to get from one belt to the next unless a student was getting antsy about things - we had general time-line - until you hit 5th Kup you were eligible to promote every 3 months if you did well. When you hit 4th Kup it was every 4 months until you were ready for the First Dan test. At 1st Kup you stopped learning new techniques and focused on perfecting all you'd learned until that point - refining everything and preparing for the first dan test. For a first dan - we had to perform all hyungs from white to brown belt level (our rank system was white/yellow/blue/purple/brown/black) - then board breaking, one on one free sparring, then three-on-one sparring. Once you hit first dan, you started learning more techniques, forms, and semi useful SD techniques.
One of the things we were taught - knife defense - I shutter at today. The first four knife-defense techniques we learned - at the purple belt level - involved kicking the knife from the attacker's hand. There is no way, no how that would ever be practical or safe. They look cool in demonstrations or made up TV type fights - but would flat out get you killed. Those are techniques I don't particularly plan to pass on. The hand-to-hand knife techniques were actually somewhat practical, at least for the attacks used in the patterns (thrusting stab and downward stab) - not so much for the slashes most knife fighters would actually use. I had the pleasure of taking a half-day knife defense course by a trained knife fighter - and he quickly demonstrated which techniques we'd learned would work, and which ones would leave us bleeding, disabled, or dead. Today - I have to say that my first answer to someone pulling a knife would be drawing my pistol - at least if I've got the time and space to do so. I'll go hands on with a knife wielder if I have to, but close quarters struggles with a guy with a blade are not on my "Fun things to do" list.
I'm very grateful for the TKD training I've received, TKD did things for me that I'm not sure other things would've when I started (I was a very shy and introverted kid, and the TKD training forced me to interact with other people. After a couple years of training, I was able to get up in front of a class and speak or perform, without being super nervous.) I've only had to put my training to use (in a non class or tournament environment) a couple times - but I came out on top in both. I'm glad I've gotten back into it - but I do intend to suppliment my TKD training with another style when my work schedule will allow. There's a traditional Japanese Aikido school not far away, there's probably half a dozen BJJ schools close by, and there are a couple Judo schools I've found by searching the great intarwebz. I don't intend to become an MMA champ, nor am I in a work environment that causes frequent confrontational contact anymore, but I'd still like to have a good ground game in case I find myself in such a fight. That's definitely where TKD could stand to incorporate some techniques.
I appreciate the honest replies, and the lack of TKD bashing and YMAS comments.
Posted On:3/09/2010 10:46pm
They taught you to kick a knife out of the hand? Dude when I started learning weapons defense the first thing my instructor taught me was "Forget everything you think you know and do NOT try to practice what you see in the movies or anything flashy."
Unless you can deliver Chuck Norris style kicks at the speed of sound...come on.
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