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  • Bill Auvenshine
    replied
    I first trained in TKD in the summer of 74. I grew up the only white kid (okay, there were maybe 20 of us) in an all black city. Fighting (and fighting "dirty") was a possibility every time I stepped out my door. But the year I ETS't out of the army I got a job screen printing table cloths, etc; There was a guy there who had been stationed in Korea and had earned a blackbelt in TKD.
    He kept daring me to come to a class. I wasn't afraid of anyone in his class. By age 20 I had been in so many fights it didn't really matter much if I got beat.
    He then invited me to go to St. Louis with him and watch a MA expo. I was very impressed with several things I saw. Some which seem to defy natural laws. One thing was when some small Korean guy who weighed maybe a buck and a quarter stepped up to a stack of concrete blocks that went above his waist. He screeched, jumped into the air and bare-knuckle punched right through them. They put a close up camera view of his fist and aside from a small scrape, it was undamaged.

    So I trained with him. Our dojang was a basketball court outside the local grade school. During the winter we went to a one room school house.

    We sparred every night. To my knowledge at that time (1974) sparring gear consisted of a cup and a mouth piece. We never went to tourneys. Instead we would visit schools of other styles and fight the students. It was interesting for sure. Oh, classes were ten bucks a month. All he taught was fighting. Forms were an after-thought. There were no children around that I saw and the few women were treated as equals. (which they were not)

    He gave no rank or testings. After 2 years I could not say that I was such and such rank. With him there were but 2 ranks. White belts and black belts. Training was very tough. There wasn't a one of us whose feet did not have the blow out blisters one gets from spinning barefoot on asphalt. I was knocked out by an advanced student I had just kicked in the nads. (Unintentionally) This guy went apesh*t on me until the next thing I knew I was on my back looking up at laughing faces. No one seemed concerned about my safety.

    I then moved to El Paso but could not afford to train at the dojo's that were begining to pop up in the cities like mushrooms inn the woods. So I found another TKD blackbelt. We would warm up, practice our kicks and then fight. Every night, fight, fight, fight!
    I liked it as I was fighting without getting in trouble for it. But after almost a year with this guy, (who also gave out no rank) I realized that for the most part, we students were raw meat for him. He would have us spar each other (still, a cup and a mouth piece) and go hard. Then he would spar us and beat the crap out of us.

    It seemed that MA training back then was more like that than it is now. Over the years I flittered back and forth with MA until I finally married and the wife and I decided to really get in to it. We spent tons of money but I will say the actual training was good, even though there was no doubt this guy was in it for the $$$. As he became more and more about the money the quality of instruction began to suffer.

    I wish I could teach TKD without having to make it a business to even be in it. But "clubs" like the one I was in in 74 just don't stay around. I do charge less than any other TKD school in my area even though my facilities or better. Now I teach TKD but train in any art I can get my hands on. My personal development must stray from TKD for obvious reasons. But I (and my wife) teach a very good TKD class. I know TKD is not taken seriously by some who train in other arts, but I have yet to meet a master of any other martial art who laughs at TKD. Rather like me, they see the value in all arts with no one art that can claim to be the best.

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  • gymrat0868
    replied
    I took TKD with an ATA school in Haslett, MI. I made it to Green Belt and moved north. I took up TSD with and 5th degree master in 2001. I was fortunate enough to see him test for his 6th and 7th degrees. I currently have a 2nd degree in TSD.

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  • tlear
    replied
    I did TKD for 2 years when i was a teenager. But it really was only TKD in name. We would spar full contact with boxing gloves and some foot/leg protection.

    I think this is the biggest problem with TKD as a striking art, you NEED to get used to dodging and taking blows to the head. Getting clocked in the head teaches not to stick the chin out fast :)

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  • alf
    replied
    This is a post to get rid of the newbie message; hopefully, I don't actually have to start a pointless and predictable "howdy, I do TKD, please flame me" topic...

    Anyway, my MA experience consists of TKD for the last 3 years; on the upside, it has been a vehicle for recovery from a nasty disease. My group has been a great motivating force; I work out and practice with TKD folks, and they (both peers and my instructor) push me whenever I slow down; my stamina and strength are finally better than they were in high school, when I ran track and before I got sick. However, I'll be the first to admit that my fighting repertoire wouldn't help me against anyone skillful at close-quarters combat, anyone strong or fast enough to deal with my kicks, or anyone stupid/angry enough not to care. That said, I'll probably stay with TKD until I move out of town next year. I don't see any point in leaving a group I enjoy practicing with to search for something more serious until I'm going to be able to spend a few years learning about it.

    Of course, I guess I have to show SOME pride in my own history...to that end, I'll opine that the best self-defense discipline I know of is hurdling; really, why risk life and limb against someone who could be armed or medicated when you can just outdistance them (and their buddies) by sprinting and jumping fences/bushes/crap?

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  • Bill Auvenshine
    replied
    What a lot of people do not realize (even some in TKD) is that old style taught to develop the striking surfaces. These days few do that. I am (besides one that I will not name) can punch through concrete with no serious injury to my hand. I have spent years developing my right hand. My feet used to have callouses that wrapped around the sides of them.
    Boxers do not develop their knuckles in the way that MA's do. The big gloves do more to protect their hand than to protect the one getting punched. Some (especially heavy weights) can hit so hard they could break 4X 4's. However if they hit that hard with an unprotected hand they may well injure themselves. But to that group, boxing is pure sport.

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  • MastaChance
    replied
    Yes that is what I started in. It was called Traditional TKD, and our sparring was based on WTF but when we trained, it was more like a muay Thai match than anything else. I am glad I strated there, it gave me a great base for striking, and all that kicking helped out my stamina tremendously.

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  • ronaldk
    replied
    was my first MA, still training.

    have invited friends that do kickboxing to my school, they really enjoyed it, have trained at their gym once, good training. spar with them frequently, do quite well. they have better hands normally, and i have better feet. makes for interesting matches.

    also been getting thrashed by my JJ/Judo friends a lot as of late. learned enough from being pwnd to tap them out from time to time when they get careless. getting flat out "ippon'd" sucks ass though.

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  • revtruhrt
    replied
    I went to a fairly typical Tae Kwon Do school and had similar experiences to some of the other posters here. I ended up being an 11 year old black belt with absolutely no legitimate training.

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  • saturnjunkie
    replied
    Getting back to the original 'vein' of this thread, I took TKD from age 11-17. I reached high green (5th rank) but then my father stopped paying for my tests. This is because of his nature of being competitive. I was going too fast for his tastes so he cut that off. He proceeded on to the black belt rank; eventually he taught the black belt classes out of a sub-studio for employees of bethlehem steel. I trained with them for my last 2 years(in tkd). The study was different apparently from the stereotypical TKD school. In fact, to this day, I find myself confused when I look at TKD as it is very different from what I learned.

    This is most likely because at the time, my instructor (Joe fox) was 5th dan TKD and 7th dan american karate. He also was 1st dan in 'tactical hapkido'. He did some kickboxing in the day and wrote a kickboxing book in the 70's. What we learned was very practical and consisted of contact striking in 2 minute rounds. Full padded foam gear (no chest protector). No points.

    I enjoyed it; however my falling out with my father took me away from this and into the world of Arnis. I found Arnis helped my game considerably though I continue to learn various elements to this day, culling whatever I learn from wherever I can. TKD, admittedly, got my started though I attribute the quality of it to the skill of the instructor.

    I thought about going back,if only to get my black belt. But having seen they removed all sparring from their cirriculum a few years ago, and now give the proverbial TKD birthday party, I did not feel they met my needs.

    Looks like they recently added it back though, in checking their site www.hitkd.com .. but only 2-3 days a month vs the former 7-8.

    Ah well.
    Last edited by saturnjunkie; 5/25/2007 1:09pm, .

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  • Elbow_Deathblow
    replied
    yeah multiple attackers is a very hard situation to be in esp if some of them know what they are doing, an art that teaches a lot of one hit kills if you will is probably the only thing that will save you if there is no chance to flee, throat punches and pressure point striking (dim mak) would be very effective but that is a very hard thing to learn. now if you were doing kali and had your sticks with you maybe it would change things lol. I know for sure i wouldnt hip throw someone and follow them to the ground if there were like 4 of them but one on one in close quarters i wouldnt have any other skill but wrestling

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  • Bill Auvenshine
    replied
    Elbow:
    "wrestling makes for great self defense, although you seemed to include it as an after thought since i guess its not technically termed a martial art."

    I deem it a martial art as many concepts used in hand to hand can be found in wrestling. Perhaps not so much as other arts, but I see them as viable systems of self-defense even if they do not cover all ranges of fighting, (which even many martial arts do not).

    So far as getting sucker punched walking through a doorway, two points.

    There is no style of MA that is so tight that one cannot sucker punch someone as they come through the door. That is a matter of used to being hit so as to respond quickly to such an attack. I've seen people get hit and stand there wondering what happened. If someone hits me I hit them before they can throw a second punch. I (back when I could walk) always entered doorways cautiously. Comes from growing up where that sort of thing happened.
    I agree with you that wrestling can be very effective........one on one....but with multiple attackers? Again, that is why I say there is no martial art that has no vulnerability at all. Which is why I began teaching other styles of fighting in my do jang.

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  • Bill Auvenshine
    replied
    Don: "I'm assuming this happened after I left, since when I was there you told me the story of the former acquaintance doing something similar."

    Sure did. I believe you know who I stole it from too. It didn't take place here, it was in St. Louis when we went to a friend's grand opening. I also do not believe the guy was a high belt or even if he was training in BJJ at all. For one thing I would think that a BJJ master would tell his students not to chase anyone. What purpose would it serve? The fact that this guy at first, (until he was getting tired) kept trying to do just that I think is telling. But it made my point in that ALL arts have weak spots.

    "I go to bars a lot now; I drive the ambulance in Virden on Friday nights. It's quite educational."

    Uh,.....you are driving to bars in the ambulance I hope. (and not hanging out in them) It has been my overwhelming experience that most guys that get into bar fights have no formal training. Some are better fighters than others but it's usually attributed with a bit more experience and more of a heart for fighting. That's why I said that even if all someone does is learn to box they will win 90% of any brawl they may encounter.

    "Bill, have a look around the internet. TKD birthday parties. TKD Black Belt Clubs for kids. Snap-together re-breakable plastic boards for TKD players to break."

    I see nothing wrong with having birthday parties using the dojang to have it in. In fact it is a good marketing tool. (I am assuming). I used to throw a Halloween party for the first 7 years. The kids got friendlier and that made for better training in class. The only reason I stopped was because their parents began bickering. (kids get along so much better than adults)
    As for re-breakable boards, once again, when simply being used to increase focus and power in their techniques it does no harm. My beef with them is that they advertise "1000" breaks" before they begin to loosen up is a flat out lie. I have green belt kids that can break the black belt level one, (yes, I am snickering too). Besides, every time I use real boards to teach breaking my wife scowls at me as boards are expensive, especially when everyone is breaking multiple boards. I see no need for black belt clubs for kids or adults.

    "You used to tell the class about how Americans changed TKD into an art of flashy high kicks--remember? "

    Sure. But I was speaking of forms competition. For instance in 1st degree blackbelt forms there is a part where one does a fast double side kick. The kicks are supposed to be to the knee and then to the abdomen. But the ones who kick first to the waist and then shoot their foot straight up into the air get higher scores, even from the korean masters themselves. As you know, I point out the risky foolishness of high kicks in self-defense. But that is the sport side of it, which as I have already stated, places flashy, higher techniques above what the form actually requires.

    "TKD players were also very heavily involved in what many Bullies consider the ultimate abomination--XMA."

    I'm at a loss here. I assume you are referring to Extreme martial arts? If so I don't understand why a bully's consideration is even ....considered. Also, are you talking about the XMA demo team or XMA as a sport?

    "when I tried to punch a hobbyist-level boxer who was moving and hitting back. "

    True. I was not talking about any sport aspect however. In a real situation I expect to hit them first as they move toward me. You were (and are) a powerful puncher. You also had plenty of muscle integrity and strong bones in your fists. They would hold up if you hit a guy full force in the face. What you were not good at, (or to my knowledge even shown) was being able to move around and hit a moving target. I generally wait until a student is a blue belt to ensure they are using proper technique before working on moving targets. However I do teach how to KICK a moving target, but depending on the individuals skill level I wait until I see they are kicking with accuracy and proper technique.

    "I wouldn't say nobody in TKD punches with accuracy and power, but I would say that I didn't"

    OK, if you say so. But from what I saw you did. Even if the target was stationary.

    "and I would go so far as to say that WTF TKD doesn't teach that particular skill. "

    Huh? My son weighs under 150 lbs and can punch through four boards every time. He can decimate a stack of blocks with one strike. He can kick a 120 hanging bag so hard he folds it in the middle. I have other students who do just as well buy I chose my son because he is smaller than any of them and punches even harder than they can. I'm amazed that you would think a striking art does not teach how to strike.....well......hard!
    My only hang up is that with few exceptions I can't get my adult students to develop their striking surfaces. I have taken years to make my fists and the palms of my hands so tough that usually when I puch through blocks I don't even break the skin on my knuckles.

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  • Elbow_Deathblow
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Auvenshine
    I think any master of their own art would agree that all martial arts, (even boxing or wrestling) can be an effective self-defense system. ALL styles have holes.

    wrestling makes for great self defense, although you seemed to include it as an after thought since i guess its not technically termed a martial art. yes tkd works very well if you can run around and dance like a fairy but if you walk through a doorway and get punched or someone grabs you from behind or your in a tight area less than 50x50 theres only so many jumping chuck norriss tyle kicks you can perform. most self defense situations are close quarters type deals as you usually wont know an attacker is an attacker until hes very close, run up and grab a seasoned wrestler from behind and see what happens........ :new_astha lol not hating too much just opening up a debate, after enough wrestling practice you can control someones entire body using only your legs and hips, your hands are free to work them over as you please, granted you may take a strike or two on the way in, if you do it like a man and dont take your eyes off the target, its over

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  • Don Gwinn
    replied
    Well, Bill, a few thoughts:

    1. You're right, that guy doesn't sound like he had a high ranking in BJJ. Those are still pretty rare around here. Gracie Barra Springfield only got their black belt instructor last year, and before that their instructors were both blue belts--the first thing you earn in BJJ after white. There were legit purples and browns in the St. Louis area, and I've since been told of a black belt under Rickson down there. But in this area, it's doubtful. I can only think of one guy in the last few years who would have been a blue belt and is seriously overweight (like me but more belly, less weight everywhere else) and he's a boxing instructor.
    But your point is taken. If the guy WERE a high belt in BJJ, it's entirely possible that he could have gotten that rank without learning striking footwork or even takedowns in many schools. If your son could keep it standing and distant, he could probably nullify some high-ranking BJJ players, particularly guys who only train to win BJJ tournaments. Your average BJJ tournament has rules that allow some grappling strategies that would be suicidal if striking were allowed, and many even have submissions they don't allow.

    I'm assuming this happened after I left, since when I was there you told me the story of the former acquaintance doing something similar.

    3. A word on sport. You won't find many here who say that "sport" is bad for fighting. Most here tend to follow the Judo principle that the more realistic you can make the resistance against your work--even if it means you have to forego so-called "deadly and devastating" techniques--the better you'll do in a real situation. I tend to think people don't lose real fights because they don't know enough esoteric techniques, but because they aren't able to apply what they know in the real world.
    You mentioned Judo, which is the classic example of this. Kano was an educator and knew that students could master theory without being able to apply their knowledge in the real world. He looked around and saw Japanese masters teaching "deadly" systems of Budo full of eye gouging, groin ripping, throat tearing a la that guy in Roadhouse . . . . and he realized that nobody was actually practicing these things to see if they worked under pressure.
    He decided that it would be better to create a gentler version of Jujitsu that could be practiced at full speed against fully resisting opponents, so he removed most of the elaborate death strikes from the curriculum. He focused on throwing an opponent to the ground with authority and grappling to a pin or submission--in other words, fighting for control of your opponent's body so you could impose your will. His students quickly made a reputation, and when a no-rules tournament was held, Kodokan Judo fighters destroyed everyone else. Later, Kodokan fighters encountered Fusen Ryu fighters, who studied the Kodokan method and decided that they could dominate the master throwers by taking them to the ground and submitting them there. They did that, and Kano asked them to join the Kodokan. The result was pre-war Judo. A style based on the idea that sport and competition are not evil, and that practicing as realistically as you can is necessary.
    That's what's missing from most TKD, not what it gains. The sport aspect of TKD doesn't really add to it, because one attempts (although in an "alive" manner) to do things one wouldn't necessarily want to do in a fight--and one's opponent is forbidden to do a lot of the things that make fighting difficult.
    I plan to take a pistol course with John Farnam in July, and I'm hoping he doesn't give me a lecture about how bad pistol competition is. I don't want to argue with a legend. ;)
    BJJ is in a weird position when it comes to sport. Sport BJJ, as in BJJ tournament play, is not that different from sport TKD--you attempt to score points, there's a lot of gamesmanship, and everyone uses the rules to full advantage. However, in BJJ, "sport" also means vale tudo and MMA, where things are far less restricted and BJJ players do get punched, kneed, elbowed, thrown and kicked.
    Marc Laimon is a famous BJJ guy who does pretty well in tournaments but says he'll never fight MMA. His game is very different from, say, Matt Serra, who uses BJJ in a different sport.

    5. I go to bars a lot now; I drive the ambulance in Virden on Friday nights. It's quite educational.

    6.
    But much of it is because it is so widely practiced. It was stated here that TKD kept changing to accommodate anyone. I strongly disagree. If that were the case then everyone could excel at TKD. Not everyone does.
    Bill, have a look around the internet. TKD birthday parties. TKD Black Belt Clubs for kids. Snap-together re-breakable plastic boards for TKD players to break.
    You used to tell the class about how Americans changed TKD into an art of flashy high kicks--remember?
    TKD players were also very heavily involved in what many Bullies consider the ultimate abomination--XMA.

    7.
    Someone mentioned that they did not feel they could effectively punch the daylights out of someone after several classes in which the punches were practiced on a focus mitt. I told them that they absolutely can. The reply was that since he had not actually done it before that he was not at all certain that he could effectively punch someone in the face. (they also wondered about the when and why). I watched. This guy, (you know who you are so feel free to rebut what I say) had HARD controlled punches. There is NO WAY I would want him to punch me as the force and accuracy of his punches would make my mug even harder to look at. He disagreed which of course he was free to do. (this guy has no qualms about disagreeing with something if he is not convinced.) But I am the master. I can certainly tell by the way a student throws a punch if it would be effective or not. I am well qualified to know.
    You are indeed the master. But I have videotape hosted on this very website that shows what happened when I tried to punch a hobbyist-level boxer who was moving and hitting back. He toyed with me. I could have gotten out of that ring and whacked a focus mitt a good one, but it wouldn't have changed the fact that in an "alive" situation I was not a trained striker.
    I'm sure you're right that I'd have gotten better at some things if I'd stayed, but a powerful punch that can't be landed with intent and accuracy is useless. I wouldn't say nobody in TKD punches with accuracy and power, but I would say that I didn't--and I would go so far as to say that WTF TKD doesn't teach that particular skill.
    Watch the video and you'll see me do things like laugh after taking three quick jabs to the nose. Needless to say, that's not the ideal response. But it comes from not having been in that situation before and not having any idea what to the right response is. If my opponent had been my size or a lot less generous, it would have been a harder lesson.

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  • saipher
    replied
    Took WTF TKD as a kid. Sad. I was a board breaking machine.

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