Under: Self-defense
11 Aug 2012

9 Responses to “Olympic Taekwondo? I was Expecting Fighting!”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    Don’t get me started on this, John! Too late :-)

    Just as you, I was interested in TKD in the Olympics, and just like you I had the same reaction!! The first time I saw that “attacking” style, I felt, one good reverse punch or elbow strike and I would be the only one standing in that “fight!” Just to be clear, I received my first degree black belt in TKD before I found Kenpo so I have some pride in the system. I also felt that perhaps the TKD practitioner that I was watching on TV would be a much more formidable fighter off the mat, at least I hoped they would. One last thing, I was talking to a man just the other day with a 2nd degree TKD black belt who owned a studio (and whose daughter was also a 2nd degree at the age of 12!!), and he told me that he didn’t teach any hand techniques to his students except for blocking!!! I really can’t express how disappointed I am in all this without punching out my computer monitor, but then I wouldn’t get any points for that, now would I :-)
    Dr. J recently posted..Test-Driving the Paleo Diet: Day 5 of the Caveman ChallengeMy Profile

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Yeah the 12 year old black belt thing is had to understand. I don’t see the value of a black belt unless one can fight effectively in most situations. That includes adults. :)

    Remember Dr. J… most of the time your computer monitor is your friend. :)

  3. Bob Patterson Says:

    Hi John,

    I weighed in on my blog.


    I can totally understand why someone with a karate fighting background would be mystified with an Olympic TKD sport match.

    Bob Patterson recently posted..Olympic TaekwondoMy Profile

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Bob,

    Good information! I was kind of thinking Olympic TKD was like fencing. One would not argue fencing is a good representation of a sword fight but I guess you need to compete somehow.

    And another analogy I thought of … if Olympic TKD is mostly kicks but not much hands (favoring kicking due to points) it is kind of like boxing… no kicks and that although would not work well against someone that had all of the tools (you know the groin kick) – it is still fun to watch.

    I guess I am bias. :)

  5. Bob Patterson Says:

    Oh I’m biased too and I retired with my 1st dan in TKD! If I had to choose between boxing and Olympic TKD for skills that would translate to the street, I’d pick boxing.

    The sad part is that there are *some* sport oriented schools out there that market themselves as a “total” self-defense art. This does a disservice to those TKD schools that truly are.

    Bob Patterson recently posted..Olympic TaekwondoMy Profile

  6. Neal Martin Says:

    About six months ago I stopped watching TV so the only thing I saw of the Olympics was the two minutes I caught when my daughter had the TV on one day and it happened to be a Taekwondo match. To be honest, I didn’t recognise what they were doing as being anything martial arts related. It was total nonsense. It wasn’t a combative sport, but a game of tag.

    I have nothing against Taekwondo in its original form, there is some amazing kickers doing it and as far as I know, it used to be a proper martial art when it was first conceived off. Not any more though.

    Today’s incarnation of the art is almost single-handedly responsible for the amount of kiddie black belts floating around as well. I don’t know of too many other schools who give kids black belts. It’s a business first, sport second, art…not at all.

  7. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Neal,I saw Chuck Norris with one of his young black belts on the tv a bunch of years back and I was disgusted. YOu see while I love to see children learning martial arts – I don’t see the value in giving them a brown or black belt if they cannot fight most adults.

    What a black belt means to me is fighting ability. If one wants to learn cool moves and get a lot of praise (but not be able to beat adults) – then maybe ballet would be better. :)

    Thanks for your insight Neal.

  8. Zara Says:

    Late to the party as usual I see. Still, here are my two cent: what do you expect when people make rules that prohibit punching to the face and reward spectacular techniques like high and spinning kicks more than things that would actually work in a fight? I always cringe when I see two taekwondoka go at it: their hands are usually low (a big no no in our dojo) and they fight in a sideways stance that leaves their back totally exposed.

    They can put up a show with their kicking though (I couldn’t do all those combo’s and jumping stuff), you’ll have to give them that, and the potential for a knockout is still there but obviously kicking for points and kicking to knock someone out are two completely different things. I never liked arts that were mostly for show (calling it sports doesn’t change that: muay thai is also a sport but it’s a bloody effective art in almost any setting) and teach people bad form and practice that may very well cost them big time in the street. Besides: I really do wonder whether they’d still be that limber when wearing jeans and shoes and without time to warm up and stretch.

    I wouldn’t totally knock taekwondo though: a while back my sensei sparred with a European champion in TKD and he got surprised by a flurry of kicks so he took one on the jaw. Of course there’s a world of difference between a champion and Joe sixpack doing some training on the side but it does show even high kicks can do damage when they land. Still there are far better arts when it comes to actual fighting: my favourites are still the boxing/kickboxing variety (boxing, muay thai, JKD, panantukan). To each his own of course.

  9. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Zara, I was watching the Deadliest Warrior on Netflix the other day and saw an episode matching up U.S. Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Forces. It was cool as a couple of South Korean ex military stood in for the North Koreans – they were using taekwondo and hapkido viciously!


    I like you think the sport ought to be closer to real fighting.