5 Reasons TAEKWONDO is Useless


Some time ago I wrote an article called 5 Reasons Karate is Useless and since then the martial arts world has never been the same.  For starters, it united in a single monolithic force to inform me what a complete traitor I was.  And for months on end they came at me like a stubborn Plantar Wart attempting to defend their honor or some weird crap like that by throwing an endless volley of MMA artists who apparently rubbed up against a karate dojo once.

However, since my soul is fueled by the rage of others I thought it wise to explain why another martial art I am also very much familiar with, TaeKwondo, is also just as useless.  In fact, TaeKwondo is so dreadful it makes karate look like magic.

#5.  Ready, set, kickpunchkickpunchkickpunch…

Let’s make a distinction right now.  For the purposes of this article I’m talking about WTF TaeKwonDo ( World TaeKwodo Federation ) style.  While ITF ( International TKD Federation ) is also useless, it is a much more respectable style in contrast.  In fact, watching WTF style in comparison is like watching a unicorn getting eaten by the rich upper class…it is that dreadful.

To say TaeKwondo is somewhat random in its delivery is an understatement.  There is almost universally no foundation taught because that stuff is repetitious, boring and tends to send the little moneybags away.  Nope, it’s just wild haymakers.  That’s why the day you begin sparring is also the day to you purchase expensive padding which is intended to insulate you somewhat from the inept flailing of your fellow students.

Once I had a sparing match where I got nailed fairly hard by a black belt in what was either an act of incompetence or an attempt at teaching me “discipline”.  He however was unaware that I had 15 years of karate in my resume and as such when the ref gave the green light to continue I was Hell-bent to give a Shotokan style ass-whoopping to the “black belt” and see how he took it.  Where I came from, that sort of lack of control was met with an equal amount of “incentive” to get your shit together.


So let that be a lesson to all TKD black belts with inflated ego’s.  Don’t piss off a junior belt that has spent any time in another fighting art unless you want to discover just how low TKD is on the martial arts food chain.

#4.  Polyester uniforms?  Ewwww!!!!!  Get if off!!!!

Few things in life lack the low quality of TaeKwondo uniforms other than perhaps Chinese made guitars.  They are thin, polyester, and generally riddled with ad placements from Adidas,  club logos, badges, and other tacky garbage.


By the time you’re done taking the special “Black Belt” classes, or the “Delta Force” badge or whatever else they offer, you’ll look more dolled up than a Vegas prostitute.  If you take nothing else from this article, please…please just remove these hideous iron-ons from your already hideous uniform.

Truth is that most martial arts uniforms in general are sort of useless when you get right down to it but they give a sense of decorum and people like that.  Judo, Aikido, and karate for example all have heavier weight cotton uniforms that don’t stick to your body like warm spaghetti and are at least made to give a good “snap” noise when a punch or kick is thrown.  The same move in a poly-TKD uniform will have all the acoustic impressiveness of a mosquito fart.

#3.  Ten Year Old Black Belts.

When your Dojang is over 70% populated by children, you probably should take a serious look at your “martial art”.  When a fair number of those children are “black belts”, well…that’s just bullshit.

Hey, I’m a parent.  And as such we usually want the path of least resistance for our children’s success at a young age as not to prematurely burden them with the crushing disappointment that is adulthood.  That’s why we don’t put our kids in Krav Maga classes taught by hardass Israeli ex-paratroopers.  We want kindly looking, happy Sensei’s who are more than happy to give our kids colored belts in exchange for copious amounts of cash.


Let’s be honest, TKD clubs are great daycare centers.  Any club that advertises a “Junior Dragons” group should be seen as the perfect place to drop the kids off…but not the perfect place to learn how to actually fight.  Don’t get me wrong, TKD can teach kids how to get along and all that wonderful social crap so in that sense it is actually not useless.  Just don’t expect little Timmy to become a killing machine, and certainly don’t expect that belt to be worth anything more than the cheap cloth it is made out of.

#2.  Feets don’t fail me now.

Want to know how to defeat a TaeKwonDo practitioner?  Simple.  Punch him in the face.  Preferably with your fists.

No joke.  TKD is all about throwing those haymakers with the feet.  The hands are just there for, I dunno…balance or something.  In fact I drove sparring partners nuts by doing a little trick I picked up from karate called blocking.  Allow me to elaborate with an actual dialouge during practice sparring:

BlackBelt:  “What was that”

Me: “That?  Uh, it was a punch block combo.”

BB: “We don’t do that.  Kick instead.”

Me: “So what are these for ( looking at my hands )”

BB:  silence.

I think you see what I’m getting at.  To prove my point, watch Olympic TKD and try to spot a punch.  You’ll have a better chance of spotting BigFoot judging the match.  But I guess the positive side is that TKD is the perfect martial art for amputees.

#1.  “Kraft Diner” Black Belt at a Caviar Price

Let’s be up front…not all black belts are created equal.  Some take a couple years and some take even more.  The most respectable training facilities don’t offer belts at all.

I’ve already mentioned how the value of a TaeKwondo belt is dubious at best given that it only takes a couple years and that they are universally handed out to children in the WTF for the sake of parents posting a “my kid is better than your kid” picture on their Facebook page.  But lets break down the actual cost of that black piece of fabric shall we?

After tests for a gazillion belts, equipment, required tournaments, other “fees” and an expected 2 year time frame ( standard McDojo black belt time ), it came to $5000.

Yes, $5000.


If you’re not mentally dropping more colorful metaphors than Beverly Hills Cop 1 AND 2, then you need to rethink your emotional investment in your training.  For that much cash you could fly Tibet and probably get a few quality lessons from a legitimate Shaolin Monk.  Or you could spend a hundred bucks and buy any one of the fitness programs I review and come out further ahead physically.  Your call.

Not mad enough yet?


or maybe discover


These and other offensive articles sure to dishonour many are in the MARTIAL ARTS section.

© 2013 – 2017, John Paul Parrot. All rights reserved.

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • Mushin

    After reading this article I could hardly stop laughing long enough to write this comment. The funniest thing about it is that it is all true! As a traditional karateka I used to love fighting TKD guys in tournaments (not that I competed in many but it least it was more than Daniel-san! Take that Miyagi-do karate!) All you had to do was close the distance so they couldn’t kick and when that happened they might as well have just called the fight and handed me a trophy right then (Oh plastic trophy with a high kicking karate guy on it how I miss you so. Insert sarcastic sigh here.) As far a practicality goes it truly is funny how far down on the totem pole TKD sits. Compared to every other martial art ever dare I say it is at the bottom. In any case I digress so that I can stop typing and cross my fingers that this article causes as much of a stir amongst the TKD world as the “5 Reasons Karate is Useless” article did amongst us karateka. Thank you DP you made my day (but not just you also Jesus because it is Easter. “Thank you Jesus for giving us DP and coming back to life, amen.”)

  • Mushin

    After reading this article I could hardly stop laughing long enough to write this comment. The funniest thing about it is that it is all true! As a traditional karateka I used to love fighting TKD guys in tournaments (not that I competed in many but it least it was more than Daniel-san! Take that Miyagi-do karate!) All you had to do was close the distance so they couldn’t kick and when that happened they might as well have just called the fight and handed me a trophy right then (Oh plastic trophy with a high kicking karate guy on it how I miss you so. Insert sarcastic sigh here.) As far a practicality goes it truly is funny how far down on the totem pole TKD sits. Compared to every other martial art ever dare I say it is at the bottom. In any case I digress so that I can stop typing and cross my fingers that this article causes as much of a stir amongst the TKD world as the “5 Reasons Karate is Useless” article did amongst us karateka. Thank you DP you made my day (but not just you also Jesus because it is Easter. “Thank you Jesus for giving us DP and coming back to life, amen.”)

  • Thank you for the kind words! Nothing like the comical adventures of martial arts training to bring out the stories in all involved!

    Hope you had a great Easter, and He is Risen indeed!

    • tkd

      u guys maybe have just met people that couldn’t react to moron like ur selves. karate is by FAR the lowest form of defense. TKD keeps u at a distance and when in close turns into hand combat. Just because ur dojo didn’t teach hand defense doesn’t mean that they all are like that. hope I never see u cuz I have all of that experience and more. such a flake. loser

      • Is it really so difficult to use “you” instead of “u” or “because” instead of “cuz”? Makes you look like a damn grade school idiot.

        No go forth, and present yourself as a more intelligent human being from this day onward. Either that or stop writing.

  • Israel

    Hey man, i completely agree with you about WTF TKD, why id ITF useless, please make a list for this too.

  • TKD-720

    About the “5 reasons TKD is useless” it’s not entirely true, I have studied, boxing, Go-ju-ru Karate, Eskrima, hopkido, Capoeira, and yes TKD, boxing was my foundation bc I started when I was 6yrs old, but the style I like the most is TKD. It has the most veriety of kicks and hand technics, just bc there not showed In the Olimpic sport, it does not mean we do not know how to use our hands, just like any other Olimpic sport and martial art style, there are rules in the game, it is not called free style or MMA.
    A true martial artis, knows that it’s not the martial art that is bad just bad teacher, and lazy or dumb students. You are Karate, you are Tkd, you are the boxer, so make the best of it, but don’t disrespect the style..
    One poor or bad experience In a Martial Arts school, does not define the style, just that school, and the teacher.


  • Bruce LEE junior

    Absolutely fu-king spot on, I did boxing and splatter TKD blackbelts for fun, get close they can’t kick, they can’t kick they cry.

    • Ryushido

      First of all with a name like Bruce Lee Jr. you disgrace the name. Second I really don’t think you fought or sparred any TKD black belts and if you did, they were probably from those Mcdojangs.

  • Grogking

    mauy thai bitches!!! also every thing above is true

  • Alexis Bravo

    I’ve done Taekwondo for over two years I’m working on three and I’m only a blue belt. Taekwondo is a great martial art. Unlike the myth that we don’t punch is a damn lie. All of my schools fighters have been taught that punching is a rather valuable technique, and to block. Its because whoever you decided to be your master was bad. My school has a great master that is hard on you, he doesn’t care if you cry, and if you wanna leave, he tells you, “leave, I wanna train those who want to be champions. ” hell,, he’s hard on the little kids as just gives them some “wiggle room”. Its not the style, because if it didn’t work, then why has it lasted so long? It’s the master, and your overall dedication.

    • Sorry to say, that as a 15 year karate veteran going to a WTF Taekwondo dojang, I can truthfully say TKD can’t punch for crap. It has nothing to do with passing the buck to “bad dojo’s” or “bad masters”. TKD is widely known for being 90% feet and you can’t get around that.

      TKD “lasted so long” for one reason: Parents put their kids in it. Sorry, but it’s just not considered a serious martial art by anyone outside its walls.

      • nickydboos

        I have to disagree. I have been in taekwondo for 4 years now and will be testing for black belt in 2 months. I have won many tkd tournaments using only back fists, rising blocks, reverse punch, and quick step in jabs(have competed in kick boxing but have adapted my style to tkd). I believe many schools have shit training but all schools are not like that. My school focuses on hands first feet second. And we are a top school in our area at every tournament. But we also are not Olympic style tkd.

        • The article specifies WTF style. The method you describe sounds ITF or another traditional form that has more in line with Shotokan Karate than anything. In WTF the judges wouldn’t have a foggy clue as to count a backfist as a score. If I had to choose a TKD style, it would be traditional hands down. WTF style is a watered down joke from the moment you walk in the doors.

          • Ricky

            Then you seem to miss the point of WTF. Think of it as an extension of Traditional TKD. You’re making it sound like people learn it as a form of street fighting. Some people actually may do that but they’re morons then.

      • Ryushido

        For someone that has 15 years under his belt as a karate student, it doesn’t sound like you’ve learned anything, especially the part about honor and respect. Another thing if you have such a problem about TKD why put your kid in it, why not put him in the same school that you trained at.

        • Martial arts do not teach honor and respect. That job belongs to your parents.

          And you and every other martial arts nutcase miss the point of the article entirely. TKD can be fun for kids and provide a good way to burn off steam. But for adults it is just plain ridiculous. This article shows 5 reasons TKD is useless, but there are reasons it is not too. I did write such an article regarding karate…


          As for the place of my sons training, we found a nice dojang and that was pretty much that. As long as he’s enjoying it I’ll sign the cheque.

      • limitless

        We TKD can’t punch? Can you karate people even throw a good kick? All of us human knows how to punches. It’s only matter of learning to throw good punch.

        • Ahh…but can TKD aim! WTF tournaments are actually quite a sight from the perspective of a karate-ka. We often wonder why the contestants are kicking each other in the rear until both are exhausted. Traditional karate is a single strike, single point system. To each their own however when it comes to tournaments.

          That having been said, those constant haymakers have to be exceptional cardio training. See, I can be nice!

    • It lasted for tradition, respect and many other things – the fact that it imparts a superior fighting skill is a joke. UFC put that argument to bed…quickly

      • Eric Rupp

        Cuz UFC is the REAL DEAL, bro. The REAL DEAL. That crap’s as much of a sport as TKD. On da streetz, folks don’t gouge eyes, tear off ears and snap in illegal finger locks while ur passing that Gracie BJJ ™ side mount. Nope, they do not.

        • LMAO. Ever heard of boxing skill? Takedowns? like I said. UFC proved TKD was a joke.

          • Reefer Madness

            UFC only proved TKD did work…. Please have a clue before you post. several of the Champions all started with TKD for a foundation. The Side Kick to the knees, spin side kicks, the famous jump of the cage round kick, the snap front kicks, all of these kicks are TKD… While WTF style has a lot to be desired I would never bash another style.

          • You just said the key word: Foundation.


      • Josh Johnson

        Ufc lmao everyone wants to be the best even the ufc has rules like every organization I do and love martial arts but thr biggest reason I dont grapple is becsuse I dont want a man laying on top of me to top it off sweaty

  • Phannee Bawz

    GTF, ITF, AIMAA and many more styles would prove you wrong on the punching point. Punching is one of main techniques in TKD hence the fist on the association badge. As a self defence… Way out weighs Karate

  • MrDarkside

    Parrot, I’d love to see you review Ninjutsu. I’ve trained in 2 of the 3 schools (Bujinkan and Genbukan) and from what I’ve done it is effective, in fact, you spend a lot of time learning how not to hurt yourself going to ground. Trouble is, it’s not easy to market. Yes you WILL be good and you WILL actually be able to seriously hurt someone if needed, but it’s not a quick fix. Whoops. Sorry. As a former TKD student, I agree with your review. In fact one teacher I had kept pushing us all into tournaments for the school. Bugger that. I learn what I learn so I can protect that which is most dear to me, not to win trophies or feed the sensei’s ego.

    • Well…I always WANTED to be a ninja. Does that count?

      When I was a kid I had ninja magazines and books galore and of course, made throwing starts in the metal shop at school. Interesting sub-culture!

      • MrDarkside

        The art, when taught and practiced is nothing like what you describe. It’s actually more interesting than the typical “ninja” stuff we’ve come to see in media. I just wish the two schools would bury the hatchet (NOT into each other!) already. One thing I HATE, and I’ve seen it in Ninjutus, TKD and other arts, is bloody idol worship, aka “Grandmaster said so, it’s right!” Maybe for you, but not necessarily for ME. Interesting thing about Ninjutsu is that while there are basics to get down, you actually make it your own, based on your physiology.

  • Brokeass Jarhead

    Don’t have enough experience in Karate or TKD to comment on those disciplines, but agree with the comment that real fighting experience is necessary. I’ve had some boxing, I wrestled, and had a bit of Jiu Jitsu. The deciding factor in a street fight is not technique so much as the willingness to hurt and be hurt.

    Sizing up your aggressors intentions may be even more important. If someone walks up to you, out of the blue, and asks: “What did you say say to me?”, the correct answer is a knee to the balls, an elbow smash to the nose, and a punch to the throat. That guy was never going to listen to reason.

  • Scott

    Sounds like you just went to a bad school. My instructor primary teaches taekwondo but most of our tests are self defense training ie takedowns, submissions, joint locks etc. Obviously we learn forms and techniques and all of that. I think you just had a bif with your school so you are going to call an entire art “useless.” You are also missing the discipline that goes with taekwondo as well. I doubt you are “Champion of freedom,” or a “Devoted to creating a more peaceful world” which are quotes from the oath of taekwondo. I do agree that the way some techniques are taught are inefficient for self defense but anyone with an internet connection can figure that out and fix they’re habits. What you have just dished out is an ignorant interpretation of an art from most likely due to a personal problem with one school.

    • No, I went to a great karate school. Several of them. I just knew when it was time to move on to greener pastures. Believe it or not, there are better ways to stay fit that what a dojo can provide.

      Taekwondo however is so frangmented in terms of quality it is hard to get a handle on. My TKD club was good. In fact, it was VERY good until it changes management but I wasn’t around by that time. My son’s club is the best in the city with a very positive reputation but it still suffers from WTF style TKD…sloppy technique with little focus on basics.

      As for being a “Champion of Freedom”…well um. I occasionally help my neighbor with his lawn mowing and teach Sunday School to pseudo-cannibal children. Does that count? I suppose it all starts at home.

      • Randall Brown

        I’m well aware of the quantity of low-quality schools out there..especially TKD schools and that has as much to do with the sheer number of them versus other schools of other styles as anything. Yet…your generalization of TKD being useless is really unfair to the small core of very traditional schools that don’t pass out belts as some right of passage. The other generalizations relating to WTF/ITF comparisons are also full of crap. The federation rivalries are more related to pissing contests between those at the top who wished to exercise control in the interest of profitability more than anything. As to tournament methods…why is “padding up” such a bad idea? Why is forbidding hand techniques to the head wrong? I assure you…broken noses and a whole host of other injuries are par for the course…regardless of federation.

        I think as far as judging Tae Kwon Do…you should perhaps make a sharp distinction between “sport” and traditional and not take a dump on, unfortunately, an all-encompassing name.

        If your son belongs to a WTF school…with sloppy technique and little focus on basics, then slander that school…and question your willingness to continue to pay for it. My WTF school easily disinterests more students than it retains solely because of the complete attention to basics and proper technique. Yet…my school isn’t what it is due to a WTF alliance…it is what it is because of what it teaches (Chung Do Kwan) and who teaches it (the instructors).

        • dauntlessrules

          I’ve doing WTF taekwondo for over twelve years and have a third degree black belt to show for it. I stand behind my skills and school 100%. Assuming you are not lying, I suspect you had a less than pleasant encounter with a less than satisfactory WTF school.

  • Brian

    These are the reasons I practice a martial art called hapkido. it combines everything and is a self defense art. most of the techniques that I have learned,i used for real and it worked! one thing to remember on the street,when you kick,never kick above the stomach. learn standard boxing techniques and grappling. keep it simple!

    • annonimouse

      And as a 3rd Dan black belt in TKD, I am also a black belt in Hapkido. Our dojand starts Hapkido training when you attain black belt.

  • Lex the karate legend

    I think the article has a lot of truth, I also think that if a person can’t fight to begin with then karate or tkd can only help to some extent. I left tkd as a green belt ( 6th rank) and have since practiced more of an American kickboxing style, along with tang soo do and although some arts are more effective, the mind of the student is absolutely the biggest factor of weather you can fight your way out of a paper bag. The reality is martial arts provide me great things like health benefits, focus and a sense of accomplishment. I havnt been in a fight in 15 yrs, but I grew up fighting so I could fight before which is why I have a good understanding of what part of the martial arts IS AN ART that is better suited for display and should be discarded in a fight Which is mainly my point.

    To clarify to tkd guys it should be understood that in wtf style, there are many punches and blocks taught, but in sparring the writer is stating that the most practiced techniques of the arms are the noodle arm techniques. Don’t know why because I never competed on a stage but its always made me wonder wtf.

    Lastly, the writer is entertaining, thanks for your funny approach and for sharing it.

  • Troy To You

    Not to be too picky, as this is 100% true for ‘Buy a Belt’ Tae Kwon Do locations and all the hype that followed Chuck starting in the 70’s, it should be brought out that ‘Kwon’ means ‘hand’ in Korean. So the exaggeration above involving ‘Me’ and ‘BB’, while funny, is just that, an exaggeration. There are at least 12 different hand strikes taught to WHITE belts in ITF TKD and just as many hand blocks. We add many more to them as the student gains control.

    Naturally, I have a lot of disdain for ‘Buy A Belt Tae Kwon Do’ stores, but that’s because I train ITF, which doesn’t open ‘Buy A Belt’ locations and takes way longer than 18 months to 2 years to earn a black belt.

    I love fighting 15 year Karate guys, but that’s because my dojang doesn’t limit itself to Tae Kwon Do. ;)

    If you’re going to fight, why limit yourself to a style? LOL, learn them all.

    Happy trails…

    • That’s mainly why I had to clarify between WTF and ITF for the article as you are very correct, ITF is vastly superior to WTF in almost every conceivable way.

      As for learning them all, I’ll leave that daunting task to Bruce Wayne. :)

  • Rick Wiik

    I disagree with the ITF is useless part, unless you also think that semi-contact kickboxing is useless. If that is the case I would actually find it intresting to read such an article about ITF as well as semi-contact kickboxing. Tomaz Barada from ITF TKD mopped the floors with the entire WAKO elite several times. But if in your mind full-contact combined with wrestling is the only way to go I get the point, just about all MMA people say the same thing. Still, I would looove to hear you tear ITF and semi-contact kickboxing a new one. I find it very insightfull to hear what others would not want from a martial art.

    • I actually specified in the article that ITF was a vastly superior form of TKD over WTF. ( first paragraph in Point #5 )

  • RYAN

    i completely agree with u but where i disagree is on your karate view ………I am a 6 time African Champion and it took alot of hard work but since u think its so useless please i urge u to step onto the mat and i will show u how USELESS KARATE CAN MAKE U

    • My brother is a Pan-Am Champion and quit due to many of the reasons stated. Karate is a poor activity to take into adulthood.

      As for your sad threats, I guess that only shows how insecure karate can make a person too.

  • disqus_cxHETpuljX

    I can understand your perspective on this and I have to agree with some of it. Writing the checks I do, just for “another belt” for my kids and I, seems alittle high. And the place I found did seem perfect just for my kids at first; however, upon attending a black belt graduation ceremony and watching demonstrations, I was hooked. They take it very serious, while making it just fun enough to keep the kids motivated and interested. While they are labeled at a TKD school, we focus on everything from boxing to jiu jitsu as well. I guess my point for everyone out there is to judge the school for what they offer, not because of the TKD label.

    • In all fairness, my son just passed his first TKD test tonight! Despite my strong opinions on the matter, I still do think most martial arts are great for the kids.

      • Marty

        The one thing about tkd is that it does give you great leg speed. I did tkd for 5 years then went to Krav Maga and while most of tkd kicks are useless, the leg speed and accuracy helped me when doing the Krav favourite groin kick.

  • cmb

    Possibly the worst school of any martial art anywhere!

  • Sei

    “5 Reasons Taekwondo is Useless”? You should’ve renamed this “5 reasons I sucked at Taekwondo”. Listen, Mr. “15 Years of Shotokan”, a true Black Belt in Taekwondo could whip the pants off of any martial artist. Just because you attended a crappy school (a McDojang, as they are called) doesn’t mean you can make the call for Taekwondo as a whole. Beyond the scope of the ignorant view you have based solely upon the US’s already bastardized version of Taekwondo, there are schools in Korea, Japan, and even in multiple countries in Europe, that teach the true Taekwondo art as it was meant to be taught. I myself was taught by a genuine instructor who studied personally under General Choi, the founder of modern day Taekwondo, and I am proud to say I currently possess a 3rd Dan Black Belt (which is the result of 12 years of training). I’ve taught for multiple years. I run my own club out of the college I attend, and after training two twenty-year-olds for a single month, they managed to place Silver and Bronze in their respective sparring divisions at a tournament – not to mention the Black Belt I personally trained managed to win Gold in his division. I’ve used Taekwondo in many situations. I’ve won tournaments. I’ve handled myself in the streets with it. I’ve saved one woman several years ago from what was a rape-in-progress, using Taekwondo. You, sir, are just like all the other ignorant American parents who can’t visualize something that requires a lot of hard work and effort, spanning over several years, and would rather be hand-held through it all.

    Oh, and genius? Taekwondo’s system is based upon kicks, because the ancient Koreans required strong legs to transverse their mountainous regions. Despite that, however, among the original Kwans that were united under General Choi’s leadership, several specifically taught hand techniques that were derived from traditional Okinawan Karate.

    • That’s a long letter to read without any use of proper paragraph breaks and grammar, but I’ll rise to the occasion.

      1) “A true TKD black belt could whip the pants…” : Stop right there. No they can’t. Your credibility just plummeted to the floor on that comment alone. WTF TKD is as low on the MA food chain as it gets regardless of the dojang.

      2) “TKD is based upon kicks…” – Sooooo…what you’re saying is that I’m right? Isn’t that what I said? Look, if you’re going to use the fists at all, use them right. That’s all I’m saying.

      3) I’m not American nor have I attended any dojo/dojang in the United States.

      4) My views are a valid criticism of WTF TaeKwondo and can be verified by watching any Olympic level match. Nobody is asking you to agree with me.

      5) Indeed, TKD was derived from karate. That makes it harder to watch if you’ve actually done karate.

      6) Relax. I’m one guy who wrote one post about TaeKwonDo. You act like I’ve dishonored your family or something. If you like your TKD then by all means keep it up. Nobody is telling you to quit. Unless you’re married and have kids. Then you should probably use your time better.

      • court ellis

        I like your posts and I do like TKD, probably because we apply a bit more hand techniques than normal. I was taught by some ROK soldiers and they provided a different format. I think really we just did the taeguk forms and everything else was based off other mechanisms of self defense. Still I agree there are some schools out there in the world that ought to be ashamed of themselves, but there are actually some good schools out there and I still feel the instructor or practitioner is the one who either succeeds or fails in his/her art via his training.

      • James Lee

        God made a boy first,then he reacted and did a better living thing the girl.karate—>taekwondo someone needed to make something better.

        • No. TKD in no way is better than karate. Poomses are sloppy and sparring is random haymakers. In every possible metric of quality karate pulverizes TKD.

  • P4key

    You Sir are one of the biggest moronic “martial artists” I have had the misfortune to run across. I get the fact that you write this crap for the sole purpose of getting these types of responses, however let me educate you a little. First, my ,compliment to Sei, I think his point was well made. Moving forward here is the underlying issue you either missed or chose to ignore, it is not the style, it’s the school and more importantly the instructor not the art that makes or breaks any martial art. I have trained In Taekwondo for over 25 years. I have studied Karate, judo, Karakenpo and Esckrima. All had benefits and weaknesses, physically and mentally. All were well taught and I would not have wanted to meet any of my instructors in a dark alley. But in my journey I have run across many people calling them selves instructors that did not know a lick about the art they were teaching, it’s history or it,s self defense applications. Most were people just looking for the money, others just did not know what they were doing. But that is what you need to realize, WTF, ITF, independent whatever a person needs to take time in choosing a school.Finding a quality school takes time. I have no preference in what art a person takes .A good program is a good program. i think if you were exposed to quality in your own training you would think differently. I prefer Taekwondo. I get out of it what I am looking for. I know I can hold my own against anyone. I might not win, but I’ll give it a hell of a try. I would hazard a guess that if you cam up on an experienced TKD practioner you would be challenged your self. Because it is not all kick punch kick punch. To your uniform comment, to each his own. I wear a traditional dobak. You bet the kids love it. It’s a healthy environment to be in, they learn something exciting and don’t get bullied and learn how to defend against it. What’s wrong with that? Just for shits and giggles, I like the idea of feet don’t fail me now, I think the Korean’s had it right. The legs are stronger and have a longer reach, but that’s just me. Finally, back to my main point, There is no doubt that there are many schools out there that are in it just for the money. But that holds true for all styles. So before you go throwing any Martial Art under the bus, do your home work, stop being a bitter ass and move on.

    • Thank you for the kind words! As always, I try to respond to my faithful devotees.

      1) “Biggest Moronic” – Are you sure? Are you saying that I personally am the biggest moron you have ever not actually met? That’s actually rather impressive. You should get out more. You don’t even rank on the top 100 of my list for today alone.

      2) Sei’s a great guy isn’t he!

      3) Don’t care what you studied as I don’t recall asking.

      4) “Bitter ass” – Are you sure? Are you saying because I walked away from the horrid blot on MA that is TKD that I am bitter? Interesting.

      Thanks for popping by!

      • P4key

        You’re too cute .I could care less where I rank on your list. I don’t have to meet you to know that you are a moron. I find it amusing that you come after me and not the points I was trying to make. But in reading your responses to the other posts that seems to be your montra. I mentioned my martial art background merely to add creditibiilty and to let you know what I am talking about. I’m not the one that needs to get out more. To classify all of WTF Taekwondo as useless shows how naive your are. If you don’t know the meaning of the word you should look it up. Finally, I am sure your a bitter ass. Rather than trying to have a meaningful discussion about what your wrote, you chose to be negative and put people down. But it’s a free Country and you can write whatever you want, after all this is your site. As I stated before, the reason for your pathetic “blog” is to get just this kind reaction, so kudos.to you. I fell for it again. But I am done. Have a nice life

        • Thank you again for your patronage! Again, I always try and respond to my posters as my way of dispensing the breadcrumbs from my table.

          1) If you desired a meaningful discussion, you should behave in such a way as to foster that. I’m ok with it going either way.

          2) Are you saying I should look up “niave” in a dictionary? First off, I think you mean “naive”. I could pounce on that, but it would be too easy.

          3) I guess if you’re really, really, really sure I’m a bitter ass then that’s that right? No talking you out of it? Can’t extend a hand of friendship at all? Oh well.

          4) Yes it is my site. But I try and make it a fun place. However, every now and then some idiot comes into the playground and hurts himself on the damn swing. I simply can’t put bubble wrap everywhere. Eventually, someone’s razor thin ego is going to get hurt. See where I’m going here?

  • Drew

    Good article, I spent a few years training in various martial arts before taking up WTF Taekwondo and did enjoy the fitness benefits for a while before coming to terms with the fact it is a children’s martial art! not being allowed to punch to the face whilst sparring, ha ha what a joke! and fat midddle aged men walking about with their black belts and pyjamas on thinking their masters of their so called art,utter garbge they need to grow up! they wouldn’t last 5 minutes in a boxing club which is what I finally decided to turn to and have never looked back!

  • Malik Shah Jahan

    You met a wrong instructor of Taekwondo. This martial art developed by Korean Military is highly applicable and worthy. Its competitor is not Karate, rather the competitors are Chinese Military Sanshou, Russian Military Sombo and MuayThai. What you see is the sports version. Search for Taekwondo tactics of Son kal Chigi, Son batak Chigi, Son Bandal Chigi, Songarak Chigi, Dung Joomuk Chigi, Palgup strikes and Mureo Chigi. Well these are not allowed in competitions as these actual kill, but are part and parcel of Taekwondo. Chinese made good effort in developing a standard system of kung fu aka WUSHU. But Wushu is totally useless as compared to traditional kungfu, Taekwondo has all lethal traditional tactics, but in competitions you fight in sports version of it. The Instructors also emphasize much on competition training because it brings good name to their club as well as the student profile is boosted up. It doesn’t mean TAEKWONDO IS USELESS.

    • No…I did not meet a wrong instructor. Geez, everyone has the same lame excuse. The club I joined had 2 dudes who were in my opinion, the best instructors I ever saw.

      No, the problem is TKD and it is regardless of the dojang. Deal with it.

      • Malik Shah Jahan

        Then which martial art is perfect ? What should we learn or teach if TKD is imperfect ?

        • Perfect? Are you serious? This is not theology, this a a flipping activity of jumping around in pajamas kicking and punching the air!

          You immediately conclude that I’m saying everyone should pack up and leave TKD because I gave 5 reasons it is remarkably dumb. Maybe for some people it works. My son takes lessons because let’s face it, TKD is a kids activity. But there might well be 5 reasons it is good. I actually wrote an article on that regarding karate. Feel free to substitute TKD in that.

          There is no perfect and martial arts is no exception. It’s a fools quest to look for it.

    • Ace

      Are you refering to the original style of tkd that was developed in the late 50’s by the korean military ?, If so I have been desperately searching for this style of tkd. Everyone else Ive spoken to regarding military tkd couldn’t seem to beileve that it had hand techniques let alone killing techiques lol. Could you tell me more about this style as I can’t seem to find much (its like tracking down a ghost) have a few vids but again the style in the vids looks identical to shotokan and far to rigid to be used on the battlefield.

      It would be greatly appreciated mate.

      • No, I am referring to WTF ( World TaeKwondo Federation ) TKD. The style you are referring to more closely indeed does match Shotokan Karate.

        TKD has its origins in karate an was never in the truest sense developed by Koreans. It was modified to make it their own. Kind of like how karate was taken from Chinese fighting arts or how Android was lifted from iOS.

        I think the style you are thinking of would be closer to ITF ( International TaeKwondo Federation ) style. It is much more respectable and far less inclined to be a McDojo environment. Many katas are practically identical to Shotokan.

        • Ace

          I know, actually the style I’m refering to is (if im not mistaken) about 10-11 years older than the ITF..Malik’s post caught my attention because he mentioned that the military style of tkd is in competition with military sanshou and muay thai etc, both of which are very practical martial arts. I’ve heard that military tkd was also very practical, and I’m in no way trying to be little the karate influence (as there are several sytems of karate which I think are practical) but I feel like in a real fight the movements we see in the demonstrations are far to rigid to work in a real fight.

          • Malik Shah Jahan

            Military TKD is only for military men, not public. But Ace! You can develop your own system of fight. Do not go into techniques of Jeet Kune Do, yet pick its philosophy. In San Shou, you have 4 ranges namely Kick, Punch, Lock and Throw. Best kicks are from Muaythai and Taekwondo (ITF/WTF), while Ju Jitsu is the king of grappling. Boxing is best for punching. Make your own combat system made by you, for you. Leave the sports version of any technique and search for the killer moves. I agree to Dysfunctional Parrot, no single art is completely perfect. If you want to rip the flesh of the opponent, you may like hand techniques of Hung Gar and Wing Chun. Best of luck everybody. My apologies in case I made an emotional offense on anybody’s statement. Thank you.

          • Ace

            Thanks for the reply Malik..Learning one style was never my plan. I wanted to do Original TKD (meaning the art that was assembled by the Korean military) combined with one of the ancient asian kickboxing styles such as muay chaiya or even filipino boxing (panantukan), combined with western boxing’s punches. From there I wanted to use the tkd in the kicking range and for close range fighting.

            The one area where I thought tkd really lacked was in defence in the punching range, thats where the muay chaiya or panantukan defence would have come in, because they both use elbows to block (and slip) which I like because, as everybody knows the elbows are alot stronger than knuckles, so if the dude your fighting likes to punch then one could break his hands instead of trying to have a boxing match.

            Malik I understand that military tkd was designed for military men and not the public but Iwant to know when you say military tkd are u refering to the art back when it was put together in mid/late 1950’s or are you talking about a mordern military tkd style ?

          • Malik Shah Jahan

            Military Taekwondo whether practised in South Korea or North Korea is not the 1950’s style. In 1950s, General Choi Hyung Hi formed the basic framework and foundational infrastructure of this art. Then, it was purely an army combat system. During the next 60 years, major changes occurred in the army version of this art. Now, the combat version has more emphasis on weapon disarming, pull-and-hit, and most of all killing the opponent in a single strike or two. Sports version is for safety of the participants but it doesn’t mean it is useless. Yes, sports TKDoists do not hit below the belt in competition, but I still remember my trainer taught me the middle kick aimed at thighs. Similarly, the sports version includes all the hand/elbow/knee strikes like muaythai, silat and Kali. If you need to stay away from the Poomsae and become a “pure fighter” instead of a “pure artist”, then I recommend you to study Ju Jitsu, Muay Thai, Sambo, Krav maga, San Shou. At the end of the day, you can only kick or punch or grapple. So a recommended basic combination would be Muaythai + Jujitsu. Best of luck :)

          • Ace

            Thanks for the insight Malik..If you don’t mind me asking,

            1. Which martial arts do you use for your own personal style ?

            2. What do you use from Tkd ?

            3. Is it true that military tkd’s (both the 1950’s style and now) training was brutal. Ive heard that it was very similar to kyokushin karate, in the sense that it had full contact sparring and the same sort emphasis on body conditioning ??

            4. What in your opinion is the best martial art for defence, e.g. blocking, parrying, evasion ??

          • Malik Shah Jahan

            1. Which martial arts do you use for your own personal style ?
            Answer: Taekwondo (WTF)

            2. What do you use from Tkd ?
            Answer: After Black Belt in TKD, one has to specialize in any field from Judge/Refree, Instructor, Demonstrator, Poomsae Performer, or Fighter. I am a Software Engineer by profession do not have much time to participate in regular public events. So I have chosen to become an Instructor with a nation-wide training license and club being registered from my national level federation. My personal training includes Yoga, Weight training, Aerobics, TKD Techniques, TKD Poomsae, TKD Fight practise and korean Ki Kung.

            3. What in your opinion is the best martial art for defence, e.g. blocking, parrying, evasion ??

            Answer: Parrying, if done improperly may break your fingers, so I prefer blocking with forearms while having my fist clenched. Taekwondo’s major focus is on kicks but it also includes a wide variety of traditional open hands attacks, elbows, knees and pull-&-hit tactics. As well as if you search Google for TKD Self Defense techniques, you will see a great number of weapon disarming methods. I prefer TKD and it always helped me in street as well as in the ring.

            Dear, one’s experience is his/ her asset. No one wants to accept that his experience is wrong. But to tell you the truth, I gave up training in Wushu/ Karate/ Judo after I saw my Taekwondo instructor fighting alone with a gang of 40. Not that he knocked out 40 guys at a time. The story goes like 40 guys came outside our college to beat a student of our college in the year 1998. My trainer was a PTI (physical training instructor) in that college. He went outside to repel the gang away from the college. The gang initiated offense, and the whole world saw his skill on that day. He tied both of his hands behind his head and started throwing kicks at lightening speed to the temples, noses, ribs, waists, thighs and chins of 8 guys leading the gang. The 8 guys were grounded in approx 50 – 60 secs. This encouraged other students of our campus to come out of the building and beat those 40 gangsters. After this event 2 things happened. (1) My PTI was issued a brand new licensed Glock pistol from the Principal as now this life was threatened for the next few days. (2) I became his student after watching him fight like that.

            It was 1998. Now it is 2014. I have been into this art since last 16 years and during this period, I have never faced failure or felt shame in a single ring/ street fight.

            So the answer is, that for “me”, TKD is the best offensive/defensive art of fight.

            I can guide you becoming a good fighter in TKD if you send me an email on my personal email address malikshahjahan@gmail.com

            Stay blessed.

          • Ace

            Thank you very much for your help Malik..Its greatly appreciated..Thanks for the email address, once I find a good teacher, start training for real and get a feel for the art, we will defo talk, I’m sure I’ll have questions lol.

            all the best mate

        • Ace

          Go to 7:56

        • Ace

          Your spot on it is Korean Karate, I should have worded that better. Good article btw, very funny..I share your disdain for wtf tkd and mc dojo’s in general, regardless of the art.

  • Malik Shah Jahan

    All martial arts are deadly and they spread world-wise because of SOMETHING they possess. None but Judo and Taekwondo reached Olympics. Why not the other martial arts reached Olympics. Even if I agree that TKD is useless, would your next objective be to prove that Judo is also useless. This also doesn’t mean that other martial arts are less important as they never reached Olympics. To me, a very good practitioner of Muay thai, Hung Gar as well as Jiu Jitsu is also very respectable to me. Please remove such articles.

    • “Please remove such articles”…are you high?

      As for pulling the Olympic card, that only means that TKD associations managed to get their act together better than others by forming the World TaeKwonDo Federation ( notice ITF TKD is not allowed in the Olympics ). For example, many karate federations would rather fight about insignificant details before ever compromising. It’s politics, plain and simple.

      As for Judo or any other art…that is not my forte. I only write about what I have firsthand experience with and that is specifically karate and TKD. Judo is a different kind of beast altogether.

      • Malik Shah Jahan

        I had a chance to learn Military Combat Taekwondo while the sports version is mostly taught in the world. For this reason, the fact is that I agree on uselessness of the sports version of TKD. But if you really want the real TKD, I suggest to go for combat applied TKD. Thanks. And my apologies for any offense, if any. Thanks.

        • Real TKD would more closely resemble ITF style. WTF is watered down and it makes absolutely no difference which school or instructor you have. All WTF TKD is sloppy, random and suffers from horrid lack of control, period.

          If someone really had a notion to take it, I would recommend ITF every time. WTF is for kids.

          There is no offence, but look at it from my perspective. People seem to think I quit because I had a bad dojo or teacher and that is flat out false. I left because I grew up and realized martial arts are an inferior form of physical fitness compared to so many other better options. For many, I guess that’s heresy.

          • TKD practitioner

            I agree that TKD is not the best and that it has its flaws, but doesn’t all the MA’s have some weak spot? Now I need to disagree that all WTF TKD Is horrible because my TKD school’s federation is WTF not ITF. And we do more then just kicks. We also do hand techniques and blocking! I personally enjoy My school because we also do boxing, BJJ, Kendo and Muay Thai. I like it because we don’t only focus on TKD but various arts. Try looking up han mi TKD school in marysville CA maybe it can help to bust the myth that all WTF schools are stupid! But thanks for this post it was pretty funny!

          • I appreciate you having at least not taken the article too seriously!

  • Jacob Clark

    This article is crap. I have been in WTF tkd for 6 years and i am a senior blue belt, not a black belt. But I do agree that most WTF schools use the buy-a-belt system and that 10 year old black belts are a joke. But my school doesn’t allow that. Also In my school, we are taught that we shouldn’t rely entirely (or even mostely) on kicks. We do usually prefur them because an individual can put a lot more power into a kick than a punch, but we do still do a lot with our hands (and your considered stupid if you don’t block) we Also do a LOT of self defense(against knives, baseball bats, kicks, punches… Etc), throws, and break-falls. You just had a bad instructor. Oh, one more thing… We spend about 40% of our time perfecting the basics, so don’t say there is no time spent on basics. I’ve also knocked someone out in a tournament so it’s not “light contact”

    • So….you agree that this article is true for most schools yet it is “crap”? Well. Ok then.

      The first rule of anyone who disagrees with this or the karate article is that OBVIOUSLY I had a bad instructor. It’s like you’re a bunch a damn robot cultists incapable of taking any criticism for your religion. First off, I have several siblings in TKD that range across the country ( all black belts ). Second, my son in in a dojang completely different than the one I went to. So that baseless excuse is as you are so fond of saying, is “crap”. WTF TKD is just bad. If you need proof just watch the Olympics. Is that a good enough example for you?

      As for your one in a million club ( amazing…everyone’s personal club is the exception! ), I strongly doubt it is any different. WTF TKD is systematically just a very cheap art.

  • Jacob Clark

    First off, what I said was that a lot of schools unfortunately use the buy-a-belt system, and that 10 year old black belts are a joke. But I didn’t agree to the whole article.
    Second, I have taken ITF tkd as well, and my current school is actually a lot closer to ITF that WTF but we call ourselves WTF because that’s the type of sparring he teaches. I am saying that the article is crap because your stating as a fact that all WTF schools are useless, wile I do agree that most are, there are a rare few that aren’t. My school is not completely useless, mostly because my instructor believes strongly in real life application, so we will spend at least twice as long in self defense sections than any other section. Did I mention that my instructor took judo? He brings most of our self defense from other martial arts because TKD does hardly any self defense that’s actually worth anything.
    And also, from your article… Tkd isn’t always at the bottom of the totem pole. When I was a green belt someone came in saying that he was a brown belt in karate. I was just in my dobak pants and a tee shirt (so I didn’t have my belt on) and my instructor decided not to tell him my rank… He didn’t stand a chance

    • “A rare few”? Look, I can spend my days and nights pussyfooting around as not to offend the one in a million school that doesn’t blow, or I can write an article. If your school rocks then congratulations.

      That having been said, you’re also just a blue belt. No offence, but you’re still way too green and far too in love to see the reality of the situation. I rode the martial arts horse for fifteen years and seen a ton of dojos. Between my brother and sisters we have 4 black belts and a lot of experiences to share. I think I know what I’m talking about.

  • Jacob Clark

    Let’s put it this way, our instructor sometimes has to put as low as senior green belts in the black belt devision during tournaments if he wants us to have an actuall challenge. I’m not saying I’m the best fighter, far from it in fact, I agnolage that I still have a long ways to go. But I have been to some useless dojans(tkd version of a dojo) i have tried ITF, plain WTF, a little blue cottage, (I always discard my current belt and just start over when I switch schools. I think it just feels wrong to go to a new school expecting them to treat you a certain way because what you did somewhere else, for all I know, they won’t use ANY of what I had already learned. Know what I mean?) and my currant school is actually really a mix (but we call ourselves WTF) and my instructor has trained in several things including judo, karate, a little bit of jujutsu, and wrestling(if you count that) and yet he still likes tkd after over 25 years if it. And I understand you discounting the few good schools for the sake of the article, I’m just saying that it doesn’t nesasarily always have to be bad. I’m sure there’s probably a few karate schools that are good too. But for the most part, your pretty much right, and that is just sad and NEEDS to change.

  • court ellis

    Jumping around and stomping like that is just plain ridiculous and the people down stairs should be quite mad!!!!

  • Logan

    Taekwondo is good for actors because you really have to admit their spinning kicks and other poses are quite beautiful-looking. Other than that, the rest is….what you said in this article. Seriously i have watched so many taekwondo fighters got taken to the ground right after their first attempt to do a high kick, spinning or even flying kick ( seriously). I doesnt take more a than a street fighter with some experience to deal with taekwondo

  • Ninja

    This article makes me laugh =) I’d like to see you come down to our school and try going a few rounds with us. I guarantee you’ll get your bell rung a few good times and we won’t even charge you for the class.
    BTW we are old school ITF/WTF Taekwondo, meaning we don’t try scoring points, we go in trying to take your head off with every punch and kick we throw.

    • The internet must be awesome for guys like you. Really! You get to hide in anonymity and make hollow threats you could never back up in person. I find it highly dubious any WTF dojo could ring anyones bell. Especially one with a ridiculous “take head off” rule. You either have the lamest dojo etiquette ever, have no control of your technique ( standard for TKD ) or you are just simply full of it. Maybe even all three.

      Sorry, it’s just hard to take anything seriously from a guy who uses “Ninja” for a handle. Not exactly inspired. Sigh…I blame our schools.

      • Ninja

        I’m pretty sure I can back up what I post in person. I’m not to found of saying things if I wasn’t able to do so, or as you put it making “hollow threats’
        I can’t blame you for your ignorance….Sigh… I blame your mother.
        Look up Anthony Pettis UFC world champion all his roots are in taekwondo, but I forgot it’s a useless system that would never work when done correctly.

        • Oh brother. Does your mom know you’re using the computer?

          I mean honestly, if you can’t take a little article that has some solid criticisms of TKD ( and yes, they are ALL valid points ) then what do you want? If after 15 years I can laugh at my time in martial arts and not take it too seriously, it stands to reason I came out ahead.

          And nobody…and I mean nobody…who is secure in their own abilities would ever be so easily drawn in by a web article, which is why I remain convinced you are a barely past a blue belt, if that. Truly strong people are not so easily baited.

  • Astalantus

    TKD has the highest pounds per square inch of any kicks in the world, it’s basic science. Anyone who practices it seriously doesn’t really care about little kids, belts, or your opinion. If you think you have some special knowledge or training then go fight in the UFC and beat everyone. Don’t blame a whole style of fighting because you’re too stupid to figure out its true scientific potential in the basic physics. Add the speed of somebody’s body moving toward you and your kick moving toward their body which doubles the impact, all you have to learn is how to time and predict their movements and you can drop anyone in one kick. 1200 pounds per square inch on a side kick, no other style comes close to that.

    • Any chance you could provide a reputable link for that claim that doesn’t come from TKD propaganda? I just can’t see how anyone got a government grant to measure the kicks of various martial arts. And even then it is so subjective as every kick is as unique as the person giving it.

      And actually, I do have special knowledge and training. I figure fifteen years in the trade is more than enough to be qualified to speak of my experience. I also have no illusions about everyone agreeing with me either…especially those invested heavily in the system.

      • Astalantus

        Sure thing, here is the link done by National Geographic, a science channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcAfClb-f4g

        I’m sure you will say that it’s not a real test though, or Tae Kwando is paying National Geographic to fake the tests. Governments primarily the US and the Russians have been researching this shit for 50+ years to find the best martial arts for their armies/special forces close combat training.

        You said you had 15 years in Karate, not TKD so what do you know about TKD?

  • The video is interesting, but it is not what you said at all. It is several guys from different arts kicking a bag. I liked it and it certainly is interesting ( so thank you…really ), but it is not a scientific study at all. It’s info-tainment. Science is having a hypothesis, recreate the theory many times, and draw conclusions. This is more entertainment.

    That having been said, is the best martial art based on foot pounds per second? Seems a strange measurement, but if it floats your boat then ok.

    As for US and Russians…I double dog GUARANTEE you they do not use WTF TKD to train their elite forces. Not when the Israeli’s use more practical methods like Krav Maga. Get their damn asses whooped.

    As for my experience, I really hate to bring that up for 2 reasons:

    1) It sounds pretentious: Think about it, what do you think when someone lists off their rank? Usually they are too full of themselves and base their self worth on a piece of cloth. I’m beyond that.

    2) It’s never good enough: I could tell you I have a Sandan in karate and a Dan in TKD but quite frankly that is never enough for people. Keep in mind I’m not saying I am those ranks. But neither am I denying it. Follow what I’m saying? Wink.

    My family is also very hip deep in the martial arts. My brother is a Pam Am karate champion, and two of my sisters also have mid-tier black belts. My son is also a current member of a local WTF dojang. Suffice to say, the Parrot family has a lot experience in this regard, which is why I am absolutely qualified in every sense of the word to have a voice in this matter.

    So if that amount of experience doesn’t measure up to you, then nothing will.

    But again, thanks for the video. It was certainly fun to watch. I still get a lot of enjoyment watching stuff like that.

    • Astalantus

      That’s cute, I figured you wouldn’t claim it wasn’t scientific enough because I don’t think it’s scientific either, but it’s the closest thing to science out there I could show you on short notice that proves my point. Where is your scientific study or any kind of science that disproves my point? That’s right, you don’t have any. I have something, fairly scientific on an impartial reputable SCIENCE AND HISTORY channel, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, that’s been around for 30 years. It’s not the TAEKWANDO PROPAGANDA channel, and you have nothing.

      You “double dog dare me?” What are you like 5? Read any kind of military history on World War 2 and beyond and you’ll find many examples of governments all over the world including our own researching and training in martial arts. When did I say anything about WTF or ITF? They are faggots.

      You still are talking about a bunch of Karate nonsense but no talk about fighting in the MMA or UFC or TKD, so your words mean nothing to me. If you think anyone doing TKD is going to be all kicks you are retarded. TKD is 90% fists and movement and timing, setting up your kicks. The reason why TKD is so powerful is because when you do kick, you hit with such timing and force that it seriously fucks people up. I’m not talking about gay spinning kicks here, just straight up side kicks and the occasional front and roundhouse to the head, the most powerful and fastest kicks in the world. That is the reason why you win, because the whole time you are punching and setting up timing they have that thought in their mind of the last time one of your kicks hit them and they remember that force. Anyone that knows this isn’t going to tell you about it or brag about it because they don’t want to lose an advantage in a fight. I don’t fight anymore though so I don’t care.

      That’s how I was trained, and I agree with you that corporate dojos are silly, but getting kids started in a style early is what makes them MMA champions later on, so fuck you, and it doesn’t matter what school they start in. Many MMA guys have started off in Karate or TKD and done just fine as they branched out into BJJ to develop ground work.

      I suggest you look into Lyoto Machinda, one of the most badass UFC/MMA fighters of all time, and his original school was Karate. He used Karate more than anyone else in the UFC when everyone was saying “karate and TKD will never work in MMA” and was a champion, and started when he was a kid. Maybe then you’ll pull your head out of your ass.


      • You seem to be taking this all pretty hard.

        Look, I think it’s safe to say we’re not going to convince each other of anything. I don’t know what I can do to appease your bruised ego except another article I wrote called 5 Reasons Karate is NOT useless. Feel free to substitute TKD wherever karate is mentioned. But if I can respond cool and collected and all I get back from you are the ramblings of a madman, maybe we should part ways before things get ugly.

        As for your science…ease up there buddy! I said it was entertaining! What? Do you really, deep down in your heart honestly think 4 guys hitting a bag is the end of the study??? There must be hundreds of other arts out there! It’s info-tainment, and that’s not a bad thing. Now try some decaf.

        As for MMA training, I have none which is why I haven’t wrote about it. Not a huge fan of MMA at all as a form of physical fitness as it has long-term health issues with the joints. But yes, many MMA guys have branched out from other arts. I’ve said all along that in order to become effective, karate or TKD by themselves are simply not good enough, but they can be a good foundation as I have also said elsewhere. For example, my years of Shotokan made my shirt run with Goju-Ru and TKD much easier. However, people do love to name-drop big MMA stars in the hopes of justifying their art!

        As for my words meaning nothing to you…clearly they must as wow…are you ever boiling over. Hey, if you think TKD is the best art in the world then don’t let a guy like me stop you. I have no problem with you having fun with it because believe it or not I have a son in TKD and he loves it. I think it’s great for the kids and much better than an XBox! So cool the jets…I’m not totally down on it. It just has aspects that are well, as I said, useless. I little criticism is not going to kill anyone.

        Again, check out the 5 Reasons karate is NOT useless…


        …then take three deep breaths because if you don’t clean up the language your next post will be your last.

        • Astalantus

          Okay sorry :) I get pissed off when I debate things.

  • Xwing @Aliciousness

    This is so stupid. Why are you complaining about a uniform who cares. You want to know why most are cheap polyester. Because many Tae Kwon Do places like the one I go to give uniforms for free. And if there are 200+ people going there they can’t be handing out uniforms made of the finest silk.
    Second I have been doing Tae Kwon Do for ten years and it took me 8 to get my junior black belt. Maybe you went to McDojan but they don’t hand out belts if they are a good place.
    Third you don’t need a bunch of patches. I have one patch and thats my Dojan’s emblem. That is it all the other patches are for little kids but when you are 10 or older you don’t do that.
    I don’t have time to talk about the martial art but I just want to clarify the whole uniform and belt thing. You’re honestly so stupid it boggles my mind. From your profile it look like your a grown ass man and your complaining about a uniform like a child.

    • If it’s WTF TKD, it’s a McDojo.

      The reason it took you ten years is because you’re either terrible, or your parents took you out of lessons for years at a time. Plus, a junior black belt has about as much worth as the paper it is written on. “Junior black belts” are the truest sign you are in a McDojo. Sad thing is, you don’t even know it.

      And if you don’t have time to talk martial arts, then might I advise commenting at all was not a wise choice? Now get off the computer, your parents want to use it for something useful.

  • Taekwondo Rebekah

    I will have to disagree with you. At our place it takes about 7 years to get a black belt.There is only one child that has a black belt. The other three black belts that where given where to adults. We train hard fast and long. I sometimes go three hour long classes in a row. And I am just 13. It is alot of money but it’s worth it. Our teacher does not just give belts for showing up. If someone tests and is as good as a brown belt and does the moves correctly. He will get a black belt. If a person did not do as he needed for his next rank on the test. Simply she or he will not move up a rank. 98 percent of the students are kids. We don’t slack off we train.Every day when I go I am always excited to go.We have a few really little kids that start crying in the middle of a sparring match. But our teacher makes them keep going.But you are correct me don’t through many punches at all. But I am just saying you don’t have to put every martial art down. But thanks for your view on taekwondo.I have to go practice now.

  • Dylan Verdugo

    im in taekwondo kickboxing, it’s taekwondo kicks but they teach you how to block and punch. the Taekwondo you’re referring to is the sport of Taekwondo which I agree is useless, it gives unrealistic ideas to the fighters that no ones going to block your kicks and punch you in the kisser. I do the real thing and is effective, it involves a lot of kicks but we block, punch, give knees, and elbows aswell :)

  • Katie

    Hey there! This article made me cringe a bit at first, but probably because it hit close to home. I was one of those ten year old black belts.

    I do agree that it is a great activity for kids and am glad I had that experience as a child. But it is also, as you mentioned, sort of a scam. I haven’t done Tae Kwon Do in a decade. My old dojang is now called “Black Belt World.” Yikes!

    That being said, I was wondering if you could suggest a more practical form of martial arts. I am a rather small woman in my twenties, so anything requiring brute force is probably out.

  • Mark

    I just stumbled across this article, and I thought I’d add my two cents. I am currently practicing Tae Kwon Do, but not to be some martial arts bad@$$. I do it because practicing the forms helps me focus, has helped some memory issues I have, it improves my mood, and it’s basically like therapy for me. I think this a pretty good take on TKD though, if you view TKD as some sort of self defense program, because it’s not. It’s a sport! I mean it’s in the fricking Olympics! You want to learn to defend yourself take some Krav Maga classes. A few months of Krav would better prepare you for real life self defense than a few years of Tae Kwon Do or Karate or whatever.
    Just from personal experience, I believe that. I’ve been in more street fights and bar brawls in my life than is probably recommended, I have dabbled in Western Style Boxing, I have had a lot of training in Modern Army Combatives through years in the Infantry, I’ve trained in MMA, I spent my formative years in Collegiate (and some freestyle) wrestling, and have also spent some time studying Krav Maga. So I think having a good understanding of some of the across the board “basics” is important in real world situations.
    But hey, if you just want something to do, have fun kicking things, or even practice forms/katas as a type of active meditation. The join a TKD class or one of the various karate styles or whatever. You want to defend yourself then at least learn the basics or join a Krav class or something. And remember all the training in the world will be completely useless if you do not have the intestinal fortitude to apply it when it really counts!

  • Ricky

    I will say that this stuff is true to some extent however it is apparent you never dove into TKD seriously at all, which is fine and understandable. I have been doing it for 22 years now and I am firmly entrenched in WTF right now. However, if you think taking someone like me is really as easy as you make it out to be, you’ll get hurt pretty badly. The people you speak of here is dead on but that’s only if you’ve been taught and trained by one track minded teachers who do not have a large knowledge base. I have had my share of teachers, including several grand masters that I can assure you are absolutely lethal, and they certainly taught well beyond WTF fighting. WTF has nothing to do with street fighting and its taught as such. To try and compare the two is apples and oranges and really makes no sense to do so unless you’re just trying to get some clicks (which worked obviously). Anyway, my point is TKD is far from useless unless you’ve only been exposed to the novice trash I see you’ve been around. This wasn’t meant to be an attack at all, however as an experienced TKD student, it’s obvious you were just a casual passerby. Anyway, this was still an entertaining read and I definitely enjoy reading most of your articles, particularly the p90x reviews which had its share of comic gold. Stay well friend and stay away from microwavable TKD ;).

  • Ricky

    But you are right, there are plenty of dojangs out there that have black belts that are a dime a dozen but then that also brings up a valuable point. There are an equal amount of joke dojos around as well. Finding a worthwhile dojo is the United States is like finding an STD in one of the Jonas brothers. Traditional Karate however is some hardcore shit on the other hand. Ok I’m done im done I swear.

  • Randall Brown

    I’ve never seen any “Chung Do Kwan” like that..because that isn’t what it is…regardless of the title of the video.

    Hae Man Park is the only grandmaster of Chung Do Kwon that I recognize and he is in my teaching lineage…and I promise you that video doesn’t contain anything he would approve of.

  • Harry Papers

    i cant get enough of these articles. keep up the great work. i cant even tell what i like more, the article or the comments below from the karatards (stole that from another comment and loved it). i took aprox 8 years of TKD when i was young (6 or 7 yrs old) and i thought i was a badass. i didnt realize until i got older that these schools are setting kids up to be victims. this stuff will get you killed if you had to use it in the real world. and instead of just running away or handing the robber your wallet, some people might think they can overpower them with their masterful TKD skills and save the day.

    odd thing is my kid also wanted to do karate. so i did sign him up but opted for Jiu Jitsu since i thought that at least was somewhat practical if he happens to get in a fight at some point. they still dont teach strikes so odds are he will try to grapple and get his face punched in. i have been pleased with the school though and its instructor. the guy doesnt seem to be motivated by money which i picked up on pretty quick.

    i just laugh at these parents on facebook putting pics of their kids up breaking boards and sporting those fancy belts. the mcdojo near my house charges 40$ per belt and 10$ per board. hilarious. again, love your work. keep it up.

  • Shawn

    If a black belt was taunting a junior belt then he has no discipline and thus should not have received a black belt in the first place and in Korea where it originated you must be 16 to receive a black belt.

    • The black belt in question was in his early forties. At the time I was in my late thirties. And sorry to say, but this kind of pissing match happens in just about every dojo. If you don’t notice it, it probably just means you’re the source or haven’t been around long enough.

  • Zack

    Very funny and witty. I’d agree with you and most of your points. As a “realist” martial artist, I have trouble with most of the “self-defense” taught in traditional martial arts schools (so did Bruce Lee). Because of this, I agree with your article. However, from a sport specific perspective, I disagree with your article. Taekwondo is one of the world’s largest sports. The system and tournaments are no different from an athlete training for and playing a game of basketball – you have the training that is specific for playing a game. To me, I see no difference between a kid black belt and a kid who’s been playing league basketball for 3-5 years. This being said, I see many people commenting on how useless Taekwondo is for streetfighting and such. Many of these comments (especially on youtube) are posted under competition bouts. These comments are about as ludicrous as me saying how useless basketball is for real-life street fighting. Duh! It’s a game! :) Simply, tag your foot on the other player’s chest guard or head gear the most and win. Side note: the athletes are called “players” for a reason – they’re playing a game. Anyway, just venting because it’s an open blog. I appreciate your writing style and look forward to future posts.

  • Brian

    Unfortunately taekwondo has evolved as a sport and I think that (as a sport) is a great workout option, but there is no martial art there. I met a couple of junior olympic competitors in sparring that only had a bare a idea of how to do TKD forms, and that’s where the essence of the TKD martial art is. I agree with your idea of TKD not being effective when having a real fight, however the true martial art schools (even at the WTF you can find good traditional schools) can’t be discarded that way, I think it is unfair. The situation is that McDojos are everywhere and that’s the impression that people have about the martial art.

  • Steve

    Very interesting article. My 8 year old daughter recently joined TKD and loves it. We wanted her to take part because she has ADHD and anxiety, and we thought it would be beneficial for her concentration, self esteem, and discipline. She is practicing every day and her instructor is big on respect…for herself, parents, and other adults. She has started saying “Yes sir” and “No sir” at home, and am seeing a difference at school. If martial arts (any martial arts) can help her improve her life and confidence, I’m all for it and would never call it useless. I’m sure you are referring to competitive martial arts…I’m looking at it from a life skill point of view. If you believe one is better than the other for our purposes, I am all ears.

  • JedP

    I really liked these few articles about why this was useless and maybe not so useless. Pretty enjoyable! I still love the Karate Kid.. One of my favorite movies ever haha. I was just wondering why you put your son in WTF TKD when you know it’s a waste of money and pretty much useless.(I spose I would understand if some of his friends are in it also and he wants to spend time with them) I am not asking this out of spite or anything like that. I’m just genuinely curious >.< With your experience you could probably teach him a lot better. Also just curious how your family feels about you bashing something they are so accomplished in? Again just honestly curious.

    • Martial arts are kind of a love/hate thing in my family! Three of my siblings are also black belts in karate or TKD and my brother was an international competitor in karate. I sometimes feel that no matter how hard I try, I cannot escape the gravitational pull of this stuff!

      So while yes, there are many rather silly things about TKD I understand there are some things about it which are indeed good. Physical activity for kids, fun tournaments, etc. But we all understand that nobody is being trained to be a true fighter.

      With TKD, my son also takes time off to go after other pursuits so there is no attachment to belt colors. The important thing it to not elevate a recreation to the status of a dysfunctional lifestyle…a quirk I found most prevalent in karate.

      As for how my son thinks about the article, he’s not really all that interested in what Dad writes! Probably for the best!

      • JedP

        Haha prolly not =P What are your thoughts on Aikido?

        • No experience with it so I don’t really have any opinion on it one way or the other. Neat uniforms, bamboo sticks, Steven Segal and apparently the third Dr. Who knew how to use it…that’s about all I know!

          • JedP

            Ya i’ve always really liked the uniforms.

  • Buttercup

    Uhmm…it clearly depends on what Taekwondo school you go to, and we do learn to punch. I have been doing Taekwondo for almost 7 years, I’ve won Canada Open and now going to Worlds, I’m able to fight literally anyone. The uniform thing is so wrong but right. That’s the BASIC, STARTER uni. If you want to actually do this sport properly than you should buy and Adidas one, or Wosoku, they are so soft and light. I feel that some people don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t mean to offend anyone, and I’m dearly sorry if I have.

    • Nah. No offence. Everyone has their own take on it which is why so many are in it. After fifteen years and a family hip deep in martial arts I have just come to my own conclusions. Now I’m what you might consider an independent…enjoying martial arts without the limits of a dojo and all that comes with it.

  • Taekwondo

    I Believe Sir Your Wrong Taekwondo is Not Always Feet Sometimes They Use Hands And All Taekwondo Student use their hands

    • Flailing does not in all fairness constitute a use of hands.

      And please, learn proper sentence structure. That was just plain awful to look at.

  • Gavin Coleman

    I respect your point of view on the art but I having experience in Karate JuDo hapkido Ju Jitsu TKD boxing and a fe other fighting styles and I have to say TKD is my favorite …boxers have no form and couldn’t have the power in a punch to break a pencil..and I felt bad for the few karate guys I’ve sparred….they tryed to “close the distence ” an the first time I cracked them with a cresent kick in the face they all but cryed and threw there head gear across the floor..also every time the come in if you throw a power kick such as a back kick front kick side kick ect they will Kiel over and start sucking wind because they can’t take a hit..outside of a true wtf match where you could punch till the cows come home and not git a single point most TKD guys will throw a punch..but my personal POV is if your fast anuff with a kick you won’t need to punch.. Because legs are longer than arms dude

    • Thanks for the point of view, but perhaps running your post through spell check or an english translation site might be a good first move next time. I honestly have no idea what you are trying to say.

  • llllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

    Stupid people! You are just jealous that you can’t do all the stuff Taekwondo people can. Was that a professional teaching you?- Jerk who wrote this article.
    A Taekwondo person could beat you in 2 seconds flat. You don’t understand- control, balance, flexibility, or great things in life that you’re able to do. How many people are fat? Now think about how many people in Taekwondo are fat.
    I would write more but I’m not going to waste my time with you people.
    I have to go practice.

    • I feel like a guy who was just walking by and then some random crazy person from the subway starts screaming. Something about TaeKwonDo? Who the hell was that guy??

  • therosejr

    WTF competition sparring is useless. I totally agree. I’ve been doing the style for five years. Yes. It’s watered down. I’m not going to argue. I’ll take the truth. but outside of competition, we do learn the non-showy works. the real martial arts. However, they want sparring to be “controlled”. No hands other than the reverse punch.
    Outside of the flashy sparring, we have learned self defense and actual survival fighting, however, it’s just not something that’s handed out immediately. For the first few years, it’s burning off steam, then the “real” training starts.

    much respect, sir.

  • Not Choi

    TKD is in a sad state as a martial art. The organization I am in has changed to this point fighting system, and I wretched. We used to do continuous sparring, which means we hit each other continuously.

    The problem is that TKD is all about the cash. No matter where you go, some guy who spent a few years kicking air is waiting to take your money and lead you through a glorified Taebo workout.

    At one testing, someone started punching me in the face, and I freaked out. It was a hazing from a martial artist who came up from the early years of taekwondo when they were still allowed to beat the crap out of each other. I freaked out and started trying to do inner forearm and outer forearm blocks, but those aren’t exactly great for chain punches.

    TKD is a flawed system, but it is not a bad way to get started in martial arts if you find a good group to train with. If you are looking to learn how to fight, you would be better off somewhere else. But if you are looking for a good sport, or an awesome day care, then TKD is right for you. I genuinely love TKD, and I do my best to teach my students how to excel in the sport, but the martial aspect is lost.

  • Mike

    22 Year vet of TKD, Training center owner, and coach of several international fighters in WTF Tae Kwon Do.

    You lose credibility the moment you don’t make a distinction between the Sport of TKD and the Martial Art of TKD.

    #5 Your point on the gear being to protect you from random flailing kicks is just silly and shows a lack of understanding. I have broken peoples ribs and arms through their pads before and have had my jaw broken before at Collegiate World Games once before. If someone is throwing random flailing kicks then the issue is with the practitioner and not with the system itself. No highly trained fighter throws kicks at random.

    #4 Is a personal choice problem. In 22 years I’ve never worn a uniform made of polyester nor one riddled with the patches you speak of.

    #3 To say it’s only good for children and day care is just untrue. At 18 and in my Freshman year at University I was attacked at 4am by 3 large men with knives. The palm of my left hand was cut rather badly but 2 out of the 3 of them ended up in the hospital and I got away with my life in tact. Show me a day care that can teach you to do that. Good thing TKD was “useless”

    #2 Goes back to the first general point made, Sport does not allow punching to the face, to transition that and suggest that it means people who train WTF TKD don’t know HOW to punch or block again shows a lack of credibility as you lump sport and art together.That’s like saying someone in MMA doesn’t know how to kick someone in the nuts simply because it’s not a viable strike within the rules of the sport match.

    #1 This is a complaint about the practitioners, this is not indicative of the art itself.

    What your 5 reasons are really about is your distaste for the WAY large groups of people tend to practice, none of them have anything to do with the Martial Art itself.

    • Finally!! An articulate rebuttal written by an adult! You sir are a lighthouse in an ocean of martial arts idiocy and for that I thank you.

  • Rob Hodge

    Arguably the 2 best martial arts articles I have ever read!(Karate & TKD) … Truth be known, I went to YouTube just a moment ago and watched a clip from an Olympic TKD match and nary a punch was thrown. THEN: after 2 minutes of bunny hopping and a couple threatening lunges, the ref called the round and the two fighters went to their corner to get water and advice from their corner……. as if they had done something. **You sir, are correct. Thanks for making me feel better about what I do. AlphaOmega-MMA(dot)com. Rev. 22:13- “I am the first and last, the beginning and the end.” He is risen, indeed.

  • Ralph Garmin

    Me go TKD and son like go. He no go fighters but like and fun have. Master is firm and son makes good go spar. Son make friendly and have goods time. Maybe get older try different style and good foundation have from TKD. Not useless, good workout and make good for confidence.

    • Tarzan, is that you? Please pass the keyboard to Jane.

      • Ralph Garmin

        Tarzan no me. Just liking to make watch son go TKD. Me have like son make friendly with others in class. TKD teach him protect self and also do gooder life. I no like you talk down me. Son like it and exercize gets him. Better than getting make troubles or play video gamer. Hope you realize the true value of TKD.

        • OK, maybe its my morning coffee but this conversation is just freaking hilarious. :)

          Me go now. Big job. Work do.

          • Ralph Garmin

            Me makers heart sadly go bad no like fun makers. Me not so greater English, sorry. Just learning how go write. Is like we say at home, if cow can eat then no bother for milky. If cow give milky then rainbow day is. Hope this clear up speakers no gooder for me.

          • “If cow can eat then no bother for milky”

            From the mouth of Tarzan comes such richness. I too have a good farm saying that my Dad taught me as a kid…

            “Son, if you can’t write in gosh darn English, don’t post on comment forums.”

            Sorry, but you’re killing me here! Now go have a “gooder” day. :)

  • Totally DEAD ON. Got my TKD Black Belt in my 20s. I was mopping their “Third Degrees” by the time I was a Purple Belt because I had athletic training and played D1 Basketball. THis was “frowned upon”. Got the black belt, stopped going, and took up boxing for the next 10 years. I learned more in boxing 6 months than all my TKD. It’s a joke. Any art that teaches you to throw punches from your HIP??? WTF>

  • traditionalTKDguy

    I have 13 years of TKD experience and still am not a black belt, not due to my own inadequacy or my school being particularly harsh, mainly due to slight inconsistencies in attendance preventing me from being able to promote consistently with school and work, my TKD school was neither ITF or WTF both of which i agree are inherently useless as a form of self defense, I mean awesome you can throw 11 front leg low, middle, high round kicks, great for you, but there is no power in those kicks, not to mention the majority of people my age (19) don’t necessarily wear pants they can kick like that in, I know i can’t throw a jump spinning back kick in my jeans, let alone a side kick 6 and a half feet in the air, which is why, teaching people how to win a fight is so important, sure sparing is all well and good and you have to follow certain rules for safety, but until about a year ago when i stopped training at the school after our master died we also had a lot of freedom in how we fought. no one was ever forced to fence or play tag or to stand in that stance, if it worked for you it worked, and unless specifically training for a tournament which the school did once a year for our grandmasters event, we didn’t count points either, the black belts and older/high ranking students helped teach the younger ones during sparing, I.E making you keep your hands up, hitting you if your open and so on, not to mention the teaching that there are no rules in a street fight and if you’re in danger, by all means, punch the guy in the throat, kick him in the knee, spinning back fist him and shatter his jaw, were things that eventually are taught to all kids, now I’m not saying I’m the best fighter, nor was my school perfect, I began training in mma and kickboxing to better learn how to strike with my hands not that i can’t already I just want dramatic improvement which I would no longer get at the school, but that wasn’t until recently because i have the money, I spent 3 hours 5 days a week for years training TKD and honestly I got what I know beaten into me by my older friends because i was loud mouthed and annoying at the school and because I never went home crying about how I got punched in the face, or kicked in the chest as a kid, when i spoke about i was excited, and granted they beat me up a lot, but there was teaching going on, they hit me and told me to block until i started, and so on, TKD is not useless traditionally, but rigid tournament rules, and ITF/WTF styles have made it so, who gives a shit if you’re the gold medal champion of the world if you get jumped on your way home and get your ass kicked into next week, there needs to be room for leg checks, blocking, punches that aren’t just straight punches, thats the way it has to be, maintain al the traditional style for the kata/forms but with sparing, teach the students how to use their body, their whole body to defend themselves with grabs strikes, blocks, throws, chokes, and reversals. thats my 2 cents but overall i agree with you, the whole ITF/WTF mcdojo/dojang bull shit is ruining martial arts and the perception people have of them.

  • Set To Reflect

    The Filipino Martial Arts and Silat are the only real martial arts left. Everything else is a joke.

  • Ryan

    I’m a taekwondo black belt and I love it, but I do agree to an extent. I think it gives you some awesome tools, but it’s obviously limited and tkd as a business is frustrating. The sport aspect is fun, but a warrior it does not make,

  • Guest

    I have studied the art of Taekwondo for over 15 years and I must say some of what you say may be true for some schools but not for all. The art of Taekwondo literally translates to the martial art of the foot AND hand, or “the way of the foot AND hand.” If you call yourself a Taekwondo martial artist than you must know both, because only knowing the way of the feet is only half of the art. Unfortunately there are many money hungry people that care not for their students but only for their wallets, and suck at teaching, and do not even have certification themselves, unfortunately it comes down to being a business. But for those who truly study the art, and have good instruction as I have, then you would have no problem using either your hands or feet. I do not ridicule other martial arts or boxing, but I have seen other styles come into my school and quit because TKD was too hard for them, Just as I have seen TKD people quit other styles. It depends on the instruction, practice, and passion of the instructor, and if they are truly traditional, than any TKD student would have knowledge and balance when it comes to either their feet or hands. Thank you, have a good day! :)

    • Well, WTF Olympic TKD as a whole is pretty much watered down karate and practically worthless as a serious martial art.

      I say the thing about the feet because to be honest I don’t see a whole lot of hand work in TKD. Ok…let me clarify…I don’t see a lot of GOOD hand work in TKD. As a longtime karate practitioner, I spent considerable time getting punches right. My son is in TKD, two of my sisters are black belts, and I can say unequivocally that WTF TKD is NOT the place to go for fist work.

      Truly traditional TKD ( ie: traditional karate ) is so rare that it is simply not worth considering for the purpose of an article which I freely admit is generalizing the martial art. Exceptions always exist but the majority still rules.

      Fact is I don’t hate TKD, karate or any other art. I have a love/hate relationship with them as martial arts run long and deep in my family. Like any mature relationship we fight with each other and accept one another’s faults! Otherwise my own son would not be in TKD.

      Nonetheless, I appreciate your articulate response. Weigh in on this subject anytime!

  • Hiraku Ryu

    I can say being a practitioner of tkd that alot of this guy is saying have some valid points. been doing martial arts for over 25 years and i agree that tkd hand techniques are not as developed as others. but old school tkd was not as it is today. tkd is Americanized and has a bad rep for being a belt factory. Real TKD as taught in korea is pretty harsh. With the constant “discipline and lite padding. during the 70’s and 80’s tkd was more like shotokan. ( the style that was used and combined with taekyon) to make tkd. fighing gear consists of had hear and maybe feet gear, that’s it. Tkd has awesome foot work if learned properly. and i did have to study jeet kune do to make my hand techniques worth it. Bruce lee trained in various martial art and never put down any for whatever reason. all true art has its flaws and it wins. unfortunatly schools like ATA and commercialized the discipline make it more like a 1 hour daycare with kicks lol. But there are still great practitioners in ATA. Schools give kids black belts beacuse of the parents reall tkd school give you a poom belt (half red half black) that is technically a black belt but you do not get full black till the age of 15. in respect to the older practitioners and give the kids the time to mature and develop with out holding them black.

  • Taekwondogirl123

    I’m a black belt in Taekwondo and you who ever the hell you are need to get your facts straight. Clearly you have not been to a good club

    • And with a handle like that, we wouldn’t have any emotional investment would we? I’ve been to plenty clubs. WTF TKD is the same all over.

      Tell you what, we all know TKD is an offshoot of Shotokan karate ( or at least now you do ). So you go to a any shotokan dojo and tell me with a straight face that TKD has better form. Compare the sloppiness of a Poomse to the focus of a kata. Compare the wild TKD kicks that always miss their target to the cat like single strikes of kumite. You’ll be embarrassed.

      • I had to club hop due to financial and life reasons. Therefore I know first hand that yes, TKD comes from Okinawan Karate, just like Shotokan does. It goes TKD from Shotokan from Okinawan Karate from Gung Fu. General Choi was a nidan in Shotokan. Original TKD was a hodge podge of various martial arts. The Won Yo form is in Shotokan, Okinawan Karate, TKD and Tangsoodo.
        Honestly, the “problem” with TKD is the public. The public wants cool kicks, kid black belts, fancy associations, high-sounding titles and Olympic status. If you are not offereing that, some people will wonder what is wrong with you.

        • That actually brings up a very good point…for an art to be financially viable does it have to reduce itself to meet the common consumer?

          This is probably why karate is a superior art in terms of form, accuracy and strength: The clubs are usually non-profit. TKD is a revolving door but a profitable revolving door nonetheless.

          So yes, you are most correct that the problem is the customer who demanded a “simpler” black belt.

  • TKDfighter

    I can not fathom the level of incompetence put into writing this article. TKD is one of the most respected martial arts. Yes it is remarkably easy to get a black belt these days (as long as you have money and time), but that is not real Taekwondo. One’s belt is merely a form of identification. Instead of hating on the little children who do TKD for fun, why don’t you actually talk about the martial artists who truly practice TKD. The flexibilty, power, speed, and stamina required in Taekwondo is much higher than most sports. Yes, Olympic Sparring is a sport, not a traditional fighting style. However, this does not take away from the credibility of the art. TKD is still combat, and contrary to popular belief, can be implemented quite effectively in a real situation. I have no respect for your harsh statements and their lack of valid support. Next time, have some credibilty before you bag on one of the greatest martial arts ever.

    • TKD…greatest martial art ever? That’s…are you…what????

      Credibility is not my problem, and obtaining your respect is not my goal. You however seem to have lost any with that ridiculous statement. At least try an bring something intelligent to the conversation.

  • I also used to be in TKD at high school.
    I wanted the aikido or become an amateur boxer but my parents wont allow or fund me LOL
    Anyways things were a little different here in the philippines – more serious and cheaper off course.
    One thing before I used TKD for HS scholarship, I used to study Hwarang Do from my uncle and basically it appears as though it is where TKD was derived from.
    Basically taekwondo came from a korean game “taekyon” wherein they tie their hands and spar with their feet like what the sport part of TKD does.
    our sensei however is a respectable man and those flaws you’ve mentioned above; we were also aware of those and if the instructor is also realistic he would also be aware and try to sway from most off those.
    TKD also studies the complete martial arts part but in a different day – I remember we used to meet, all us adults and just train seriously without the kids.
    Protective gears suck.
    you literally need to train to move around with those or else you will be sitting duck during the competition.
    And I use fists and heavy punches also score a point but it needs to have shattered your opponent’s movement and its only legal if delivered in the body. A great competition combo (if you have a strong punch) is to heavily punch the chest that he will feel it through the armor then as you gain the right distance you can now deliver some 45degree kicks and bullet combos to your imbalanced opponent

    • You bring up an interesting point about kids. I sometimes wonder what it would take to pull TKD out of the washed-up arts into something viable. Minimum age enrolment perhaps? My old Shotokan dojo wouldn’t even consider child admission until 12.

      • Hard core Krav maga style sparrings.
        We used to do that
        Its like a regular sparring session but its 4 on one.
        The 4 are only allowed legal blows but the defender can grapple and can pretty much do any type of blows.
        Then switch per round.
        @ kids
        There must be a sepparate session with the 12 yo below kids

  • BTW-I do honestly feel that the competition TKD is just like boxing but the “kick” variation of it. Its more of a sport than a martial arts to be honest and I completely agree with that

  • Gavin

    I must agree with you on the WTF part, as I’ve been to some WTF schools and watched fights on YouTube, but can you please tell me how ITF is useless? I don’t see it

  • Gavin

    I might know why you’re saying TKD is crap.. You probably went to a ATA school.. Everyone knows that ATA is rubbish.. Try a different organisation which is ITF and see what you think :)

    • The article specifies WTF TKD. I am familiar with ATA and have seen their dojangs and yes…amazingly enough they found a way to make TKD even worse.

      ITF is indeed better and much closer to Shotokan Karate ( of which I am a 15 year veteran ) from which it was derived. Given a choice I would always recommend ITF over WTF any day.

  • James Lee

    After reading this I will disagree in two things,the no hands use and the uniform first at all let I am James lee,ive done taekwondo(6th dan)(karate 1st dan)(and learning hopkido)I started learning Taekwondo because of my family,my dad.Ive been doing martial arts since i was 5 years old and back in 2014 I am already 36.I am thinking about opening an academy but anyway about the problema about the no hands use in Taekwondo yes its truth they dont use it in Kerugi but later on they will teach self defense (blocks,crit points,etc)wtf style,its all about the academy.Going on the other theme about the uniforms I don’t agreed because my uniform is different and you make a customized uniform and not the normal
    Plastic uniform that you think,however its up to you,and I reached black belt at the age of 13(Taekwondo) and yes Ive seen many 10 years old black belts they are black belts because they have been doing since very little,it depens on the academy,thank you.

  • Mark

    Well I would have to disagree taekwondo is a very valuable martial art you may ask how do I know this well I have been training since the age of 8 moving from the youth class to the adult class at the age of 14 I have a total of 20 plus years of martial arts training in multiple disciplines judo karate taekwondo in my humble opinion all martial arts fundamentally offer the same ideas and principles of discipline and respect with each one having its own approach to hand to hand combat to say a taekwondo practitioner cannot punch is like saying a karate practitioner cannot kick it fundamentally makes no sense I will agree with the statement that some schools if not perhaps quite a few schools promote their student’s far to fast through the ranks in order to cash in which in some cases is the only way to keeps the doors open in terms of the belt carrying no meaning that is incorrect a belt to someone who is truly dedicated to their martial art under the tutelage of a great master or sensei does not pay for their belt it is given to them when their master or sensei determines they are worthy of the honour which is the key word to remember her “honour” I received my black belt when I was 17 which was 9 years after I started it was not bought nor was it handed to me in any way I had to work hard stay disciplined and dedicated in order to receive the honour from my master to be able to wear a black belt now at the age of 28 I am a second ban black belt and an instructor so I would just like to say you have lost what martial arts is all about and that is HONOUR

    • Every activity has some value I’m sure. My own son is in TKD and he likes it so who am I to tell him otherwise?

      That having been said, martial arts DO NOT teach honor. That’s just Kung Fu Theatre nonsense. One year as a husband and father taught me more about honor than 15 years in a dojo. Martial arts are not designed to give ethics training any more than a curling club.

  • samsamsam

    Okay, first of all this is all exaggerated. The uniform that makes you look more dolled up than a Vegas prostitute is a lie. I’m also having Taekwondo lessons but I can only agree on buying expensive belts, uniform, and protective gears. I enrolled for Taekwondo, I wanted this, I have seen this coming, now I can’t really complain when there’s things to buy, do I?

    You can’t say Taekwondo is not a valuable art. Every martial art is different, and has different ways in fighting. The art of Taekwondo is its technique of unarmed combat for self defense that involves the skillful application of techniques that include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, parrying actions with hands and feet. It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline. It is a system of training both the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the development of the trainee’s moral character. That is the art of Taekwondo.

    The reason I enrolled for Taekwondo lesson is because I want it to be my new hobby and also for exercise, not for self-defense, honestly. I’m not saying that Taekwondo is useless and not a self-defense practice for me. Even though a lot of people know that Taekwondo only teaches kicks, it doesn’t mean it can’t be useful. In Taekwondo, you are also taught how to block kicks and punches. Most people really don’t know this.

    They think Taekwondo students only know how to kick. Taekwondo students only kick in sparrings because it’s the rule of the game. No punching, no pushing, that’s the rule in Taekwondo so they will follow it. Every martial art has a rule, right? But what if it’s not in the rules of the game? Or we’re in a real-life situation fight? Do you think a Taekwondo student like me will let you punch me and push me? Of course not! I will use my mind, my hand, my foot, my whole body. Because I’m sure as hell I’m not gonna survive a fight using only my feet in a real fight! There’s a huge difference between martial art fight and real-life situation fight.

    Really, just common sense people. Stop disrespecting other martial art just because you’re an expert in your another martial art or your school didn’t teach you good enough or JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE DEFEATED A TAEKWONDO BLACK BELT student. It doesn’t make your martial art any better.

    • You were bang on the money with your first sentence. The article is of course, exaggerated.

      I should write a karate vs TKD article but the more I think about it the more I feel I’d be beating a dead horse.

      Then again, I think I saw it move…

  • Marco Noguera

    The author is right most of the comments about Taekwondo guys. Unfortunately the industry is full of “fake “schools and therefore ; fake martial arts practitioners. I’ve been training and competing (WTF) for almost 35 years and seem all of that. Not only in TKD but all martial arts. There are very few that still true to its roots.
    I am not better to anyone BUT, my uniforms don’t have patches or stars, my students must fight , meditate, learn self defense, etc to move up. I ONLY have 5 belts on my system and takes about 3 to 4 years of hard work to get to Black. No students under 16 years old have ever get Black from me, and NO , we don’t have any contracts. I am 46 and train (no just teach) 6 days a week and I can guarantee with certainty that I am in better shape and healthier than the author. Anyone who generalizes a topic or public (or type of sport) is a complete ignorant.
    There are many kids with ADHD, overweight , low self esteem, adults living a sedentary life , out there who could benefit from Taekwondo, Karate or any other martial arts. But may just give up the idea after read this absurd article.
    I’d rather take my kids to a “not so great Martial Arts school” , than just keep them at home playing (violent) video games and working their way up to became obese and lazy.

  • TKDude

    Dysfunctional Parrot! I love the fact that your son just joined Taekwon-do ;-) hope you signed him up to ITF though.

    • The only clubs around are WTF. Doesn’t really matter though as he’s having fun and that’s the important thing!

  • Heretic Master

    I hold the rank of master in TKD and can say with all sincerity that you speak a great deal of truth. So much so that it is talk like this that lead to me leaving my old class and the instructor there and I getting into a huge argument over practicality versus “modern” theory (I have tried to fix that relationship for a couple of years now, but they want none of it). I have become somewhat of a heretic in the TKD circles around here do to this, and yet classes were always full when I was teaching. Now this isn’t because I am a great instructor or anything, I have been told by those that had attended my teaching nights that it is because I didn’t teach them how to do the techniques, but how to USE them and how to fight. A huge difference. Who would have thought you can learn how to actually fight in the real world in a martial arts class!?
    The West for the most part has lost the original intent of the martial arts almost universally regardless of style. It is about making money, wearing fancy uniforms, constantly training to compete in tournaments and not for real life, and decking out the uniform with as many patches as it can possibly hold. It has me very disallusioned. I teach martial arts for its original intent and can show people what a technique’s original use was designed for. This is because I trained for years with a Grandmaster and Lineage holder of a kung fu style that taught me to look for the original intent in a martial art regardless of style. The method for doing so is fairly simple once learned, unfortunately there are few with the patience to actually learn it. But once learned a whole new respect and understanding is opened and the art is shown for what it is truly capable of doing.
    I think it is a little unnerving to have 10 year old black belts. Lets face it, there is an enormous chasm between regurgitating techniques and forms and rule-guided sparring, and actually using what you know for real world combat. I’ve seen very good very young students where technique is concerned, but there is no way they could fight off someone 6 feet tall and over 100 pounds heavier. We live in the real world not a movie. Now that being said they can be taught to use certain techniques to strike certain places to facilitate escape, but the chances of them knocking them out is slim to none. It may make the child feel good and confident about having a black belt and it may make the parents happy, but martial arts are not about belts and uniforms and trophies!
    Lastly, there is too much focus on tournaments and training for them. In the heat of real world combat you will ALWAYS fall back onto your highest level of muscle memory obtained NOT onto your highest level of skill. That takes years to learn to switch over and only comes through excessive purposeful training. The real world has no rules so if you train to fight in a place that has rules, which seems to be the MO of most modern Western martial arts schools, you will revert to a rules based fight in a real world altercation, thus putting you at a disadvantage. This is where the saying “You fight how you train” is blatantly obvious. Now, tournaments aren’t bad, they are a great place to practice harder and faster techniques against another opponent, but they build bad habits if you focus on them too much. I have seen this first hand on a number of occassions. People are shocked when they find out that you can attack places other than above the belt and in front of the uniform seems, like, dare I say it, the back or the legs.
    Sorry, I am now done with my rant!

  • Maddy


    • I’m debating whether or not to ban this comment just based on the offensive level of illiteracy.

      Also, stop sitting on your blasted caps lock you uneducated Philistine. If you can’t say it with eloquence, then do the world a favor and don’t say it at all.

  • Truthteller

    That moment when in international fights, Karate -always- lose over Taekwondo, which is itself really terribly weak compared to other fighting styles.

    Brace yourselves !

  • Inwon

    That is the difference between the TKD in North Korea and South. The North Koreans use their hands quite a lot, but WTF is derived from the South, so it focuses on kicking

  • kent

    This had made me laugh commenting on a style you obviously have not a lot of knowledge about. I studied bixing, shotokan and wadoryu karate as a youth and now itf taekwondo . Even though called itf there are again many different discplines of this style some good some not so. At our organisation not only are we taught the tradtional parts of the discpline we are also taught self defence and other facets for street work whcih is far removed from sparring. Our sparring is designed for point scoring hence no kicks below the belt however we punch a great deal including backfists. No elbows are allowed. In self.defence anything goes.
    In my short time at taekwondo I havr learnt more than I ever learnt at my karate discplines bht they all helped infact the boxing probably helped me the most with dodging and weaving and timing punches controlling breathing.
    I do not think there is a bad martial art just bad schools so maybe stop slagging off other styles its not a good trait and hardley the honourable thing a devotee of an ART should do.

    Kind regards

  • Malachai Jacob Moore

    I cannot comment on wtf. But I’ve heard bad things. I study itf and each kick has a purpose whether it is an axe kick to break the clavicle, a front snap kick to push back an opponent or a side piercing kick to slip through defences and break ribs or the throat. They teach me how to kick from different angles and give great leg flexibility and strength. And teach u the correct positions of the foot on each kick so u don’t break you’re leg. As for punching they teach us sine wave which produces one hell of a punch I can get the same power from a jab that I would from a hook and without the risk of leaving myself open for counter attack. In itf they teach us to block with power and there is a physical science to everything though gravity, turning the wrist points of acceleration to turn blocks into guard breakers and that’s when the haymaker kits you. You said that you studied karate for 15 years and you like to beat on wtf black belts. You say it takes two years to get a black belt in TKD. So what you have told us is that you pit your 15 years of fighting discipline against someone’s feeble two years and then boast champion. My advice is take your son out of whatever wtf school hes in and put him in an itf dojang and u will quickly conciete. Itf tournaments are fought in both continuos point sparring and one hit one point sparring. I am also learning judo I’d like to hear what reasons You have for disgracing this martial art. Like the shaolin monks learn different styles so should we. If you lay all you’re eggs in one aggressive basket then all you have is a feast someone snake style. That’s why mma is so good btw Muay Thai is good if you want to do irreversible damage to you’re leg I don’t even think its a real style because there is only one move shin kick

    • If a Shaolin monk spends his life in seclusion learning martial arts then his life is a tragic waste. Life is about God, relationships and family and without those you can rake all the zen-gardens you want. It’s pointless and empty.

      I’d have put my son in ITF but there is none available. It really doesn’t matter anyway because he’s a kid and if he’s having fun then who am I to say what style he should be in? ITF is just a version of Shotokan karate anyway and if my son wants to learn that I’ll teach him myself.

      Also, I um…never said I like to beat up WTF black belts. You really should go back and read that part more carefully before commenting. It was a unique situation where some dork needed a humbling and got what he had long coming to him.

      Let’s see, what else…judo. I have very little experience with Judo so can’t comment. Seems nice I suppose. Not a big fan of it in one sense because the long term health effects on the joints seem to plague a lot of practitioners past the age of 40, or at least that’s what I tend to see. Same reason I hate MMA training…it will cause long term health issues. Better off with Tai Chi if you want to grow old without debilitating arthritis!

      • Malachai

        To you the shaolin monk had wasted his life. But if what he does brings him peace and happiness then his life was not wasted. I’m not saying it’s for me either but I cannot judge something I know nothing about, neither can you. But it’s apparent that’s all u seem to do. U talk of god then u should know better. How can TKD be useless if it makes your son happy. I find flaws in your side of this debate/argument/self-righteous opinion or whatever u want to call it. There are flaws in TKD there are flaws in all styles it’s a just a giant physical game of Rock Paper Scissors but more importantly it’s the flaws in the people practicing the arts that matter most.

        • Hold onto your rage folks…I’m just putting the finishing touches on the follow up article: 5 REASONS TKD is AWESOME.

          Now take a few deep breaths and realize that this is the internet you’re getting mad at. Also, look up “judgement” in a dictionary because I don’t think you’re using that word correctly.

          • Nilesh

            O.k…. This has nothing to do with martial arts but I’ve been following your responses and couldn’t help myself… grammarnazi :D !!!

          • And proud of it! Better a grammar freak than an uneducated hick in my book! :)

            And “Grammar Nazi” is actually two words.

          • Nilesh

            I actually tried to hash tag it and made a mess of things… much like a helicopter kick gone wrong.

          • Fixed it for you! Hashtag away!

  • JDave

    Interesting post…
    For my background, I stated training ITF TKD in my teens until early 20s and stopped at the rank of red belt (the one before black). I then trained primarily in Muy Thai, Combat Submission Wrestling, BJJ and Sambo.
    I unfortunately have to agree with the author’s comments. TKD was originally basic Shotokan Karate which was infused with cultural Korean elements (emphasis on high, jumping, flashy kicks) so that people do not mistake it for Karate. There was lot of tension between Korea and Japan at the time, and the Koreans wanted something that “felt” distinctively Korean. Hence the oft-mentioned references to local games such as Taekyon and Soobak. What is created is a myth of a true Korean martial arts with deep roots in the culture. It is not reality, though. If you want more information on this I strongly recommend the book “A Killing Art” by Alex Gillis.
    The reason why TKD is “useless” in actual combat is that there was a choice made to turn it into a character-building, sport, family activity, and to de-emphasize the “martial” component. This is not limited to TKD, however, Judo is going the same way (see recent inclusion of even more limitations in the rules) and every Dojo in town is including BJJ classes in its curriculum.
    It’s also odd how so many instructors decide to “incorporate” techniques from other martial arts in their teaching, without having ever trained in these arts themselves. I recently witnessed a WTF instructor show teens how to “work the guard” in a self-defense seminar, but doing it all wrong…
    The bottom line is, I think TKD is good as a fitness activity, and I feel it contributes to developing spatial awareness, proprioception, quickness, which may be important in actual self-defense. But by itself it’s near useless in combat situations. People fight as they train; the more one bleeds in training, the less they do in combat. Soldiers live by this rule.
    TKD teaches to kick with the foot, not the shin, which will get you a broken foot in real life. There is very little clinch work and ground fighting. I spar MMA-style with TKD guys and eats them alive, so we have to agree to “keep it standing”. If you want to protect yourself then be willing to take hard shots and learn the ground game.

    • Malachai

      Exactly why I said not to train in only one style if u actually read my post. I said TKD is good for certain things I’m not saying it’s the be all and end all of martial arts. They teach u how to kick with the foot without breaking the foot. in a real combat situation u would be wearing boots so we could just call the the style savate. Steel toe caps vs. a shin bone hmmmm the outcome favours toe caps unless u are wolverine. The discussion is weather TKD is useless and I’m saying its usefull. 1. Leg strength 2. Flexability 3. Speed 4. Stamina 5. Learn how to throw a bloody good kick. If u wanna learn ground work then study a wrestling form, if u wanna learn how to punch then your old man shoulda taught u. Or if u r like me and u never had a dad to teach u then u learned on the street. Mma is good providing its mma rules. What happend sewn u face up to a master in small joint manipulation and pressure points, then mma goes out the window, just like all martial arts, it’s a game of Rock Paper Scissors.

  • JDave

    Just watch this…

  • Nam Phan

    Are you aware that your uniform image is of American Taekwondo Association (ATA), who’s infamous for their low teaching quality and rip off price. As a Taekwondo “student” (I’m not a fighter) for 18 years, who has 3rd degree WTF and 2nd degree ITF, I agree the general situation for Taekwondo is as you described. But I value other things they teach in Taekwondo, or any “martial arts” in general, such as chivalry, loyalty, self-discipline. For me, a kid who can’t do a proper side kick but willing to stand up for his bullied friend is worth a black belt. If you want to fight and kill, probably Taekwondo is not an option. I suggest the appropriate topic name should be “5 Reasons why a majority of contemporary Taekwondo teaching is useless” to avoid overgeneralization.

    • The SEO on a title like that would be brutal. :)

      I really should make another article on some reasons TKD is NOT useless. Believe it or not, I still feel it has value.

      The image is also just an example. Many WTF dojangs follow the same practice but thankfully the better clubs restrict that gawdy practice to the kids. Admittedly you are right though…ATA is the worst of the worst. I wouldn’t use an ATA black belt to hold my pants up.

      And don’t worry. After 15 years of hard training I’m not a fighter either. Few people are.

  • Sam

    Hi, I just came across your site, read the article and half of the comments. Very entertaining and well written :) I also agree with you on everything.
    In fact, you are not alone in thinking TKD is flawed (especially WTF, which is a joke – similar to cardio-boxing). I myself am an ITF practitioner and have had the privilege of training under a Korean 8th Dan GrandMaster.

    I have to say that everything he did or taught us seemed extremely accurate and effective, there was absolutely no doubt.
    But then on the other hand when we had an alternative Master (5th Dan, non Korean), he himself admitted that TKD didn’t have all the aspects of combat down and he brought in from time to time other masters from different martial arts to give us the best well-rounded training possible. I found this refreshing, someone humble enough to admit their art wasn’t perfect and willing to learn from others.
    The difference from one to the other was vast. The Korean GM had it inside him, it was part of him and he executed in such a way that left the onlooker astounded.

    And now, a few years down the line, I can see that the effectiveness a person has when defending himself or in a tournament is largely up to the person himself, how much he’s assimilated the techniques and knows how to execute them and how he applies them. In tournaments I loved to counter a kick with a block and a single punch simply because it seemed very logical and fast, no need to move away and kick (never did Karate, btw). My Korean GM never said a word that wasn’t necessary, but when I used these techniques all he did was look at me and nod in approval even though it “wasn’t a kick”. I assume he valued the effectiveness.

    Ok I’m cutting this here, I think I just wanted to say that 1) the teacher we have can/may influence the way we learn, 2)we ourselves are solely responsible for how proficient we get at the martial art we choose 3) great read on your post!

    My 2 cents

  • the Coyote

    I would love to get in the ring with you. No pads no head gear. Just a mouth guard. That way your crying won’t be so loud. Please just say when and where and I will fly there tomorrow. I have had enough phycology classed to know that you have issues. I don’t know if you weren’t loved as a child, you were bullied in school or is you have a small dick. I would be willing to bet that you can’t fight and you are just mad at the world because you feel inadequate.

    • Wow! Someone who took Psychology classes!!! How unbelievable rare in this day on mandatory college courses!

      Sigh. It’s sad everyone who hates this article immediately feels the need to challenge me to an honor fight…knowing full well such an action would never happen because that’s not how people function in the real world. That’s right…the internet isn’t real!

      Shocker, I know.

  • BBJ

    Tae Kwon Do pretty much translates as the art of kicking and punching. Not all clubs are the same. I think most clubs don’t focus much on blocking or punching because of the proffessional tournaments like the Olympics or Worl Championships. This is becuase in these tournements you aren’t allowed to have a guard or block and punches only score very lowly.
    I think it depends on the individual club. For examlpe, my club focuses alot on hand techniques and loads on blocking. This is because we don’t enter tournaments. Instead, as well as patterns or one-steps and stuff, we train for real life situations. Also, we don’t spar like the Olympics. Instead, we are encouraged to use use our hands and block.
    Same goes for standards. It really pisses me off when I see 7year olds with Black Belts and it only took them 2 years to get it. At our club it takes an adult about 3 years if they are really commited. It took me 6 years but that’s because I started when I was young, about 11.

  • Cameron

    Well idk who u learned tae kwon do from but my instuctor taught us everything from how to use are feet from how to fall, he also very much taught us how to use our hands. Cause tae kwon do is korean for the kick punch way lol he even taught us ground work as well

  • alaska young

    What about ATA?

  • Marisa

    I agree that most TKD schools in America are basically a buy-your-belt system. But some local schools teach the traditional styles of taekwondo which is actually worth something. I am lucky enough to have a Tae Kwon Do Ji Do Kwan school in my area and I would love to see my school go up against an ata school.

  • Kitsune Master

    Well, unlike those Karate guys that decided to hound you about defending “their honor”, as a third degree black belt with 12 years of training under his belt, I won’t really say anything in defense of my art. A true martial artist that has mastered discipline need not entertain the minds of the inferior such as yourself, since you clearly don’t know anything about Taekwondo, nor about Karate (yes, I read that joke of an article. You should write for Letterman), or really, anything about martial arts at all. You see, the world is far too polluted with morons such as yourself that have completely bastardized the view of martial arts, to the point that the world can tolerate other morons opening up McDojos and McDojangs, which in turn, is probably where all of your data comes from. Quite a nice sample size, you must be quite the excellent researcher that really knows how to apply the scientific method properly before daring to announce his “findings” and make his conclusions. Right? No. You’re not. And the people who actually agree with such short-sighted views should also be laughed off as idiots the same as you.

    • And yet here you are. Entertaining my mind.

      Well, isn’t this awkward. Might I suggest removing “master” from your handle to compensate for your sudden revelation that you are nothing special? If you can’t defend your position and instead must resort to being a douche then why even comment at all?

    • The Old Guy

      I am 72 years old, married, 4 sons, 10 grandsons. I am physically awkward: 1.82 m, 75 Kg, long legs…you see the picture. I have practised Martial Arts during 20 years. What did I learn there? 1) I fixed (??) many things Nature didn`t give me, such as physical and psychological stability; 2)There`s no better self-defense than no-fighting, which requires a lot of technical skills; 3)Never fight a real-world street thug : best defensive technique is run away and call 911; 4)Never fight a non-thug neither; it`s just stupid.

      • Probably the most well reasoned response here. My deepest thanks.

        The rest of you “street fighters”, learn from your elders!

  • kyron

    if a TKD practitioner knows what he’s doing, then the kicks won’t be limiting. When your target is in close, there’s something called an axe kick. Done correctly there will be one person standing and that’s that. The kid section, yea that’s stupid, I did TKD as a kid too, we recognized it as a joke pretty fast. At the top levels though, TKD can maintain itself as quite a respectful martial art. At the lower levels, just jump, I’ve never seen one of those idiots know what to do when you jump.

    • kyron

      BTW, I’m undecided on what sort of martial art or mix thereof would in fact give you the best results

  • Stephan

    Taekwondo fighters are the best within Taekwondo rules. Of course they are bad with punches, defensively and offensively. I could beat Roger Federer in a Badminton match but does he care?

  • TKD Master

    let me say something I am a Taekwondo Master 6th dan Kukkiwon I have 5 schools i run, and this is my fulltime job, I agree with mcdojos, especially GKR Karate the biggest of all the bull crap sales man knocks your door and sells you Karate lessons at your door without a trial what crap.
    I run my schools the traditional way, the hard way no crap,
    If you learn from a good Master that is a true Martial Artist you will not learn how to kick but you will also learn how to use your hands, lock and self defence.
    Taekwondo has the whole package if you are in proper school.
    Main thing is you must have passion also to learn.
    Also for those losers that make stupid comments you can talk lets be honest there are great Karate, Hapkido, Taekwondo students out there because they have passion to the ones that bag styles dont.
    If you want to put shit on a style dont its the instructor because they want to ma $$$, but no passion.
    Pick the right instructor not the colour full school.

    • You make excellent points, but picking the “right teacher” is not so easy as one would think. How would a person new to this field even know good from bad?

      At this point I have to lean on the organizational head to maintain the quality of their instructors. For example, I mostly came from the ISKF and they have rigid requirements and regular check-ins from the “head office”. I assume WTF TKD is much the same way although I never was an instructor in TKD.

      For the most part, WTF TKD gets a pass because they do have a solid organizational head and curriculum. That having been said I have seen some awful dojangs in that organization but that is to be expected anywhere. Even in my karate travels I saw a few dogs.

      The follow up to this, 5 Reasons TKD is AWESOME is about a week away from going up.

  • Alex

    Sir, sorry to be rude but i don’t agree with your opinion and i think the old martial artists will stand by my side too. fyi, even millitary is also using tkd as self defense. actually it comes from individual, how he/she practice it. how smart he/she using it. how discipline he/she is to be in martial art field. no to showing off ,but i’ve kicked 3rd dan karate holder in the face when he challenged me in street fight and probably he fell and weren’t able to stand . i was 1st dan taekwondo. But i can’t say karate is noob because maybe he is the one. there’s taekwondo people who are dumb, also there’s judo people who are noob, there’s also karate people who are not good in fight. my point is u can’t simply judge bcs you don’t even know what really inside it. maybe you should learn every martial arts until you’re at the top of every one of it. c’mon, as a martial artist, you should know this. ( only if you’re MATURED enough in this field )

    • Good news, nobody asked you to agree with my opinion. But nonetheless, I have one and it is valid.

      Also, what does “as a martial artist” even mean? Am I supposed to adhere to some secret code of conduct by never saying a negative thing about martial arts? Sounds like a pretty stupid code to me that borders on cult mentality. It also seems like you’re the dimwit having street fights which seems a less than sensible pastime for a well adjusted person.

      And finally ( sigh ), look up “judge” in a dictionary because you’re not using that word in the proper context. But you might also want to fix your grammar in general because it’s barely legible.

  • miccah

    this stupid and yes there are some things that are right ,but he’s not focusing on the art instead he’s focusing on the uniform and lying about the cost of a black belt.

    • Hard to take criticism from someone who didn’t read the article properly and cannot articulate a response in proper English. Next time don’t skim you illiterate Philistine.

  • Sơn Scars

    I think this guy have the thought of those who come from Europe or America who prefer practicability. In fact, as far as I know because i’m working on TKD, the author does not fully understand the regulation as well as the moral values in this martial art. Moreover, TKD for self-defense is far different from what people see in Olympic matches where punches are used frequently

    • There are no secret “moral codes” in martial arts that are difficult to understand. Plus nowhere in any of the existing codes do I find it is forbidden to speak openly about the faults of your martial art…and if it is there than that’s a cult mentality I am honored to break.

      The author ( me ) understands perhaps more than you might think as I have the luxury of not being emotionally attached to this recreation anymore.

  • 5liter

    I have a 3rd Dan WTF Blackbelt yet sadly agree for the most part the article. The commercialization of Tae Kwon Do that begin in the 70’s has turned this particular style into a chain of schools with revolving doors. It’s largely about the business and not the quality of students with most schools.
    TKD kicks can be lethal with proper application and when proper physics are taught. (i.e. hip rotation, weight shift, and proper striking surface applied.) Few do teach to that granular level. Why? It would take too long to promote someone and this instant gratification world wouldn’t wait and schools would close.
    Any TKD school teaching fancy jump spin hook kicks to the head as a viable self defense technique is a good place to walk away from. Repeated round kicks to the knees and thighs will end a fight. The only way to get used to those techniques as second nature is to spar using them. Well too much liability there for a sustainable business. And ultimately is does come down to how talented the practitioner is and more importantly what they are willing to do in a fighting situation. Knowing how to sheer a knee with a side kick or round kick doesn’t mean squat if you don’t have the nerve to execute it. This is a tangent probably but if you can’t make the decision whether or not you could shoot someone don’t carry a gun.
    Similarly while I train at a at a Gracie lineage Jiujitsu school there are never any punches, kicks, or elbows thrown. In fact most of those schools start sparring from their knees. I’ve never seen that happen in a fight. Hey I’m gonna kick the crap out of you but first let’s get on our knees. Yet I see value in it.
    Everyone has an opinion, Ultimately the only one that counts is that of the person who has to believe that they can actually take care of business with what they have learned. I can respect this guy’s opinion. Ultimately that’s all it is…an opinion. Maybe accurate for most TKD schools and not for all. If it doesn’t apply to yours, then great you’ve got something most TKD schools don’t. And that comes from someone with over 20 years of WTF TKD.

  • Neeraj

    I am not a fan of Taekwondo or Karate or ChoiKwangdo or any martial art. I am confused among these 3 (as only these arts are available in my area). I came to see the 5 reasons for not choosing the Taekwondo and found that the author has decided that he is right. He is ready to fight or being offensive if anyone is not being agreed with him. I do not know how the author can believe that why people should respect his thoughts if he can not respect his readers.

  • Macaroni&Cheese

    Okay. I respect your opinion, but that does not necessarily mean that I agree with it. Firstly, I’m not sure you are including Taekwondo groups from all countries. I myself do Taekwondo and am a black belt. Yes, traditional TKD does not defend with your hands that much. But at the place I train, we use our hands more than our feet. We learn blocks and how to get out of a grab. TKD is not just fancy kicks and punches. I have been doing it since I was 8. It has taught respect and discipline.

    Also, not all the uniforms have ads all over. Mine is just a simple white tunic (or whatever you want to call it) and long pants with the group symbol.

    I believe you should reconsider what you have said. But what would I know. I am just a silly little black belt in a world full of fakers.

    • No problem my good man! The world is full of different opinions and I’m perfectly fine with someone disagreeing with me. I admittedly get a little miffed when certain nutcases challenge me to a fight to defend the honor of their martial art, but nothing I can do about those people.

      The article in question is specific to WTF TaeKwonDo. My personal experience in TKD is from 3 dojangs I have attended and four from my sisters who are both high ranking black belts. The rest of my training is primarily karate. All of my training has been in Canada. Having a truly international martial arts experience is a luxury limited to those with the financial means to do so.

      I cannot reconsider my statements and instead must stand by them. That all having been said, I still feel TKD has great value as my recent follow up article, 5 Reasons TKD is AWESOME, states.

      And we’re all silly black belts. Best not to take it too seriously anyway!

  • Eric Cartman

    Yeah I agree. Most Tae Kwondo gyms are bs. But Tae Kwondo has some deadly kicks that could surprise your opponent. If you combine Tae Kwondo with other martial arts like boxing and grappling, you better watch out. By the way what are you training?

    • I mentioned the power of the kicks in the follow up article, 5 Reasons TKD is Awesome. Connecting with one of these haymakers would indeed be spectacular.

      Currently I no longer train under an official organization because I am done like dinner with dojo politics, high fees and inflexible schedules. I actively review workout programs on this site and find much more fitness results from doing that than I ever received in a dojo.

  • martial arts enthusiast

    i see what you mean but the reason you feel this way is because you tried the competitive style of taekwondo. since its creation in the 1950’s as a military martial art it was traditionally a lethal martial art but somewhere along the line they took a wrong turn and made it a competitive sport. how ever you can still train in the military style of taekwondo as i do in australia. it is practical in that you train to incapacitate(it has been modified to make it less lethal for civillians) your opponent as opposed to trying to score points. the reason it is less well known is because if you do train in this style of taekwondo you are not allowed to use it for anything other than “self defence and defence of the weak” that being a quote from the vow you have to take when practicing this style. meaning no competitive fighting. im not sure where you can learn this style in america though. (i dont know where you live so i guessed)

    • The article is in regards to WTF TKD. Yes, there are other flavors of TKD such as ITF which is much more like Shotokan karate than anything else. Very true, WTF style is highly focused on competition over practicality.

      Also, I’m a Canadian, eh. :)

    • Ace

      Mate, I’ve been searching for the this style of taekwon-do for a while now. Read lots of articles, seen lots of old school vids, im glad Original tkd is still around. Ive been trying to find this style here in the UK, its like trying to find a ghost tbh. Man would you mind if I asked you a few questions about military tkd ?

      • martial arts enthusiast

        it differs from sport taekwondo in that it very heavily emphasises blocking as well as dodging and every technique is taught in a style were you learn power and accuracy before speed. it also differs in that instead of using just kicks there is a huge variety of hand techniques including the knife hand strike(karate chop) that i found to my surprise emphasised more than most techniques. but as i learned i found it is rightly so because a well placed knife hand strike to the neck or ribs will finish a fight very quickly. it also includes a large variety of sort of locks or holds that manipulate the body in suprisingly simple ways and can be done with one hand and then you can simply walk them to the police station or throw them out on the street and they cant do a thing. this combined with the knowledge to manipulate pain points(pressure points)and it becomes a very useful martial art for self defence.dont be tricked into thinking you can paralyse some one through pressure points though that is just a old myth but you can cause someone a lot of pain.

        • Ace

          I see. Does military tkd have any weaknesses, is cross training required ??. Btw, thanks for the reply.

          • martial arts enthusiast

            its weakness like most stand up martial arts is ground work. if a BJJ practioner got me on the ground im pretty much screwed. there are some things like the ear clap or a few pressure points around the head area that cause alot of pain but if they got me in any sort of hold were i cant use my hands im pretty much buggerd

          • Ace

            Is it missing anything in the striking department ?..Also which blocks, in the system do you find useful and which have you discarded, if any ?

  • Young TKD Coach

    Well, I kinda agree with what you had said. It is a waste of money if you are looking to learn proper self defense or hardcore martial arts. However, have you ever really read up about WTF? It started out as a martial art, but along the way, we slowly converted our ways to be sports. Yes, WTF style of TKD is recognize as a sport, not a martial art. You know, there is a reason why TKD is in the Olympics, and not martial arts like Muay Thai, or Karate and so on. Being a coach myself, I often have to explain to parents that while what I am teaching might seem like a martial art, it is actually just a combat sport with martial art origins. Hope this might slightly change your mind or at least, give you an idea what WTF is really doing.

  • Bhagavad Gita

    I stumbled upon this page after searching for ITF TKD. I did that search because I saw humiliatingly hilarious youtube video of a “blackbelt” showing off his lack of balance and bad form. I’ve studied TKD (WTF) in a few clubs here in Finland and I have to say I’m shocked of the quality and motives in US and it seems to be same in Canada.
    We don’t have anything like this in here.
    TKD costs usually 20€/month or 200€/year and is run by associations, not business organizations. Usually we get support from the city and government, by cheap space for the place of practice and sports funding.
    There is no reason, nor is there a practice of giving away belts. You can NOT achieve a black belt skill in few years. That’s just a joke.
    In here WTF TKD is ofcourse 60% feet but also 40% hands, which means no haymakers, but various hand techniques with throws and takedowns. Also massaging and locks are included, amongst other things.
    It’s true the competition TKD is not functional against punches or grappling because they are forbidden in it, so the form is awful from martial arts viewpoint, but it is a sport.
    I’m really appalled about the selling of belts, the whole idea seems to be perversed out there, I’m truly sorry.

    I love TKD, not practicing right now, though.
    I love kickboxing, kobujutsu, karate and krav maga also enjoyed taijutsu, not practicing currently.
    I also love BJJ and Muay Thai, practicing currently.

    Out of these the best couching I had:
    Kicking and stretching: one of the TKD clubs was superb, rest were mediocre, karate was also nice.
    Self defense: Krav Maga, brutal and effective. (balls, throat, eyes)
    Punching: MT and KB
    Fun, jumping and weapons: Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and Kobujutsu
    Grappling: BJJ (barreto)
    Close distance: MT and BJJ

    All had their areas, but it was obvious there are quality differences.

    The most hardcore were: MT, BJJ, KB and KM, all thought by security companies!! MT and BJJ clubs I practice currently at are really devoted, practice possibilites 7days a week, and many hours a day.
    They are bouncers, police officers and even bodyguards.(rare here, no business for bodyguards)

    Price: from 200-500€/year if you don’t pay annually. If you pay once a year it costs me 400€/year for BJJ and MT everyday all around the year. Also I get to do boxing, kettlebell, stretching and what not for same price, and can access the gym from 05.00-23.00 everyday with my keycard.

    It’s all about the people you work with, but it seems am a bit blessed for having such possibilities here in Finland, for such a measly price.
    P.S. Dancing costs 15€/hour!!!!! Or few hundred / month.

  • Bhagavad Gita

    I’m sorry, I forgot to mention that dancing costs so much because it is considered as “fun and hobby” by government and martial arts are sports, so subsidized AND because in here dancing is business, MA is not!
    You can do tango in an association for pretty cheap though. It’s all about whether it’s business or a passion.
    My town put up a big center for martial arts, dubbed the martial arts center(d’oh), lots of different arts practice there.

  • Aaron

    As a WTF 1st dan (Kukkiwon, Seoul, South Korea) who has also studied Muay Thai, Systema, JKD, and japanese Jujitsu I’d like to comment on this article.

    Taekwondo suffers from massive brand confusion and brand dilution in North America. In Korea, things are much better understood. Let me clarify a few things. My instructor was an 8th dan native South Korean Grandmaster and international Olympic Games referee for over 20 years so this is straight from him, but any errors are my own:
    1. ITF is North Korean, WTF is South Korean. To put it another way, North Korea is part of the axis of evil and South Korea is the only Asian country that began its relationship with us as an ally.
    2. TaeKwonDo is the national sport of South Korea. There is only ONE TaeKwonDo in South Korea, and it is WTF. There are bachelor’s and master’s degrees in TaeKwonDo available from all of the top universities in South Korea. These degrees cover a wide curriculum, including: Physical Education, Physical Therapy, Combat Theory, Educational Theory and practice, Anatomy and Physiology. Difficulty wise they are something like the combination of a Physical Therapy, Sports Science, and Education degree, with a little chiropractic / naturopathic medicine thrown in for good measure.
    3. ONLY possessing a black belt from the Kukkiwon in Seoul, South Korea can qualify you for the Olympic Games. The Kukkiwon will endorse certain ITF schools, because fundamentally the South Koreans enjoy the opportunity to face off vs. the North Koreans.
    4. The US rarely medals in TKD in the Olympics. But, we have done better recently.
    5. Koreans take the bulk of the TKD medals, with (according to my biased sources, a statistical majority of those going to South Korea). The remainder go to to Eastern Europeans and other Asians.
    6. ATA is crap and not endorsed by the WTF. Individual ATA black belt have received opportunities in the past to “retest” their belt to earn a WTF belt. Generally this ends up being a couple of dans lower, so an ATA fifth dan will retest to 2nd or third dan WTF.
    7. Choi Kwang Do is crap and not even a martial art.
    8. There are only 3 major martial arts in South Korea: TaeKwonDo (WTF only), Hapkido (2 or 3 major schools, incorporates aikido, jujitsu, and the kitchen sink), and Olympic Judo (accredited through the Kodokan in Japan).
    9. Taekwondo breaks out into two styles: Olympic and Traditional. Modern traditional Taekwondo is basically unavailable outside of Korea. This is the full martial art with hand techniques, take downs, weapons, pressure points, etc. There is considerable cross-pollination between Traditional TKD and Hapkido, the key point is that TKD has a single official and endorsed Korean system, while Hapkido functions more like martial arts schools in Japan and China with many similarities and a few differences frequently touted as critical. Olympic style is an acrobatic sport subset of the traditional art, and it is primarily kicking based.
    10. The best kicks and kicking training in the world is available only through studying Taekwondo from a Korean WTF accredited master.
    11. If you think that a real fight cannot be won by kicking alone, then:
    A. Your kicking sucks.
    B. All of your previous opponents’ kicking sucks too.
    C. I used to believe the same until I sparred some young competitive Korean black belts. I was bigger, stronger, and had 15 years training in mixed martial arts. They kicked the shit out of me. Yes I could have beat them individually in a real fight, but in all honesty it would have been a function of size and strength and it would not have been a sure thing at all.
    D. A spinning hook kick, front snap kick, snap side sick, or even a strong roundhouse kick to the head is an instant KO.
    E. The kicks of an Olympic TKD black belt and your kicks are not the same thing. Pound for pound their kicks are about 3x as fast and twice as hard.
    12. Any other “Korean Martial Art” is probably an unofficial derivative of the one of the 9 original “Kwans” or Korean schools (e.g. Tang Soo Do as practiced by Chuck Norris) that predated the creation of of Taekwondo as South Korea’s national martial art. Those schools are gone now, and not officially recognized, but some South Korean masters teach both WTF TKD and their historic style side by side.

    Finally, know that the real martial arts value of TKD is in the conditioning and physical training. It really is as difficult as parkour, gymnastics, or other such sports.

    For example, I know a young Korean 3rd dan that can jump and break 5 separately positioned and spaced boards with five separate kicks before he touches down on the ground. That kind of speed and precision has real combat value. And he is not Olympic level, not even close.

    Saying that a competitive TKD black belt is remotely like the McDojo black belts is like saying a 12 year old on roller blades is qualified to play professional hockey.

  • cj ny

    I am a third dan balck belt in Tae Kwon Do, I am now 55 and still have skills. I tried out for the 1988 olympic team and made it as far as the nationals where I ran out of money and had to go back to work, missing a great opportunity, I did however beat competitors who eventually made the team. With that said, most Tae Kwon Do today is god awful. I enrolled my 11 year old son to get the classroom benefits such as competitive thinking. 1 month later I pulled him out. When I trained for competition in the 80s, there were no pads, no headgear and knockouts were encouraged. In my Dojang (school) I knew green belts who held that rank for 2 years because they could not pass the test, black belts were hard to achieve and garnered respect. At the end of the day judging by MOST Tae Kwon Do schools Ive seen today you have a valid point but dont underestimate the true art, it is powerful and lethal when used properley. Chris Jill

    • Any dojang where knockouts to the head are encouraged deserve to go out of business. Such idiotic machismo BS does not deserve to continue and thankfully modern TKD has at least developed some common sense by encouraging head gear.

      A black belt in such an art only means you didn’t have the self respect to flip the Sensei the bird and walk out with your health and cranium fully intact.

  • Guest

    I can not believe all who commented, fell into this wannabe Honoré de Balzac’ bull crap (myself included). All of us true old school TKD Instructors and students, know what the true definition and meaning is. Yes, unfortunately, TKD is watered down now. To respond to this individual is not worth the keystrokes my friends.

    • And yet respond you have. Gotcha!

      Anyways, cool your jets there big fella and read the follow up article, 5 Reasons TaeKwonDo is AWESOME. I’m sure you’ll feel better then.

  • Guest

    Jiujitsu is better. That what I think

  • Mike

    WTF south ITF north? Prior to his political falling out with the South Korean government, which occurred prior to his move to North Korea, General Choi was considered the founder of TKD in South Korea. He founded the ITF and introduced TKD to the rest of the world. The techniques that you have learned were first ITF. I would suggest that you research the history of TKD with an open mind, lest you be cought up in Korean politics.

    The Koreans really enhanced martial arts in general. However, if one analyses the patterns/kata of various styles of both striking and grappling arts; one can see through the multitude of applications of the movements that the arts are more similar than different.

    In my experiance, at any MA school, there are a few good fighters. But most students in most schools if asked do not consider themselves to be a fighter. Unlike the so called street fighter who is someone that likes to fight and is motivated to hurt other people. But that is about the student, not the style.

  • Mike

    I started martial arts in 1981, and like most lapsed in and out a few times. Mostly ITF TKD, but BJJ and some other stuff as well. It’s all good.

    This talk about street fighter vs MA is so much BS. Consider the average MA student, pick a style, who trains, gets in shape, and is moderately serious working at training a couple hours a day for a couple years: are they better able to defend themselves as compared to the person they were two years ago? Or conversely, what if that bad a street fighter followed the same training?

    Or consider that MA roots can be traced back a long way, and much of thier history though lost to time, probably could be traced back to Ancient Rome and Greece and other places thousands of years past. As long as people have been fighting, and that’s a long time. If one wants to believe that the modern day street fighter, whatever that is, is somehow the most effective: well, you cannot combat stupidity!

  • Frank

    I had a very long post in mind, but I’ll shorten it. Your article is correct, USA TaeKwonDo is not a respectable industry, in the same way Jay-Z is not a respectable hip hop rapper. However, real TaeKwonDo when taught by a Mr. Miyagi type guy, is respectable. Would I respect Jay-Z as a Hip Hopper? NO. Would I respect Jay-Z as a Hip POPper? YES. You see, the problem here, as with many things is naming. Commercial facilities named Tiger-Dragon-Smoke-Temple where you see 30, 4 year olds in is like calling Jay-Z a hardcore rapper, it is not true! However the abandoned garage on the edge of town with 4, 30 year old hardcore dudes in it, no sign, no ad, no website, just training, that’s the respectable form of TaeKwonDo that should be more common. Egos often have a way of ruining things (like Jay-Z) and that is the only problem in martial arts. Any sport is good regardless of how hardcore it is, it promotes a healthy lifestyle, and integrity. Jay-Z is good as making music and making people’s ears feel funny, but when he says “I’m the hardest MOFO EVER! Imma Ice that n***a and smoke that cocaine bag in a Versace Pipe” (not that he would say that), he loses credibility. When kids say that they’re hardcore just because they have a blackbelt, they lose credibility! Just some good advice in life, don’t forget to show people that you’ve accomplished something, but don’t brag because it makes other people forget about their own accomplishments, stay humble, but stay friendly.

  • Erik

    I would like to chime in. My son has been taking TKD now for a year. More than anything this is getting him into great shape and helping his confidence. He has made lots of friends and truly enjoys going to practice and practicing at home. My wife’s cousin takes her daughter to
    Dance classes. In the course of one year she has paid $4500 for classes & costumes. This is a prime example of a complete waste of money in my mind. At least my son will have learned how to avoid a fight or at worst diffuse it because the odds on him coming up against a black belt in Krav Maga in high school is like me winning the lottery twice in one day. Don’t be do quick to judge others. We pay for a lot of ridiculous things for our kids in their lifetime. This one to me is worth the money.

  • Jennifer Ward

    Wow, this has so not been my experience. No polyester uniforms with logos. They make the snapping sound when you punch. Two years of classes will run you about 3500, and that’s for adults. Iirc the kids’ classes are cheaper. There are kids with black belts, but there is the understanding in the school that adult students are held to a much higher standard and have to do much better for their belts. There are absolutely no temper tantrums allowed. Anyone who injures their opponent because they were horsing around is in deep shit. I really respect the instructors there because they take an active role in making sure kids are doing well outside of class, too. Also, the instructors are always yelling at us to keep our arms up. Of course the emphasis is not on punching, but it’s most certainly allowed (though not to the face) we’re constantly blocking with our arms during sparring. You’d get hit all the time if you didn’t.

  • Jonathan Goins

    I have to disagree, not all dojangs are the same. Its depends on who the instructors are, and the school. There are punches used in Taekwando, but people prefer to use their feet more because the distance. There are bad schools in any different style so you can’t say all are the same. With that in mind you have to do your own research on schools before checking them out, or critisizing. My old taekwando school in guam challenges other styles in sparring. I dare you to go there and keep saying what you are saying. Go to ultimate martial arts in guam.. Go ahead and look it up, you will see it is not as useless as you say it is. You have to have a open mind to the different styles, and not knock other styles. regardless of what you have written on this article, your statement is false, and please respect martial arts as a whole; meaning all the different styles.

    • Naturally, as with any commentary, the article speaks in generalities. If you have a great dojo then awesome for you.

      And no…I’m not going to Guam unless someone offers to pay my return airfare and hotel expenses. Even then I’d never go to any dojo there. I’m a grown family man and obsessive martial arts goofiness like that should be left behind.

  • Sabrina Lee

    I completely agree with everything you are saying. I have a Dojo in my town that all they do is kick and kick and kick.. and you can add some kicking in there if you’d like to wrap it in a pretty bow. I am a black belt in Kajukenbo, which is a mix of many different types of karate. KA- Korean Karate, Tang-Sudo. JU- Jujitsu. KEN- Kempo. BO- Chinese boxing, Kung-Fu. Taekwondo teaches you elegance, and if that’s what you wanna learn, to each his own. But defense was my main forte when I was little and wanted join karate (and getting that Black belt, which took me 7 years to get. I started Kajukenbo when I was in 2nd grade.) I’m 16 now and still attending my Dojo. Any karate dojo can have bad teachers, but they all learned from someone. If you come across a bad teacher, leave. I’m not here to preach my experience, and some other people may enjoy the kicking (like I said, to each his own). But when you’re in the middle of a fight, I hope you know that kicking isn’t going to be the only thing you need to use when you are trying to defend yourself.
    Once again, I agree with you sir. Keep on spreading the truth, I support you 150%!

  • ehorner

    It’s not the style, it’s the school. Especially here in the states, it’s hard to find a TKD school that does not focus on the gym contract, belt factory mentality. This however doesn’t mean that TKD itself is useless.

  • simon

    I disagree actually. While TKD is definitely an art to some people, for me it made my kicks much more powerful. It has some good things to learn in the way of foot maneuvers like pivoting. Also it teaches a lot of striking, not just kicks. If you are a person with a TKD/BJJ background, you will be dangerous in a fight. The only thing about TKD is it doesn’t teach too much in the way of grappling but that is why you learn Judo or BJJ in conjunction. TKD has some very powerful kicks. I didn’t learn the TKD style used in the Olympics. Really though the best way to shut down a TKD only opponent is to lock them up in some sort of grapple and bring the fight to the ground. That is why people learning TKD need to learn about grappling and controlling a fight once it goes to the ground. Also I have seen probably the best TKD black belts in my state for their age group and I just couldn’t see some average joe picking a fight with them and winning. If someone was hit in the face with a spinning hook kick they would be ko’d completely. The amount of power a kick like that has is completely insane.

    • Dirty_Nerd86

      Till you get kicked in the nuts trying to headhunt.

  • Babi

    For me in my dojang, It was more the discipline it taught me that was important than any kick or punch that was taught during my 7 years. There are some dojangs out there that are much too lax and to some degree i agree with the author on some points of this article. The black belt for example. Some schools may give it out in less than 3 years, which i believe is the same as giving a middle schooler a high school diploma. They have it, but they dont have the skillsets nor the mindset to have that qualification. My school dishes out black belts at a rate of 5+ years doing taekwondo, which i believe is a fair time to learn the skills and adopt the discipline required for a black belt. Otherwise for your point #2 i disagree, I dont know how long you or your son have been doing taekwondo but upon reaching the higher levels, you learn a plethora of other techniques that do in fact teach self defense. For example, if you do sparring, learning sidestepping or the other stepping techniques can help you avoid a $**tton of attacks. Plus, taekwondo is less of a self defense art than is BJJ or aikido/Judo, or hell even karate. In the end though, i believe it truly depends on the dojang you attend. Not all schools and black belts are the same. Anyone can take their time to become a black belt, and anyone once can open a dojang once a higher dan is acheived. They can be skillful but can be awful teachers etc. I believe that your article is just you being peeved at the dojang you went to more than anything. If not, I cant do much but to sit here kicking things and continue to do the sport i love. :P hope your son enjoys taekwondo as much as i did as a kid.

    EDIT: also, now that i think about it, my school also teaches self defense techniques that are not traditionally taught in tae kwondo. It is to make sure all bases are covered i guess (^_^) but hey, you cant expect taekwondo to be a self defense technique as i stated before.

    • I quit TKD because I had a walk in the snow and realized that a man approaching 40 and doing this sort of thing is a pretty sad sight. Plus it was providing inferior fitness compared to what I can achieve now.

      Also, after 15 years of karate, TKD was just plain painful to do. I couldn’t do a Poomse without cringing. I practically had to come home, do 15 Bassai Dai’s and few Hail Mary’s just to cleanse myself.

      So please, don’t take it personally that someone grew up and moved on. I know your club tells you martial arts are for life. I’m here to tell you that no, they most certainly are not.

      • Babi

        Nah, nothing on sticking on it, I actually quit about 6 months ago due to me not being able to handle tkd, work, and university at the same time. Its cool that you moved on, i can see
        some of the moves being uncomfortably and certainly cringy to do. Fitness wise, i personally believe it depends on the workload you and the dojang are commiting to. I see where youre coming from as i find that to stick to taekwondo you have to truly enjoy it.

        • That is a huge reason to quit. At the time of my exit I had two kids. I now have four so the feasibility of returning is simply non-existent.

          It’s time to let my kids enjoy that kind of stuff and let Dad move on to other pursuits with less time demands!

          • Babi

            Haha, ill agree with you on that! Great for kids and adults with time and energy. Otherwise, finding time for it can be the most daunting of tasks.

      • TKDTony

        You’re funny…a little sad, but funny. You are entitled to your opinion, but to speak as one having absolute truth and knowledge of this topic is really very sad. It illustrates your ignorance on the topic and shows you never learned respect or control, either from martial arts, fishing or anything else. You come off as bitter, undisciplined and uneducated. If you really have a beef with martial arts, and apparently none more than TKD, present a respectful, educated perspective. people will listen more. Fishing may be extremely good for you, as might be whatever you now do for exercise, but those things may grate on someone else like nails on a board. There is no “one size fits all” way to exercise, relax, fight, gain respect and discipline, etc. If you found something that works for you, stay with it. But you shouldn’t knock what is working for others. It’s adolescent and really exposes a lack of understanding.

        • Well, seeing as we’re describing other peoples characteristics even though we’ve never met them…you come off as thin skinned, incapable of criticism and probably a junior belt who hasn’t paid his dues.

          See how annoying that is?

          Let’s be realistic here. This is a one-off article that seems to have bothered a great deal of insecure people. If you think that TKD is what makes you a better person then you have given yourself a very low bar to jump. Now toughen up and stop letting guys like me get to you so easily.

    • Benito

      there are self defense techniques, however not everybody ever did self defense. I teach them in my Dojang.

      • Babi

        My dojang did them too, they arent a fundamental part of TKD but rather borrowed from Judo, Hapkido etc.

  • Benito

    I am a Taekwondo instructor, I find this article in part misleading and superficial and in part true under certain circumstances. There is a lot of foundation in Taekwondo as in any other martial art, it’s the responsibility of the teacher and the disciple to catch all the insights of the discipline itself. Uniforms are supposed to be light because of the dynamic nature of the martial art, if you look at judo you realize that the consistency of their uniforms explains their practice. However, the patches issue is something too often overlooked, many teachers see it as a reward for kids, and at the end you see a geographic map instead of a clean uniform. In my Dojang I prefer to keep uniforms simple and clean. Ten year old black belts is another ridiculous thing it is unacceptable that a ten year old can hold such an important rank, I prefer to wait until they turn fourteen and keep them black stripe until then. Many instructors around the US prefer to reward the kid with recurrent tests (every 2-3 months) to get more money, keep kids motivated, and pump their ego. In Taekwondo WTF we punch too, the only reason we do not punch to the face is because Taekwondo historically wanted to make the martial art different from Karate during the Japanese occupation in South Korea and to make it competitive, in doing so they promoted the agility and the spectacular combinations of leg techniques. Punching is only allowed to the chest, otherwise the fight would become less technical, and the discipline would lose its appeal. I encourage the author of the article to try to punch a “Good” Taekwondo athlete in the face, reflexes, speed, and explosive power are trained to the top of the user abilities, so is highly less improbable that a punch reach the face, even because leg distance is longer than arm distance, so before getting to the face, a couple of kicks would get you nailed during your suicidal punching attempt. There are several kinds of black belts, many do suck of course but those who train diligently are worthy.
    I always tell to my students that the color of the belt is not a form of magical power that will provide them with super stretching and the speed of light, the belt is a symbol of their growth and it’s not comparable to their abilities.
    All Martial Arts are beautiful, they are reflected in their users, sometimes they are capable others they suck. I see them as a challenge to the human mind and physical ability.

  • Dirty_Nerd86

    I dont ride horses, so tkd is useless. I practice Shou Shu, and we train to destroy shit.

  • Who dat be

    It all depends on the school. It’s sad really. If you look at the old school teaching of Taekwondo and what the Rock Soldiers had to learn, I think you would get a different opinion. The old masters had to learn not only the kicks of WTF, they also had to learn multiple hand strikes, all 360 pressure points and multiple arm locks. Did I mention the Hapkido throws. In our system we learn almost all of these as well as practicing other systems such as boxing and muay tai. Here’s a link to the Korean arts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmOcOpi4Txw. If you think about it, it’s kind of one of the first Mixed Martial Arts out there. I truly enjoy the old school art of the forms and the mixed principles. The belt system is also a great system of reward and gives the students something to work towards. Two of my favorite fighters in UFC use multiple attacks that are practiced in Taekwondo. George St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. Anyway, thanks for the input. BTW…I always make sure our students know how to use their hands (we practice with boxing mits), feet, joint locks, head lock defense and how to handle themselves on the ground. Again it all depends on the school :) I could go on all day long. Was a good article for the most part. O, one last thing we used to have a bar next to one of schools. There were plenty of people who would come challenge our system. Maybe, we should have been nice and just asked them to leave, but we usually had fun with them if you know what I mean ;)

    • I see what you’re saying, but I would also remind everyone that WTF TaeKwondo is a fairly recent invention and that there really are no “old masters”. The art itself was a reconfigured version of Japanese karate which was brought over from Okinawa.

      Either way, if someone likes WTF TKD, then all the power to them. Beats XBox.

      • TKDTony

        This isn’t completely true. Yes, WTF is a fairly recent invention…created to unify the sport of TKD for international (and specifically Olympic) competition. However, there are most certainly “old masters.” The WTF concentrates on the promotion of the sport, but the “old teaching” was never eliminated. That’s all still there. Sadly, many dojangs today emphasize the sport to the complete detriment of the art, but all of the “moves” are still there. Whether a particular McDojang will teach them is quite another matter.

  • Tom Moyles

    Jean Paul, Shotokan is indeed a wonderful martial art ! If you know your martial arts history which apparently you don’t you would realize how foolish your criticisms of Taekwon-Do are. Allow me to take you to school. If you knew your history you would know that Taekwon-Do COMES from Shotokan. The creator of Taekwon-Do, Choi Hong Hi, received his first and second Dan from Gichin Funakoshi himself. (His first Dan was received after TWO years of training so there goes YOUR theory about a real school. ) You DO know who Gichin Funakoshi is don’t you? For those that don’t know, possibly you included, Funakoshi is the creator of Shotokan. Choi created Taekwon-Do by combining Shotokan with Taekkyon, an ancient Korean Martial art derived from Northern Kung Fu kicking styles. He also included western boxing techniques, Hapkido and Judo into the curriculum to make it a well rounded Martial Art suitable for combat on a battlefield. If you did know your history you would know that Taekwon-Do was developed for use by the South Korean Military and has PROVEN itself in actual battles as was the case with the ROK 29th Infantry Division, also known as the White Horse Division which used Taekwon-Do with GREAT SUCCESS against the NVA and Viet Cong in Vietnam.

    In the late sixties there was a political schism in Taekwon-Do in which the South Korean Government sanctioned the creation of the World Taekwondo Federation and the creator of the art Choi Hong Hi, created the International Taekwon-Do Federation based in Canada. The WTF style also known as Olympic Style, is more of a sport than a Martial Art. You show your true ignorance when you base your opinion on a sparring match with one of their stylists. I promise you that if you visit a official ITF school you will find to your dismay that we do incorporate hand techniques into our fighting and we do so very well. You will also discover that they are very similar and as effective if not more so than your Shotokan Techniques.

    Taekwon-Do was built on a foundation of Shotokan but it has surpassed it by leaps and bounds. Taekwon-Do is the most popular martial art in the WORLD due in no small part to our Grand Master and the art he created. But you dont have to take my word on this I challenge you to find a reputable ITF school in your vicinity and take a class or two. It should prove to be an eye opener for you. But I would suggest you lose your attitude and predispositions before doing so. You have a very poor attitude in regards to other martial arts without knowing much about them. ALL martial arts have value and that it really does come down to the individual practitioner and how good of a student they are. Perhaps you need to do a little more study about other martial arts before you take it upon yourself to comment on them.

    • To be perfectly honest, I have so little interest in martial arts anymore you couldn’t measure it. In short, after fifteen years I am done.

      As such, I take very little criticism from those still heavily invested emotionally in wearing white pyjamas and jumping around like wannabe ninjas. For people who claim to have peace and confidence in martial arts, I have never seen such an assortment of insecure people who are desperate to feel empowered and cannot take a simple blog post without losing their collective minds.

      If you like martial arts then that’s great. But allow those of us who have seen the dark side to voice that opinion because yes…there is a dark side and it should not be ignored.

      • Derek_Wildstar

        Wow! you deleted my post huh? Aw, whats a matta, you don’t like it when you’re proved wrong?

        • I’m on a beach enjoying the sun. Disqus is holding your comment in moderation because it contains a link you idiot. Now do the world a favour and get a life you big baby.

          • Derek_Wildstar

            Hey, what do you know, I was wrong! See how easy that is? I admit that I was mistaken, perhaps you could take a page from my book? At any rate, I will state my original post again.

            If you have “so little interest in martial arts” then why are you bothering to write about the subject? And to make it worse, you appear to know very little about the history of Taekwon-Do or Shotokan for that matter. And now, you are proving the mans point with your very bad attitude. Face it, he proved that you don’t know what you are talking about and now you are trying to dismiss him by saying you don’t even care about the subject? Are you serious?

            This isn’t a case of anyone “losing their minds” over someones opinion about Taekwon-Do so please don’t “lose your mind” when people point out that your opinion is incorrect and is based in complete ignorance. If you express a negative opinion on a subject and don’t know anything about it, you take the risk of being made to look foolish by people who do actually know what they are talking about. And the fact that you say people who actively study and love martial arts are “white pyjamas wearing wannabe ninjas” proves your ignorance and bad attitude in these matters. I am hard pressed to believe you have fifteen years experience in any martial art, reputable schools usually weed out people who possess the terrible traits you are displaying in these posts. The very first tenet of Taekwon-Do is Courtesy which is something you seem to greatly lack. It is also important in Shotokan as well, as “Reigi o omonzuru koto” or “Respect others” is also a tenet in the Dojo Kun. It appears me and the guy above know more about Shotokan than you do huh?

            You say… “allow those of us who have seen the dark side to voice that opinion because yes…there is a dark side and it should not be ignored.”… and you are right. People who actually know something should express those opinions based in facts, truth and experience. You however, are not armed with any of these things are you? In your other entry about TKD “Five reasons why TKD is awesome” you said “WTF TKD saw Karate and said ‘hey, what if we added some spin and a cheap polyester uniform to that’ “, proving without a doubt that you have no idea about Taekwon-Do’s origins or how effective it’s “flashy kicks” are. If you want to learn something, watch the following clips from the National Geographic channel, in which scientists use instruments to measure the true power of kicks from various martial arts. You will discover that the most powerful kick was the “flashy” turning kick (Dollyo Chagi) delivered by the Taekwon-Do stylist.

            Since Disqus prohibits links, go to Youtube and paste the following into the search function…

            “Fight Scienze Kicks (Capoeira, Karate, Muay Thai, Taekwondo WTF) 2010”

            And the second most powerful punch, second only to boxing you ask? Thats right, Taekwon-do.

            Again, go to Youtube and paste the following into the search function…

            “[Fight Science] The Power of one PUNCH or one KICK”

            You said you could defeat Taekwon-Do techniques with a “little trick you learned called blocking”? Try blocking that Dollyo Chagi in the video above and I PROMISE you you won’t be blocking the NEXT one with your now shattered forearm.

            But by all means keep telling everyone how worthless and ineffective Taekwon-do is.

          • Aaaand…just lost interest after the first sentence. Sorry, I’m busy trying to catch a Northern PIke on the lake and martial arts are not too high on my list right now. Might I suggest the subject drop a few notches on your list too? Egad, it’s hardly worth getting that pumped over isn’t it?

            Gotta go…diner awaits being catched!

  • Col. Havoc

    Our TKD dojang (ITA) mixes in some Combat Hapkido, BJJ and Kenpo. Bone breakers.

    • And yet outside a controlled dojo environment, probably still useless.

      • Col. Havoc

        I would much rather fight some clown on the street than any student in my dojang.

        • Depends on the clown. Bobo would be a pushover, but I swear that Ronald McDonald guy is ex-special forces.

  • TKD black belt

    You should do a for profit (McDojos) vs, smaller not for profit schools.

    • Isn’t that kind of the polar opposite of what everyone is saying? Either way, I’d rather not give another five minutes of my life to martial arts. They’ve had a big enough chunk!

      • simplynotred

        Maybe you should have learned how to discipline yourself, rather than conclude that your limitations needed to be broadcasted. I do believe that you have good intensions, but then there are average and less than average artists in every field of Artistic disciples. Taekwondo also uses weapons, my own children became well diciplined in Nunchucks to the point of perfection, which is in many ways much better than restling on the ground with an opponent. Each individual is unique, and not everyone will arrive at the same level of performance or perfection.

        • In the grand scheme of life, martial arts rank pretty low on the discipline scale. I gained more practical life skills in a canoe fishing. But then again, western civilization has pretty low standards.

          Sound to me like you would like the follow up, 5 Reason TKD is AWESOME…


          And do please try to find the humor in it all. I really don’t see this as something people need to blow a gasket over.

  • Pablo

    Man, you are so damn right. And I am too a Tkd Blackbelt in Itf And Wtf and yeah…so damn right.

    Especially the hand reason was sending me laughing on the floor.

    Tkd is a nice sport, if you love forms and trickong it is a great martial ART.


    • Derek_Wildstar

      You are lying if you claim that you are an ITF black belt and don’t use hand techniques. ITF Taekwon-Do, the ORIGINAL Taekwon-Do is not a sport, you really do not know what you are talking about.

  • Levi Miller

    No offense (ok, maybe a little), I’m willing to bet dysfunctional parrot is someone who mistakes their OWN limitations with those of martial arts. If you lack certain basics like balance, coordination, reflexes, discipline, intelligence, etc then NO SYSTEM is gonna work for you. The style doesn’t make the man, the man makes the style.

    • I suppose everyone has limitations don’t they? My sparring skill was probably average while my kata was superb. And again, I made it to Nidan with Yaguchi giving me the ever watchful evil-eye, so I don’t accept the excuse that “he must have sucked”. That’s an excuse people like you will need in order to ignore people like me lest your house of cards come falling down.

      Nope, just got bored with it and realized it was a club full of cult nut-cases. Never a mistake to walk away from that.

      • Levi Miller

        Well, I guess you may have some merit to what you say. However, I still believe that a person decides their own limitations by choosing to either give up or continue forward with whatever they pursue.

      • Levi Miller

        incompetent, le that aspire to

      • Levi Miller

        Another thing, sparring is the closest thing to fighting. If you have no real sparring skills, i.e. balance, coordination, reflexes, technique, explosiveness, observation, judgement, etc. you are only a frail, forlorn imitation of a martial artist. Martial art isn’t for weak willed people that are easily deterred.

        • Could not disagree more. Sparring in a dojo is about as far from real life deadly combat as it gets. The only people who I have seen are great fighters in dojos are the ones who have a natural gift. Certainly not the soccer moms who are running around with their black belts!

          Want real life fighting? Buy a bat.

    • Jojo Oliver

      I completely agree with you. I can tell you right now TKD is not useless, I use TKD all day every day. I have received my first dan and it cost $250 not $5000.

      • All day every day? That’s just not a healthy sign of a well adjusted life. That sounds like a very special kind of Hell.

        And the final tally is counting all years of training…not the just the dan exam. Although if your total training from white to Dan including tests cost only $250 then well…that is as pretty sweet deal.

  • tommy

    I practice IFT taekwondo it is a great discipline try get a boxer to break a brick with his knuckles

    • disqus_daK05Q2zCX

      Bricks don’t fight back, Boxers do!

  • Ray

    Throw a punch, it’s blocked instantly, roundhouse breaks your rib cage. If you didn’t learn that in Taekwondo, you were in the wrong school.

    • Please explain, your sentence structure makes no sense.

      Do you mean if a punch is thrown it should be blocked? If so then…um, yeah? I think we can agree with that incredibly obvious statement.

      And roundhouse kicks break rib cages. Again…sure. Wait…are you just saying random things and patting yourself on the back for it? So hard to tell these days.

      • SOme guy on the internet

        I think he meant to say that a hand punch can be blocked as where a roundhouse kick not,due to the higher power behind it,hence the breaking of the rib.

  • Ben Gawiser

    So here’s the question that I have. If many other styles make fun of TKD, then what style(s) do TKD practitioners make fun of?

    • Kent

      Simply put at my Dojang we don’t. In fact, the biggest Karate school is right around the corner and a lot of times their students and instructors come over and watch us. We talk compare notes and respectful. I know, weird right?

      • Hiilani Emiko

        to be honest, as a taekwondo fighter, we try not to joke of other martial arts. Although we may tease tai chi every now and then, we honestly respect others. no matter the choices.

        • Austyn Wong

          What if you are getting bored of taekwondo? I’m a 1st degree black belt but I’m only 18 so what I’m wondering is what martial arts I should take when I drop out of TKD. I’ve been training for 2 years

          • Depends…what do you want to do? Take another martial art or guitar lessons?

            Don’t listen to people who say martial arts are for life. That’s rubbish and crazy talk. Family and friends are for life. I guarantee EVERYONE in this comment section who says that is going to walk away eventually. Maybe not today…

          • Austyn Wong

            Well right now I’m a senior in high school and I’ve been learning how to play the drums for about 2 1/2 years I’m really Interested in aikido and krav maga . My dream job is video game design like animations, learning how to write code for a video game, using model and texture programs. I love this thread because it was interesting to read. I would love to learn more about my dream job

          • Akido and Jiu Jitsu are practical for what you might encounter in a bar, club, or on the street.

          • disqus_daK05Q2zCX

            Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ….. forget all the rest since they will not help in a real fight. Its that simple. Someone come at you with a knife, run. Carry a gun if you are legally able to, best defense you can have.

  • Alanna Jackson

    DysfunctionAL Parrot,it is your opinion and your choice to write whatever you will please. I am a red belt (one step below black belt) in WTF Taekwondo myself and am working towards becoming an instructor. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinions including myself, I think you are neither wrong nor right in your artical. I have more than 6 years und r my belt in Taekwondo, 5 years in Capoeira, and a year in kajukenbo. When one person, such as yourself, tries to aggravate other martial arts to make yourself feel superior, it makes me sad for you never really understood the true meaning of martial arts even after all those years. In my Dojang, We were taught tenants of Taekwondo. They are Courtesy, Honor, Integrity, Perserverance, and Self control. If you are unfamiliar with these words I would suggest reading a dictionary. We are taught these words to constantly work on perfecting our character to be the best we can be, and not for others, just for ourselves. The fact that you are bashing martial arts makes me want to bash your lack of knowledge, but as I said before you are entitled to your own opinion and I have never trained in your dojo so I don’t have anything to compare it to. However I sincerely wish you hadn’t grouped all of Taekwondo together with your one bad experience. If you are ever in Tucson I would love if you came to my Dojang to train or at least experience what a great Taekwondo class is like. Of course I understand that your life no longer has room for martial arts, I’ve had to make tough calls as well in life that have lead me away from martial arts on more than one occasion. But I do have one question I’m hoping I can get your answer. When did Martial Arts become a joke? I look forward to your response.

    • When did martial arts become a joke? Simple. When its cult-crazy followers made it one.

      Honestly, you’ll learn better perseverance, patience and discipline going fishing. You’ll get better physical fitness doing practically anything else. Martial art cultists throw these words around but in truth have no idea what they mean and can’t live them out any better than the average Joe.

      I would love to visit Arizona. But no…I would rather be covered in fire ants than go to a dojang. After fifteen years I am done with the looney-toons and crackpots, not to mention the financial burden. That’s like ruining a vacation to go hang out at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall.

  • Virginia Anderson

    Taekwondo is a real joke in the US, go to 용인대학교(Yong In University) that’s where the real taekwondo is! Those guys are scary good and they call running up and down a mountain a “light” warm up. ..stupid me forgot to pack tennis shoes so I had to go barefooted

  • Mike Mickelson

    I Train in WTF/TKD, I agree with a lot of your article. commercial martial arts are mostly joke, TKD high sweeping kicks arnt practical in a real world fight, but a side kick to the knee, or jumping back kick are a show stopper. many people make fun of tai chi, but I studied it for a year when I was injured and took break from TKD, in a non profit, and master told me no less than 10 years to BB. I learned a lot, and found studying a soft art was a great complement to hard style. a couple of things though……..Olympic sparring is not a martial art, (there are rules) there are no such thing as 10 year old BB., they hold a Poome rank, I disagree that martial arts are a waste of time, they are what you make them and how much you study. Do love the sarcasm though!!!!

  • TKDTony

    While there are many things “right” with this article, it suffers, as do most rants, from sweeping generalizations. WTF TKD is in fact geared toward the sport of TKD. In the sport of TKD, face punches are not permitted and body punches are scored at only 1 point each so they are seldom seen. That said, not all WTF dojangs are “McDojangs.” TKD, even the WTF (Kukkiwon) brand, utilizes a ton of hand and arm blocks, closed and open hand strikes, percussive strikes, joint locks and throws, etc. There are also take-downs, joint manipulation, etc. Taekwondo literally means The Way of the Foot and Fist. To state (or even imply) that TKD does not use blocks or hand strikes either shows your very limited exposure to the art or your general ignorance on the topic. There are MANY dojangs out there that essentially serve as black belt mills. They suffer from poor and incomplete curriculum, but those do not represent all of TKD or even essential Kukkiwon instruction. That would be like saying all Wing Chun dojos are weak, watered down rip offs attempting to capitalize on the recent Ip Man interest. Much of that is true, but not all. It would be like saying all MMA gyms are glorified boxing and wrestling clubs posing as BJJ and Muay Thai and their members lack the discipline and respect found in pure martial forms. Much of that statement is also true, but not all. I have studied several “brands” of TKD, Tang Soo Do and Hapkido. I have sparred and beaten countless Kung Fu guys, Judo guys, BJJ guys, MMA guys etc. I’ve also had by butt kicked many times by them. I have become superiority of a particular art is a myth. No matter the art form, it comes down to the quality of one’s instruction and the skill of the individual. I love TKD for the self defense aspects, the workout, the balance, the respect, the vocabulary and culture, and the pageantry of the art. If I was focused purely on the “fighting” aspect of it, I would compliment the TKD base with a ground style like BJJ or a “no nonsense” defense art like Krav Maga.

    • Erik carman

      You cant beat a bjj guy with karate, that’s nonsense and you know it.

  • David Cater

    when reading through your article , i was waiting to reach the part which said ‘my style was better than yours’. I’ve tarined in Teakwondo for over 30 years and in my younger days would beat many a shotokan and other karatre style fighters. I am not for one minute slacking off the style but making the point that it’s not the style but how the students train and whether they enjoy the sport. I always encourage my students to train in other styles and clubs. You clearly have trained with the wrong people !!!!

    • I’ve almost certainly trained in more dojos and with more people than most who dive into the world of martial arts. I’d say it all turned out alright, but there is a time to re-prioritize your life goals and move on.

      Deciding to leave had nothing…NOTHING to do with having been in a bad dojo or trained with bad people. That’s just a typical copout made by martial art cultists who can’t take any criticism. Saying it’s the student and not the art is usually the first excuse. Like it or not, TKD has a lot of really stupid aspects to it that cross the entire art.

      Nothing personal, as I’m sure you are every bit the killing machine you say…but I know just as many Shotokan guys who can clean TKD Olympians clocks. It’s kind of a useless metric for quality as karate too, is quite useless in many ways as well.

      That all having been said…enjoy the article 5 Reasons TKD is AWESOME to get some balance to the argument. Link is up there.

    • Daisy

      I think we can all agree that Tae Kwon Do is not a full fighting system – it teaches you one part of fighting – kicking – from a distance. You have to learn a different art such as karate to learn how to close distance and wrestling or jits or judo to take someone down. Spar with a Tae Kwon Do blackbelt who has never taken another art, and you quickly learn that they don’t know what to do when you close distance using karate. And they’d be in deep trouble if you mixed in wrestling or judo.

      But to ignore the power of Tae Kwon Do to improve your kicking technique or Karate to learn how to close distance.. is just plain ignorant. Even GSP would be the first to say that it’s karate that helps him close distance to be able to use wrestling to take down his opponents… http://www.mmamania.com/2013/4/24/4262312/ufc-georges-st-pierre-credits-wrestling-success-to-karate-mma

      Here is GSP learning how to execute a turning side kick from a Tae Kwon Do champion – none other than Joe Rogan – who has also said that learning TKD without mixing in other arts is useless. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc6VB3nFjzU

  • Joey

    I agree with all those patches but my master doesn’t like those so he dropped that idea but my master also doesn’t let people get a black belt until their about in their teens and my master also teaches block attack combos and we are in WTF so I think only some dojaings do that

  • Dmitry

    Interesting point of view! It’s true that Taekwondo (wtf) practitioners don’t use hands for punching like boxers don’t use their legs for kicking, like basketball players don’t
    use their legs for kicking the ball, like any other sports…. Because this is the rule of wtf Taekwondo. Taekwondo doesn’t teach you that,what Taekwondo does teach you ( in a physical way) is how to use your legs fast, how to develop the speed, reaction, all those momentums, counter attacks, attacks,KOs etc. Taekwondo wtf is like fencing using legs. It’s paying more attention of developing legs more than any other martial arts. It is in Olympic Games. Blocks in wtf Taekwondo are very important but not as important as moves,motions instead of blocking kicks you simply could avoid them by sliding back ( different cases, different scenarios ) believe me you don’t want to block goro chagi all the time
    There are so many MMA fighters who have taekwondo background. My favorites: Anderson Silva (70% of KOs by kicking to the head)Serkan Yilmaz, Denis Silver, Alexander Volkov etc so many of them ( google those names .
    What about belts? Its just a peace of material no more than that, all is in your head!
    Prices?! Different places, different prices.
    If you want to be a killing machine you need to study all styles and TKD is definitely one of them

    P.s don’t be confused there are Taekwondo as a fitness and Taekwondo as a sport

  • Nelvyn Padin

    Its funny cuz u dont need ur arms… tkd malways u agile n fast also the leg is stronger and has longer reach than the fist… ps we do block but we dont need to cuz they train us to “avoid” hits ever heard of it? And lets be honest that bb kicked u in the face and ended the fight thus they wouldn’t kick u willy nilly