My Work as Curator of a Taekwondo System
|World Organizer of Martial Arts (WOMA) Instructor Training Day 28/29 April, Perry Lakes, W. Australia. Author of Traditional Taekwondo Techniques Colin Wee is standing at the far right.|
While I still lead a small Traditional Taekwondo practice, I find myself reaching many more people with this blog and my online network, my FaceBook presence, articles submitted to Stuart Anslow's Totally Taekwondo magazine, the workshop series I started up for my school, and my networking with a broad range of instructors partly from my participation in WOMA's Instructor Training Day (see above photo), and partly through my insistence on an open door policy for my own training hall.
Through the years, I have continued my work as a 'curator' of Traditional Taekwondo, my efforts continually developing my relationship with this art, and at the same time allowing other people to understand that once upon a time, in a land far far away, an oppressed people, through immense hardship and against all odds, repurposed a hard style system which they felt was too rigid and too prescriptive to be of any use to them.
My work in the last few years has been recognised by visitors to this blog, authors who have generously included me in their books, and the various promotions and awards that, in my opinion, have been overly charitable to this practitioner.
While I have often stated that Traditional Taekwondo was exported out of Korea in 1956 and there it was practiced in isolation from the machinations of the ITF and WTF, the truth is that my lineage continued to develop in close proximity to other styles such as Karate and Tang Soo Do, both of which were anathema to Gen Choi's idea of Taekwondo.
While I highly respect the work of the Korean pioneers of Taekwondo, it was my intention to set aside political rancour and recognise that Taekwondo benefited from both the old and the new and does not become any less unique by reaching out equally to the pre-Korean source material. I crystallized this new philosophy with the renaming of my school Joong Do Kwan, which means School of the Middle Way. Middle is that point between older predecessors of the art and newer Korean innovations.
In Joong Do Kwan, the hyungs form the backbone of our syllabus, and in summary:
Chon-ji has strikes to extremities;While there are strengths in the Taekwondo training methodology, there are those skills such as groundwork, grappling, and weapons which would round off our program, and which should be something any serious student should embark on outside of Taekwondo as it is offered in most schools.
Dan-gun speeds it up with block, traps and counters;
Do-san is where we develop powerful close range strikes;
Won-hyo teaches us to gap close, target the neck, and perform takedowns;
Yul-gok works on two hand deflection and counters;
Joon-gun works on controls and hyperextensions of opponent's arms;
Toi-gye focuses on leg defences and takedowns;
Hwa-rang continues to develop close quarter tactics; and
Choong-moo works on blocking and redirection of opponent's strikes.
As an aside, I highly recommend any Taekwondo practitioner to include striking post training into their daily practice. The heart of our forms is a karate engine that would have continued to teach focus and solid upper body strikes if the essence of those kata had not been changed. However, since many Taekwondo schools are so stylistically different from hard style Karate, it is my recommendation that practitioners return to such simple training equipment to learn how to strike with 'focus'; focus meaning using the entire body by 'locking down' or decelerating upon impact.
What is the future of Taekwondo? Why ask me. My future is way different from yours. This blog was never to indoctrinate others to follow what I'm doing. It was to spark an idea that Taekwondo can give so much more without becoming any less. After all, if it is a methodology, then what is it that you are seeking to develop with that methodology? This answer has always been up to you.
I will end by thanking my teachers and mentors - too many of us forget how fortunate we are that there are individuals who are ready to bestow their precious time so that we may find our own way on the path. I also thank visitors to this blog - for if I didn't get the traffic, I would probably not invest as much time to explore certain topics the way I do so here. Again, remember to write us a few lines or 'like' us on FB if you want to see this blog improving.
Good luck in your training.
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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