I'm a brown belt in Kuk Sool Won and a Black belt in WTF TKD. I probably would have stuck with KSW if my school never left my city, but unfortunately it did and I began training in TKD. I was at first skeptical about training in WTF TKD due to the hogu and the lack of punches but once I began training I developed a respect as well as "I already started might as well finish" attitude. I noticed that TKD mainly WTF TKD has developed a bad reputation due to the rules of sparring. My question is how can TKD become a respected martial arts and do you think that it is possible for TKD to develop a Kickboxing curriculum similar to how Karate and Wushu has adopted? Basically ITF but with WTF full contact sparring and of course without the hogu. I think Olympic sparring is killing the reputation of TKD and I think it is possible that WTF TKD will be kicked out of the Olympics as a whole, the electronic hogu is not solving the problem. If TKD does not make appearances in events like K-1 WTF will continue to be a joke to non TKD styles. What are your thoughts and how can TKD be fixed?
A principle in psychiatry is that for a person to start healing he must first realize he is ill. For example, an alcoholic must realize he has a problem with alcohol before any healing can be achieved. The leaders of the Korean controlled WTF do not see any problem with the direction they have taken TKD. They have control of TKD in the Olympics, they have control of the schools that teach their version of TKD (and thus control of TKD students), and they are getting rich in the process. In their view, they have no problem that needs fixing.
Traditional TKD is a martial art, not an exhibition fighting sport, as is the MMA or sport TKD. As a martial art, it is concerned with the martial (physical, self-defense, fighting, etc.) and also with the art (mental, emotional, spiritual, metaphysical, etc.). A martial art seeks to develop a student into an all-around good person. Martial art training is a way of life. It is preparing yourself for handling something you hope never occurs. Whereas, fighting sports, including sport TKD, are only concerned with the martial. They only seek to develop good fighters who can win in supervised sporting events while playing by the rules set forth by the sport itself. The rules of each sport are meant to highlight and reward the techniques of the sport itself, to penalize the techniques of any other sport, and to provide the best entertainment to the paid viewers; this is how they survive and make their money. If traditional TKD tries to emulate these fighting sports, it will become a fighting sport and lose its standing as a martial art, as has sport TKD.
I have a shiba inu dog. The shiba is an ancient Japanese breed known in Japan for its toughness and being a keen hunter, aloof, powerful, independent, protective, and dominant. The breed was considered being just one-step above feral. When I got my shiba 14 years ago, the breed had not been in the U.S. long and it still had these attributes, he was peaceable, but not afraid of anything. Now that the breed has become popular in the United States, breeders have changed the breed to make it more marketable. There are now new colors and new standards, and the temperament has been mellowed to that of a common housedog.This is what has happened to TKD.
As it became more popular, the leaders saw an opportunity to gain control of its promulgation and to make themselves rich and powerful in the process. To do this, they changed it into a more marketable, watered-down sport.To find true TKD, you have to go back to its roots and find instructors who teach it out of love for the martial art and not for money, power, and adulation. As for changing sport TKD, that is a waste of time. It would be similar to trying to change party politicians into public officials who serve the will of the people instead of themselves their parties, and their benefactors. Instead of trying to change something that does not want to be changed, such as sport TKD, it is better to start grassroots movement to resurrect and promote TDK as a martial art.