A martial art is an art that is related to war or to being a warrior. In modern times, most so called martial arts, including Taekwondo, are merely sports played for enjoyment and competition with little or no thought given to the warrior aspect. During times of occupation by invading armies, countries, such as Korea, preserved their martial arts heritage by disguising the arts as part of folk dances. The movements and techniques were preserved, but the warrior spirit was not preserved. The warrior spirit requires mental preparation and training. Nowadays, people totally reject this type of training as being old-fashioned, useless, an attempt to circumvent Christianity, a waste of time, and not suitable to Western culture. Most modern martial arts involve playing warrior and the students have no concept whatsoever of war or being a warrior.
Most modern sport martial artists have the false impression that their instep-round kick that scores well in a tournament will be useful in a fight. They actually think they will be able to defeat an attacker since they win trophies in a tournament. They have the ability to kick quickly (as in sparring) and the ability to kick powerfully (as in breaking), but they do not have the ability to kick quickly and powerfully (as in a fight), and most importantly, they do not have the mental attitude of a warrior.
A person who will fight to the death has either nothing to lose or everything to lose. A street fighter with no family, job, or possessions does not fear injury, loss of pay, jail, or lawsuits, so he or she will seek fights and not fear death or killing. A person with a family, job, and possessions will try to avoid fights and will only fight to achieve an escape from the fighting situation, unless there is threat to their life or the lives of their family. Then, they will fight to the death because their death or the death of a family member would mean losing everything that is meaningful to them. However, to a warrior, there is a fate worse than death.