American Contribution to Taekwondo
By the 1980s, American Taekwondo martial artists began to resent the continued dominance of both Korean and Japanese instructors in the United States. They felt the oriental principle of loyalty to the head of a style limited the growth possibilities of Taekwondo in America.
Oriental martial artists demand absolute loyalty to a single art to preserve the art, honor the instructors, and to preserve and increase their personal power base. Oriental students often sample different styles while children and concentrate on one style by their teenage years, building a strong loyalty to the style. American martial artists do not feel this loyalty to a particular style; they want to experiment. Americans martial artists do not believe a single martial art may encompass all aspects of the fighting arts, so they began to borrow techniques from many different fighting styles and form their own styles.
The American contribution to Taekwondo came primarily from the American tournament scene. In the early 1960s, American martial artists generally fought from a stationary position using 80 percent hand techniques and 20 percent foot techniques. Kicks were usually at abdomen level or lower and few fighters would kick using their lead leg. The standard kicks were front kicks or roundhouse kicks off the back leg. The counter reverse punch and the step-through lunge punch were the standard hand techniques. Open tournament competitors in the same period (1962-1964) were better kickers, but their hand techniques were primitive (overhead knife-hand strike, etc.) and they fought from a stationary stance, with no footwork. Counter techniques and combinations were virtually unknown.