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Old 11-08-2010, 08:44 AM   #1
Jason R O'Dell
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Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

So one of the tenants of Crossfit is "Learn and Play New Sports".

Well I've been playing rugby, but after injuring my knee and having a baby I decided I wasn't going to play this season and I'm still debating going back to the game period with some of the politics that have installed themselves into the team this season. They're providing a lot of headache for what was supposed to be fun. Our teams travel and weekend schedule is also really tough for me as a new father.

I got to thinking about it and realized that I really want to find a sport to play with my son. I know he's only 4 months old so he's got quite a bit of time until he's able to do that obviously.

Well I remembered in Junior High I did Tae Kwon Do. Then in college I did kickboxing and judo.

I got to thinking and remembered I had a ton of fun doing kickboxing. Judo was alright (wasn't a big fan of being thrown down, liked doing the throwing though) but I had a lot of fun with kickboxing. However, the only local kickboxing gym (the one i attended) requires a kid to be 12 or 14 (not sure which) before he can participate.

However, I remembered Tae Kwon Do let children of I think 3-4 and up participate.


So I'm thinking of getting started in Tae Kwon Do so I'm a little bit farther up the ladder by the time he's old enough. And hey, if he doesn't want to do it then that's fine to because at least I'm learning and playing a new sport that's bringing me enjoyment.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has any experience in Tae Kwon Do and can tell me if it'll be a worthwile endeavor? And has anyone else done it with their children?

I guess one of the things I'm afraid of is going to a place that doesn't teach real self defense. I know I've heard a lot of jiu-jitsu practicioners/MMA "fans" state that Tae Kwon Do and Karate are BS and wouldn't help anyone in a real life self defense situation. Although I'm not really sure how being able to perform a triangle will help one in a fight where you can't get the guy on the ground and he's pounding your face into mush....

On top of that I've heard of places that are basically "buy a black belt" where if you go and pay and continue paying you can be a "black belt" in as little as two years and it's not really worth a damn.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:03 AM   #2
Matt Rexin
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

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Originally Posted by Jason R O'Dell View Post


So I'm thinking of getting started in Tae Kwon Do so I'm a little bit farther up the ladder by the time he's old enough. And hey, if he doesn't want to do it then that's fine to because at least I'm learning and playing a new sport that's bringing me enjoyment.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has any experience in Tae Kwon Do and can tell me if it'll be a worthwile endeavor? And has anyone else done it with their children?

I guess one of the things I'm afraid of is going to a place that doesn't teach real self defense. I know I've heard a lot of jiu-jitsu practicioners/MMA "fans" state that Tae Kwon Do and Karate are BS and wouldn't help anyone in a real life self defense situation. Although I'm not really sure how being able to perform a triangle will help one in a fight where you can't get the guy on the ground and he's pounding your face into mush....

On top of that I've heard of places that are basically "buy a black belt" where if you go and pay and continue paying you can be a "black belt" in as little as two years and it's not really worth a damn.

Any thoughts?
Well, one of the best things you can do is to attend the school first and see if that is what you want out of a martial art and/or school. Talk to the owner and see if he is truly interested in training and the martial arts as opposed to seeing dollar signs. Do a little research on the internet ( I did a quick google search of your area and I found way too many tkd schools, an MMA style gym and a western longsword training school) and find out what you can see you and your son enjoying.

As for TKD itself, I did it for about 5 years in middle school/high school, until wrestling started taking up all of my free time. As for self defense purposes, no, a crescent kick is a terrible idea in any sort of fight. But martial arts ideally should also be about developing discipline and control internally.
It depends on what you want to take out of the martial art. If you want to give your son self defense skills first and foremost, than TKD is probably not the best option. If you want a fun way to spend time with your son and teach him discipline and control at the same time (provided the instructor cares about those things), then consider TKD as an option.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:11 AM   #3
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

Wow. You've managed to hit most of the topics martial artists argue about in one post.

On teaching kids: traditional schools will often tell you that it's impossible to teach martial arts to young children because of their attention span and the safety risks. McDojos see kids as a great source of cash. The dojo you want lies somewhere in between. The instructor should be able to explain how teaching kids is different from teaching adults, and what kids should expect to get from the classes. It is not reasonable to expect that a four year old will be able to physically defeat an adult attacker, and you should stay far away from any instructor who claims otherwise. It *is* reasonable to teach awareness and escape techniques, though. Since you're not ready to enroll your son yet, you've got a lot of time to watch their kids' classes and see how the students progress.

On real self defense: my own view is that the student matters more than the art, and that awareness matters more than technique. In most cases, by the time a situation gets to the point of one-on-one fighting, the victim has already made numerous mistakes. No empty hand art does much good against a guy who knows how to use a knife. If self defense is important to you, you should ask the instructor how much relevant experience he has. It's easy to talk a good game; the people who've been there and done that tend to be a lot more realistic about what their arts can do. (Note that military experience is not necessarily a plus, as combat situations are totally different from civilian self defense.)

On McDojos and black belt factories: generally the louder the advertising, the less serious the dojo. The true masters in any art tend to not have very many students. Nor is a window full of trophies all that impressive. Insist on watching at least one class, and avoid signing a contract for longer than 3-6 months. Look for an instructor who tries to moderate your expectations, rather than raising them.

And finally, find the equivalent of this forum for TKD, hang out for a while, and ask these same questions there.

Katherine
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:42 AM   #4
Justin Z. Smith
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

Hi Jason,

As a kid (~20 years ago) who took taekwondo with their parents, it was a blast, and great memories, where it is OK to kick your parents! Then I took it up later again as an adult, fun again, maybe even more important.

Justin
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:33 PM   #5
Jason R O'Dell
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

Yeah, I'm not thinking that it's going to turn me or him into a world beater or anything.
I typically avoid situations that will put me into a violent confrontation. I suppose for me it'd be more for fun and some fitness.

For my son though when he's in school I'd at least like him to know how to separate himself from a bad situation after school or on the playground and if he's cornered at least know something about how to defend himself. Heck at least maybe he'll be used to getting hit so if some big bully takes a shot at him he doesn't curl up in a ball and cry because it's never happened.

This is the place I was thinking of attending:
http://www.tigerchos.com/

He has been in business around here forever.


There is also this place:

http://www.oklahomafamilykarate.com/


I don't have the trained eye to know what to really look for. Of course I'll give them a try.

I did enjoy Judo when I wasn't getting slammed down, but I did think striking was a lot more fun. But, like I said we couldn't do father-son kickboxing.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #6
Aaron Evans
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

+1 to what Katherine said...

The people that give you crap are usually going to be the ones that cant fight, wear Tapout shirts and have a chip on their shoulder---so, screw'em...I've been doing BJJ/MT/MMA for about 5 years, and I cant think of anyone at my facility that would say anything negative about your choice.
And for the record, anyone who says those arts (TKD and Karate) suck---haven't met any Lyoto Machida's yet...

Good luck in your training...
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

I don't know enough about TKD to evaluate those instructors.

This is where my suggestion that you find a TKD forum comes in. If someone is claiming a 9th degree black belt but no one in the community has ever heard of him, well.... maybe there's some rank inflation going on.

(Just an example, as I know nothing positive or negative about Mr. Cho.)

One of the first things to ask any instructor is who *their* teachers are. The legit guys will be proud of their lineage. The less legit guys will waffle and/or act insulted. The lack of such information in the sites you link strikes me as a bad sign.

Katherine
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
Ryan Green
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason R O'Dell View Post
I guess one of the things I'm afraid of is going to a place that doesn't teach real self defense. I know I've heard a lot of jiu-jitsu practicioners/MMA "fans" state that Tae Kwon Do and Karate are BS and wouldn't help anyone in a real life self defense situation. Although I'm not really sure how being able to perform a triangle will help one in a fight where you can't get the guy on the ground and he's pounding your face into mush....

On top of that I've heard of places that are basically "buy a black belt" where if you go and pay and continue paying you can be a "black belt" in as little as two years and it's not really worth a damn.

Any thoughts?
I'm a former TKD practitioner, and I would only recommend it as a fitness or cultural pursuit. It's basically worthless in terms of self-defense, as are most "traditional" martial arts, karate, aikido, kung-fu, etc... Culturally and athletically they're great, but for self-defense I'd go with krav maga, BJJ, boxing, or muay thai.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #9
Jason R O'Dell
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

I'm leaning toward checking out Tiger Cho's because I do know he has been in the community for years and is a respected member of our community.

As for the Cheatwoods. I read through the site (it's apparently not a TKD school) and a lot of the red flags you pointed out Katherine started screaming at me. Such as claiming a child can defeat an adult attacker, etc.

What are some other worthwhile styles besides Tae Kwon Do that one should check out (aside from the obvious judo and jiu-jitsu)? I mean there is Karate of course, but I'm not really too familiar with any of the other Asian martial arts.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:40 PM   #10
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Thinking of taking up Tae Kwon Do

You might have a look at the rec.martial.arts FAQ, starting at
http://idempot.net/rmafaq/rmafaq1.html (WFS, maybe some language)

It includes lots of helpful information about how to choose a school, the most important styles, etc.

Katherine
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