Category Archives: Martial Arts

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Reasons why ITF is better than WTF

As I have previously said, there are two main types of Tae kwon-do (TKD) practised in the world: ITF and WTF. The main differences between the two are:

Personally, I don’t see why WTF is an Olympic sport. It gives TKD a bad name and when my friends ask what I do, I specifically say not Olympic TKD. They spend most of their time bouncing on the spot, waiting to use a counter-attack knock-out turning kick. It just seems like a lot of pointless noise and not much action. ITF has a greater variation of techniques, and thus is better to watch.

Something not mentioned in the above table is that WTF predominately focuses on kicks, whereas ITF uses hands as well. I would say ITF is a more traditional Martial Art, whereas WTF has developed into a sport due to its Olympic participation.

However, a good point about WTF is its full-contact nature. I wish ITF did more full-contact and according to TKD Times magazine, a merger between the WTF and ITF will happen in the next few years. As a style, TKD has been taking a beating from other martial arts who have been trying to discredit it as a legitimate form of self defence or fighting. I think unification would help strengthen the style and help fight back against this bad publicity. My other future hopes for TKD, is to see a stronger ITF or kickboxing influence in the Olympics and less politics within the two major organisations.

Origins of Tae kwon-do and its current status in the UK

Since Tae kwon-do (TKD) has been such a large and influential part of my life, I find it important to understand its origins. I hope some of you will find this interesting too…

TKD is a relatively new Martial Art developed in South Korea by Major General Choi Hong Hi (1918 – 2002) in 1955. It’s popularity is due to the way that it encompasses exercise, self-defence, and philosophy. If you speak to any competent Martial Artist, they will tell you the emphasis of TKD is in the use of feet as a formidable weapon.

“Tae” means to strike with the foot, “Kwon” means to strike with the fist, and “Do” means the way or art. At every grading, the student must answer questions on the theory of TKD; this includes pattern meanings, Korean terminology and personal questions related to TKD etc. There are five tenants of TKD that are engrained to everyone who trains: courtesy, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit and integrity. This requirement to understand the meaning behind the art is a unique approach.

There are two main styles of TKD that exist: International Tae kwon-do Federation (ITF, founded in 1967) and the World Tae kwon-do Federation (WTF, founded in 1977). ITF was formed by Master Rhee Ki Ha and concentrates on all the elements of TKD as previously described. WTF concentrates more on the sport element of TKD and is the accepted Olympic style (a bad choice in my opinion – I think ITF is much more of a spectator sport). Many branches exist under these two main bodies. For example, I train under GTI which is part of ITF. Tae kwon-do Association of Great Britain (TAGB) deserves a mention here, as they are the biggest (ITF style) organization in Europe and have produced some excellent fighters (in particular Warren Vice).

Being a star for the day!

It all started a few weeks a go… last November 2008 I helped set up a Varsity Kickboxing Fight Night (I’ll give more details in a later post) to raise money for the charity Help for HeroesLoughboroughUniversity vs University of Bath. It was a great success and a few weeks a go I received a phone call asking me to be in a television advert for the charity (in conjunction with The Sun newspaper). They said they would pay for everything (food, transport and accommodation etc). I just couldn’t say no!

So last Friday I caught the train down to London with five other Bath Uni students (the event organisers). When we finally arrived, we had a guy waiting for us with a sign with our names on and a tinted window van. Talk about feeling like superstars! We arrived at an extremely nice hotel and were greeted by one of the coordinators. He basically told us to help ourselves to room service and that there would be a short get-together meeting that evening. Anyway, being students we quickly found the nearest corner shop and started playing drinking games in the hotel room (along with room service). One of the guys went down to the meeting, but came back up a few minutes later saying it was pants. We continued to consume our beverages and then had a night out in Ealing Broadway (quite a rough area – we even had to go through a metal detector to get into the club!).

Bright and early Saturday morning (7 am) we had to check out and were meant to be driven to the studio, but the coordinator had made a mix up so we had an extra hour in the hotel, where we raided the breakfast buffet.

When we got to the studio, we sped through hair, make-up and costume (since we didn’t need to get much done). We met lots of other groups who had also raised money for the charity. There was a lot of waiting around for the different groups to get their shots in. By the end of the day we had had: individual head shots, a group video, individual and group still shots, recorded some audio and were interviewed by The Sun for their website. Phew!

I was called the “alpha male” of the group as I was the only kickboxer. This meant I was involved in some sparring and poesy techniques (I wasn’t impressed when the photographer asked me to drop my guard so the charity logo could be seen). We returned to Bath by train on Saturday night. All in all it was a great experience, we were well looked after and we even got to meet the lovely page 3 girl, Peta!