3 Myths Some TKD Black Belts Still Believe – Are you one?

  • Taekwon-Do training is all about technique 

In the grand scheme of things, technique makes up for only a portion of the overall performance. There are a lot of variables which need to be in place for any technique to be successful. Sub components of combat such as decision making, distance, timing etc. are all vital aspects of execution. Despite this, martial artists sometimes fall into the trap of focusing solely on the end product (the technique). Of course technical ability is a vital component to successful martial arts but on its own, technique is useless without the appreciation of the other components of skill execution.


  • There is a magic drill or exercise

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure. Many people go in search for the “secrets” of the most successful schools/club/athletes, there are no special secrets, and the best martial artists will tell you this. There is no special technique, footwork step, drill or conditioning protocol which is the secret to success. Just like anything worth achieving in life, success comes from consistent application of the basic things which work. 


“There are many paths to the top of a mountain, but the view is always the same”


  • Strength & Conditioning is the answer

There is a tradition in Martial Arts you must be strong and well conditioned. Today with the research and sport science, S&C is as big as ever. Of course a fit athletic person will certainly be able to perform physical tasks such as combat much better than someone who is not. However, there is an emphasis placed on S&C especially in ITF TKD competition which often supersedes the time spent training our sport. 


Due to the rule set and speed of modern ITF TKD, strength per se is not as major a component as people may think. Athletes spend months preparing for competition with strength training, yet we are not MMA or grappling sports where strength is so important. There is no aspect in ITF TKD where an athlete gains an advantage simply by being stronger than their opponent. Timing, distance, setup and other factors are usually more significant. Often it can look like one athlete is more imposing and this creates the belief that the problem is a lack of physical strength. Certainly, we need to be conditioned to the level of contact required but imposing one’s strength requires an error in foot/body positioning from your opponent or a willingness to trade blows which will usually be stopped by the referee. Once we have a sufficient level of foundational strength this is adequate for ITF TKD as the rules currently define sparring. 


While we’re on the subject… though it’s not really S&C related there’s the whole running thing. Watching Rocky movies and Muhammad Ali documentaries seems to have convinced a few generations of ITF fighters that running the roads is necessary for match fitness. Just… no… 


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