What's the difference between Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo?
Historically, not much! Tang Soo Do is the traditional foundation while Taekwondo is the modern variation, but they are essentially the same art. When the Koreans first started teaching empty handed fighting after WWII, they referred to their art under many different names. Tang Soo Do is the Korean pronunciation of "Karate." Then in the 1950s, against the will of the individual schools (called Kwans in Korean), the Korean government forced all of the Kwans to unify under a new name: Taekwondo. Over time, this new art evolved into the national sport of Korea and was accepted into the Olympics as an official sport in 2000. Many of the Kwan leaders felt that the art had abandoned it's roots as an effective martial art system in favor of competition training, and as such small pockets continued to call their art Tang Soo Do. The American Jidokwan Association was established to preserve the traditional foundation and practical self defense aspects of the art. Therefore, students earn rank in both Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo under the American Jidokwan Association!
Is the American Jidokwan Association affiliated with the Korean Jidokwan Headquarters?
Yes! Our organization leadership is certified by the Headquarters of Jidokwan in Korea, and as such is able to register all black belt ranking students if they choose for an additional fee.
Is American Jidokwan authentic Taekwondo/Tang Soo Do?
Yes! The arts of Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do have a beautiful history as well as fantastic, efficient self defense and combative potential. Unfortunately, this has been lost in most modern training in favor of watered down sport versions that are aesthetically pleasing rather than effective. The training offered through the American Jidokwan Association stays true to the roots of Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do, teaching them as the well-rounded martial arts they were meant to be.
Is American Jidokwan affiliated with the Kukkiwon?
The Kukkiwon was originally established to provide standardized ranking, however training itself was meant to be left up to the Kwans themselves. In fact, in Korea that’s still how the Kukkiwon functions in its relationship to the Kwans. It’s only abroad that foreigners place more emphasis on Kukkiwon rank than Kwan rank. However, Kukkiwon membership is realistically only required to compete through the World Taekwondo Federation. The Kukkiwon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to place themselves at the forefront of Taekwondo outside of Korea, spreading propaganda to push the Kwans into obscurity. At the American Jidokwan Association, we strive to maintain the foundation and identity of our Kwan, as well as the traditions and martial spirit of Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do. That being said, some of our members do hold Kukkiwon ranking and offer it to their students.
Are you internationally recognized?
Yes! As stated before, our organizational leadership is certified by the Korean Jidokwan Headquarters. The American Jidokwan Association also works closely with several other organizations to provide our members with additional international rank recognition. These include the US Association of Martial Arts, the Ryu-Sakura-Do Karate Federation and the World Organization of Mixed Martial Arts just to name a few.
Is competition part of American Jidokwan training?
It is up to the individual schools whether they would like to have their students compete in tournaments or not. However, regardless of if they compete, sparring is a major part of our training as it helps develop timing, footwork, distance and other important skills that can be applied in self defense. It is also up to the individual schools which style of sparring they teach: Olympic, point fighting, kickboxing or a combination thereof.
As a member, am I required to attend seminars?
Seminars are a great way to advance your training, as well as interact with martial artists from other systems. Students who attend seminars often progress faster and gain a much better understanding of martial arts. Seminars taught by high ranking American Jidokwan masters are strongly recommended, however no seminar is mandatory.
Why do you wear ceremonial belts?
The concept of a ceremonial belt is militaristic in origin. Martial arts are at their core warrior arts, military arts. Just as the military has a fatigue uniform for training/combat and a formal uniform for events, promotions and banquets, we have a training uniform/belt and ceremonial uniform/belt. This concept is not unique to us, though it's not widely used anymore. The first ceremonial belt was used in Kodokan Judo and was a red/white panel belt representing the national colors of Japan. It was only meant to be worn during demonstrations and testings by senior Dan ranks, while their solid black belt was to be worn for regular training. Following this tradition, our ceremonial belts are only worn during testing and formal occasions. When a student walks into the dojang and sees their instructor wearing a ceremonial belt, they immediately know something important is about to happen and they should respond accordingly.
What hyung/poomsae do you teach?
Officially, our Gup ranks learn the Palgwe (Taekwondo) along with the Pyong Ahn and Naihanchi (Tang Soo Do) series of forms. Our Dan grades practice the Kukkiwon yudanja series, as well as several Shotokan-derived forms representing our Karatedo heritage (Kong Sang Koon, Bassai, Wang Shu, Sip Soo, Lo Hai, etc.).