When looking at the purpose of Taekwondo you have just as much if not even more confusion.I mean just ask "what is the purpose of Taekwondo" to the different students and or instructors and you will get quite a lot of answers...
- Self Defense?
- Sport (Combat)?
- Sport (Demonstration)?
- Martial Art (to look good, focus on "form")?
- Way of Life?
- Eclectic (mixed with all or some of the above)?
I think that Kukkiwon should let the WTF do what it does (focus on sport as it is a purely sporting organisation) and focus on Taekwondo as a traditional Martial Art instead of focusing on the sport side. They should put more energy into making clear "why" we do stuff, and provide more books on "advanced" aspects of the Martial Art as Vital Points for both healing and combative purposes, maybe some traditional herbal usage wich was a big focus on the civilian self defense systems of south east Asia before the 1900s. The Korean term for traditional medicine is "Hanbang" (한방).
I also think that they should try to develop a new Dobok that can take a more rigerous training than the V-neck that the WTF developed for competition.
Before the WTF developed the "V-Neck" Dobok the early Taekwondo schools used Karate uniforms or light weight judo uniforms. They were thicker and a lot tougher so it did not rip when they practised throwing or other parts of training involving grappling or holds. These uniforms are often reffered to as "Y-neck" after the shape of the opening. The V-Neck was made for competition and was lighter and thinner so it could be worn under the "hogu" or chest protector. The closed V-neck eliminated the need for adjusting the opening of the uniform wich sometimes happened during sparring with the older uniforms. There is no grappling in the sport so the uniform did not need to be able to cope with grappling. The focus on sport meant that soon "all" Taekwondo dojang started using the competition dobok or v-neck at all times. As it did rip very easily in grappling some part of the training were de-emphised to the point where people these days say that throws and grappling has no part within Taekwondo.
I have nothing against the competition dobok as it is best suited for the task and environment it was developed for; the sport of Taekwondo, but I do feel that the majority of Taekwondoin out there who has little to no interest in the pure sport side of things should practise in a Dobok that can take a more well rounded training (including grappling and throws). I am not saying that grappling and throws play a big part of Taekwondo, but exluding them completly is something quite recent and new and anything but "traditional".
The ITF`s on the other hand seems to have retained more of the "martial art" mentality. No doubt in a big part of its early millitary connotations (the ITF was never a part of the millitary, but most of their root the "Oh Do Kwan" was a part of the millitary), and the extremly detailed writings of Choi Hong Hi, and as a way to differentiate themselves from the Kukkiwon and WTF. When I search for "Traditional Taekwondo" or aspects of it like forms applications etc the Taekwondoin that I find are most often of ITF or Chang Hon descent. Only rarely do I find likeminded practisioners from Kukki Taekwondo (but they are out there).
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