Taekwondo Style Differences

October 2000

I've met a few people who are very concerned about how "pure" the style of TKD taught by a particular school is, or similar issues. One guy was of the opinion that if a school wasn't WTF, it wasn't real TKD. He was a relatively recent émigré from Korea where WTF is TKD, so I can understand his point of view. I don't agree with him, but I do understand.

I didn't bother trying to argue with him. In addition to never arguing about politics and religion, I avoid arguing with fanatics of any stripe. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, TKD is politics and religion, all wrapped into one. Arguing TKD style makes as much sense as trying to argue football vs. soccer with a fan of either. :-)

My primary concern is the quality of a school's instruction.

As far as purity goes, Taekwondo did not exist as a coherent entity before 1950. At that time it was constructed from various Korean styles then in existence, and part of it's construction had political ramifications. There was a urgent need to get the heads of the more popular styles to back this "new" style so it could build momentum. Thus my understanding is that TKD is a "constructed" style, without the long history of other styles of martial arts.

Does this matter? I don't really think so. Just because something has a long history doesn't mean it's good any more than something being new isn't necessarily better. The proof is in the final results.

So from my POV, "purity" doesn't seem to mean much. Results do.

Copyright 1999-2008 Bryan Fazekas