Why I Quit Tae Kwon Do (and Aikido)
My first formal martial arts training was in Tae Kwon Do... but I ultimately quit to pursue other arts. Let me tell you why!
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If you're hoping to hear me bash Taekwondo, SORRY! At one time, Tae Kwon Do was the perfect art for me. So, if it’s the perfect art for you—keep going!
But I eventually found two reasons to quit...
REASON #1: Fear of the Future.
I wanted an art that I could be pretty good at into old age. But my teachers were always complaining about how their backs hurt, their legs were getting tighter, or their bodies were slowing down. And these guys were in their 30’s!
I got the feeling that if I stayed in Tae Kwon Do, I'd be facing more limitations than students of other arts. I hated the idea of devoting years of my life to develop skills that would only get harder to do over time, not easier.
REASON #2: Tae Kwon Do was Four Arts In One. We practiced forms... and free sparring... and pre-arranged sparring... and self-defense. Oh—and we broke boards, too!
None of that would a problem if the principles and movements were the SAME for each set of skills-- but they weren’t! That just left me frustrated and confused.
To be fair, my biggest gripe with Tae Kwon Do was not the art, but how the art was being taught in my school. Just when I was making progress in one skill, we’d switch to a different skill. Which taught me an important lesson as a student and later as a teacher...
Sometimes the more you learn, the less you learn!
Maybe that’s why arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, or the sport of MMA in general, have been growing in popularity. They each typically offer a more focused training experience, which leads to more consistent skill development, which leads to more confidence, which leads to feeling great instead of frustrated.
Like BJJ, I found the same focused training experience in Aikido. Some people make fun of Aikido for spending all their time on a relatively small number of techniques, but on the other hand, they spend all of their time on a small number of techniques!
Unfortunately, where I felt Tae Kwon Do was offering too many skills to mastr, I felt Aikido didn’t offer enough, so I quit that art, too. But you still won’t hear me bash Aikido because I learned a lot there, too.
So, to be clear—I have nothing but respect for every style of martial art. Each one can teach you something or many things. I’m also not saying that ALL traditional styles like Tae Kwon Do, Karate, or Kung Fu suffer from being “four arts in one”. But years ago, when I was searching for a more focused Tae Kwon Do school, I couldn't find one.
The lesson here is to ask yourself, “Am I getting what I want out of my style, school, and teacher?” If you are, then stay where you are and work as hard as you can while you can. But if you’re NOT getting what you want, then look around for a school or style that will help you make progress.
Remember—you don’t have to hate where you are to be excited about where you’re going. It’s all worth something.
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WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program.
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As a Black Belt and Senior Master Instructor I would have a natural tendency to be bias towards the art that I teach.
Therefore it’s extremely important to gain the opinions and views of others so that you the viewer can get a true and honest reflection of what we do as a Martial Art school.
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Choi Kwang Do is a holistic Martial Art which caters for the complete development of the individual - mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.
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This is my father, whom I love and I am pleased. I love you dad! Pil seung!
*Video Credits: Senior Master Keith Banfield & Choi Kwang Do International
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