Loyalty and fidelity

According to the dictionary, loyalty is also synonymous of fidelity, which is considered a virtue born from respect for the trust that one person places in another. Therefore, fidelity is related to an unconditional trust towards a person, while loyalty is the unrestricted support to a cause. In other words, you are loyal to a cause, while you are faithful to someone.

In the case of our activity, it would be to be loyal to Taekwon-Do and faithful to who teaches us this art.

The two concepts are so closely related that it is difficult to think about them separately.

However, current circumstances compel us to seriously reconsider such concepts.

Starting with this discipline, which I let in clear it is not a cause, loyalty is only possible to the art itself and not to the entity that claims to teach it. There is so much corporative and biomechanical diversity under the same institutional name, that it is impossible to be loyal to the name of the entity.

This fact brings the tacit permissiveness of an institutional change without a feeling of transgression.

Although it is not established with this connotation, the actions in this direction of a large quantity of people, confirm this fact.

The curiosity about this transgressor action is that this institutional change has a direct identification with the black belts and not with Gups or color belts. Apparently the latter keeps intact their belief in the definition of loyalty and fidelity. Then, is the black belt the passport to transgression?

Although fidelity is closely related to an unconditional trust to a person, in this case the Instructor (to whom we have granted the place of knowledge), he also hopes to be recognized, among other things, with the unconditional follow-up of his teachings.

When this doesn’t happen, the feeling of displeasure is so big and irreversible that it is unapologetic.

The concepts of loyalty and fidelity run together but the present procedures have separated them.

Being loyal to an institution requires that it be unique; this fact is absent by these days and especially for those of us who have had the privilege of belonging to that concept of unity from the beginning of the international development of the art.

The current circumstances and events between entities that carelessly use the same name bring the detachment and lack of institutional belonging.

This behavior suggests that loyalty is only towards a cardboard that recognizes the person at one level or another, regardless of if the next will be obtained in the same place or in a different one in hands of another person. This attitude intrinsically bears the feeling that knowledge can be easily purchased, as if this barbarism were true, in a course or a seminar.

Something is remarkable: many people who changed several teachers and entities, the only thing they have modified is their degree, but their shortcomings are the same as that was at the beginning of their institutional changes.

The curious thing is the new god called «training to fight», doesn’t matter if it matches with what was learned in countless courses or not, because it is totally fashionable to add other combative activities as a homemade MMA style.

Therefore, loyalty is either obsolete or a thing from the past.

Unfortunately fidelity has followed the same fate and it apparently is an old and unusual feeling.

Could be possible to disseminate responsibilities everywhere for the inadequate and transgressor handling of these essential and foundational concepts; however introspection or looking inside of our own self, is the only possible way to proceed, of course if you have the capability to feel guilty, otherwise don’t lose your time, it would be a vain exercise.

Have competition and triumphalism taken the martial art ahead?

Although both concepts (loyalty and fidelity) are tacitly included in the Tenets of the art, it is important to keep them in mind when these are enumerated, since their inadequate handling has produced a large part of the problems that affect to all and every one of the entities that sponsor Taekwon-Do.

SGM Ricardo Desimone

To be awarded read again the previous notes

Atomization

On this day, a new entity that also claims to be the federation created by the Founder of the Art, General Choi Hong Hi, has not been born until now. Obviously none is.

Most are just small groups with little inventiveness for the naming and are dedicated to copying the three letters that until now have worked magically, also economically. Some of them have not added any acronym or word to the federative description like the others; it does not mean in any way that they do not belong to the atomizing group. The explanation is very simple for those who want to identify it.

There is no document that contains the legacy in writing, any group that wishes to call itself as the General called his administrative system can do so.

In previous years there was a judicial dispute in Vienna-Austria that involved two parties that claimed the patronage of the name that General Choi used for his administration. Of course, at that time the atomization had not begun to make wave, and the people waiting to take advantage of the situation had not yet discovered the possibility of the free use of the acronym.

In the times that followed the death of the Founder of the discipline, the tug of war was (for most), due to the management of a federative entity. However, the real dispute was over the possession of the property where that entity had its base (Vienna-Austria). In order to own the property, it was necessary to be called with the federative name registered by Choi Hong Hi. Years of sterile dispute only produced an unnecessary economic expenditure that had its end point in an out-of-court settlement between the parties in conflict.

One continued to function from the house of Vienna in Austria and the other from another part of Europe, without either swallowing the other, in other words, both kept their members. Neither of the parties in conflict judicially won possession of the name, therefore both continued to use it.

Among the other groups there are also those who do not fully understand that legally a federative system cannot be inherited. A federation is a management system that periodically requires the vote of its members to renew administrative positions.

No legal document has been released to the contrary.

From then on, and as if the starting shot had been fired, there was the incessant birth of new entities all called the same but with details that differentiate them from each other (added letters and names), similar but not the same uniforms, different sports rules and a plethora of details that allow them to be easily identified.

Unfortunately, the real federation disappeared with its Founder on June 2002.

There are details that must necessarily be revealed so that no one is deceived and that everyone can belong where they please. I have described many of these details in previous notes; however I consider it necessary to mention them again.

Gen. Choi Hong Hi, founder of the Martial Art called Taekwon-Do, cited as a litany in all seminar dictated by him or interview he was summoned, that his creation did not belong to any particular country and so he left it in written in his literature (Books, Encyclopedia and in his memoirs).  He used to say that this was his legacy to humanity free of all religion and race.

The biomechanics of the movements that feed his work is one and not two. In his hands, the evolution of his work was constant until his death, from then on any modification belongs to the daring delusion of some «masters» who have dedicated themselves in recent years to being more papist than the Pope.

All the entities that use the acronym created by him and that is only the abbreviation of an administrative system and not a style, have made capricious modifications without support or practical application.

As a translator of his condensed encyclopedia into Spanish (version 1995), assisting him in more than 10 seminars for International Instructor and translating countless reports (written, radio and television), I attest that what I’ve  received from him as my direct Instructor and Master, responds strictly to what has been described.  Therefore, if in some remote opportunity serious efforts were made to unite the factions divided since 1973, among the details to be taken into consideration the following inclusions should be present: the biomechanics of the movements to be used, the clothing that will be worn from since then, the sports rules that will govern the competitions, the recognition of what has been done up to that moment by both parties and of course the desire of the person who founded it that his Art maintain its freedom without dependence on any country or regime.

Obviously, a new administration will have to be established with a central headquarters in an agreed –upon location.

Now, in the hypothetical case of this ephemeral merger and as long as the differences noted can be resolved, the problem would lie in the growing atomization existing in Taekwon-Do founded, developed and systematized by General Choi Hong Hi.

None of the currently atomized parties would have the mandate or consent of the others to represent them in the negotiation with Olympic Taekwondo without a prior merger between them.

Because if any of the parties that today atomized the Taekwon-Do of General Choi Hong Hi wanted to play that role, it would be a minority group that would be leaving out the majority of the practitioners that make up those other groups and who were never granted that role.  Everyone has to be vigilant and not allow this kind of segregationist and fundamentally dishonest transaction.

SGM Ricardo Desimone

To be aware read again the previous notes

On the basic it’s the advanced

Too much has been said about the different biomechanical used in the many entities that claim to teach Taekwon-Do founded, developed and systematized by Gen. Choi Hong Hi.

Is it a way used by all organizations to establish a particular characteristic to differentiate between each other or simply it is an ignorance of what the founder intended?  I’m prone to think that are both. By first, unknowing the parameters proposed to incorporate the right knowledge, leads to execute the movements with erroneous biomechanics. But take care, because later they exploit these diversities as a particular trademark.

I always repeat a Gral Choi’s saying that paints the circumstance very clearly: «Taekwon-Do is very easy if you know how to do it, otherwise it is very difficult”. This leads me to remember that on one occasion and watching the performing in a patterns’ competition, I remark that this or that movement had been explained several times, however they were being wrongly executed yet. One of the Masters present there (today GM), told me: «don’t worry, that’s better for me, I need it to be so to continue justifying my place». Beyond the unscrupulous of the remark, it contrasts with what was the Founder’s intention, who took great care to teach and explain in detail the composition of the basic in order to reach easily the advanced. He repeated and showed tirelessly with his own body the same technique, because he really wanted those present there to learn. One by one and in details is the right pedagogical method. The human being needs to digest what he is receiving informatively to be able to incorporate it and that requires repetition and detail. If somebody is “teaching” several movements at a time, he wants that you don’t learn any of them in the right way.

If the person does not understand the basics of biomechanics, everything he tries to build afterwards will not only be very difficult but will have poor practical application. Many people are surprised when in a seminar for black belts I explain in detail why it is necessary to understand the basic biomechanics in the execution of four direction punch and four directions blocks (Saju Jirugui/Saju Maki).

In the basics is the advanced I answer.  But of course if you have been instructed that the advanced is very complicated, the explanation will seem unnecessary and you will say that this is for beginners or at least you’ll have that feeling until the illustration is finished.

The explanation is also very simple and easy to incorporate. Remember that the theory is one for all movements (elementary and advanced). But if you are a Black belt of a superior level, you will instinctively reject this because it will compels you to review what you have incorporated. In addition, this will take you to understand that Taekwon-Do uses nature for its purposes and not vice versa. Your body is producing a sine wave all the time you are in motion (walking or running), even if you do not intend to do so and are not practicing Taekwon-Do.

Now, if due bad information you think you should force it implementation, you are telling nature what she already knows it should do when you are in motion.  I guess that you heard General Choi on many occasions (in person if you were in any of his seminars or in movies and in his bibliography if you are from this era) saying: «both arms and both legs should be properly bent while the movement is in motion». When you watch the filming of a crowd that moves (on a busy street or running in a marathon), you will see that although they are not in a Taekwon-Do’s training, they are clearly producing a sine wave when moving. The human body has several joints in the inferior extremities and the natural use of these produces that type of wave when in motion.

That is why every time you fully extend the supporting leg when moving, the sine wave disappears and the saw tooth wave emerge. The latter not only prevents generating maximum power but among other things, risks at the extreme the knees joint. Conclusion, if this basic explanation is not understood and fundamentally executed with your body, your Taekwon-Do is very difficult.  If it is properly incorporated, not only is your Taekwon-Do very simple but it is more powerful and easier to execute, it is more, all the advanced movements will be at your reach as you progress through the next promotions.

SGM Ricardo Desimone

to be aware read the previous notes

Is our body autonomous?

When confrontation is unavoidable, the effectiveness of self defense largely depends on not thinking about our actions. This means that we must act on the basis of reflex action. Reflexes will be activated based on a given stimulus. The stimulus is sometimes the movement that an opponent produces. But it can also be the attitude of the opponent that signals possible aggression. Of course, for our reflexes to be able to respond to the stimulus described, a considerable number of mechanisms must have been incorporated that allow us to act defensively or anticipate the offensive action.
In both cases we will have to have tirelessly repeat each and every one of the mechanisms that will allow us to act in this regard. We will find the greatest collection of such techniques or movements in the patterns or Tul. Different exercises of pre-established sparring will let us train and improve those mechanisms with an opponent or opponents, in such a way that we can adjust the use of time and distance from them. As I said, the exercises will be pre-established because repetition is the only possible method for such movements or techniques to be incorporated and over time count among our reflexes. The process is not fast but it is unavoidable.
Now, if our instinctive movements depend on tireless repetition for their effectiveness, we must be careful about the quality of the movement or biomechanics that we are going to repeat. In the case of Taekwon-Do, founded and systematized by General Choi Hong Hi, each technique has a single destination and is biomechanically supported by the laws of physics and the kinetic energy to produce maximum power. With repetition, time, and perseverance, we will be able to incorporate as a reflex action an interesting variety of mechanisms that we can use for self defense. All of the above requires us to be careful with each technique and its biomechanics that we incorporate based on repetition and perseverance. Therefore, the information that we obtain for such an important achievement must be accurate and proven.

The logical way for the information to meet such requirements is that it comes from whoever has the theoretical / practical knowledge to do so. If the information is only theoretical it is useless because it has no verification, which invalidates the information received on many occasions by those who have never set in motion such advice, but have only read about it. If it is only practical, it have a different and better value, but we do not have the security of compliance with the biomechanical parameters that will ensure the generation of maximum power and efficiency. It is necessary to develop the maximum power that our body can generate because it is impossible to know the size of a future adversary or adversaries. Finally we need to have information that contains both aspects. For this, the system has a place called Instructor. Every time an order or command is issued that does not comply with what is systematized and indicated by the Founder of the discipline, its legacy is being misrepresented. Every time a mechanism established by him is modified, Its fate is being changed and rendered ineffective in our reflex actions for self defense. The plurality of versions of the same technique, as currently occurs, produces doubts, errors, and false beliefs about a mechanism that was designed for a unique utility. Books, encyclopedia, and films of the Founder of Taekwon-Do show that the current biomechanical diversity is nonsense. If such variety only affected choreography, it would not be correct but it would remain an anecdote in the identification of an institutional sales policy. The problem is that these differences in execution are not only choreographic but also affect the effectiveness of the mechanism, which was designed for self defense and not for corporate showmanship. In summary, our body is not autonomous, its mobility depends on the laws of physics, which in turn respond to the information received; therefore, making modifications or giving false information is misleading with serious consequences.

Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone

To be aware read again the previous notes

A unique Taekwon-Do?

It is universally accepted that Gen. Choi Hong Hi is the Founder of the Martial Art called Taekwon-Do. Beyond the obstacles, qualms, and political foundations of those who, using the same name, achieved Olympic recognition some time ago, the word Taekwondo sounds unique. It is really so?

I think that an analysis on this is pertinent. The activity was born as a Martial Art on April 11th, 1955 as unique a conception and with strictly internal roots in South Korea, where its founder resided and served as a military general. Several years would pass, with various internal disagreements between its members, before its name gained national recognition. This circumstance and other political misfortunes of South Korea of that time catapulted the possibility of crossing borders and making this Art known in neighboring countries first and in the West later.

Those years and the internationalization or the art had nothing to do with sport or the Olympics. What was known and published was a martial art born in South Korea called Taekwon-Do and written in this same way, Taekwon-Do.

Different political vicissitude of the country and of the Founder resulted not only in the spread of the Art to the East and the West but also in the exile of this unique entity and its founder. These political/institutional disagreements allowed the birth of a sport that curiously was called Taekwondo. It was born in South Korea too, but 18 years later.

Similarities:

  1. a) Their names are phonetically identical.
  2. b) They were born in the same geographical place.

Differences:

  1. a) They do not have the same foundational base.
  2. b) They are written in different manners.
  3. c) They don’t belong to the same organization.
  4. d) They do not have the same philosophical base.
  5. e) They don’t use the same uniform.
  6. f) One is a martial art with a sports dimension and the other is a sport with martial art pretensions.

The most important difference is that their movements and biomechanical structures are totally dissimilar.

Ju-Do and Karate-Do have the same geographic origin (Japan) but they are two different and autonomous martial arts. Thus, having the same geographical origin does not overrule dissimilar activities with different administrations and disparate philosophies.

The Taekwon-Do conceived, systematized, and founded by Gral Choi Hong Hi in 1955 has nothing in common with the sport born in 1973 and phonetically pronounced Taekwondo but written as one word.

This was intentionally written in this way to take out all philosophical connotations that could be an obstacle for the Olympic sport pretentions finally obtained.

The disputes between the two activities took their entire students hostage without them even knowing it; without understanding what was happening, they took part in the quarrel as if it belonged to them.

Evidently being held as hostage for other people’s political and economic controversies only brings headaches and the unpleasant feeling of having been used.

The passing of this discipline’s Founder (June 2002) opened the way for countless entities to claim to be the rightful heirs of the art created by him.

It is evident that none of them are.

Some are merely economical opportunists while one uses it as a political tool to escape from obscurity and achieve a level of international success that would otherwise never be possible.

To the growing and never-ending list of entities claiming the Founder’s legacy as well as the acronym of the federation also created and presided over by him are added words that only fuel new divisions. These new words added to the original acronym (unified, union, traditional, original, and countless others), are merely banal attempts to keep oneself alive with another’s creation.

There’s no unity if the world of Taekwon-Do is totally atomized. And there is no unification in sight because individualities are fervently defended. The original no longer exists because the Art evolved during the Founder’s lifetime (and the subsequent modifications are incoherent and fanciful attempts by supposed “masters” of no actual relevance).

Is sport what holds these entities together?  Impossible. All the rules are different. Never forget that Taekwon-Do is a martial art. The only amalgam possible was that of Gral Choi Hong Hi.

Corollary: if the rules and administrations are different, the uniforms are similar but not equal, the certifications can be signed by inexperienced hierarchies without background, and the biomechanics are so far from those of the founder as to be unrecognizable, what unity are we talking about?

In accordance with the aforementioned panorama, if somebody (from East or West) says that Taekwon-Do is only one, it sounds like a joke, an insult to the intellect, or a plea for inclusion because «I also want to be part of the current opportunism.      “Don’t you think so?

Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone

To be aware read again the previous notes

The Human Body and Taekwon-Do

It is obvious that the passage of time entails, among other things, the accumulation of experience in the activity to which a person has dedicated his entire life. The stages of human existence are inexorably fulfilled in each and every living being. Birth, development, decline, and death are inexorable. Therefore, and following this unequivocal destiny, we can affirm that there is a stage in the performance of the person that has better possibilities in the use of his body. In this phase, an amazing handling of the most complicated techniques from the point of view of mastery of the body is usually achieved. This is due to the possibility of the maximum use of muscle tone and joint flexibility, elements that will allow the use of the human structure in the execution of positions, jumps and turns that are difficult to master for the public. As the body by itself cannot do what it doesn’t know, it is imperative to have the information that will allow such skill.

Without losing sight of what was originally proposed related to the different stages of human life, we can say that it is in its second phase where a rare combination occurs: theoretical knowledge is less than the available body capacity; however, the physical act incorporates the understanding of that event and corroborates the conjectural proposals. The experience of the performer is built in this way. In the stage of decrease, the experienced practitioner will find that his knowledge is greater than that of the previous stage, but he will also notice that the limit of his actions has receded and it will impose a new use of his information. The acrobatic techniques with jumps and turns inexorably fulfill these two stages of the human parable. In my long and uninterrupted career as a practitioner and instructor, I have met a great number of people of all ethnicities who fulfilled with the aforementioned description.

The coordination and correct synchronization of the movements allow the implementation of the theory of how to increase power in the application of Taekwon-Do techniques. Every time these concepts are not present at 100%, there is a reduction in the power that each body can generate and therefore its effectiveness on the target.

The Taekwon-Do developed by Gen. Choi Hong Hi meets the biomechanical requirements for such achievements. Many years I have had the honor of assisting the Founder of the discipline in a number of interviews as his translator into the Spanish language, in the translation of his condensed Encyclopedia (1995 version) and more than 10 International Instructor Seminars. These facts allowed me to say without hesitation that the army of instructors and people who have collaborated in demonstrations all over the planet has been huge; however and despite their abilities they could not be equated with the practical executions that the General put into action in each of the technical corrections he made. His level of coordination and synchronization of movements was such that it revealed the perseverance invested in each of the executions for that achievement. While the aforementioned army of instructors who knew how to demonstrate the benefits of this Art put their objective in spectacular kicks, jumps and turns, acrobatic movements in short, the Founder had dedicated all his daily effort to the real characteristics of its creation, the generation of maximum power in each and every one of the techniques that compose it.

In his executions, stiffness and all fanciful movement are absent. The simplicity with which he executed each technique, allowed finding his movements spectacular due to the power he could generate with his small body. In his human structure were the proofs of the work necessary to strengthen the tools to be used in self defense. More than fifty years training these, allowed him to comfortably surpass the development of larger physical structures. The biomechanics of his invention requires mastery of the body’s axis or center of gravity in each and every one of the movements (static or dynamic). There is no technical posture or movement of the hands or legs that doesn’t reflect this fact. The innate use of the sine wave that by nature a human body uses in its movements becomes evident. The biomechanics that characterize this Art allow us to take advantage of this natural sinusoidal mobility of our body in a vertical and horizontal sense; the relevant fact is, being able to use it at the right time.

To do this, the accurate synchronization of the movements is necessary, which will allow the laws of physics to be used in a coordinated way to, together with the kinetics of the movement, produce 100% of the power that a human body can generate.

Every time a performer seeks maximum body power through force, not only he doesn’t achieve the desired goal, but he also reduces the power that he could have achieved. Force and power are parallel but not synonymous. Let’s say that force is the physical aptitude to perform a job or a movement (physical strength). While power is a resultant. In strength, muscle contracture is necessary, while to generate power, the speed factor must to be present. To push an object you need force, to hit you need speed, hence the well-known formula of mass by the square of acceleration as the power formula.

In short, the biomechanics that characterizes us and whose greatest exponent has been General Choi Hong Hi without any doubt needs the correct management of the body’s center of gravity, coordination in the use of the laws of physics and synchronize the movements to make this possible.

If you do not want to achieve this goal, just dedicate to use your strength.

Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone

 

 

Belonging

Beyond being something owned by a person, belonging is also the circumstance of being part of a group, such are the meanings described in the dictionary. Sometimes both concepts merge into one.

The art of Taekwon-Do creates belonging to the group with which one practice and also identification with the Instructor who imparts the knowledge. Likewise, over time and with the incorporation of the skills he is acquiring, the student considers that the art belongs to him. In the aforementioned description, both concepts have been merged.

Many practitioners do not consider the belongings referred to above but rather do so through an acronym that is not a style since it describes only an administrative system and which, curiously, is totally atomized. You have to consider that the word belonging takes on value when it responds to a single, defined destination. You cannot belong to a name or an acronym whose identity is diversity, since it varies according to the need or commercial convenience of different people. They are similar in their name but they are not the same.

Usually it is considered that the acronym and the Founder is the same thing. In fact, they once were, and in that case the word belonging had a particular and distinctive connotation. Several things made that distinction: a single institution, a single uniform, a single emblem, a single regulatory methodology and fundamentally a single biomechanics in its movements. The single turn of the belt symbolizes, among other things, what has been said.

Today offers us a different circumstance: there is not a unique institution, a unique uniform, there is not a unique emblem, there is no single regulatory methodology and fundamentally there is no single biomechanics in their movements. Curiously, and if he were alive, the Founder of the discipline would find his achievement of unity obtained with so much effort to be demolished. In different circumstances and on the occasion of translating his words in an interview, he described his art as unique. His techniques and concepts are the same all over the planet, he said. This fact made it different from other martial arts that only had a unique name but their movements varied from one place to another.

In the current institutional potpourri, everyone believes they belong to the Taekwon-Do founded, developed, systematized and disseminated by General Choi Hong Hi simply by mentioning his name and the acronym of the federative system that he presides over. However, this is not the case. As I said in a previous note, the true legacy is in following his pedagogical system, the distinctive biomechanics of the movements and the criteria that always supported the Art of his invention. If you say you belong to the followers of General Choi but your movements do not respect what he taught, you do not belong, no matter how much you put your photo and repeat the philosophical principles as a litany. If you make the sport part your flag, you are walking in another direction than the martial art he founded, even if you keep showing his photo, use the name of his art and repeat the principles again.

In short, to belong you have to invest in the work of which you want to be a part because it is the only way to also own it.

To be awarded read again the previous notes

9th Degree Grand Master

The popularity achieved in the diffusion of the martial art called Taekwon-Do, founded and systematized by General Choi Hong Hi, is really important. So important that it is considered the physical discipline that has grown the most in the last thirty years.

Such an evolution entails a series of elements that must be analyzed.

Its pedagogical system was conceived by its Founder from the beginning. Obviously many have made modifications to it, but with more sensationalist than effective achievements. The inclusion of methodologies from other contact sports allowed many distracted people to believe they had found the needle in the haystack. For those of us who have had the opportunity to evolve together with the art at a global level until the death of its Founder, it is evident that this has not had any practical use whatsoever and returning to sources has always been the best most effective solution.

Time has gone by and with it an undeniable growth in its teaching force, which due to the increase in the number of students has had to multiply to assist it. Sustained pedagogy over many years entails an undeniable growth in experience, information, and places to occupy in the profession of Degrees dedicated to instruction.

The aforementioned commitment produced Masters Promotions in the early 90’s.

These degrees were related to the training and experience of those who, both in the East and in the West, had dedicated their time to the teaching and dissemination of this Martial Art since its beginning. In the early 90’s, imagining degrees above 7th Dan was far-fetched as only a few occupied 8th Degrees.

General Choi was the only 9th Dan, which in short and until then was a symbolic number because he was the Founder and was always beyond the promotion ranking.

Time passes and with it the accumulation of the Black Belt Degrees covered all possible levels. To the point that the 9th Degree, which until just a few years ago was almost ethereal, has become so popular that it seems that today in a very short time and at any age you can be a Grand Master.

Meanwhile the federative creation of the General was represented in a single institution; there was only one set of rules to be followed by everyone.

Taking into consideration the enormous number of students who are under 14 years of age, it had already been established by regulation at that time that no one could be promoted to 2nd Dan before the age of 14 and a half.

You could not access the 3rd Dan before 17 years of age and you had to be 21 to hold the grade of 4th Dan.

This fact coincided with the legal definition of adulthood in different parts of the world.

Being 4th Dan, he had the possibility of receiving the Special Instruction to be granted the International Instructor level, a place that allowed him to test and promote categories up to the degree of 2nd Dan (that is, half of the Instructor’s hierarchy) and represent the art even outside their country of birth.

They had to stay in this grade for 4 years; therefore mathematics placed 5th Dan at a minimum of 25 years of age. Five years of education and training in this grade awaited those seeking to be promoted to 6th Dan, therefore, this places him at this grade at a minimum of 30 years of age.

Six years in this last category imposed a base age of 36 years to access the 7th degree or Master.

Seven years in that degree is the minimum required for the 8th Dan or Senior Master, which determines that whoever is in that degree will have a minimum of 43 years of age.

The maturation time in the 8th Dan to be considered a candidate for the highest category or 9th Grade is 8 years; therefore, no one accesses the degree of Grand Master with less than 51 years of age.

If you find someone in that category under that age, it is the product of some sale of cardboards or some daring god who distributes them.

 

It is important to understand that we are talking about minimum ages with uninterrupted practice at each of the levels and for someone who has started their practice in Taekwon-Do as a child.

Needless to say, years of age and time spent in the category do not mean an automatic promotion, but the basic time required among other requirements.

It is evident that each of these upper levels was contemplated by General Choi with evolution parameters that go beyond the calendar. Qualification, training, and national and international promotion of the art through teaching were the factors taken into account.

In other words, without having developed a School and not having promoted the art in your country, you cannot access these high degrees. If you have only been in sports competition, you do not have the experience required for these upper levels.

This means that the Instructor (4th Dan and above) is evolving theoretically and pedagogically. Training is a personal responsibility or submits to laziness.

To occupy a higher category, neither acrobatics nor sporting success is necessary, because the place to occupy does not require medals or showing that one is ethereal and unattainable.

But it is necessary to meet the conditions of an advanced category: irreproachable antecedents in all fields of the art, adequate protocol management, solid theoretical knowledge, and an appropriate basic physical training that justifies the occupied place.

The Master’s degree is not just another promotion; it is the theoretical & practical master’s degree.

You are not a Grand Master because you are an amazing kicker or have been a relevant competitor in your time, but because of your background in other important fields. But pay attention; it is not a retirement title either.

The place of Grand Master can only be occupied by those who have overcome such conditions and are deserving of the honor of such status due to their background as a person, as a practitioner, and as a teacher.

The institutional lag that cover us, and the arbitrary handling of this very important degree, has allowed the rule instituted by the Founder of the Art himself not to be taken into account and is used as a convenience. Today we have people who have been promoted to the 9th Dan with far fewer years of practice than required and with much less time of maturation among the senior categories that precede it. Is there any reason to justify it? I can think of two: economics and power.

The CV of each of the people who are going to be promoted to that place should be internationally published.

There are entities that, due to their structure, have this process regulated, however there are others of very recent creation that violate the parameters of age and minimum conditions previously mentioned and originally established.

It is determined that this maximum level can only be granted by a special committee composed of nine members with 7th Dan and above. A diploma of this level cannot be awarded by the decision of a single man (Eastern or Western), pioneer or president. If someone proceeds in this way, he does not understand the art, even though he may have been in it for 50 years; he does not understand the Founder; he is mocking the system established by him and those who have respected it; what is more, he is pretending to be a god.

The Founder of the discipline has left this regulation in writing in his Encyclopedia Vol. 1 pages 94 and 96.

Now, if your interest is in someone who can astonish you with an spectacular kick, a jump, or an amazing turn, don’t look for a Grand Master, go to a demonstration.

Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone

To be awarded read again the previous notes

Is Taekwon-Do Evolutionary?

It is evident that nowadays the different social media have markedly displaced those elements that had always been used to inform or advertise. Although magazines have not disappeared, they no longer serve the same function of informing. Classes and virtual communications have also contributed to the change in the information and advertising mediums.

In this new media reality, thoughts and beliefs are published with a degree of authority that they do not merit based on their research or certainty.

Among these disclosures, it has been said with more assiduousness than imagined, that Taekwon-Do is evolutionary, but without explaining such assertion with scientific accuracy.

On many occasions I also have written in several notes published in different magazines that Taekwon-Do is indeed evolutionary; but I made such an assertion when its Founder was still alive, because that is how it was. Such a statement after his death is a fallacy.

Taekwon-Do was evolutionary in the hands of its creator or founder; in the hands of someone else it is a mutilation. According to the dictionary, evolutionary is something that is progressively transformed; of course only in its creator’s hands. If anybody else could do it, why do you frenetically talk about the legacy? Why worry about the technical detail if tomorrow it wills no longer matter?

Today the technical commands are from the leaders of the moment, not those derived from the Founder, which is a tacit way of ignoring him.

To the disfigurements that have capriciously given the name of evolution, we have to thank the technical and institutional diversity of today.

As a translator into Spanish of General Choi Hong Hi in more than 10 International Instructor seminars and his condensed encyclopedia in that language (version 1995), I can assert with total objectivity that the current so-called evolution is nothing more than a modification, misrepresentation, and manipulation of convenience.

In one of the seminars in which I was assisting the General with the translation, one of the instructors present there (today a 9th degree) challenged the Founder’s explanation and application of a technique in a pattern of 2nd Dan in front of the more than 500 participants, to which the General, visibly annoyed, replied: «It is as I explain it because I am Taekwon-Do», a justified response to such a daring affront. Therefore, all evolution can only come from the General.

It is impossible to think that this evolution did not exist, since for those of us who have been part of the activity since the beginning in different countries, it is easy to certify the difference between the biomechanical development used back then and how it finally ended up in 2001; the uniforms used, the protection systems, and the rules of the sport were also included in this transformation that ended without the possibility of amendment, with the death of whoever founded the discipline.

Talking today about evolutionary Taekwon-Do is trying to justify some capricious modification or to hide ignorance for not having been in those moments, it doesn’t matter in whose hands it comes, it is simply not possible.

Today there is not a single entity that uses the same acronym that contains the Taekwon-Do that General Choi founded. The diversity is enormous and this is also outside of what he carried out. Therefore, in that existing plurality, someone or several can try to explain to the student body that Taekwon-Do is evolutionary, but only hiding the date when it stopped.

To neutralize this fallacy, it can only be said that Taekwon-Do was evolutionary until 2001; from then on any evolution belongs to the delusion of someone whose rank has gone to his head.

to be aware read the previous notes

The true legacy

 Social media often posts information, opinions and beliefs that do not, for the most part, match with the reality of the subject they allude to.

Although everyone has the right to have an opinion, it is necessary to be able to differentiate between opinion and information. On several occasions, many people tend to believe what is being said just because they confuse opinion with information. The first is closely related to personal or general belief (opinion) and the second to what it really is (information).

In the case of Taekwon-Do, the legacy of Gen. Choi Hong Hi has become widespread. It is repeated tirelessly: I continue with the legacy,…. I do this to continue the legacy, etc. Everyone talks about this but most without authority. Using the initials of the Federation that he founded doesn’t mean continuing the legacy; does not identify a style because many are the entities that use such a name and yet they do not coincide with each other in their actions, furthermore, none of them has a document that endorse them as the chosen one.

A style is a set of special features that characterize a thing, a person, a group or a way of acting. In the case of the work bequeathed by General Choi Hong Hi, this characteristic is unique and is represented by the system he established. This is composed by a pedagogical method, a particular biomechanics of its movements, the uniform worn by its members and its philosophy. In the current diversity, all unity of criteria is lost.

Associations, federations or confederations are only names that describe administrative instruments and their scopes, which are legal only when registered, but they are not a style. The acronym used in the general language, beyond to describe an administrative method, also can be utilized to establish the big difference between Taekwon-Do and Taekwondo. But if it is the same thing!!!. No, under none point of view. One is the originally conceived name and the other the usurped name used in Olympics, which as it is known, does not coincide biomechanically nor in their intentions.

For many, another form of belonging is having a photo with Choi Hong Hi. Having a photo with the General only feeds the anecdote of the one that appears there next to him. In many restaurants around the world, General Choi photographed himself with the waiter who served him without becoming his heir for being in that photo.

If we are talking about a federation, there is no possible inheritance beyond the federated matter; because legal systems that require elections of their members to fill positions with non-perennial mandates, cannot legally be inherited. If someone has told you otherwise, do not believe him because the laws that authorize such entity to operate would have to be modified and that up to now is not possible.

It is worth remembering in this context the words of the Founder of the discipline so many times repeated in countless seminars, reports and in his bibliography: «Taekwon-Do is free from all political, racial or religious ties and does not belong to any particular country.»

So what is the legacy of General Choi Hong Hi that is so much talked about and so many became heirs despite not being bequeathed?

The true legacy is the Art called Taekwon-Do with it pedagogical system and particular biomechanics, its philosophy, the history that feeds it written in handwriting by its Founder and reflected in his Encyclopedia and in his memoirs. 

Not others born in hands of novel historians, many with some coincident parts and others that have nothing in common with what was written by the Founder; therefore, they only feed fantasy and can be used to fill gaps that are politically convenient for some, but which do not contribute to anything, nor can they modify what really happened. In short, the only valid story is that written by Gral. Choi himself, the others are just speculations with dark intentions.

In the psychophysical aspect, the legacy is to maintain what is established in his biomechanics. So we were instructed as the most advanced categories of that time. In an effort to differentiate itself from other competitors’ entities that use the same name, business conveniences imposed modifications that distort that legacy. To the point that in some entities has been instituted as good what is wrong. 

A sine wave is illustrated with a saw tooth movement that General Choi himself always emphasized as  incorrect. Remember that not always a downward movement describes a sine wave.

The use of the original theory has been avoided, allowing with this erroneous practice to install the personal theorization of the hierarchs on duty in this proliferation of entities.

It has become popular to speak about Do, which the majority doesn’t know and of course no one teaches, but which is conveniently used to continue with the sale of an oriental mystery that originally did not have that destiny.

As in any inheritance, heirs appear everywhere demanding their part and pulling strongly for what they consider to be their property and having made shreds of the legacy. If you haven’t tried yet, don’t worry,  there is still time to add a name of your convenience to the acronym used by all and with that you can also claim your share.

to be aware read the previous notes