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.


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


  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




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


The system

The founding patronage of Taekwon-Do is not questioned today, however when it is called the discipline, it is described as a Martial Art created and systematized by General Choi Hong Hi.

It should not be thought of as a mysterious fact enclosed in a context that is difficult to explain and apply. It is framed by a philosophical and anatomical process. This last part has a unique biomechanical development supported by the use of Newtonian laws and the kinetics of motion. Almost 3,200 techniques that make it up allow us to respond to most of the circumstances that self defense may pose. Each of its movements was designed with a specific purpose, beyond that sometimes and due to ignorance, a double utility is given to certain movements.

It is wrongly believed that all techniques are contained in the 24 patterns or Tul established as the backbone of art. These only add up to 970 movements, many of them repeated. Therefore, they are far from containing all the techniques. However, it is necessary to point out that part of what the Founder intended is that all movements are designed to produce maximum power in accordance with scientific formulas and the principles of kinetic energy.

It is also necessary to take into account the distance and angle of the objective, plus a particular biomechanics that accompanied by the correct breathing process, let to achieve the proposed objective.

The movements demand precision and respect for health care; therefore, the purpose and method must be clear and simple to facilitate the teaching and learning process. The 24 patterns or Tul are a fundamental part for understanding the aforementioned purposes. Many of these techniques will be of very sporadic application because they require a special circumstance to be used. Others that are easier to incorporate due to it single opponent destination, allow the execution of confrontations or combat under sport rules, reducing the arsenal of art to 6 or 7 techniques that are generally used by the most prominent competitors in sports free combat.

However, both in one case and the other, the biomechanical development of art is unavoidable if what you want to incorporate is Taekwon-Do and not a hybrid system of sports fighting with little relation to self defense. To obtain the aforementioned development, a methodology is necessary that, as in all things that is intended to be successful, must be raised from least to greatest. The degrees of training reasonably begin with the White belt, to which ignorance is attributed. Therefore, the methodology to be used must respect what is stated. However, in most teaching places, the opposite is usually seen. Probably in a rush or driven by sports performance needs, most beginners are encouraged to use techniques that require more advanced body management. Faced with this reality, it is worth remembering the phrase mentioned at the beginning: it is a Martial Art created and systematized by General Choi Hong HI. It means that the methodology to be used is already pre-established to achieve the correct biomechanical incorporation that allows a gradual and effective evolution, while respecting the psychophysical health of the student. However, and due to the pressing sports requirement, what has already been developed is usually ignored and a new and «supposedly effective» method is invented every day, generally related to other fighting systems. Of course, here it is imperative to understand the difference between fighting and self defense.

To be aware read the previous notes

The crazy race to the top

At the beginning of the development of the Art in the West, there were very few students in all the member countries. Taekwon-Do was struggling to survive in a martial arts world that resisted its inclusion. In those days (late 1960s), it was generally called Korean Karate. The influence of movies and television series pushed people to practice martial arts, turning the few students into a large group, and the name Taekwon-Do was definitively accepted. The evolution of students in their knowledge and ranks was not as fast as it is today. The commitment to discipline, philosophy, and efficiency was also different and essential because the sports aspect was not dominant. Everyone was dedicated to acquiring knowledge and skills to justify the rank obtained. The advanced color belts acted as assistants to aid the few existing Instructors. A black belt was a respected curiosity and their ranks were 1st. or 2nd Dan at the highest.

In those days, a Western Instructor with 4th Dan or higher was an illusion. All these advanced ranks were just a dream, as well as his supposed technical capabilities. The categories of Masters were practically impossible to reach. In those days the only Grand Master was General Choi Hong Hi, founder of the Art, and the rest of the international high ranks were 5th or 6th Dan. Time passes and the evolution of the discipline was exponential, technically and demographically. Black belts were no longer a curiosity and became a common level to achieve.

The same happened with the higher categories; International Instructor and Master became familiar voices for naming people who teach Taekwon-Do. However, the 8th and 9th grade were still considered the elite throughout the world and their holders were normally close to the Founder. These levels had the extraordinary condition of being pioneers in their own countries and with a particular knowledge that the other categories did not have. The demographic evolution brought a new understanding of promotions and their requirements. There are many more International Instructors, Masters, and Grand Masters than in those days, but the general consideration of these high ranks is not the same as it was years ago. In comparative terms over time, the following questions are pertinent: is today the understanding of the ranks obtained the same as in the early days? Are promoted people concerned with justifying the category acquired as in those times, or is it just a mad race to the top?

When the Institution that grants the ranks is only one, the Entity itself regulates the places to be occupied according to people’s capacities and not only by the category the person has. Today all these top categories (with or without personal capabilities) seek to lead their own Entities and occupy a place whose public recognition is getting smaller every day.

Demographically, Taekwon-Do has grown, but institutionally, it has been weakened by fragmentation. The army has many generals, but each only commands one company of that army. To control the entire Army, the approval of all the Generals will be necessary to support one of them. Today we are in the complete opposite of that truth. In this crazy race to the top, we are losing respect for many things: the time required between categories and the minimum age to be promoted, training, philosophy, theoretical knowledge, and the real capacity of these high ranks. Meeting the requirements set by a recognized Entity plus daily training allows for achievement of a proper rank. Daily work on the items listed above is the only feasible path. The time between categories is inevitable; however, time alone does not produce the quality necessary to occupy a place. Having up-to-date information and proper physical fitness is the right way to go. It is necessary to understand the meaning of the words. It is imperative to look in the dictionary for the explanation of the word active to recognize the passive attitude of some people. Many people want to live in their past following the old saying of achieve fame and go to sleep. The past without present is a sign of people in retirement.

To be aware read the previous notes