1martialart: GTF has vigorously projected itself as an alternative TKD World Body that highlights the traditional aspect of a martial art organization, steep in promoting ancient values of protocol and adhering to the tenets that come along with it.
What approaches do GTF take in resolving counteractive issues that usually occur in tournaments where sport-driven events would more frequently result in winner takes all and the loser goes home empty-handed?
How do you propose to avoid contradicting the objectives of GTF that aims to promote a wholesome and value-system based martial art? What roles do such sporting event like hosting of world championships play in preserving the integrity of GTF as a martial art based world body?
CG: For me this is certainly is a sore subject. I will try to explain my personal opinion. I for one am very concerned with the over emphasis that most instructors are placing on the sports aspect of Taekwondo.
If we do not teach the Martial Art of TKD we will lose the reverence and respect for the Art. Grand Master Park Jung Tae served in the Korean Military and was concerned that TKD preserve its effectiveness in combat situations. Prior to dedicating myself to the teachings of Grand Master Park Jung Tae my first experience in TKD was in the early 70’s. Our instructor served in the US Military and learned TKD while stationed in Korea.
The Taekwondo that he taught was all about maiming and killing people. Every technique was designed to attack vital points of the human body. Even in free sparring we were encouraged to attack the temple, neck, groin, spinal column, floating ribs, kidneys, knees and the list goes on. We used the backfist, knife-hand, fingertips, sweeps and takedowns. And all with no sparring gear at all.
For us at that time TKD was truly a deadly art and we revered our Instructors and respected each other because we understood that with our skill and knowledge of this Art demanded a certain responsibility. As a result of commercialization this mindset is lost on this current generation of practitioners.
The reason is that it is easier to maintain a large membership in your dojang if you are teaching a fun sport rather than a serious Martial Art. However, if the instructors are willing to work harder they can teach the full spectrum of Taekwondo and still achieve success.
1martialart: Hosting World Championships seem to be the standard norm for most International TKD and other martial art bodies. The usual cliché the organizers normally extol would be to promote fellowship, renew friendly ties and nurture a sense of camaraderie. But critically speaking, tournaments year in and year out, seem to engender more frustrations and angst from the participants, citing biased judging, poor standard in refereeing, unruly behaviors exuding from the supporters, participants, and coaches as well, besides poor organization. Your comments, please.
CG: These problems that you mention all stem from what the students are being taught in the dojang and is systemic of what is going on in all sports and society in general. If we teach TKD as a sport than this is what we will get. To solve this problem we must teach Martial Art with an emphasis on the DO.
This is not to say that competition has no place. If you are competing in the hope for an opportunity to face fellow practitioners who are better than you so that you can test you skills and learn from the experience then you are following the DO. But if you are there to win a medal then you know nothing about Taekwon-Do.
We need to teach our instructors that there is much more to Taekwondo than tournaments. They need to teach Hyungs, Hosin-sul, dalyon, fundamentals and step sparring in a way that shows how to attack vital points with the techniques learned in Hyungs and fundamental exercise. Our instructors need to understand that the Championship is not so important and is merely a just another learning experience for their students.
1martial: GTF also prides itself as a world TKD body that is well renowned for its technical proficiency as exemplified by the late Founder, GM Park Jung Tae. Can you elaborate more in detail as to what areas of competency GTF aspires to achieve? In what ways GTF differs in its approach in technical knowledge from the rest of other TKD international bodies?
SG: The GTF is similar in many ways to the ITF because he was the Chairman of the ITF technical committee for many years. After GM Park left the ITF he continued to teach the traditional hyungs as he always had with only a few changes in terminology.
However, he had some unique ideas about training methods and application of techniques that he wanted to advance and that was the motivating factor in the development of the GTF hyungs. Through the new Hyungs and Chago-Makgo-Jirugi exercises and many pre-arranged step sparring examples he left his own mark on the future development of TKD.
I say future because many TKD practitioners have yet to be exposed to his unique approach to the delivery of motion, execution of techniques and innovative training methods.
1martialart: What future plans do you intend to organize in furthering the objectives of technical enhancement?
SG: It is my hope that with the introduction of Training aids like books and videos we can better standardize technique within the GTF. I believe that the best way to raise the level of techniques is through seminars and individual instruction of the Senior Instructors. If the senior instructors are technically correct then the members will get better training.
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