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Deconstructing Taekwon-Do

Tournaments

What to Expect at Your First Taekwon-Do Tournament

What to Expect at Your First Taekwon-Do Tournament

Most civilized humans will never step into a ring and enter a face-kicking contest with a complete stranger. In taekwon-do, we do it for fun. I don’t know if that makes us brave or stupid. Probably a little of both.
What the Hell Happened to Pre-Arranged Sparring?

What the Hell Happened to Pre-Arranged Sparring?

I previously expressed my love for pre-arranged sparring, and I stand by that assertion. So know that I write this not out of hate, but out of love. Out of concern. What the hell has happened to pre-arranged sparring? Back…
Be a Referee Who Gives a Damn

Be a Referee Who Gives a Damn

I like being a taekwon-do referee. And I’ve been told more than once that I’m good at it—by parents, competitors and other instructors. Trust me that I don’t say this to toot my own horn. You’ll see my point in…
What’s Wrong with Olympic Taekwondo?

What’s Wrong with Olympic Taekwondo?

The Rio Olympics are done and in the history books. But for martial artists, at least one question remains as a legacy of the Games: what has become of Olympic taekwondo?
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 5: Judges

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 5: Judges

Every Taekwon-Do tournament host ends up with a thorn in their side: a lack of knowledgeable, consistent judges and referees. Or a lack of judges and referees, period. For a tournament to run smoothly, judges have to be at the…
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 4: Board Breaking

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 4: Board Breaking

Board breaking is hard. And it’s supposed to be. That’s the whole point. But breaking boards competitively is sometimes a little too hard. It’s not the physical act of breaking that’s the problem (although that is a worthy challenge). It’s…
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 3: Sparring

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 3: Sparring

Have you ever been an umpire (a.k.a. corner judge) in a sparring match. It’s hard, right? If you’ve never tried it, I recommend you do when you get the chance. How about refereeing? Have you ever tried that? Most people…
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 2: Patterns

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 2: Patterns

One of my biggest beefs with Taekwon-Do tournaments is the patterns system. Like sparring, it works on the single-elimination bracket format. Two competitors walk into the ring and perform their patterns at the same time. One person wins and moves…