Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world. Tae Kwon Do is famous for long low stances, high kicks, as well as jumping and flying kicks. Our style is called American Chang Moo Kwan, a modernization of the original Chang Moo Kwon style. The curriculum emphasizes teaching life skills such as respect, confidence, leadership, and indomitable spirit.
The following is from articles by SBN Thomas Zoppi, first published in 1994.
Every style of martial arts has certain unique qualities that make it a different and unique. It is the Chief Instructor’s job to learn those unique qualities and then pass them on, so that style will be duplicated from one generation to the next. Otherwise, all martial arts styles would look the same. There are three qualities that are particularly unique to Tae Kwon Do.
Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art and the most popular martial art in the US. It is famous for its high kicks, jump kicks, and flying kicks. The ratio of hands to kicks is about 40% hands to 60% kicks, the opposite of Karate- although at True Martial Arts we teach more of a 50% - 50% ratio.
The first quality that makes Tae Kwon Do unique is kicks. Traditionally, Tae Kwon Do is 70-80% kicks and hands are used mostly for defense. The kicks most widely used are jump kicks, flying kicks, and reverse kicks. Tae Kwon Do kicks are notoriously high and long.
The second quality is long, low stances. I’m sure you’ve heard your instructor say, “Get Low!” That is because practicing long, low stances develops strong kicking legs, balance, and a powerful base.
The last quality unique to Tae Kwon Do is breaking techniques. Tae Kwon Do is a hard style. There are many other hard styles from Japanese and Northern Chinese roots. What makes the hard style of the Koreans unique is their ability to demonstrate their hard style abilities with breaking techniques. Their most famous breaks are the flying sidekick and other flying kicks. It is also popular to break roof tiles with their hands!
The Tae Kwon Do stylists traditionally wear a white uniform (dobak), sometimes with Black pants. The belt ranking system in our style goes up to 8th degree Black Belt. There are many sub-styles in Taekwondo, just as there are in Karate and Kung Fu. Our style is called Chang Moo Kwan (The True/Clear Way). Some other styles of Tae Kwon Do are ITF, WTF, Tang Soo Do, and Moo Duk Kwan.
Arnis is a weapons and self-defense art from the Philippines. This aspect of our system teaches students to use baston (stick), dagger, bo staff, and sword, as well as open hand techniques. Arnis is the perfect complement to Tae Kwon Do because it teaches you to use your opponent’s own momentum to control or defeat him. All True Martial Arts students learn and practice Arnis along with Tae Kwon Do in their classes.
The following is from articles by SBN Thomas Zoppi, first published in 2000.
Arnis was originally a bladed fighting art brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards. The use of the rattan baston (stick) came about when the Spanish, the Japanese, and even the Americans controlled the Philippine Islands and forbade the Filipinos from possessing weapons. They used rattan sticks to simulate knives and swords, and they added a musical element to their practice to disguise its martial arts nature.
Because the Philippines consists of seven major islands and over a thousand minor islands, and because no organized martial art could exist for many years, the names of the routines and even the name of the martial art itself varies from region to region. Arnis is also known as Kali, Escrima, Arnis deMano, and Silat.
Presas founded his own system called Modern Arnis. His goal was to take the “old” important and common techniques from all sources and organize them into one system. It should be noted that there are other excellent Arnis masters too, Danny Inosanto and Angel Caballes are two of the most famous in this country.
Arnis is a progressive art, which means that the techniques flow from one to the next, inflicting more damage and gaining greater control of the opponent with each sequence of movements. For example, an attack might be met with a slice block, countered with double sinowali strikes, flowed into a wrist lock which might become a center lock throw, which might become an attack to a pressure point while the opponent is trapped on the ground. Arnis is also more of a multidimensional art, rather than a linear one. In Taekwondo there’s a logical progression to learning the techniques. First you learn a rear-leg sidekick, then a stepping sidekick, then a hopping or jumping sidekick, and finally a flying side kick. But in Arnis you can (pretty much) start anywhere, learn the pieces in any order and be just as capable in the end.
Arnis is a complete and diverse martial arts system. In the Martial Arts Encyclopedia it’s called “one of the most lethal close-combat forms of martial arts”. A Black Belt in Arnis is very capable of self-defense in any situation, but is also able to do forms, two man sets, and sport sparring with padded weapons. So, TMA students are learning two complete martial arts systems and will eventually hold Black Belts in both. I chose to teach the two arts together because they are so complementary- very yin and yang like. As mentioned, Arnis is a formidable “close-combat” martial art, while Taekwondo, with its high reaching kicks, is one of the most effective long-range striking arts.