The Purpose of Tang Soo Do (Karate) – Introduction

Over the next several weeks, I will be posting 10 separate posts on the purpose of Tang Soo Do training.  These will be technical posts about the different areas of training in Tang Soo Do (and many karate styles as well).  You may have read that the ultimate goal of Tang Soo Do is to become one with nature.  I have written on that topic in the past.  These posts, however, will not be philosophical in nature, rather they will be completely technical.  You may have also read that the purposes of Tang Soo Do training are health, self-defense, and to be a better person.  While this is true, it is also very vague.  I will be going into great detail on each of the core aspects of training to show how Tang Soo Do is a complete self-defense system.  I will not address the health and better person aspects of training in these posts either.

Karate fighters

The 10-part series will be broken down as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic techniques
  3. Forms
  4. One Step Sparring
  5. Three Step Sparring
  6. Free Sparring
  7. Self-Defense
  8. Breaking
  9. Weapons
  10. History/Philosophy/Terminology

The reason I am taking on this endeavor is because as a Tang Soo Do instructor, master, and studio owner for many years, I have on numerous occasions received questions or comments from students and passersby that karate is not a good self-defense system.  These people routinely point to MMA fights and training as the “real deal”.  When you watch an MMA fight you can see right away that is effective in a combative sense.  However, when you watch a karate class you see something much different.  To the layperson karate classes can look like dance class or Hollywood style fake fighting.

MMA fighters

I intend to show over the course of 10 separate articles, that Tang Soo Do/Karate is an effective form of self-defense by dissecting each of the areas mentioned above.  I will not be attempting to show that Tang Soo Do or Karate is better or more effective than MMA.  Many people write or comment on “the best martial art”.  There is no such thing.  Every martial art is effective if understood and trained in properly.  Who would win in a fight between an MMA fighter and a karate fighter?  I don’t know and frankly I don’t care.

A student doctor studying for the MCATs can be used as an analogy between MMA and Karate fighting

I will end this introduction with an analogy.  Two students are preparing to take the MCATs (medical school entrance exam).  Student A has the exact answers to the test and studies/memorizes those questions/answers only.  Student B takes classes for many, many years and learns about every subject covered.  I liken Student A to an MMA fighter and Student B to a karateka (karate practitioner).  I am not saying I consider MMA fighters cheaters!  What I am saying is MMA fighters are preparing for one thing, to win a fight, and they do it quite well.  Karate practitioners are on a lifelong journey to gain wisdom and better themselves.

Published by masterelmore

I have been involved in martial arts for over 30 years. I own and operate a studio in Seattle. I am also a father to an awesome kid. My websites provide information, tips, and videos on parenting and martial arts.

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