ITF taekwondo...'a strong, powerful artform'
We train in WTF taekwondo.
And of course we hear and read lots about ITF taekwondo.
We wanted to know if what we were hearing was right.
So we went to our local itf club to find out!
Here's some background information.
The ITF is one arm of taekwondo. Itf stands for International Taekwondo Federation.
If you see taekwondo written as Tae-Kwon-Do. Or Taekwon-Do. Then the article will probably be about ITF tkd.
If you see taekwondo as all one word Then the author is usually be writing about WTF tkd- the Olympic arm of taekwondo.
origins of ITF
ITF taekwondo was developed in South Korea in the 1950's. General Choi Hong Hi combined the traditional the Korean martial art of Taekkyon with Japanese Karate.
The result is a powerful combination of kicks and strikes.
The way of the hand and foot.
Because ITF tkd was developed by an army general to train soldiers. It has a strong, powerful and solid style.
how do WTF and ITF compare?
We have read lots about the differences between ITF and WTF taekwondo. And we've noticed there's some quite heated arguments going on about which is best.
We decided that the best way to learn about itf taekwondo was to experience it for ourselves.
So we went to the Institute of Modern Taekwon-Do to train with Master Ron Claassens. Master Ron is a 6th Degree taekwondo Black belt. And he knows how to give his students a good workout!
We found the training fascinating. And very tough. Our arms ached from doing hundreds of punches!
It was great experience.
Many things were very similar to WTF tkd.
The belt system. The etiquette. And the underlying philosophies. Were all much the same as we've found in our WTF clubs.
There were also lots of differences.
One immediate thing we noticed was the use of the hips. For example with a low block, ITF tkd players really twist their hips. And then throw the hip into the block generating huge power.
And speaking of blocks. All the blocks come from the inside. Rather than the outside as they do in wtf.
ITF stances are longer. Creating a very strong and powerful base.
And there is much more emphasis in ITF on punching and striking. Especially to the head.
Another huge difference we saw was in the poomse. ITF tkd patterns seem more complicated than the Taegeuk forms at a comparable belt level. They show huge strength and power in each and every technique. We found them lovely to watch.
And our conclusions?
We think that both WTF and ITF tkf bring their practitioners huge benefits.
They both improve physical and mental fitness and strength.
And offer a great code by which to live.
We think it really doesn't matter which one you choose.
And if you get a chance to cross-train.
You'll learn many more ways.