Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do Resources' started by ronmeister, May 12, 2003.



  1. WTF < ITF

  2. ITF < WTF

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. ronmeister

    ronmeister New Member

    HI All! I am a new entrant to the world of MA and am quickly getting enamoured with it. I have started with WTF TKD. My question is: which one is better - WTF or ITF TKD? or is it possible to compare them like this? Thanks in advance.
  2. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    It is not a question as to which one is better....

    Unlike most of the other martial arts, TKD is made up of many clubs, associations unions, organizations... and politics. Yes there are two "factions" of Tae Kwon Do which is the World Tae Kwon Do Federation, and the International Tae Kwon Do Federation. The WTF was born and based in South Korea, in Kukkiwon (Seoul), while the ITF was born from North Korea and is now based in Canada and Vienna.
    One the many differences between these 2 factions is in the structure of the politics. The International Olympic Committee recognizes the World Tae Kwon Do Federation as the governing body for "sport" Tae Kwon Do.
    In the International Tae Kwon Do Federation there is no Olympic connections. You will find less emphasis on the "sport" of TKD ... and in most cases a more "traditional" -style of TKD.
  3. Helm

    Helm New Member

    Well it also depends on the school, so its hard to say whats best for you....

    Imo neither is better than the other, my tkd teacher says they are both tkd, the kicks are almost identical, its just the politics.
  4. Joe karate

    Joe karate New Member

    Never studied it but my take comes from hearing others on MAP and friends. I would say ITF from the little i know because it uses hands more. WTF is more kick and jump and kick the head again. I've been told ITF and TKD in general USED to be taught right(in America) as a good long range style. Now (i've been told) it has degenerated with people buying belts.

    whatever floats your boat man, just find a good school.
  5. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot Smile, laugh, be happy!

    Almost everyone that trains TKD in Denmark, trains WTF-style. The Danes are very 'fight' oriented and the idea of getting a trophy for beating someone up is a very attractive one.

    I have watched and trained a little WTF-style TKD. I have still yet to see anyone lift their hands to protect themselves. But why should they? The style is sport-oriented. They score points by kicking each other in the head. Even though the possibility of scoring a point via a punch is present, the reality is, there is almost never awarded a point for it.

    In the ITF, the techniques are almost the same as the WTF. A big difference is in the training of these techniques. Although both styles only have about 25% of their techniques as kicks, the WTF trains kicking more than 70% of the time, whereas the ITF is a little more rounded and teaches about 50% kicks.

    ITF also teaches self defence techniques on a regular basis. The sparring in ITF also differs as you are allowed to hit and kick to all 'legal' parts of the body.

    I would say that comparing ITF and WTF Taekwondo is like comparing a Golden Delicious apple with a Granny Smith apple. They are both apples, but other than that, they are completely different.

    I have experienced a lot of people arguing over what TKD is and that one TKD is better than an other or that because one person doesn't train 'the right TKD', that they aren’t any good.

    In the long run it is you who decides what you train and you that decides if you keep training or not. As long as you are happy with what you are doing/learning, then keep it up.

    Just a little personal note: I train Maeng Sul Taekwondo and we kick about 25% of the time. Almost all of the kicks are performed at stomach level or lower unless we have substantially inhibited the possibility of a counter strikes. The main focus of the training is self defence and there are more than 175 self defence techniques to black belt varying from one or two basics up to about six to eight basics per SD technique. When we spar, all kicks and punches are allowed to all parts of the body including the back and groin. We also fight on the ground where again all techniques are allowed (except finger and toe locks - they break too quick), though biting, pinching, eye gouging and the like are only allowed in defence, not offence.
  6. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    WTF and ITF also perform different patterns, just like different karate syles do different kata.

    I dunno about all this stuff about what percentage of attacks are kicks and which are punches has much to do with the style, surly its down the personal preferences of the instructor and student in question???
  7. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    There are several differences between WTF and ITF styles, but techiques are the same. The way in which both WTF and ITF TKD schools instruct can be different. Instruction and styles frequently vary from school to school for several reasons. One may be a lack of continuity in curriculum among different schools in the same organization. Another may be that traditional instructors don't want to incorporate newer patterns and/or styles of technique into their teaching. Perhaps a very liberal instructor has taken to altering the pattern himself in order for it to be more in line with his own style. Also, patterns naturally and frequently mutate at they are passed down from one master to his student instructor.
    Competition rules are different also. Competitions/tournaments differ also!
    The ITF practices semi-contact sparring where hand attacks to the face and kicks to the groin are allowed. The WTF emphasizes full-contact competition style sparring, which is why many people call WTF Taekwondo a sport rather than a martial art. In the WTF, participants are not allowed to attack the face with hand techniques, to attack below the waist, or to grapple. Otherwise, they use full contact techniques. They use a scoring system that emphasizes the real delivered power of the technique. The opponent must be visibly moved by the force of an unblocked strike in order for a point to be awarded. And this may be the reason why their sparring techniques tend to be limited to those kicks that generate the most power.
  8. Helm

    Helm New Member

    I dont think the techniques are limited to appeal to the focus of sparring, but obviously some kicks are better because they are simple, leave you relitively on-balance regardless of wheather it makes contact or not and is generally a better "scoring" kick.

    WTF TKD also has a wider range of kicks, with ITF missing 360 halfturning and Wheelkicks. Although i hear a few ITF schools teach this, but this is down to the teacher.

    WTF sparring, because of its sport orientation, is very, very fast. As the emphasys is on making a solid contact, and blocking having little effect you'll see a very fast moving fight with attacker moving quickly and defender trying to move quicker to avoid, or lauch a full contact counter.

    I cant comment too much on ITF, but i've seen some PUMA ITF here, and it was a terrible Mcdojo.
    But im sure thats a minority, just unfortunate that the only ITF example in my area is this "Fries with that" version.
  9. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    I think Bigfoots's comment about comparing the two different apples is just about right, although I would say it is more apples to oranges. We are all under the umberlla of the name taekwondo and apples and oranges are under the same with fruit.

    For techniques I would say generally the techniques are the same, with the exception of some of the more progressive kicking from the WTF developed soley for competition (I personally would never throw double round kick spin hook kick combo in the street but in the ring ya baby :D ) But the big difference is the execution of techniques. ITF tends to be a little lower relying on sine wave more tends to look more similar to karate from my experience (not exactly mind you before anyone jumps all over me for saying that)

    As for being more sport orientated, this one gets my goat btw, yes WTF is generally more sport orientated but it is a sport organization where as Kukkiwon is seperate . . . however with that being said it is always up to the instructor to decide what to teach and what to put emphasis on in whatever organization be it wtf, itf, jkf ihf . . . the list goes on. How I'm taught and how I teach is heavy into poomse and self defense, but I do teach competition cause well . . . its a ton of fun

    Now just going off in another direction . . . Bigfoot I have a question for you . . . do you feel learning and memorizing a ton of different self defense techniques is worthwhile?
  10. grandmaster mat

    grandmaster mat wataaaahhh!!

    i prefure ITF because its more traditional
  11. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    Um are you sure. I've been told kicks to the groin and a BIG no no. Its just not cricket.
  12. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    But what exactly does that mean, why is ITF more traditional than WTF?
  13. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    ITF is more traditional to tae kwon do because it was the form created by the creator of tae kwon do. It still contains the creators origional patterns and rules.
  14. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Member

    The original patterns where straight from Shotokan...

    Neither really has "Old" patterns, but what does that matter anyway?

    Many people would consider "traditional" to be a bad thing ;)
  15. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    Hmmm, just to throw this out there. Gen Choi, did not create TKD, he submitted (debatable) the name Taekwondo for the art that was created by a variety of schools and people. This predates ITF by about 7 years.

    On the issue of forms being older than the kukki/wtf poomse. Yup you're right there, but only because they have continued to develop their forms.
    So my question why do forms make ITF more traditional than WTF

    Stirrin the pot
  16. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    well i think we're using the world traditional in different sences.

    When i say ITF is more "traditional" i mean, it is still the origional tae kwon do, when tae kwon do was created, its patterns where layed out, its techniques listed and its rules created, that was the beginning of ITF, seeing as the man who submitted the style was the creator of the ITF.

    When i say traditional, i mean traditional to tae kwon do. Remember that tae kwon do was officialy created april 11th 1955.

    So what i mean is ITF TKD is more traditional because it is directly from the origonal TKD. If you want to take into account all the different styles that went into making TKD, then i'd have to say i wasnt sure which was more traditonal as i dont have very much idea about the styles that went into TKD.

    I Hope you can see where my point is coming from now.
  17. hybrid_TKD

    hybrid_TKD New Member

    Everything I have read about Tae Kwon Do history says that it dates back to 100 to 200 B.C.?
  18. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    the word tae kwon do, was officially recognised as a martial art April 11th 1955. The arts that went into making taekwondo date back to around then, with many of its korean arts being created around the sillia dynasty which was arround 200AD.

    And these arts all make up taekwon do yes. But what im saying is that i think (it may not be everyones opinion) that tradition of taekwon do is really the rules laid down by general choi since taekwon do was unified under that name by him. All the seperate arts taht go into taekwon do are not tae kwon do, they only become tae kwon do when they are united.

    Im ready for the flames now :)
  19. Helm

    Helm New Member

    Whats up with Choi moving to canada anyways? I mean no offence to canadians, but canada is full of canadians!

    Crazy guy...

    Helm...way off topic once more.
  20. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    Okay you asked for it . . . . but I can't find my lighter ;)

    Okay I won't debated the begininnings of TKD and Gen Choi's involvement in the actual creation . . . funny story though btw the only reason Gen Choi submitted the name TKD to the council was because he was a ROK General and and was able to "influence" decisions because of this . . . anyways continuing

    I don't think tradition is something that can be really judged. This is actually what I was getting at by asking the question originally. Tradition is what you do, not what you follow. The way I train is traditional to me simply because that's how I started, will my training methods change? Then I suppose my traditions will change too. To me tradition is just another progression and has become a "buzz" word in the martial arts relating to older arts that have more of a militaristic way of doing things, such as TKD, Karate, etc.

    Tradition is what I do, but others are always welcome to partake in my traditions, just like I hope I'm able to take part in theirs to continue my learing.

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