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



  1. WTF < ITF

  2. ITF < WTF

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Despoja

    Despoja New Member

    Im sorry Artikon, but i believe Craigwarren is correct.

    ITF is the True Taekwon do
  2. Helm

    Helm New Member

    And the rest are liars?

    So a 1984 ford escort is better than a 2003 escort?

    (Thats the only analgy i can think of, sorry :D)
  3. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    You are all failing to distinguish the true differences that set ITF and WTF apart... whether it be that one is more traditional than the other.

    In the early 1960's TKD was "competitionalise". and the emphasis turned from form/hyung practice to that of contact sparring.

    First generation masters including Choi were opposed to these changes brought about with the conception of the "WTF". They believed TKD to be a lethal martial art that should continue its use of Karate style sparring that did not use a body protection, thus not allowing hard contact, but allowed punches to the head.

    Another difference between sport TKD (WTF) and traditional Karate based TKD (ITF) was the change from the "traditional" attack-block-counterattack method of sparring to that of the attack-counterattack method. The concept of blocking before counterattacking is used in traditional TKD and is shown in its forms/hyungs.

    As sport TKD (WTF) yes, evolved through constant experimentation during competition, and so the block disappeared ... deemed ineffective.

    These disagreements (among others) about what this new Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do should become, brought about the split between "traditional" TKD (the martial art) and the new competitive TKD (sport).
    Traditional Tae Kwon Do is based almost entirely on Japanese principles, concepts, and techniques. Its four core training methods, patterns (poomse or hyung), breaking (kyukpa), sparring (kyorugi), and self-defense techniques (hoshinsul), are Japanese in origin.
    Sport Taekwondo (notice difference in spelling) the 2003 escort .... did not develop these same philosophies as traditional TKD adopted from karate, so its perceived as a subset of the "original" TKD-- the 1984 escort.
  4. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    Okay . . . why?

    It is also shown in the kukki/wtf as well. Blocks preceed strikes through the palgwae forms (from what I remember haven't practised in awhile) through the taegeuk forms, and from my experience up through the yudanja forms, at least until pyongwon, which is as high as I currently know.

    This is true, the kukki/wtf philosophies follow a chinese way of thinking more than Japanese. This is evident in the color belt forms following palgwae and taegeuk ideaologies. These ideas came from the I Ching.

    Now I have a question that's been bugging me for abit, does anyone here know when the palgwae forms, and then taegeuk forms were created? Thanks
  5. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    .... in 1965, the (KTA) Korea Taekwondo Association formed a committee to create new forms, and introduced the Palgwe and Yudanja (Black Belt) forms.
    In 1972, the ( WTF ) was formed and they standardized a yet another new set of forms called the Taegeuk Poomse
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    ITF vs WTF

    (Kickchick: I love your replies... they are always so well presented and researched.)

    When it comes to chooosing a Taekwondo style, don't do it based on the governing body (ITF or WTF). Keep in mind that these are political organizations that offer certification and curriculum guidance. You will do better to check out the local TKD schools and pick the one with the best instructor.

    The WTF/ITF feud goes back to the 1955 merging of the kwans in South Korea (Korean War fighting was over, but deep tensions). Most of the kwans merged as Tae Soo Do, and changed the name to Tae Kwon Do. In 1973, the WTF was established to be the sole governing body (by SOUTH Korea) of all Taekwondo activites outside of Korea. This is what the books from South Korea say. This is why you will not find ITF schools in South Korea and why your ITF rank will not be honored in South Korea. If you train in South Korea, you will be ranked through the Kukkiwon and WTF.

    One (or several, depending on sources) kwan under the leadership of General Choi left South Korea under threat of death (and in fact all references to General Choi were stricken from the history books and TKD curriculum in South Korea). He established the ITF as the sole governing body for Taekwondo. If you train in North Korea, you will follow the ITF and your ITF rank will be honored.

    To come back to the original point, these organizations are political and hate each other not because of martial arts style or tradition, but because of deep Korean political rifts (still going on today). Some instructors teach their students to hate the other organization and engage in lots of negative talk (like the "the only true..."). The curriculum is pretty close and the history goes back about the same (as far back as 37 BCE). Various schools teach in different ways... if you went to one bad WTF school, it doesn't mean they are all bad (and vice versa).

    In short, check out the schools and check out the one with the best (most accomodating) instructor and stick with that one. If you are not an old grandmaster who sits on the governing board of the ITF or WTF, don't worry about the other organization... worry about being a good student and teacher in your own.

    (By the way, I have studied both ITF and WTF styles but am only ranked in WTF. My sources for history include:
    1. Tae Kwon Do (Yeon Hee Park, yeon Hwan Park, Jon Gerrard): Facts on File Books (New York): 1989 (English)
    2. Tae kwon Do Textbook vol. 1 (Kim Jeong-Rok) Seolim publishing Co. (South Korea): 1986 (Korean and English)
  7. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    A student and a friend of mine went to watch an ITF competition that was around. When he came back and told me about it he just said "I like Taekwondo"

    I agre with Thomas on this, it doesn't matter what affliation your with.
  8. craigwarren

    craigwarren Valued Member

    Does anyone think a reunification of korea would start a reunification of tae kwon do???
  9. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Re: ITF vs WTF

    First, thanks Thomas :) .....but

    ... when choosing a TKD style it DOES come down to choosing one federation over another as both teach entirely different TKD curriculums!
  10. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    -Before I get started in this, lrt me say I am not happy with the politics of either organization. When I say this, realize that this is coming from someone who is officially recognized as a Kwan Jang Nim by one of them. -Okay, as a 2-star general, Choi was the head of the military kwan. He was a newly graded 2nd dan in Shotokan(some say 1st, I'll give him the benefit of any doubt.)There were nine original kwans that were unified to create what is now the umbrella term of TKD. All kwan keaders were given the rank of 4th dan and Gen. Choi was given the honorary rank of 4th dan. This rank was later revolked while he was still a major player in Korea. The only kwan that truly trried to stay true to "traditional" Korean roots and as a martial art, as opposed to a sport was KJN Hwang Kee's moo duk kwan. This developed into tang soo do and later soo bahk do. It took decades of court battles and a decision from the Korean Supreme Court to make this happen. I agree w/ Thomas wholeheartedly, that what really counts is the instructor and how hard the student works. As far as cirriculum goes, the cirriculum in ANY system is broad enough for an instructor to choose what they want from it. The sport rules do vary quite a bit, however. Well, that's just my opinion, but what do I know.(not all that much, if youask some of my Sa bumnim and Bu Kwan jang nim-level students, but at least I can appear fairly wise to the 1st and 2nd dans.) -Kwan Jang Nim David Hughes.
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Re: Re: ITF vs WTF

    I will have to respectfully disagree. The umbrella curriculum provided for by the WTF and ITF is very general. Usually for testing, they look for the same basic things such as basic forms, sparring, and poomse (this being the biggest difference). However, the overall curriculum is nearly the same:

    “As in military training, Taekwon-Do progression follows a certain parallel:

    1. Fundamental Movements
    2. Dallyon
    3. Patterns
    4. Sparring
    5. Self-defence” ( (May 29,2003)

    WTF Training Table:
    1. Attitude
    2. Vcital points
    3. punching,blocking,stance,kicking
    4. one/three step sparring
    5. sparring
    6. poomse
    (simplified from: Kim Jeong-Rok, Tae Kwon Do textbook vol. 1 (Seorim Publishing Co.; South Korea 1986 (Korean and English)

    Now, before anyone gets up in arms and says "My school does blah blah blah...", hold on a second. Individual Taekwondo schools are given great freedom to teach as they choose as long as the core testing curriculum is covered. As long as you have all of the basic techniques relevant to your level, and the correct form (and your master's permission), you may test for the next rank. It is the individual masters who decide what ELSE gets tested and when to promote... not the ITF or WTF.

    Differences in Taekwondo are not really noticable (excepting forms and some sparring rules) between ITF and WTF. The differences between the INDIVIDUAL schools are very noticable. Again, beware of the politics which will seek to turn Taekwondo practioners against each other over KOREAN political rifts.

    For a personal example, my original grandmaster was an ITF follower. He left the ITF and joined the WTF because of the South/North Korea situation after the Korean War (he was a South Korean military officer). In his school we learn Taekwondo and do the ITF forms as well as the WTF forms. When I tested for WTF rank in the US, it was no problem... my skills were deemed "WTF worthy". When I trained in South Korea for 2 years in WTF schools, my skills were considered "WTF worthy". Currently our new grandmaster (of the ITA Independent Taekwondo Association) has deemed us worthy of testing for ITF or WTF rank.

    We are not a school any "better" than any other TKD school. We learn Taekwondo... and the curriculum is nearly the same for ITF or WTF ranking. It doesn't make one better, it just shows that quality lies within your own school, not some umbrella (and fee collecting) organization.
  12. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    ok.... granted although different in their philosophies, the two have 'some' similarities (aside from sparring rules and types of hyungs, body "movement" and trajectory of certain kicks) ... but I still believe (IMHO) that one is more sport driven than the other.... which is why someone who is more competitive and result oriented might choose to practice WTF TKD.
  13. tekki

    tekki Valued Member

    And karate is no different? There are several styles, and EACH can have SEVERAL organizations, especially if it's a common style. Take Shotokan for example. Right there, you have 2 major factions: JKA and Shotokai. The JKA is the larger category, but even there there is much fragmentation, such that there really isn't one true worldwide JKA. Shotokai, plays a role in relation to JKA that is somewhat like ITF's relation to WTF. It is the smaller sub-style family that goes on and on about how they ARE the real thing and how the other guys (JKA, WTF, etc) are just overcommericalized, oversportified evildoers.
  14. Greg_G47

    Greg_G47 New Member

    I've trained in both styles for a number of years, and in several clubs (due to moving from Nova Scotia to Alberta)

    The first school I trained at was Russell's Taekwondo in Antigonish. We were essentially a WTF club but practiced the ITF patterns. After moving to Edmonton I trained in a WTF club for about 4 months but found it to be oriented mostly towards competition with little emphasis on effective self-defense and no use of hand techniques in sparring. I ended up switching to an ITF club, Phoenix Takewondo, and I've been there for a little over a year and a half.

    If you're looking to compete, WTF is where you should be. There are a lot more competitions and of course the olympics. As a style of fighting, ITF taekwondo is (in my opinion) far more effective outside the ring. The only advantage I can think of for WTF fighters in terms of self defense, is that they become used to dealing with full-contact attacks which is certainly an advantage when someone gets a sucker-shot in on you.

    I spent my first month in the ITF getting torn apart by green belts due to the lack of training I had recieved with my hands. Eventually I caught up, and now I consider myself to be quite competent, but in a self defense situation that didn't permit kicking (slippery surface, stairs, close range) I would have been utterly crippled if I only had access to WTF training.

    Once again, in WTF's favor, it's going to get increasingly difficult to find ITF competitions above the local level as there are about 6 ITF's now, all claiming to be the "True" form of Taekwondo. Following General Choi's death the organization seems to have fragmented a great deal.

    Like so many people have said already in this thread, Depending on what you're looking for, either organization may be better for you.
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Nice post, Greg_G47

    Your post really illustrates why it is so difficult to make broad assumptions about ITF vs. WTF. The individual clubs that you point out tend to specialize or concentrate in certain areas. Many clubs (ITF or WTF) do things differently.

    My bottom line advice for anyone interested in Taekwondo is to go and check out the INDIVIDUAL school for a few lessons (or weeks) before deciding to join. Martial Arts are not like Soft Drink or Candy Bar brands where everything with the same name is the same. There are good and bad WTF schools just like there are good and bad ITF schools. Some schools concentrate more on self defence and others on competition. Choosing a school jjust because of the overall system name does not automatically make it better.

    My advice:
    1. Decide what you're interested in
    2. Find a couple of schools
    3. Ask questions about the curriculum, prices, activites, etc.
    4. Try to get some free lessons or permisiion to observe.
    5. Decide which one fits YOU best.
  16. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    6 ITFs? Which ones? I know of 4, when did the other two come around?
  17. Greg_G47

    Greg_G47 New Member

    Six was a rough estima
  18. Greg_G47

    Greg_G47 New Member

    te. (sorry about that... hit tab by mistake) Anyway, I can't keep up with the ITF(s). I just guessed six in case some more had shown up. ;)
  19. Chazz

    Chazz Keepin it kickin TKD style

    I just know of 2 ITFs what are the other ones. What are the websites to them?
  20. Artikon

    Artikon Advertise here ask me how

    As far as I know right now there is Master Choi's ITF, based in Canada, Chang Ung's ITF based in North Korea, Tom MacCullum based in Austria, and GM Sereff's the newest branch based in the US

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