Taekwondo Class Topics

What does it mean that we teach positive thinking?

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on What does it mean that we teach positive thinking?

Positive thinking is best explained as the absence of negative thinking.  Negative thoughts are any thoughts that make a person want to give up on their goals. I, Master Marcy Shoberg, have not always been a positive thinker.  In fact, I once was quite a negative thinker.  I first realized the importance of positive thinking at a particular sparring training camp. Sparring has never come naturally to me; but, I’ve always wanted to be good at it.  I think that’s why, over the last year, I’ve become so good at teaching people to spar:  I’ve discovered what concepts come easily to those who spar well and figured out how to teach them to others. Anyway, at this training camp, I realized that my opponents were only thinking about how to score points on me while I was busy yelling at myself in my head. I’d have been better off to have my whole brain on the task of scoring instead of 1/2 of it wondering “why am I not better at this?” Not long after that camp, I volunteered to go though Lucinda Bassett’s Attacking Anxiety program, in support of a friend with an anxiety disorder.  It turns out I had one, too, and didn’t know!   I had a problem with negative self talk.  My brain would naturally point out depressing and stressful things all of the time. If you have a problem with negative thinking, you think you are just telling yourself the “truth.” Through the course, I learned to train my brain to talk about the silver linings instead of the clouds. It’s still the truth, but now it’s the part of the truth that makes it easy for me to focus on my goals instead of the part of the truth that makes me want to get back in bed. Positive thinking is also important in self defense.  Any doubt about one’s ability to protect themselves may show on one’s face, actually making it more likely that they will be chosen as a victim of a predator and need to defend themselves. In fact, when we practice woofing drills (the self defense exercises where a teacher wears glasses and pretends to be a bad guy) it’s important that we always let the student “win.” This is because if a person thinks they can defend themselves, they have a chance to be able to.  But, if a person thinks they are not good at self defense, no matter how good they really are, they have almost no chance of successfully defending themselves. Positive thinking is vital in competitive sport, too.  To allow one’s self to be judged, whether it be in Taekwondo forms, sparring, or board breaking competition—or any other sport—requires confidence. And, a person who is focused on every little thing that goes wrong, doesn’t have much confidence. A positive thinker who doesn’t win a particular competition, has a better chance to win the next one because they are excited to train for it and usually have at least one idea of how to improve their performance. A negative thinker, on the other hand, even when they win a competition, will have a harder time winning the next one.  Often, they can think of a reason that it was an accident that will never happen again, so why train hard for the next one? If they lose, they often decide to give up that sport entirely. I’m not as sure of the best way to teach students to be positive thinkers as I am of the best ways to teach sparring, forms, and self defense.  But,...

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We teach REAL Self-Defense

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on We teach REAL Self-Defense

This article is about what it means that we teach “real self defense.” Somewhere on this blog are also two articles about what it means that we teach ‘real Taekwondo.’ In fact, there are schools that teach what I call “fake” self defense.  There are also schools that teach “how-to-win-fights” instead of true self defense. “Fake” self defense, in my opinion is any move that is unlikely to work for the average student when they need it. Sure, some of these moves, that other schools may teach for self defense, work in competition where there is judges watching for points, and a referee calling penalties. But, things are different in the school yard or parking lot. True, many of these “fake” self defense moves actually work for experts who have enough training, and enough control of their emotions to not let adrenaline effect their body too much. But, I ‘d like the moves I teach to work for every student, every time they need it, even if they aren’t experts at it yet. As you may know, almost all of the defenses against grabs that we teach at Gold Medal Taekwondo come from Krav Maga. In my opinion, Imi Lichenfeld, the founder of Krav Maga, was a genius. He realized that the best defense to teach students, for a particular attack, is not necessarily the “best” defense to the attack. It’s a defense that works well enough, easily adapts to other similar attacks, matches other things they’ve been taught, works with the body’s natural reactions, and messes up things that the attacker is likely to do next. I spent years struggling with decisions about what defenses to teach students for what grabs before I found that all of the work had already been done for me in the 1950s! Besides Krav Maga, we also teach FAST defense strikes and other concepts. Many of the schools that teach winning fights as self defense assume people will stand in a fighting stance while they defend themselves. As you may have noticed, at GMTKD, we have a separate self defense stance that actually makes it easier for a person to use strikes in self defense even while it looks as if you are not expecting or wanting to fight. Whenever people are hitting other people, even in self defense, there is a chance for both people to get hurt, and both people to get in trouble. “Real self defense” must include using awareness, choices, and words to stay out of fights. If strikes and moves are all a person knows about self defense, they are likely to have to defend themselves in court after they defend themselves in the street. Staying out of fights is true self defense. Finally, no other school that I know of teaches students how to protect themselves in as many different types of self defense situations as we do: Verbal Bullies Physical Bullies Kidnappers Planned Crimes Territorial Situations Accidental Confrontations Threats with Weapons, etc.   Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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Real Taekwondo Part 2

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on Real Taekwondo Part 2

Here, I want to answer the question of “what does it mean to earn a black belt?” and also educate you about why a KKW black belt is worth more than the certification used by most other schools. Basically, earning a black belt simply means that the student joined a martial art school and did what that particular school requires of people before they are allowed to wear a black belt. Different schools can have very different requirements. We require more than most Taekwondo schools, because we also require our students to learn self defense. Some arts require more than others.  Some don’t let anyone under 18 earn a black belt.  And, I hear that in Brazilian Jujitsu it’s so hard to get a black belt that blue belt is considered instructor rank. But, Taekwondo is a lifetime sport for everyone, not just young adult athletic people. Many, karate, “martial art” and Tae Kwon Do schools (maybe most in the US) give what are called “school” black belts. This means the school designs and prints their own certificates (and keeps  the test fee money).  The school owner decides for themselves what will be required and the instructors of the school are the only people who decide that a person is qualified to be a black belt and sign their certificate. When a person  earns a black belt in a school like this, they are really only a black belt in that school. Sometimes, a few schools form an “organization” and test together, giving slightly more meaning to their certification. Also, the kwans (groups that joined to make TKD in the 1940s) still each give certification, signed by the current person in charge of that kwan. But, at GMTKD we certify through  the World Taekwondo Headquarters or “Kukkiwon.” Our students receive certificates signed by the current KKW president. In my opinion, since this is the largest Taekwondo certifying organization, it gives the most meaning to the certificates. Also, I like how KKW certification qualifies you for something.  One must have a KKW degree to compete in the World Championships, and 4th degree to become an internationally certified referee. In 1988, when I earned 1st degree black belt rank from my instructor’s Grandmaster, it wasn’t KKW. I was disappointed to realize that all it qualified me for was to later test for 2nd with the same person. With KKW black belt certification, since it is the largest certifying organization, it is easier to continue towards higher degrees, if a person moves to a new city, than with any other kind of TKD black belt! (Like Mr. Villasenor of El Paso once did at our black belt test.)   Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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Real Taekwondo part 1

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Taekwondo Class Topics | 1 comment

To understand this, one must understand a bit about the history of Taekwondo. In the 1950s, after Korea was liberated from Japan, Korean martial arts teachers formed a group and decided to make Taekwondo.  There was soon a major split which divided the International Taekwondo Federation of North Korea from the World Taekwondo Federation of South Korea. Currently, especially here in the US where instructors are free to teach whatever they want and call it whatever they want, some teach Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-do, or TaeKwonDo, or without following the curriculum of either international organization.  (Usually, the schools that follow WTF spell it Taekwondo.) At Gold Medal Taekwondo, we follow the World Taekwondo Headquarters in South Korea. Here’s why that’s the best choice for our students: 1) Our students are part of something that is bigger than our own dojang, even bigger than our region, and our country. Look up a Tae Geuk form on the internet.  You’ll find videos, manuals, theory, and research on the form from all over the world. The same cannot be said for other forms taught by “unaffiliated” schools. 2) When our students move to another city and want to keep up their training, they will almost certainly be able to find an instructor who teaches WTF Taekwondo. The larger colleges even have WTF Taekwondo teams that are part of the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association. 3) Real Taekwondo schools can do events like tournaments and seminars with other real Taekwondo schools. Both at the local and international level, this causes Taekwondo to evolve and stay modern  as a sport and as a physical fitness activity. For the most part, every karate school, every Tae Kwon Do school, and every “martial art” school does things it’s own way or the way of it’s 5 to 50 school organization. Not so with schools that teach real WTF Taekwondo. We are the only one in Las Cruces, but Albuquerque and El Paso have several. In fact, an instructor from El Paso will join us at our upcoming black belt test to test for his 4th degree. Students from schools that “do their own thing” would never have an opportunity like this. In fact, WTF Taekwondo is practiced in over 200 countries around the world, with many country’s governments insisting that it is the only kind of Taekwondo taught. Another time, I’ll explain why I believe a “Kukkiwon certified” black belt is better than a “school certified” black belt or a black belt from other organizations.     Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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How Taekwondo Changed my Life (by Master Marcy Shoberg & others)

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Self Defense for Kids, Self-Defense, Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on How Taekwondo Changed my Life (by Master Marcy Shoberg & others)

Many other instructors of my age and rank began martial art as a result of the Karate Kid movie.  Myself, I was a green belt when it came out.  It’s the only movie my dad and I ever saw together. I also didn’t decide to join Taekwondo to learn to protect myself.  I fantasized about using my Taekwondo to beat up enemies of some sort, but I never had that opportunity. But, after reading the ”Memoirs of a Bullied Kid”  I now have an answer for “How Taekwondo Has Changed my Life.” I considered myself one of the least popular kids in my elementary school. (I had us ranked in my head like in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.)  I even did–like I tell the kids to do–privately tell those below me I was sorry I never stood up for them because I was so relieved whenever I wasn’t being picked on. Girls who I considered my friends bullied me verbally and socially.  I made all of the mistakes of looking at the floor, not smiling, and making a big deal out of it when they pushed my buttons. Anyway, the guy who wrote “Memoirs of a Bullied Kid” says that when his life really got bad was when he began to define himself by what his bullies called him.  When he accepted the labels they gave him, he lost all self esteem.  He’s lucky he survived and now is some kind of self-esteem expert. As I read it I realized that Taekwondo gave me an identity outside of elementary school.  It was an identity I could be proud of.  Even as we went to middle school and I started hanging out with different friends than those who had bullied me, I still, at school, thought of myself as unpopular.   Years later I ran into some guys from middle school  and was completely shocked when they said, back then, they decided they must be cool because I went to their party once. The thing about Taekwondo class that lets bullied kids overcome their labels is that there are people of all ages and backgrounds together, and everyone is too busy improving themselves to bully others.   If a bullied kid spends all of their time with other kids from school, or hiding in their room,  they can begin to think that’s how life is.  Doing Taekwondo gave me positive social interaction and  let me see a wider perspective on life and my future that many bullied kids lack.   Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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Which martial art is best for self defense?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2011 in Self-Defense, Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on Which martial art is best for self defense?

I anticipated being asked this question as I prepared for our booth at the Whole Enchilada Fiesta.  It’s a bit of a bad question like asking “which brand of soda is healthiest?” Research could be done and an answer could probably be found, but if one is concerned about health, they shouldn’t drink any soda. If self defense is your only interest, you need a self defense class, not a “martial art”. A person who would ask a question like that probably doesn’t know the difference between a martial art, a martial art based fighting sport, and a self defense class. The short answer:  It depends on the teacher, not the name of the martial art. Moves from any martial art can be used in self defense if the teacher chooses to teach them that way and teach self defense “thinking.” Martial arts based fighting sports (TKD, BJJ, Judo, etc) all have the same problem relative to self defense that the athletes get accustomed  to having rules and referees and to competing against others with similar fighting styles to themselves. At GMTKD, we have a “self defense week” each three weeks where we teach all members the best self defense moves and concept. We also have a separate self- defense-only class (teens & adults) and occasional special self defense seminars for women and kids.   Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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