Traditional martial arts these days in the realm of combat sports or mixed martial arts are seen as mostly useless and time wasting in their effort vs. effectiveness output ratio in a real fight or stand-up rules sport match. While we can argue all day about which martial arts fall under this category, I can personally vouch that Taekwondo is not one of them.
During a recent sparring session (kickboxing / Muay Thai rules), none of the sparring partners I faced had any experience with what Taekwondo techniques were about. They were accustomed to the two basic kicks taught in Muay Thai / kickboxing:
The following were the kicks I used to keep them off-balance:
–> Roundhouse fake low to high head kick (Question Mark / Brazilian kick)
–> Double Roundhouse kicks (Switch kick)
–> Chasing push kick
–> Fake push kick to switch roundhouse kick
–> Chasing side kick
–> Reverse hook kick
-Jumping Roundhouse kick
-Suicide high kick (as utilized by Anthony Pettis, Eric Koch from Duke Rufus’ camp)
You get the point. By utilizing Taekwondo in my stand-up game, mixing up the strikes and staying creative, I’m able to stifle opponents and keep them guessing. Don’t only throw Taekwondo strikes however, you need to mix it up with punches and other kicks in order to sustain its effectiveness. I did not get a chance to throw spinning kicks, but that’s when we get really fancy, extra risky, and probably unnecessary. However, it doesn’t mean it won’t work in a real match.
Anderson Silva, the UFC Middleweight Champion is a Taekwondo black belt and half of the kicks he throws are Taekwondo based. He uses switch kicks, back kicks, and front snap kicks; his most famous being his foot-planting knockout of Vitor Belfort.
Muay Thai purists will argue that this is a Muay Thai technique (Teep / push kick); I’m not here to argue that. The truth is that the front snap kick can be found in many martial arts systems; Anderson is simply an artist and was able to utilize it to its most devastating potential. Anthony Pettis’ kicks and movement are also Taekwondo based, his most famous kick being the acrobatic “Showtime Kick” he utilized against Ben Henderson.
The obvious counter arguments against traditional martial arts are that:
A) You need to be a high level traditional martial artist to pull off these moves in a real fight, and
B) Its effectiveness will start to drop once you face an equally skilled kickboxer / Muay Thai practitioner.
While these are obvious truths and I will not try to argue against facts; in today’s world where everyone is training in some form of “modernized” martial art / MMA; a lot of their technique is in fact watered down in cross training and/or lost in its aerobic / fitness focused schools.
It pays to have a strong foundation in a traditional art that focuses on sparring (such as Taekwondo)–rounded out with further knowledge from other arts in order to utilize your “base” art to its potential–so one possesses a wealth of tools to whip out when needed.