Category Archives: Blog

Teaching Methods

ATA Camp 2017 058The method of cookie cutter teaching does not work very well.  People are complex.  Students are very similar in many ways but are different enough that as instructors, we can’t teach them all with the same method.  Fortunately, teaching is built into our training system.  A white belt that has been studying Tang Soo Do in the American Tang Soo Do Association for only a few months can be asked to teach a brand new white belt a couple of simple techniques.  Thus, the seed of teaching is planted.  As students progress through the ranks they are exposed to teaching more complex techniques.  They also are allowed to teach lower ranking students who may have a greater variety of needs.   By the time they reach black belt they have succeeded many times at teaching students’ complicated needs.  As black belts progress through the black belt ranks they have a greater opportunity to be challenged by teaching students which have learning needs they may not have encountered before.  However, these less experienced black belts have resources. Mentoring is also built into our training system.  Higher ranking black belts are there to guide the less experienced black belts.  The teacher/student bond is even stronger at this level of training.  With this bond other students can be assured they will get their needs met no matter how different their learning style may be.



New students can come into class being sensitive to contact. What students go through in class, under proper supervision, is a systematic desensitizing. Students start with very little or very light contact. In their own time time they progress to more moderate contact and eventually beyond that. One of the practical effects of this progressive contact is that students can distinguish between a perceived threat and a threat that needs to be responded to in kind. Students ability to control their behavior towards a perceived threat grows as they progress. This keeps tempers in check and keeps situations from escalating to unnecessary levels. An added benefit is that, if necessary, the contact from an unexpected attack can be absorbed by students and then be responded to accordingly. This makes their ability to defend themselves more effective.

training for perfection

Like so many other traditional martial arts, in Tang Soo Do we practice for perfection physically, mentally, and spiritually. We know full well that there is no such thing as perfection, but the philosophy in training is to try to achieve as close to perfection as we can. There are many reasons for trying to achieve perfection in technique through hard work and persistence. One such reason is that in the anxiety and adrenaline rush that comes with a confrontation we rely on our training to see us through safely. If we practice for perfection, in the heat of that moment we will be extraordinary. If we practice for very good, we may be good enough. If we practice for good enough, in the chaos of the moment of confrontation, we will be in trouble. So we strive for perfection knowing it is not attainable, but knowing it is what will carry us through in that moment of stress.

Dead Fighting

Dead fighting is another term synonymous with the Tang Soo Do one-step training system. Both terms imply that there is little movement from the attacker, that being in the form of taking one step forward with a face punch. This type of training is used to improve timing, distancing, and to ensure effective use of techniques. Once comfortable with the techniques from a one step, anyone can use the same techniques in a practical self protection application.

training 3

Tang Soo Do training promotes strengthening and flexibility along with a great aerobic workout.   Like any other training system, what you put in is what you get out of it.   People that put in the training time and effort, see great results.  This aspect of training along with the street practical self defense application of  martial arts techniques, make Tang Soo Do a favorite for many people, especially for adult men and women, who are  looking for the benefits of karate classes.

street practical

Tang Soo Do has many techniques that can be applied to self defense.  These include, powerful striking techniques using kicks, knees, elbows, and hand strikes.  Using Tang Soo Do based joint locks, arm bars, and chokes is also an effective way to stop an attacker.   We also have a variety of take-downs, sweeps, and throws which can have a  street thug on his back looking up and wondering what happened.

Why break boards?

The old line of “Boards don’t fight back.” is very true.  What that line does not consider is why we break boards, bricks, etc.  One simple reason is to test the power of a technique.  When a martial arts practitioner uses breaking as part of their training, it gives us a means of trying out the power of a technique.  Practicing breaking a board, cement slab, etc. lets us know that we are generating enough power with that technique to cause damage to the human body when necessary, as in defending against a violent attacker.  Another reason is, as seen in these videos, it’s very empowering  to both newer students and more experienced students.


Tang Soo Do/mma

The leg techniques, hand techniques, sweeps, throws, joint locks, and chokes found in Tang Soo Do, make it an original mixed martial art.   The emphasis in Tang Soo Do is found in its powerful striking techniques.  But, practitioners learn many different ways of defending themselves as well as learning many different methods of subduing their opponent(s).   Learning to defend against multiple attackers and against a variety of weapons is part of regular Tang Soo Do training as is found in many traditional karate styles.