Wednesday, May 16, 2007


If all goes well, I'll be moving to sunny California in the fall. I'll be living in Berkeley. I'd love to know if anybody has any thoughts on where to train in Taekwondo or martial arts in general in that area. I would prefer to continue in the style of Taekwondo I do now -- we call it Traditional Taekwondo or Korean Karate, and do the forms starting with Chon-Ji. I'm still not sure entirely which *TF it is. But I am definitely open to other styles and arts. I guess what I am looking for most is a rigorous studio with roughly the same style so that I don't feel like I am starting right at the beginning again; I would love to continue with the same set of forms. I'm ok with the above conditions not being satisfied if its a very good studio. I would also like a place which gives equal emphasis to drills, sparring and forms. I like all three aspects very much and wouldn't want to give up on any of them.

Aaaa...I am so resistant to the unfamiliar! What I definitely am looking for is a teacher who has a good self-interpretation of the art. I.e., not someone who just regurgitates the things they have learnt without thinking about it.

I will be checking out the TKD program at UC Berkeley. Has anyone had any experience there or heard of anyone who trained in TKD there?


Amanda said...


Little Cricket said...

Are there sub-styles within ITF? I had the impression that even within ITF, people do different forms.

Amanda said...

Ahhhh, no clue. 99.99% of taekwondo in SOUTH Korea is WTF so right now I barely pay any attention to ITF.

I think after General Choi died (and even before), the group splintered. I think there are now three groups?

I hope someone else more knowledgeable answers your question, because I'm not sure...

Little Cricket said...

Yeah, that's why I have no idea about all this.

Anyway...the search for studios is not going so well. Most places in the Bay area seem to practice WTF. I found that the downtown YMCA had exactly the kind of classes I was looking for, but it seems the page may have been outdated :(

Colin Wee said...

Most ITF schools will practice the Chang Hon set of patterns. This includes Chon-ji, Dan-gun, etc. However, if you are talking about 'Traditional Taekwondo' and Chon-ji, this means that you're practicing a lineage brought out of Korea in the mid 1950s or 1960s (probably from a Chung Do Kwan lineage) - performed similar to Shotokan Karate, rather than the way the ITF organisation practices them. There are ITF schools and there are ITF schools. Some practice Chang Hon patterns but with 'sine wave' ... which will be very alien to a Traditional Taekwondo practitioner. If you are going to look for an ITF school you should look for one that practices Chang Hon without the 'sine wave'. Colin

Little Cricket said...

Thanks for the info regarding the particular type of ITF taekwondo. We don't do our forms with sine wave. This is frustrating, maybe it rules out even some of the ITF places I looked up!

It seems to be hard to find the specific thing I'm looking for, as it seems to be less common in those parts (I might be wrong). Also, schools don't go into much detail about what they teach on their web pages. Do you have any advice for a beginner? Should I be less rigid and try some other style? I feel fairly comfortable in my current style, and want to explore it further. Do you think I might try to find a shotokan karate school instead?

Sorry for so many questions. I am pretty confused about what to do! Perhaps the thing to do is go visit and scout out the schools in person!

Little Cricket said...

What about ITA ( They seems to practice the Chang Hon forms as well. I didn't see any mention of sine wave on their website, perhaps this is a possibility.

Colin Wee said...

I get a lot of inquiries through my website. Many people ask me, do you practice this or that. And when I say no, that's typically the end of their questioning. I hardly get questions regarding the best instructors around the region. I know quite a few around me, and am more than happy to make recommendations - and this is the kind of 'industry-specific' advice that should be sought after.

What are your aims with the martial arts? Is it to progress in a certain style? Or is it to learn something of real value? If you are to learn something of real value then I'd suggest you'd have to look for an instructor that is able to provide you with that value.

I myself practiced my first martial arts for 8 years before figuring out that it really didn't teach me anything. The impetus was my moving countries and starting college - this allowed me to start learning a whole different system under a different teacher. I am now a high-ranking black belt of that style ... 16 years after I started.

If you want to continue in your first style, then I'd suggest you to start your research!

The ITA site seemed to indicate that they would practice something more similar to what you do - looking at their uniforms and their other additional activities (including weapons). They also seem to do Hapkido - which will expand your striking skills with locks and throws. Good luck there!


Little Cricket said...

Hi Colin,

Thanks for your message. I had to think about what I really want from training. Can I ask if there are any teachers in the Bay area who you would recommend? I'm assuming your advice is to ask about teachers of particular styles from the people who I get in touch with?

My aims; I started taekwondo after a couple of years of being sick, and almost bedridden. I'd almost lost control of what was happening to my health. Then thankfully, I came out of it, and regained my health. After that experience, I don't want to stop myself from trying anything I set my mind to. It has been incredibly empowering. So from my training, I want something that will challenge me physically and mentally in the sense that it should be difficult to overcome one's fear of doing hard things.

I particularly enjoy martial arts, and I'd like to continue training and definitely learning things of value, no matter what style. I want to learn something that will give me mental peace and physical strength. I have become a bit emotionally attached to the particular style I've started in, hence, the effort to find a place where I could continue in the same style.

When I was 10, I used to play the flute. At that time my parents moved back to India from the US, where there were no teachers for a western flute. I had my heart set on learning the flute, and for months after words, I played the notes in the air on an imaginary flute, learning the new music from my book only in my head and with my fingers. I had to stop after a while though, but that feeling of loss (or something) is with me even now! I think that I don't want to feel the same way, and not be able to become more and more proficient in my style and leave it at this point.

I guess I am willing to spend some time finding out whether I am learning anything or not. Perhaps I am being immature by resisting a change of style.

The reason I looked up ITA was that there is a teacher in Berkeley - Luther Secrease - whose website says he is affiliated with ITA.

Thanks so much for your input. if you don't mind teriibly, I might bug you at some later time during my search for more advice!