The Purpose of Training in Tang Soo Do (Karate) – Introduction

Over the next several weeks, I will be posting 10 separate posts on the purpose of training in Tang Soo Do.  These will be technical posts about the different areas of training in Tang Soo Do (and many karate styles as well).  You may have read that the ultimate goal of Tang Soo Do is to become one with nature.  I have written on that topic in the past.  

These posts will not be philosophical in nature. They will be mostly technical.  You may have read that the purposes of Tang Soo Do training are health, self-defense, and to be a better person.  This statement is very true but it is also vague.  I will be going into great detail on each of the core aspects of training to show how Tang Soo Do is a complete self-defense system.  I will not address the health and better person aspects of training in these posts either.

Karate fighters training in Tang Soo Do
Karate fighters

The 10-part series

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic techniques
  3. Forms
  4. One Step Sparring
  5. Three Step Sparring
  6. Free Sparring
  7. Self-Defense
  8. Breaking
  9. Weapons
  10. History/Philosophy/Terminology

Karate is not as good as MMA

Over the many years teaching and training, I have heard many passersby say Tang Soo Do is not a good self-defense system. Dispelling this myth is the main reason I am taking on this endeavor.  These people routinely point to MMA fights and training as the “real deal”.  When you watch an MMA fight you can see immediately that it is effective but when you watch a karate class you see something much different.  To the layperson karate classes can look like dance class or Hollywood style fake fighting.

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Competition is not a purpose of training in karate
Competitions like in MMA are not a purpose of training in karate

I intend to show over the course of 10 separate articles, that Tang Soo Do/Karate is an effective form of self-defense by dissecting each of the areas mentioned above. Showing that Tang Soo Do or Karate are better or more effective than MMA is not the purpose of this series.  Many people write or comment on “the best martial art”.  There is no such thing.  Every martial art is effective if understood and trained in properly.  Who would win in a fight between an MMA fighter and a karate fighter?  I don’t know and frankly I don’t care.

Learning karate is a long road much like studying to be a doctor
A student doctor studying for the MCATs can be used as an analogy between MMA and Karate fighting

The purpose of MMA is to win

I will end this introduction with an analogy.  Two students are preparing to take the MCATs (medical school entrance exam).  Student A has the exact answers to the test and studies/memorizes those questions/answers only.  Student B takes classes for many, many years and learns about every subject covered.  I liken Student A to an MMA fighter and Student B to a karateka (karate practitioner).  I am not saying I consider MMA fighters cheaters! On the contrary, MMA fighters are preparing for one thing and that is to win a fight and they do it quite well.  Karate practitioners are on a lifelong journey to gain wisdom and better themselves.

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