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Nate S.
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Choi Kwang Do: a joint friendly martial art

Hello! Have you ever wondered what would happen if an experienced martial artist teamed up with a group of physical therapists to create a style that was both easy on the joints and hard-hitting? Well, that's exactly how Choi Kwang Do was conceived. I hope to give you a brief summary of the style for discussion's sake. I've personally never seen/practiced anything else much like it, so I hope you find this interesting!

Kwang Jo Choi, the founder, was an International Taekwondo Federation demonstration team member selected to spread that art to Southeast Asia. However, his constant demonstrations left him with repetitive strain injuries and joint problems, so he moved to North America for medical treatment. While there, he began researching and developing his own way of moving so that he could continue to practice without reinjuring himself.

Source:   http://choikwangdo.com/about_GMC.html

Here's an example of what he came up with, with the help of his PTs:

 

There forms are called "patterns", which repeat the same sequence in 4 directions until black belt, in which they follow a more traditional embusen. 

 

As you can see, all of the techniques are rounded-they don't follow the same route back. This allows time to decelerate the movement, and reduces strain on the muscles and joints. Nothing is ever fully extended either. Emphasis is placed on sequential movement (legs, hips, torso, arm) to utilize the stretch reflex and increase power generated. 

Although it can be seen as a "block-kick-punch" style, they also do have specific "close range techniques" such as bearhug defences and a sweep or two. These follow the core ethos of simplicity and utilizing biomechanically efficient movement.

I attained shodan in this style in 2014. If you twisted my arm (and I couldn't spin and smash you as in pinan/heian sandan ;-), then I would have to confess that it does tend to telegraph, fails to do much trapping or live training, and tends to come off as a McDojang "martial arts cult". Also, I don't think it's especially aesthetically pleasing, either. However, its simplicity and emphasis on function over form, as well as promise of longevity, makes it worth practicing in my opinion. 

Thanks for reading! I look forward to seeing what you think! 

P.S. How can I learn how to embed videos? I looked at the HTML page, but I didn't see it. Thanks!

-N.S.

Iain Abernethy
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Nate S. wrote:
How can I learn how to embed videos? I looked at the HTML page, but I didn't see it. Thanks!

All done :-) Only those with moderator privileges can embed videos. If you post the link to the video, I will do in the next time I visit.

All the best,

Iain

JD
JD's picture

Hi Nate S,

Interesting post, I viewed the 2 vids above and clicked on another as it came up as my recommended on youtube, to which I have posted below. 

I always have a healthy respect for other arts and it's practitioners and would never want to slander or comment against something in a derogatory manner, that being said I must be honest in my thoughts and opinions. 

The idea of a martial art or any sport that has the wellbeing and health of it's practitioners at heart is fantastic, and the fact in this art they've included physio's to give a scientific approach to it's techniques is a great idea and interesting to see what's produced as a result!

Taking into consideration where you've chosen to post the above thread, I can only assume most on this website would view this with a realistic and pragmatic outlook as I generally do and have done. That being the case, whilst the art maybe better for your joints and muscles, I struggle to see and feel it's abilty to be useful under real pressure in practical situations, the head instructor Kwang Jo Choi seems very fit and supple for his age and can no doubt hit pads with tremendous force, however, that's all he and the pupils seem to do... at no point are they using the very repetitive and limited in variation techniques in sparring or under any pressure against an opponent even at semi contact (touch) level.

Which begs the question, am I wrong? Do they practice sparring of any kind and if they do, how do they go about it? i.e rules, judging, contact etc...

Would it be much use in a real confrontaion against a drug fueled agressive opponent? To be honest I'm not personally convinced it would be.

Sometimes 'new' arts are fabricated to become more of a business and selling scheme to make money instead being of a passion and true skill to preserve and pass onto others. I'm not suggesting this is one of them, but there's a lot like that out there...

 

Also in the video I've posted you can see men, women and children hitting pads and thin air using kicks whilst wearing multi coloured suits and most importantly BLACK BELTS around their wastes (with lots of gold dan bars), the quality of technique these 'black belts' execute is not that good and I can't help but feel these people are maybe, I repeat, maybe being given false hope and belief that they're learning and performing something that is not that useful or practical in the real world. 

Also the otherside of the coin is to the inexperienced, uninitiated and non martial artists out there, this will no doubt water down the understanding and quality image of the 'black belt' and in effect could reflect bad on those who have trained hard to achieve the status and grade of 1st dan in other styles. I believe Iain did a very detailed thread on the topic of karate ka's being awarded unjust black belts, whilst Choi Kwang Do isn't karate, I still can't help but feel it falls into the same bracket, which is disapointing.

In order to be practical and use-able in self defence as well as for personal improvement, fitness etc... a person must accept there's to be some wear and tear in martial arts and if a goals worth chasing, usually there's a price to pay somewhere along the line, nothing's for free and as the saying goes - ''you need to crack a few eggs to make an omelette''. That being said, I feel we should train smart and fight smart in order to be sensible and ensure we can practise the arts we enjoy for as long as possible!

Another interesting point is whilst this arts main promotion is it's healthy low wear and tear for greater health in older age, look at some of the great karate masters like Suzuki and Otsuka who trained fast and demonstrated incredibly well into their 80's! Proof is in the pudding and karate seemed to do them more than justice and good health.

Ultimately I don't want to sound bad and I apologise if this post comes across in the wrong way, it's not my intention. If people enjoy this art for what it is and understand what they'll benefit from training it and are under no illusions of practicality... then great, if they get something out of it and it keeps the kids occupied... brillaint! Just not very realistic in my opinion.   

Maybe there's more to it and I'm missing something, I can only give my verdict on what I see.

I wish you all the best and good luck with your pursuit in this art...

JD

Nate S.
Nate S.'s picture

Iain-thank you for letting me know!  Also, thank you even more for introducing me to the concept of realistic bunkai all those years ago-you really opened my eyes!

JD:

Thank you so much for the tactful and thoughtful response to my original post! Some of your concerns are argualbly valid. Let me explain:

There are several red flags, such as the way they sometimes claim that their style is superior to all others, the multitude of belts before black belt (money-hungry?), and their discouragement of learning from other sources. Was it Geoff Thompson who said that "when you put walls around people, the first thing they'll want to do is climb them"? They generally tell their students that traditional styles lack "power" and will ruin their joints to discourage them from leaving. Finally, as of the last I heard, they "officially" didn't spar at all, claiming that training people to control their blows was antithetical to learning to hit hard anyway. 

They do, however, utilize visualization training and pacing the floor with each other just out of range to try and condition themselves to the idea of aiming. Most of the training time is spent hitting pads and performing patterns in the air and against pads, which sometimes involves having the instructor swing the pads at them to encourage weaving or blocking. Furthermore, many schools do spar, although that isn't sanctioned by the organization. 

Also, the art is much simpler than any of the other arts I've studied. They teach very few techniques, instead preferring to drill their techniques more often, going "deeper" instead of "wider". I personally think that most of them would be defeated quickly against any sport fighting style in a ring, but they would likely fare better when facing the untrained. The techniques are almost all simple and direct, which can backfire in sport. I agree with what Ian says, the first prerequisite of any martial art is effectiveness in self defence. 

I got my start in Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo (no sine wave), so learning Choi Kwang Do was as frustrating for me as learning Brazillian Jujitsu or Hapkido. It just felt all wrong, like it left me wide open to a counterattack while telegraphing (kinda a bad combination!). I pushed forward because I was fascinated by the fusion of my two deepest areas of study-Taekwondo and Kinesiology. In time, the movements felt less and less awkward, and I especially appreciated the angles certain techniques strike the jaw, for example. 

As an interesting aside, according to two of my friends who lived and practiced Kukkiwan Taekwondo in Korea, the black belt is seen as a much lower grade there than it is in the west. They were confused at the reverence we give it, as they each obtained theirs in about a year (although they trained about an hour or more a day during that time). Both of them were Korean, one fully, the other the daughter of a native and an American military man. The former of the two was a fourth Dan in his early 20's. Since Choi Kwang Do is culturaly Korean (maybe Korean American), it makes sense that they would hold the black belt in the same low regard. For the record, though, they have their black belt test at the end of their third year of training.

In summary, there are several things to complain about with the way it's taught, but I still believe the techniques themselves can be a part of an intelligent approach to exercise and, yes, even self defence. I'm not giving up all the other striking, locking, groudfighting, and throwing I've learned anytime soon though. 

Thanks again!

-NS

P.S. I really don't mean to sound like I'm proselytizing; I love traditional martial arts too! Today, my training is about 70% traditional, 30% Choi Kwang Do. 

Iain Abernethy
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Nate S. wrote:
Was it Geoff Thompson who said that "when you put walls around people, the first thing they'll want to do is climb them"?

Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson are joint chief instructors of the British Combat Association … but that’s Peter’s line, not Geoff’s. Close though :-)

I don’t really feel I can contribute much to this tread as I’m not familiar with style being discussed.

The sentiment below is something you hear regularly enough though:

Nate S. wrote:
Finally, as of the last I heard, they "officially" didn't spar at all, claiming that training people to control their blows was antithetical to learning to hit hard anyway.

There are lots of “reasons” given not to include sparring / live practise, but none of them hold up to scrutiny in my view. As for this one, you only need look at full contact combat sports to see the fallacy.

Boxers, MMA fighters, Thai-Boxers, Kick-Boxers, etc all win by knocking people out with powerful strikes. They all spar because they know live practise is needed to land the shot and not get KO’d yourself. No amount of bag work and pad work can give the skills that sparring does.

They key thing to acknowledge here is that the clear majority of full contact athletes spar light too. None of them want to get hurt in training and not be able to compete, so although they fight full contact, they don’t train full contact … but that has no effect on their ability to hit hard when needed.

It’s all about getting the mix right so the inherent weaknesses of one method is balanced against the inherent strengths of another. Real situations are live, so parts of training need to be live too. While it is true that sparring requires control, the liveness it provides is vital. Additionally, the required control can be mitigated through pad drills, slow motion drills with follow through, etc.

Totally rejecting sparring on the basis of control means that you are also rejecting developing realistic tactics, timing, distancing, reactions, etc.

There are also many different kinds of sparring, depending upon the stated objective. You can spar in a self-defence focused way that includes escaping, multiple enemies, protecting others, etc. The argument that sparring isn’t relevant to self-defence is also fallacious. You make it relevant.

The argument that “we can’t spar because the methods are too dangerous” is also fallacious. We can’t expect to be able to apply anything in live situations if we have never had any exposure to live situations. We can use protective equipment and substitution (i.e. touch neck with hand as opposed to squeezing throat). The omission of certain methods is unavoidable; however, if we reject all sparring on the basis of a handful of methods then we also reject the ability to function in the chaotic world of actual conflict.

Back to the original point, it is not enough to be able to hit hard … you also need the attributes to be able to land your blows in live situations too. Sparring is the key way to develop those attributes.

As I say, I can’t comment specifically on the style. I can say that, irrespective of style, the omission of all live practise is problematic in my view. Live practise is vital.

All the best,

Iain

PASmith
PASmith's picture

they "officially" didn't spar at all, claiming that training people to control their blows was antithetical to learning to hit hard anyway

With out wishing to style bash...this line would hold a lot more weight if the videos of CKD padwork showed some striking power. But they really don't. One of the main problems with CKD is that it is a development of TKD, which in turn is a development of Japanese karate, which in turn is a development of Okinawan karate. So when they criticise TKD techniques for various reasons it's not because the techniques are themselves "bad" but because, as Iain has shown, they weren't transmitted very well.

Anf
Anf's picture

Perhaps this new style has something to offer as a means of calisthenics type exercise that might build the muscles used in fighting arts?

In that respect, even if it lacks as a combat art in itself, perhaps it has a lot to offer in the training mix for other styles?

Certainly I like the idea of training with reduced risk of repetitive strain injuries of various kinds.

The tai chi folks do lots of exaggerated but slow and circular moves. Some do it purely for health or even just fun, but some do it as part of martial arts training. Those in the latter group don't attempt to replicate the intricacies of their slow practice when going at full speed, but they often claim that the slow circular practice facilities the faster martial stuff.

JD
JD's picture

Hi Nate ,

you have an interesting fair and balanced view point in response to my post that I can't help but respect, it seems like this art is additional to your existing martial arts and so on that basis if you enjoy it for reasons aside from practical self defence then brilliant or ''ahh bisto!'' As we like to say in East Yorkshire. :-)

I can certainly understand what you mean in regards fewer techniques but more training of them, less is more sometimes. It's been observed that the aggressive street fighter who has no martial art experience will have one 'tool in the box' that he/she uses (usually a right straight or hook) repeatedly without fail, their go to technique when a conflict starts, on the other hand is an experienced martial artist who has many different 'tools in the box' to choose from depending on the situation and position their in, often whilst the experienced martial artist is contemplating which tool fits best, the street fighter has already hit them with their automatic one stop shop technique and the fight is over before it starts. In other words you can practice many techniques but it doesn't necessarily mean you need them all (especially all at once), with this in mind what you wrote above ''going deeper instead of wider'' ​ has a relative and interesting point.

Like Bruce Lee said; ''I fear not the man who has practiced 10 000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10 000 times.''

​So I partially agree with the concept of training less but more often, however the technique must still be solid!

''in Korea, the black belt is seen as a much lower grade there than it is in the west.'' - ​This may be the case with some instructors or styles within Korea, but considering the vid I posted was of 'Wembley CKD London club' and the majority of all the pupils in the video participating are British/American (western origin), the issue of unjust black belts still stands due to the demonstrations and clubs being in this country - the UK. Regardless of the Korean ethos, they need to consider how this fares when promoting the art in other parts of the world. 

For example...  Just because I'm used to not taking my shoes off in my house doesn't mean I should do the same when visiting my neighbours house next door, they have different rules and rituals and I must consider them before I proceed. Same concept applies in connection to how the uninitiated, non-martial artist view things over here as opposed to back home in Korea, if that makes sense? 

By the way, I always take my shoes off when I come home... Just wanting to clear that one up! Literally! Haha!

I still don't think an art that doesn't incorporate some sparring is gearing itself for real self defence, Iain's covered that aspect and hit the nail firmly on the head with the points raised and so I wont go into it any more. 

Another thing to consider is I'm looking at this standing from a view point of a younger man that is in good health (currently), as I inevitably and annoyingly get older with more wear and tear, I may well look upon this art in a different light.

Many thanks for writing the orginal post, you've introduced me to another art with interesting factors and a scientific health orientated approach in the way it operates, which is not usually the primary objective with most martial arts and for that reason if nothing other, it's unique.

Good luck Nate and all the best,

JD

Nate S.
Nate S.'s picture
Iain Abernethy wrote:

Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson are joint chief instructors of the British Combat Association … but that’s Peter’s line, not Geoff’s. Close though :-)

Ah! Thanks for clearing that up!

Iain Abernethy wrote:

Boxers, MMA fighters, Thai-Boxers, Kick-Boxers, etc all win by knocking people out with powerful strikes. They all spar because they know live practise is needed to land the shot and not get KO’d yourself. No amount of bag work and pad work can give the skills that sparring does.

I read an article once that stressed that some karateka have unintentionally pulled blows or missed punches when they counted, especially when they only sparred in the age old "controlled blows one inch from the target" way. I wonder if mixing up the type of sparring from time to time would be best. I should reread your articles on sparring for the street. Thanks for those.

As far as Choi Kwang Do, my instructor eventually tried to introduce sparring. Since he and I were the only people who had sparred before, we were the only ones who were able to perform with good Choi Kwang Do technique. The others had some technique, but a lot of matches degenerated into slapping or timid back and forths with no commitment. However, my instructor (a 3rd dan in American Kempo) beat me soundly, while using mostly CKD technique. On this basis, I can comfortably say that CKD techniques can work in a live sparring environment if the user has the fortitude to use them. 

PASMITH wrote:

One of the main problems with Choi Kwang Do is that it is a development of TKD, which in turn is a development of Japanese karate, which in turn is a development of Okinawan karate. So when they criticise TKD techniques for various reasons it's not because the techniques are themselves "bad" but because, as Iain has shown, they weren't transmitted very well.

I can agree that the bunkai never made the trip from Okinawa to Korea, but I disagree, respectfully, that that makes Choi Kwang Do ineffective because Choi Kwang Do does not have many of the original motions of Karate or Taekwondo. Therefore, to say that it suffers from a misunderstanding of the original motions doesn't seem like a valid complaint. Instead of being a bunkai-less Karate mix, it's more of a separate art entirely. You wouldn't say kickboxing suffers from the same problem as Taekwondo, because it's a seperate style too. It's similar with Choi Kwang Do. 

ANF wrote:
Perhaps this new style has something to offer as a means of calisthenics type exercise that might build the muscles used in fighting arts?

In that respect, even if it lacks as a combat art in itself, perhaps it has a lot to offer in the training mix for other styles?

I use Choi Kwang Do as a warm up before practicing other styles, precisely for this reason.  Ian has often stated that, as long as you know what you are training for, you will be able to train for sport, art, and self defence without getting them confused. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I could understand why someone would say "you fight the way your train, so you really shouldn't be doing that at all". Still, I imagine that visualizing what you're training for could help keep one from having an inappropriate reaction. 

That, of course, assumes Choi Kwang Do is actually Kakapo-Do for personal protection in the first place. ;-) I think it would work if it was trained properly. Then again, I've been in almost no fights outside the dojo in my life so I'm basing that assumption on the principles gleaned from others.

JD wrote:
you have an interesting fair and balanced view point in response to my post that I can't help but respect, it seems like this art is additional to your existing martial arts and so on that basis if you enjoy it for reasons aside from practical self defence then brilliant or ''ahh bisto!'' As we like to say in East Yorkshire. :-)

Thanks! :-) I've never heard that expression before-I may steal it! You're too kind :-)

JD wrote:
For example...  Just because I'm used to not taking my shoes off in my house doesn't mean I should do the same when visiting my neighbours house next door, they have different rules and rituals and I must consider them before I proceed. Same concept applies in connection to how the uninitiated, non-martial artist view things over here as opposed to back home in Korea, if that makes sense?

I see what you're getting at there. The black belt is a high standard in the west, and it seems like that's what black belts ought to be held to if they are western. They do technically wait four years or so to test for black belt, but children having black belts is perhaps improper. I don't know. I wonder if black belts will ever be as highly regarded as they once were in the west again. Also, I wonder why the black belt got its' status over here in the first place. Still, in number of years, I'd say CKD is on the light side of sufficient for 1st dan when adults are concerned. 

JD wrote:
​​So I partially agree with the concept of training less but more often, however the technique must still be solid!

Agreed, and I DO think they sacrifice something in the name of ease on the joints. Having sparred with someone with CKD training and traditional training, I think CKD can be used effectively if trained well and with live training. It's also true that, in western culture, we are more likely to die from heart disease than violence, so CKD could be highly effective for people who just want a fun way to exercise, as long as they appreciate exacltly what they're training for. 

Thank you all!

-Nate S.

Anf
Anf's picture

Nate S wrote:
Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I could understand why someone would say "you fight the way your train'.

I think the common and sound advice that we should train the way we'd fight, because we'll only fight as effectively as we train, is often misunderstood or misinterpreted. If all we're interested in is developing power, we don't really need highly qualified teachers. Someone with a bit of street fighting experience will do, to supervise us as we relentless wallop a heavy bag. I take the advice to mean that we should focus on powerful techniques of course, but that we should also use our noggin. We should develop a feel for what's going on in our bodies, and where are strengths and weaknesses are so that we can isolate those weaknesses and focus on them. If we always train like we're fighting, we'd be bust up in no time. By the very nature of real combat, when faced with the prospect of a severe beating, lots of things happen to our body chemistry. All with a single purpose. To make us stronger and faster than we'd normally be, to reduce our sense of pain, and to make use tougher for the short term. Compromises happen. The forces we endure are greater than we'd endure under normal circumstances, but that's OK, best walk away with a few strains and bruises than to not walk away at all. But if we train in such a way that we are frequently exposing ourselves to combat level forces, and all the strains and cartilage wear that goes with that, we're saving our prospective attackers a job. We're busting ourselves up. So I think the old train as you'd fight advice means sure, train hard enough to develop physical strength, but also train the mind to function clearly under pressure and to understand what's going on.

JD
JD's picture

Hi Nate S,

Thanks for response and good reply.

Nate S wrote:
I wonder why the black belt got its' status over here in the first place'

That's a good question, not 100% sure myself, I would guess it's a mix of 2 things...

1st being, back in the 70's when Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris both hit the movie screen, people had never seen anything quite like it and wanted to emulate what they saw. This resulted in a massive influx of people joing their local karate clubs in a hope to become 'crouching tiger hidden dragon!' lol. The issue here was most sensei's of that time wasn't necessarily knowledgeable or well experienced in what they taught, as a result a lot of self elevating and ego protecting occurred by instructors emphasising how important their 'black belt' were, ultimately creating a fake awe around themselves.

2nd for me is they didn't know much about any origins of their chosen art and assumed that if Chuck and Bruce were black belts and their particular sensei was also, they must all fall under the same bracket of awesomeness! also we have a tendancy to dramatise everything we do unlike our easten friends who are usually the opposite of dramatic and so the status of the 'Black belt' was born! 

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I do agree it can be seen here in the west (black belt) as an end goal instead of the beginning of something more as other countries do (who created the art) :) 

All the best,

JD

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi All,

With my moderator hat on, can I ask that we make use of the quote function so the threads are easier to follow … and to save me having to edit it in. Thank you!

https://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/content/important-please-remember-quote-correctly

All the best,

Iain

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Nate S. wrote:
I read an article once that stressed that some karateka have unintentionally pulled blows or missed punches when they counted, especially when they only sparred in the age old "controlled blows one inch from the target" way.

That is mentioned a lot and it’s a problem. But it’s not a problem caused by light sparring. It’s just that they are messing up the training matrix in another way.

Boxers, MMA fighters, kick boxers and Thai fighters don’t pull their punches in the ring; even though most spar light in training.

The problem many karateka have is that they only ever hit light i.e. it’s controlled punches with a partner, and then air punching.

They don’t spend enough time on impact equipment … so they only punch they have is a controlled punch. It’s not surprising that’s what comes out; because they have nothing else.

We should spend a significant amount of training time hitting things hard, if we want to be able to hit hard.

If I had to put a figure on it, I would say at least a third of our training time should be spent hitting pads, bags and shields. Unfortunately, many karateka never hit pads; and if they do it is often “tappy” … and that’s the problem.

We should spar so we have the skills needed to land blows against resisting people who are trying to land their own blows. For safety, we can spar light in order to avoid both short-term and long-term injury. To get the right training matrix, we should also spend lots of time on the pads, so we know we can hit hard (real hard, not what most call “hard”). As per my previous post, it is the training matrix that gets the overall right result with the strengths of one method counteracting the weaknesses of another method.

If we don’t practise live (spar), there is no way we will be able to effectively apply our skills in live situations … because we’ve never practised it. Likewise, if we don’t practise hitting things hard, we won’t be able to hit hard. Some don’t spar, and some don’t hit things … and both are ineffective ways to train in my view. It’s the mix that makes it.

All the best,

Iain

JD
JD's picture

Hi Iain,

My apologies regards quoting posts, I'm not the best with computers (next to useless actually lol) but after looking I've realised there's a quote button below members posts

I'll make sure I use that method in the future,

All the best,

JD 

PASmith
PASmith's picture

I can agree that the bunkai never made the trip from Okinawa to Korea, but I disagree, respectfully, that that makes Choi Kwang Do ineffective because Choi Kwang Do does not have many of the original motions of Karate or Taekwondo.

I'm not sayig CKD is inneffective for that resaon. What I'm saying is that the misunderstanding of the motions is one of the reason CKD sprang from TKD/Karate. If someone doesn't understand what they have it can seem to make sense to make something new. When actually doing something like Iain has done and re-examining what he has could have shed new light. It's entirely possible to train TKD safely, effectively, retaining the movements, etc without having to make a new art.

What caused the joint problems, IMHO, in earlier practitioners wasn't the techniques themselves but the training practices. Full power air punching and kicking, bunny hop warms ups, bouncing stretches. That kind of thing.

My criticism of CKD mainly is that it calls itself a self defence art and yet from what I can see the pad work is usually pretty poor, low powered, has lots of spinning and higher than needed kicks and overall doesn't look as if it prepares someone to survive a real situation.

PASmith
PASmith's picture

I wonder why the black belt got its' status over here in the first place'

Because back in the day many arts sent their hardest bar-stewards out to spread their art, kids didn't really train in the arts and generally if you got a black belt you were someone that could motor and had been put through the wringer. If you think of the early days of Karate in this country you had people like Enoeda and Kanazawa and they graded up people like Terry O'Neill, Andy Sherry, Frank Brennan, etc.