The True, the False, and the Ridiculous Myths of Tae Kwon-Do

 

I am never surprised by the amount of myths out there about Tae Kwon-Do and Martial Arts in general. 

They tend to originate amongst people who have never set foot in a dojang, and never would. That is why I want to address some of them – regardless of how ridiculous they may be – to set the record straight. 

Myth: Black Belts in any martial art have to “register” their hands and feet as lethal weapons

I am a 9th-Dan Tae Kwon-Do Grand Master who has trained many police, FBI, and other people in law enforcement. Never once have they required me to register my hands and feet. 

There is a similar myth that if you want to try and fight me, before we fight, I legally have to step back and warn you that I am a black belt in Tae Kwon-Do. I do not. I promise that if you start a fight with me, I will not waste any of either of our time warning you about what I am about to do to you. I’m just going to do it.

Myth: It doesn’t hurt when we get hit. 

Earning your Black Belt does not give you superpowers. People think somehow it doesn’t hurt when I get kicked or punched, or that it doesn’t hurt to kick or punch someone. Trust me, it hurts a LOT. I am just trained to handle the pain better than most.

You watch martial arts movies and you see a guy get kicked in the head multiple times and get up. That simply doesn’t happen. If you get kicked in the head by someone who knows what they’re doing, you’re not getting up, no matter who you are.

You watch martial arts movies and you see a guy get kicked in the head multiple times and get up. That simply doesn’t happen. If you get kicked in the head by someone who knows what they’re doing, you’re not getting up, no matter who you are. 

Myth: If you’re a Black Belt, you can win any fight. 

Back when I was just “Mr. Gorino,” I had a student that we will call Dave. He was a little weird, but a good student. After he passed his black belt test, he came up to me and asked: “Mister Gorino! Now that I’m a black belt, do you think I could take Bruce Smith?”

For those of you that don’t know, Bruce Smith was a Buffalo Bills Defensive End during the Super Bowl runs of the early 90’s. He was a specimen when he played. An absolute monster. He was 6’ 4”, over 260lbs and routinely had single-digit body fat, which was leaner than many running backs and wide receivers of the time. 

Bruce Smith is the NFL’s all-time sack leader, and made the Pro Bowl every year of his career except one, when he was injured. He was big, he was strong, he was fast. He was terrifying on the field.

“No,” I said. “You’re not going to beat him.”

Similar to this, some believe that a 7 or 8 year old black belt can intrinsically win a fight against an adult with no martial arts training. Sure, the training helps to level the playing field, but there are certain physiological advantages that a full-grown adult just naturally has over a child. 

Myth: Women can’t do Tae Kwon-Do as well as Men

I’m sure that some people still believe the myth that women are at a natural disadvantage and can’t do Tae Kwon-Do as well as men. Thankfully, I think that is disappearing, but I think it’s still there. Tae Kwon-Do is much less of a male-dominated martial art than it used to be, so while I haven’t seen it much – and I certainly would never tolerate it at our dojang – I’m sure some may still harbor this misconception.. 

Myth: Once You’re a Black Belt, it Sticks With You Forever

I have had many people restart their martial arts training with us after taking a significant amount of time off, and some of them think they will just come back and still have their moves. I try not to laugh too loudly at those people, but it always makes me laugh. 

It is true that once you earn your black belt, you will always be a black belt. But I have stated many, many times that the skills and techniques that we learn and teach here are perishable. The only way to keep them sharp is to keep training.

Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, visit the Contact Us page or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!

 

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