How Far Tae Kwon-Do Has Come


It’s a bit cliché to talk about how things were “back in my day.” For me, that would be the 70’s and 80’s. 

But I don’t consider it to be “my day” at all. 

When I was first starting out, there was a different type of attitude in the martial arts world. People were coming to martial arts schools strictly to learn how to fight. Good martial arts fighters wanted to be better. “Street fighters” wanted a few new tricks. Law enforcement personnel wanted hand-to-hand combat techniques to help them with their jobs. 

In general, though, most people coming to the dojang during those times were already in pretty good physical shape. Since we didn’t have to build up their strength or endurance very much, we could get to the martial arts training more quickly. The journey from “just starting out” to “black belt” was more steady, Their bodies could handle it. 

Over time–especially getting into the late 90s and early 2000s–people began coming in who were in really poor physical shape. Others weren’t overweight, but lived sedentary lifestyles or just lacked any muscle strength. If we would have jumped straight into the martial arts training with those people, they would have been hurt. Plain and simple. Their muscles weren’t ready. Their joints weren’t ready. Their bodies weren’t ready. 

Our path has adapted to the times. For those who need more help getting into shape, this means a different road to black belt. Extra time is spent getting their bodies ready to withstand what Tae Kwon-Do asks of them. This journey presents opportunities to apply a more holistic approach to training. For instance, we also offer weapons training, which means that we can produce quality martial artists and not just straight up “Tae Kwon-Do practitioners.” Students at most other Tae Kwon-Do schools will never use a weapon at any stage of their training. 

We also offer a lot of opportunities for students to participate in tournaments, both here at our dojang, and away. Back in the day, tournaments were secondary at best. Again, it was all about fighting back then. The fighting in tournaments isn’t “real” fighting. There are rules. But fighting or doing patterns in a tournament setting, in front of an audience full of people, presents its own challenges to a growing student. Tournaments add a new dimension to Tae Kwon-Do training. 

The biggest difference between the old days and now is also my favorite difference, and that is attitude. We have developed a strict culture at our school; one of serious training. This has allowed me to push people harder, while earning their trust. 

A testament to the culture and atmosphere is that our students typically don’t quit or go off to other schools once they have achieved black belt. This provides our younger students a unique opportunity to have more mentors to train with and look up to than they would get at any other school. In a way, it’s like how iron sharpens iron. Black belts beget more black belts. 

It is still a positive, fun, and supportive atmosphere. But everyone knows why we are here: to train Tae Kwon-Do, and nothing else. It’s not fun and games. 

Well, actually… it’s not a game. But it is a hell of a lot of fun.

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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