The idea of “change” is a touchy subject in ITF Taekwon-Do these days.
The problem with that is that change is inevitable. Days will pass, seasons will change, we will age, we will create and we will die. Everything from a small flower, to our planet, to our entire universe is always changing. The only constant in life is change.
Then there’s us in what used to be the ITF. We’ve split many times over and each new organization claims to be the one doing things “the right” way, holding true to what Gen. Choi created and they also go to great lengths to point out the changes that every other organization has made.
If you told the truth, whether you agree with the changes that have been made or not, those changes are not that big of a deal. If there were a competition tomorrow where all the world champions from all the ITF Taekwon-Do organizations competed together it would be hard to tell who was with what organization (aside from the uniforms and logos).
It bores me hearing people talk trash other organizations that are changing things like certificates, payments, how they breathe on continuous motion, or about how long they hold (or don’t hold) a side kick, competition rules, weight divisions, and on and on. They use these things as reasons for discrediting other organizations while changing things themselves.
AND, people were disagreeing about many of these things even when Gen. Choi, Hong Hi was alive!
I don’t hear anyone complaining about the fact that all Taekwon-Do schools don’t have wooden floors or that potential Taekwon-Do instructors aren’t going through 8 hours a day of training for six months to become an instructor, both of which are clearly stated in the Taekwon-Do encyclopedia (Vol 1, pg. 121, 122).
Is a two or three day Instructor Course enough? Can that possibly produce legitimate Taekwon-Do instructors? Are we all weak because we train and compete on matted floors?
The answers are irrelevant. The point is that things are always changing. DEAL WITH IT.
If you hadn’t heard, the only constant in life is change.
With organizations popping up left and right, people leaving and joining and leaving and joining organization after organization, the landscape of ITF Taekwon-Do is rapidly changing. Many people with good intentions are trying to fix things, but they are just creating more division and more problems.
Albert Einstein said,
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
The current state of ITF Taekwon-Do is OUR problem and we’ve spent a lot of time on fixes that come from the same thinking we used when we created the problem. That’s why it looks like everyone who is doing something “new” is just creating more of the same. Under the thinking we used when we created the problem, the thing to do seems to be – when people with a following, who don’t like the organization they’re in, just create another, better, ITF.
I don’t have the answer to what it would take to bring people together, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. I do know that it’s possible, but it can only be done by thinking above and beyond what we’ve always known the ITF to be and how Taekwon-Do organizations are run. THAT MEANS CHANGE.
You can agree with me or not, but either way change is going to happen. You can either be leading the way or along for the ride.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com