OK I’m also being called or texted letting me know that the style that I practice TaeKwon-Do is in the Olympics. I don’t blame the people for not knowing there is more than one TaeKwon-Do and of course since the WTF entity is in the Olympics is more recognized than the one I practice and teach at my school. I was going to write a blog about the differences but it was too much to explain, so I will let the videos talk by themselves.
The WTF fighting has become very boring and like some say more like a Fencing Sparring. The competitors as you can see in the video below are concentrated more into making the point and not letting the other competitor make a point, this is why is more time they stay separated than sparring and because they wear those electronic vest and helmets that register points, they know sometimes is not very reliable. Because legs are longer and easy to make points the use of hands is very minimal, also is not allowed to punch the face, that’s why when they get close to each other you see the hugging and referee have to separate them.
This is WTF TaeKwon-Do (this is the one you see in the Olympics)
Compared that now with ITF fighting style, while they also need to be worried about how many points the opponent make, their concentration is more of how many points they can make against the opponent. Letting the judges decide how many points each competitor accumulated, making it look more like a kick boxing style. Here when they get close they are allowed to punch the face, this is a constant attack mode unless the referee stop the fight or they walk out of the ring.
This is ITF TaeKwon-Do (the one I practice and teach)
Why ITF Taekwon-Do is not in the Olympics?
Now you may ask yourself “then why the ITF is not in the Olympics” the faster answer is “politics and disagreements” General Choi who founded the ITF style with others, didn’t want to compromise the quality of the martial art they created as a self defense system and not as a sport. Of course he wanted the TKD to be recognized around the world and to be in the Olympics would have been a great exposure but a lot of rules had to be changed in order to participate and he didn’t accept them, so the Olympic Association turn around to the World TaeKwon-Do Federation and they agreed to do the changes.
So which one is better then ITF or WTF?
This is a dangerous question based on who practice the style. The right answer is they are both good, they are just different, they both demand training, stamina, agility and flexibility but if you want me to help you with a different answer. Here it is: If you are looking to get into the Olympics and just practice Sport Taekwon-Do go with WTF, if you are looking for Self Defense but also compete World Wide (just not in TV) go with ITF.