The Pro Taekwondo and the Olympic Taekwondo

10:09:00 AM Tkd kwan 17 Comments


Many practitioners from different martial arts agree that the Olympic Taekwondo has changed the image of Taekwondo, by integrating many protectors for the competitors and also creating many rules.

All these changes affected the image of the Korean martial art, which caused a kind of intellectual split between WT Taekwondo practitioners.

Some Taekwondo athletes and masters prefer the old style while others like the new Olympic Taekwondo, well some have no choice but to love it, because it is what they started with and they have no idea what the old Taekwondo was.

We want to talk about another style of Taekwondo completely different than the Olympic style, and They call it Pro Taekwondo.

This sparring style started in these last 12 years.

Some resources say that GM Doug Fuechsel was the person behind the idea (1997- 1999).

GM Doug Fuechsel is currently the Executive Director of Champions Education Fund, The US Taekwondo Committee and The US Open Taekwondo Hanmadang.

But we have found that the competition was already organized since 2008, and at the time they were using gloves and socks, and the rules were allowing punches to the head.

Honestly we can not confirm who is the real owner of the idea of Pro Taekwondo in general.

So what makes Pro Taekwondo different than WT Taekwondo kyorugi we see nowadays?

Protectors (Gears):

In Pro Taekwondo there is no protectors except the groin protector that is obligatory in all fighting sports.

While the WT Kyorugi is a very expensive competition :)

Head gear, Hogu (chest protector), shin and arm gears, socks and gloves, and of course the groin protector.

The style:

The Pro Taekwondo sparring is a real full contact sparring, and not a touch style like the WT Kyorugi.

The beauty:

Most athletes are using advanced techniques and we can not see the front leg fencing style. This style can attract more audience because most athletes try to show impressive kicks

Tell us what do you think about Pro Taekwondo? can it be the best solution for Taekwondo athletes who miss the traditional style?

We do respect all opinions no matter how different they are :)

Kind regards


  1. I believe that as instructors of TKD we have a duty to teach the complete art form, not just the "sport fighting" of WTF.. Sport fighting is only a small part of TKD for demonstration purposes only. We need to keep the full art alive. Korean armies are a good example. (Am BB in both North and South Korean TKD 30 years +)

  2. Oni Shinigami on FacebookOctober 31, 2020 at 3:22 AM

    I don't like Sport TKD because I was cheat out of 5 Gold medals! Because of byass Judges I got 5 Silver medals! I also won 3 Gold medals! I should have had 8 Gold medals! Corruption in some tournaments!

  3. Old style is best, never liked Olympic Style TKD

  4. Trained and ranked 7th. Dan. Traditional, never liked Olympic Style

  5. Old style is best, never liked Olympic Style TKD

  6. TKD is a great sport and a beautiful art, but pretending it's anything else is delusion. Yes, I have trained in it and received my blackbelt in "traditional" ITF TKD over 20 years ago. Of course someone will bring up the 'it's not the style it's the fighter' nonsense, but it's been objectively proven which styles work best for self defense. A year or two of boxing/muay thai and some form of grappling will put you eons ahead of a lifetime tkd practitioner in a real situation.

    1. Yes I agree but add high level TKD and the striking is even better. Thai fighters have no movement they stand in front of each other and crack each other.

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  8. I did WTF TKD and always hated wearing the body armour and headgear, loved sparring with the freedom of not wearing them. I like this, far more exciting than modern olympic fighting. I absolutely loathe the front leg, fencing 'kick' people are doing now it kills the fight dead, horrible, and frustrating to fight against,and boring to watch.... ban it please. Still didn't see many punches to the head though, taekwondo is always critised for this, quite rightly.

  9. Back in the late 60s early 70s there were some "full contact karate" tournaments going on around the west coast. Most of the fighters I knew were TKD practitioners. No gear, punches to the head, real fight. That was the only competition i knew until i brought my kids back to TKD in 2001. Olympic is a joke. Game of tag for little kids. So, my kids became Muy Thai and MMA fighters. Bring back the REAL martial art.

  10. Unless one is getting paid, you can justify removing the pads and having fighters enter the contest at their own risk. Pads minimize the risk they do not remove it. I remember limping out after 2 hr adult sparring training sessions (3 times per week) in the late 80s and early 90s. Last competed in the 2017 Nationals, broke my foot in the semi-finals, and lost in the finals (again). All this with pads on from the late 1980s to 2017. The rules do not keep competitors from throwing hard kicks or knocking opponents out. However, folks have figured out how to score/win without seriously injuring the amateur opponent across the ring. To me the truly best display of the style involved the discipline of waiting for an opening and not the forced engagement. I watched the video and could see the pain on their faces. I would prefer to see them fighting at their best with pads on for two rounds than to see damaged fighters. Still takes strength, skill, flexibility and control to compete today. I applaud the safety aspects. The real crime is that TKD lost a lot of athletes due to the cost. I miss the days where only the top 3 from states went to the national tournament.

  11. I read comments above and if this was a topic about fencing would you guys say "ooo those good old days, they were slicing each other, blood spilling everywhere etc." İn Olympic Taekwondo safety is first, i dont want children fighting unprotected. And because they know both sides are protected they can use full power. That is what all those protectors and rules are for. And electronic gear is for justice, to minimize human error factor. İf you hit correctly you got the point, if you block you dont give the point. İt is a sport not a proffecional MMA match. You can watch lots of magnificient, aesthetic and powerfull technics and ko videos. Of course there are things to be fixed. (The worst one is it is getting very expensive) Tkd forever:)

  12. I love ITF style taekwondo sparring but if WT style comes on the tv I don't even bother to watch it even if it is at the Olympics. Many potential new students of taekwondo are lost because they have seen Olympic sparring and see it as something they could never do or achieve. I think had ITF become the Olympic sport taekwondo would have grown from strength to strength rather than looking like a lot of fly swatting with the feet!

  13. About protectors, in pro tkd they are also using pads on the arms and legs. About the front leg, it's because those fights are from the 90s, it doesn't matter if it's with or without electronics, front leg it's a must to win a tkd match, with the evolution of the fights you can't just go kicking without any thoughts.

  14. In 1977 IN Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec Canada Alex Chai, Peter Murphy, Frank Tebedo, Jaucque Sirios Started North Atlantic FULL CONTACT Karate including Taekwondo! Several Tournaments were held, Including Schools of Other Styles!

  15. Then in the 80's The P.K.A. Professional Karate Ass. and the W.K.O. and I.S.K.A evolved into Kick Boxing! The Pioneers of MMA! Back in the early 80's I competed, sometimes Three fights in a day! Light weight, middle weight, And Heavey weight, LOL! In some fights I would get disqualified For Grappling, or use of elbows, mostly happened in the Heavy weight! Once in Ottawa Canada, John Terrian Trainer for The Ice Man Jean Eyves Therriult Asked me if I wanted to do Jujitsu! LOL! I had just got Disqualified For Grappling, and use of an ELBOW!

  16. First of all most people did not even answer the question here, in the comments! Yes, I do believe Pro-TKD could be, and should be a better alternative to what the present WT style of Olympic Taekwondo does. And the problem is that will never happen as already stated the focus of the WT in the modern version of Olympic taekwondo is “safety” and “fairness” and some other things they believe that are pertinent. All of these have made the sport extremely weak! It lives within a bubble and cannot be converted to the street or even other combat sports that focus on kicking. For those that, mention the hands, get over yourself it’s a sport it has rules, and you can always add it in if the techniques were somewhat applicable within the rule set. Old-school Olympic taekwondo was more so this way. Still bad hands, but It does not mean that the fighters had bad hands, they were working around the sport. For all my ITF folks here they do good at what they do but 20 years ago you all were front like fighters (almost the same as todays WT/Olympic TKD) with some fair hands (nothing to talk about) still nothing compared to boxing or even MMA. Now, you’re using all the techniques from old-school Olympic taekwondo (at a lower level) that were more powerful and dynamic similar to Pro-TKD! 🤦🏽‍♂️ Pro-TKD definitely had something to offer, and I wish the direction of the sport (Olympic TKD) went this way. The present version I don’t care for that I don’t have my students compete in this anymore. At the lower levels I will select a small handful of TKD tournaments, but primarily attend BJJ events and conduct my own in-school events to teach what old-school TKD/Pro-TKD, instilled in its fighters.

    I don’t typically do this anonymous posting thing. I was trying to login to show my account, but regardless, I strongly believe the sport has gone the wrong direction. All the comparisons between ITF and WT or even some of the other combat sports is not relevant. The main thing is if it’s a true combat sport, it should be able to be combative and of course, with adaptation utilized potentially for real life or even MMA. Modern day sport Taekwondo does not do this!

    I have 49 years of experience, I’m a former Olympic TKD elite fighter, former Pro-TKD fighter, and I have black belts in Judo, BJJ, and a 8th Dan TKD (Kukkiwon), and 3rd Dan (ITF).