Anyone who’s never seen World Taekwondo’s Demonstration Teams is in for a real treat. Enjoy, and keep training!

Golden Buzzer: World Taekwondo Demonstration Team Shocks the Judges – America’s Got Talent 2021
World Taekwondo Demonstration Team SURPRISES The Judges – America’s Got Talent 2021

When I started Taekwondo, ITF and World Taekwondo had not yet divided, and I was more interested in self-defense than forms (Hyung/Poomse). Like most new students I started with the Chon-Ji Hyung. The ITF list is the best there is for those of us of that generation. General Choi Hong-hi, the father of Taekwondo was a revered hero to all Taekwondo-ka at that time.

A photograph of Choi Hong Hi, the founder of the International Taekwon-Do Federation. Designated Fair Use by Wikipedia.

But then the Cold War heated up, General Choi was asked to step aside in South Korea and the World Taekwondo Federation, now called “World Taekwondo” was born. Many of us figured maybe two Taekwondos were better than one and let it go at that. I participated in both, as both survived quite well in the US at that time. World Taekwondo has been an official sport of the Olympic games since 2000, yet the ITF remains a very strong force in the Taekwondo scene worldwide.

Taekwondo: ITF Taekwondo Demonstration

And there is also Jhoon Rhee Taekwondo!

“Known as “the Father of American Tae Kwon Do,” Jhoon Rhee was the first to teach Tae Kwon Do in the United States, beginning his legendary career here more than 50 years ago. A 1oth-degree Black Belt, Grandmaster Rhee was trained directly by Choi Hong Hi, the South Korean army general who originally developed this modern martial art. After coming to America in the 1950s, Grandmaster Rhee befriended Bruce Lee and introduced the celebrated martial artist to Tae Kwon Do. Since then, Rhee has also taught Muhammed Ali, Jack Anderson, George Allen, Sr., Bob Livingston, Tony Robbins, Jack Valenti, and more than 300 U.S. Senators and House Representatives.” – Quote from: It’s a pity there are no good videos I could find of Jhoon Rhee’s demonstrations back in the 1970s. I saw one in person, and he was the most skilled Taekwondo-ka I had ever seen at that time. For example, he could do side kicks almost straight up. Hopefully, maybe sometime in the future some old video from his youth can be found, made into HDTV and posted on YouTube, because he was awesome.

Jhoon Rhee knew Bruce Lee quite well and they were friends. It’s also obvious Jhoon Rhee’s Taekwondo heavily influenced Bruce Lee’s technique as those kicks of his did not come from Wing Chun Kung Fu. Above photo from: World of Martial Arts

A few videos of someone who is not a master: Coach Stone!

When I started Taekwondo I needed it for self-defense. Of course, I learned the forms, as that teaches the prerequisite techniques to do Taekwondo. But, then and now I prefer sparring. It is important to continue to practice forms to keep Taekwondo techniques sharp. Below are a few videos of me training with different striking bags. It’s not Taekwondo per se, but fun nonetheless and useful for self defense also. Following that is a stretching routine I learned in a Yoga class and modified for high kicks.

After that is a short video of WTF Olympic competitor Solomon Tufa from Addis Ababa warming up with heavy bag. My interview with him and Ethiopian National Taekwondo’s Team Coach Adisu is in my “Silk Road Taekwondo Quest” book, available on the Download page.

That is followed by a short history/culture video about an ancient Buddhist temple in Northeast Thailand that marked a dramatic turning point in Thai history. Though only a small portion of the temple remains, the supremely peaceful surrounding belie the dramatic transition it represents in history.

Hopefully in near future I’ll come up with better videos, but as noted above, I’m kind of “old school” and just experimenting with and learning videography and editing now. I’d be very happy if someone with both videography and Taekwondo backgrounds could help out at each stop along my Silk Road travels!

Coach Stone practicing kicks and punches multiple targets –  June 4, 2022 – Bueng Kan Thailand – a few weeks before his 66th birthday.
Coach Stone practicing kicks and punches heavy bag July 1, 2021- Beijing Gym
Kicks and punches knotted rope July 1, 2021- Beijing Gym 
Kicks and punches multiple targets April 16 2020 – Beijing outdoors
Kicks and punches heavy bag – Hosa Gym, Changping District, Beijing 2014
Yoga routine (Salute to the Sun) modified for martial arts Oct. 23, 2022

Below is Ethiopian Taekwondo national champion Solomon Tufa warming up with heavy bag.

YouTube has a large number of videos with spectacular high kicks, and high kick KOs, for example:

Short video of Ku Prapha Chai Monastery in the Isan Region of Thailand

“Ku Prapha Chai was built by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1182-1219) as a temple for one of the 102 hospitals he commissioned across the Khmer empire. It faces east and fully follows the standard arogayasala design. Great King Jayavarman VII changed the state religion from Hinduism to Mahayana Buddhism – a rather dramatic transition to say the least. As can be seen in the short video below, the surviving portion was built like a fortress with two stone doorways (with antechambers on both sides) leading to the inner sanctum. According to an 1186 CE inscription found at Ta Prohm temple, King Jayavarman VII built 102 hospitals in towns across the empire. Another inscription, written in 1191 CE found at Preah Khan said he constructed 121 rest houses along three major roads.” Thailand remains a Buddhist nation until today.

The bird song is divine