Taekwondo USA Style vs. Philippine Style

I started out taekwondo in 1991 in the Philippines. I have competed in several competitions and practiced in several schools under different instructors, depending who has the most convenient location and time that time. I stopped in 1996 due to an accident where I had torn ligaments in my right knee. I was advised to rest for 2 years and I never got back in shape to what I was before. Not because of my knee, but because I was already working and I didn’t have much time freedom to workout.

Now I had two accounts of going into taekwondo here in the States, first was in 1999 at a taekwondo school along Wilshire Avenue in LA and now at Champion Taekwondo Academy in Rancho Peñasquitos in San Diego. And here are the major differences I have observed.

Treatment to new students from other schools

USA: They are treated with a very warm welcome.

Philippines: They are treated with a welcome, and if their belt is colored already, they are challenged. Other students check how good you are and try to beat you up in sparring. If they see your good, you gain more respect.


USA: One hour.

Philippines: Usually two hours. One and a half hour for kids.


USA: A lot of endurance exercises, a lot of forms.

Philippines: A lot of kicking exercises, shadow sparring drills. Competition sparring drills.


USA: Done about once a week.

Philippines: Done every meeting. And is a personal favorite of higher belts. It is like, everything is boring, and everyone is just waiting for the sparring.

Personally, I was a bit bored in my first taekwondo class here, since I didn’t get to spar. But it was still fine since my endurance was really down. I still need more time to get back my aerobic endurance.

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One thought on “Taekwondo USA Style vs. Philippine Style

  1. i’m a filipino here in new york, studied taekwondo in the philippines 1983-86… came here, work had a family and finally went back to taekwondo in 2002, not to boast for myself but really i still kick way far more better than about 80% of the school’s students…and your right, taekwondo schools here are more on forms and passing time, your treated as a friend, old students are more curious about what you learnand what you know from other schools, most epecially if you come in with a taekwondo background already. sad to say, Philippine Taekwondo far more superior than teaching and exposure than here in the states, in the Phil. more on survival, so your compeled to achieve and learn at at your best in order to move up, here just stay longer and pay your dues and eventually you get your blackbelt knowing the kicks and forms but less fighting/sparring experience. once in a while somebody pops up good, but bring them to the philippines and let them try anybody with the same ranking belt in any taekwondo school, and they’ll see what real training really is…go philippines!!!

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