Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your black belt, win a tournament, perfect a poomsae, or defend yourself on the street? Here at Focus on Taekwondo, we intend to help you find those answers. We interview top professionals in their field, masters, athletes, and coaches to give you an insight into what it takes for you to be the best you can be, in this modern-day, ancient global martial art and sport that is Taekwondo.
ALEX GILLIS, “A KILLING ART: THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF TAEKWONDO” – FOT 013
Today's interview is with Alex Gillis about his book, “A killing art: The untold history of Taekwondo”
Firstly we chat about what motivated Alex to undergo such a comprehensive study into the unknown history of Taekwondo?
Within the book Alex talks about the KCIA quite a lot I ask him was he worried about the consequences exposing such secrets could cause? ……and did any harm come to him?
We both chat about doing a follow-up book? After all, he must know enough new secrets to compel him to write part 2……
I always wondered and was happy to ask Alex if he knew back in the day when he started Taekwondo what he knows about Taekwondo from his investigations does he think he would still have chosen Taekwondo to practice and develop himself with or has it all spoilt the respect he had for the art/organisation?
People can get in touch with Alex on the links listed below, I also asked Alex can people still buy the book and if so where is the book available to buy? See below for the answer.
This last question I asked Alex what is it that makes Taekwondo different to other martial arts and lastly what does it take to be a black belt- I'm interested to hear what the listeners think of his answer please comment on facebook your thoughts.
Facebook: Alex Gillis
Amazon: A KILLING ART: THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF TAEKWONDO
ADAM CORRIGAN, FROM TEAM GB TO TEAM ALPHA MALE – FOT 012
Today's interview is with Adam Corrigan - From Team GB to Team Alpha Male.
Adam has competed for three different National Teams in Taekwondo on three different continents and now is an MMA athlete under the famous Team Alpha Male.
We discuss his Taekwondo history and how his journey has taken him to different corners of the earth.
So we move onto MMA and how he finds training with one of the top UFC teams and about how easy was it to transition from Taekwondo to MMA. We also discuss how different it is fighting in the cage than in the Taekwondo ring.
Up next we talk about the new style Taekwondo and if he thinks the transition is harder now for athletes as the game has changed so much since he competed.
We move onto what’s next for Adam as he’s also a highly respected fitness instructor where he’s based, and we chat about his 4 weeks 2 failure.
Hear Adams views on what makes Taekwondo different from other martial arts and what he believes it takes to be a black belt.
Get in touch with Adam at the following links;
CARL EVANS ON PHYSIOLOGY AND S&C FOR TAEKWONDO ATHLETES – FOT 11
So today's interview is with Carl Evans he is the Sports Science Support Officer and Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Liverpool John Moores University.
We chat about his current job and his PhD which is to do with weight making for Taekwondo athletes.
We also cover physiology of a Taekwondo athlete and S&C thoughts.
Next, we talk about the new 5% rule in World Taekwondo. Carl still coaches and has worked with various national team members from various national teams and is now working with India. Carl explains the best place for athletes to go to is a university with a sports science lab and to work together to improve body composition etc.
Carl is happy to answer questions and looks forward to hearing from everyone get in touch using the links below.
And finally the one last question - what is it that makes Taekwondo different to other martial arts and how would he describe what it takes to be a black belt. It's an interesting answer so don't miss it.
How can people get in touch with Carl? See links below...
Facebook: Carl Evans
LinkedIn: Carl Langan-Evans
TODAYS TAEKWONDO WITH GARETH BROWN AND PAUL GREEN – FOT 010
So today's interview is with Paul Green and Gareth Brown from Todays Taekwondo. Firstly I had to congratulate them on their achievements to date 300k followers on Facebook, the YouTube channel, the website, the downloadable tutorials, and obviously for all the medals that the athletes they’ve coached within team GB have achieved.
We chat about at the numbers 2 golds from the Olympics, 4 world champions, 8 Grand Prix golds, and those are just the ones within the top competitions, we discuss how it must have been great to be a part of those athletes achievements. Todays Taekwondo mission statement says both Paul & Gareth want to continue developing innovative methods to produce world-class athletes and coaches. I ask them when did they both sit down and decide to share their knowledge on a global scale? Did they realise how big it would become and eventually where it would take them both?
The BBC sports website it states one month after resigning from team GB they had both been recruited by USA Taekwondo...... They tell our listeners exactly where they are going, doing, and more importantly if Todays Taekwondo will still be continuing its goal to help others?
Next is a chat about the YouTube channel, I've watched them all......the content is impressive, I like how they hold nothing back, demonstrate it, explain it to great detail and show elite athletes also training it. it’s a great way to be, to improve as coaches by giving out everything, ..... we chat about how it must keep them evolving and improving.
Both Gareth & Paul must have seen so many changes in the sport of Taekwondo I ask them both if they still use methods learned back when they were competing or has it evolved so much it’s a completely new set of skills and drills. We take a walk back down memory lane and I ask them if we can look back at both their lives so far, where did Taekwondo start for them both and why did they decide to take up a martial art.
GB Taekwondo has been a major part of both their lives competing and coaching, they’ve both competed and coached at a high level. Which made them most nervous, anxious, or determined, competing or coaching?
I ask them a little about Team GB here as I know after speaking to some of the GB Taekwondo guys they are missed, they have both been a major part of the success GB has had and is continuing to have so don’t miss their answers.
I ask them both, looking into the future where do they think GB Taekwondo will be in the tables and what do they think needs to happen to keep the standards they have both helped to achieve.
What is the long-term goal for Paul Green and Gareth Brown? where do they see themselves in 5-10 yrs, does their own training centre come into it or do they want to be the coaches the countries come running to when medal counts get low......?
I ask them what is each of their proudest moments. What advice do they have for up and coming athletes and also coaches looking to make a difference?
And finally the one last question from me, what is it that makes Taekwondo different to other martial arts and how would they describe what it takes to be a black belt?
How can you get in touch with them? See links below.
YouTube: Todays Taekwondo
It was an enjoyable interview and I look forward to interviewing them both once they settle into America.
TALKING BUSINESS WITH MASTER RONDY – FOT 009
Master Rondy is the owner of White Tiger Taekwondo & Martial Arts - known as the world’s largest superschool located in Cary, NC, USA. The 24,000 sq. ft. school just celebrated its 22nd anniversary and enrolled its 12 thousandth student. Master Rondy lived in Korea from ‘94-’96 as a member of the Korean Tigers Professional Demonstration Team. Today she is the Program Director and instructs at White Tiger, is a columnist for Taekwondo Times Magazine, serves on the Kukkiwon Advisory Board and the US Taekwondo Committee. Master Rondy also travels the world to share her marketing and PR background to help other school owners “achieve their dream”.
So today's interview with Master Rondy McKee we will be discussing the Business side of running a martial art school and a few other questions on Taekwondo.
I first met Master Rondy with my instructor Master Andrew Brown from Glasgow, he had met Master Rondy over in Korea and was invited to come over to White Tiger Tkd Headquarters in Cary, North Carolina maybe 1997/8. We chat about how amazing White Tiger is and how her profile has grown since those days. We hear about her background and how she came to get where she is today.
Master Rondy is running business seminars all over the world, with her most recent in Spain. I ask Master Rondy if she could tell us about the kinda things she teaches at these seminars.
Next, I ask Master Rondy what would she say is the biggest problems facing independent martial arts schools and also what kind of things keep coming up in her seminars from other school owners......... is this why she has set up the White Tiger Global Alliance? I ask her to tell us a little more about this alliance and how can people get involved.
Two of GB’s National coaches, (Paul Green & Gareth Brown) have both picked up coaching director jobs within the US taekwondo coaching team - I ask Master Rondy if she has much experience of The National team set up? And if she has any advice or warnings for them. Next, I ask if Master Rondy would you like to get more involved within the World Taekwondo set up, if so what would she like to do and see happen.
The Kukkiwon is still responsible for Taekwondo black belt certification and Master training, I ask Master Rondy if she thinks there’s something more the Kukkiwon could do to promote and spread the knowledge some of these high ranking masters have?
I've seen on a few occasions Master Rondy also practices Wing Chun with Samuel Kwok we chat about cross training - one last question from me- the usual one... what is it that makes Taekwondo different to other martial arts and how would she describe what it takes to be a black belt.
And finally we ask her how can people get in touch with her and we’ve shared her answers below;
White Tiger TKD
White Tiger Global Alliance
PORTUGUESE NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER & OLYMPIAN, RUI BRAGANCA – FOT 008
This week it is an Honor to talk to Rui Braganca, Olympian and Portuguese National Team Player. We chat about how Rui is ranked 10th in the Olympic Ranking, and 7th in the world both for - 58kg and how it must be tough now to stay in the top 10 - with all the Grand Prix and grand slams etc it must mean lots of travelling! Then we discuss world and Olympic No.1 Tae Hun Kim from Korea and how he is lots of points ahead of everyone else. I discover Rui fought Tae Hun Kim back in 2015. Rui has also been world No.1 and we chat about when this was and how that’s such a great achievement.
Anyone who knows Rui knows he has the biggest smile of any Taekwondo player, always happy and cheerful, Rui tells us about why he’s a very positive person and how he thinks this is the reason why he is so successful.
We then move onto his training structure, he trains every day. Next, we chat about how most national team players travel with a Physio, Dr, video analysis guys etc and he tells us how it is in Portugal. We look back at Rui's life growing up in Portugal, and at what age he decided to try Taekwondo.
Rui's main profession is a medical Dr and somehow he still competes against full time paid athletes! I ask him how he finds this extraordinary feat possible? We chat about how easy it was to balance studying and competing? We discuss the possibility of becoming a paid athlete in Portugal, would he, or has he considered it?
When we’ve met in the past there are normally two more people with Rui, Nuno and Hugo he tells us when he first meets up with Nuno Costa and Hugo Serrao.
Rui participated in one Olympics already, Rio 2016. We discuss how Rio was, the experience of the Olympics, and which parts he enjoyed the most? Tokyo 2020 must be on his sights? What does he personally feel it will take for him to become the Olympic champion at Taekwondo in -58kg in 2020.
Looking back at Rui’s achievements some of these include gold at the European games in Baku 2015, silver at the worlds championships (2011) and also gold at the European championships (2014). We ask Rui where is his next competition after this one? And if the Europeans are his main comp this year or is it the Grand Prix which gives more ranking points?
I ask him when he finally decides to stop competing, what will his life look like, and will Taekwondo still be a part of it or will medicine take over? Find out his excellent answer to our regular question “what makes Taekwondo different to other martial arts and what do you feel it takes to be a black belt?”
Lastly, we chat about how our listeners can find out more about Rui Braganca and possibly get in touch with him. See the links below for more details.
Please keep it up!
I never write reviews for anything, this is worth it. I’m more of a sport karate guy but it was AWESOME listening to your podcasts . Please keep em coming! I love that they are more sporting and less old traditional Asian in style. Makes for a good listen when you enjoy the science more than the art.