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Bear Way School?

The word Kwan can be translated as school or house.  In the late 1950's/early 1960's several Kwans came together to standardize ideals and a name for their art, Tae Kwon Do.  Some of the original Kwans were Chung Do Kwan (Blue Wave School), Jidokwan (Way of Wisdom School), and Moo Duk Kwan (School of Martial Virtue) etc...  Each of these Kwans practiced the same art, but had different views on training focus, emphasis and methods. 

Additionally, the different kwans developed reputations based on their philosophies, training methods and the feats of their members.  Chung Do Kwan was the largest of the original Kwans.  Jidokwan distinguished itself early on as a prominent kyorugi (sparring school) and so on. 

We practice Tae Kwon Do, Kom Do Kwan™ (Bear Way School or School of the Bear).  The minor snippet of history listed above, should provide a minimum amount of insight into how the Kwan concept was used historically and what we hope to do by forming a Kwan.  While our roots are from Chung Do Kwan, ultimately via Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, we believe that we have sufficiently evolved in our own course to form our own Kwan and philosophy toward training.  Hence our motto, "Traditional Training for Practical Self-Defense" and our mantra, "Preserve the Past, Embrace the Future."

Lineage

The Kom Do Kwan lineage is evolved from orginally from the following line of instructors:

Jhoon Rhee -> Allen Steen -> Skipper Mullens -> Jim Miller/Jack Lococco -> Jason Thomas

The Kom Do Kwan roots extend from the Allen Steen Brand of Chung Do Kwan colloqually known as "Texas Blood & Guts" Karate which has since evolved into the ["AKBBA"]

We have not created a new style!

Kom Do Kwan™ is merely group of people that train with a specific philosophy of how to train, teach and approach to the practice of the art of Tae Kwon Do.  It can briefly be described as a culmination of choices we have made with in the larger Tae Kwon Do frame work.  What are those choices and what is your philosophy?  One might ask?  Read on to find out.

Traditional Tae Kwon Do vs. Sport Tae Kwon Do

The first choice is probably most debated issue in the Tae Kwon Do community.  While no school can truly be totally one side of the issue or the other.  North Austin Tae Kwon Do is definitely skewed towards the Traditional side of this debate.  We practice sweeps, take downs, eye gouges, groin strikes, we punch to the head and so forth.  We utilize point sparring as the primary venue for free sparring and spend a lot of time on three step sparring and one step sparring.

Traditional, however, does not mean that we do not embrace new things or preserve older things that are not of Korean origin.  For example, even though we utilize the Chang Hon forms, we still practice Bassai and Chul-gi (also called Tekki or Nahanchi).  Both of these forms are Japanese in origin, but originally they were taught in many Tae Kwon Do schools.  In the 1970's many Tae Kwon Do schools sought to remove the Japanese influence from their Tae Kwon Do curriculum and removed them.  As these forms where taught to me by my instructors, Jack Lococo & Jim Miller, I teach them to my students.  I merely explain that they are Japanese in origin.

We also attend and host many seminars from other arts such as Tang Soo Do, Shotokan, Hapkido, Arnis/Escrima etc...  We sometimes review these techniques in class to widen our students views and experience.  When this happens we merely cite them as being techniques from other arts, so that the students have a proper understanding of where they come from and how they relate to Tae Kwon Do.  If we are fortunate to think of something new or create a new exercise, we simply annotate that item as something new that we have created and incorporate it into our practice, if we deem the new item to be beneficial.  Thus we "Preserve the past and embrace the future."

Our curriculum is based in traditional Tae Kwon D.  While students may see a variety of techniques, they test on the standard Tae Kwon Do curriculum listed in our Belt Test Guide available on this site.

Tuning the Mix

So what is the philosophical mix of Kom Do Kwan™?  While one can break Tae Kwon Do into many parts.  At a high level, we break Tae Kwon Do in five broad categories.  They are listed below in the order of precedence that Kom Do Kwan™ place on each aspect of the art:

  1. Self-Defense
  2. Forms/Hyungs
  3. Basic Techniques
  4. Sparring
  5. Breaking

Thus we spend most of our time looking at the practical application of techniques.  Next we focus on forms preserving their historical meanings and value as well as deriving applications from the the individual moves in the forms for practical application.  Next we work on the technical proficiency of individual techniques.  Then we look at applying the technique in ordered sparring practice with in the constraints of the "rules".  Lastly, we test our ability to apply the techniques in a focused precise manner through breaking.

While all of these concepts are important and interrelated.  This is the order of emphasis that we place on them as a Kwan.