My short bio: I just won a silver medal in the men's heavyweight Taekkyeon competition at the 2016 World Martial Arts Masterships in Cheongju south Korea. Taekkyeon is a Korean traditional martial art that focuses on rhythmic movements. You can get an idea of what it looks like here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0nuZlolOqc

I'm from Canada and this was, as far as I know, Canada's first world class medal in this sport.

My Proof: http://imgur.com/a/94WFm

Edit: It's quite late here in South Korea after 2 am. I've gotta crash, but I'll do my best to answer any more questions in the morning.

Edit2: Okay guys I tried to answer a few more of the relevant questions, inbox was quite full this morning. kudos to the people who thought that attempting to belittle me through PMs rather than having the fortitude to make a public statement would somehow really "get me". Obviously some people thought that this AMA was some kind of statement that I was ready to win the UFC, or that I could take you all on on a fight. Nope. It was simply an opportunity to discuss something different, and talk about a martial art that most people probably hadn't heard about. If there was some confusion there, my apologies. Thanks for the questions!

Comments: 1229 • Responses: 79  • Date: 

laaaaax204 karma

Why not gold?

crossmr247 karma

Well, the other guy was simply better. He's trained much longer, and has a height and reach advantage. It was my first time fighting him, and now I have a better idea of his style. I'll get another shot at him in the future.

fb5a119948 karma

The trick is that if it's against the rules to kick someone in the head, do it anyway because everyone will cheer and you'll have won.

crossmr67 karma

The whole point is to kick each other in the head.

Alkaladar101 karma

What would your prefer to fight, 100 duck sized McDojos, or 1 McDojo sized duck?

crossmr51 karma

The first is about endurance, and the second is about strength. I think I'd go for the second.

mepostgood93 karma

Why did you learn taekkyeon in particular?

crossmr80 karma

Taekwondo is obviously the most popular here in Korea, but after watching some videos, I felt more drawn to taekkyeon. Especially when it comes to competition, I felt taekkyeon was a little more interesting. Taekwondo fighters cover themselves up with padding while in taekkyon head kicks are big winning kicks, but they don't wear head protection. Taekkyeon also has some focus on grappling and one of the key things is using movement to try and confuse your opponent.

MaoMeowed66 karma

When did you start training Taekkyeon or any other form of Martial Arts? And how long and often do you train?

crossmr34 karma

I've been training intensively for the last 4 months. I train every day with one of the top masters in South Korea. It's my first martial art, but I used to wrestle when I was younger and some wrestling moves can be used in Taekkyeon.

MaoMeowed47 karma

But at what age did you begin training (from scratch)? and how old are you now?

crossmr47 karma

I started training at the age of 37 from scratch and I'm 37 now. I've been training very intensely, with a very skilled teacher. I've managed to make excellent progress in a short while, but I've got a bit of a mountain to climb to really step up my game to be a consistent gold medal threat at the tournaments here.

whidzee55 karma

Have you thought about joining the UFC or MMA? See how you go against them?

crossmr340 karma

I have not. I can say with confidence that they would absolutely hospitalize me if they didn't outright kill me.

existeverywhere52 karma

Was this merely a demonstration type event or organized fights?

crossmr68 karma

These were organized fights. The entire masterships includes tournaments in:

Horseback Archery
Muaythai
Sambo
Wushu
Judo
Ju-Jitsu
Kurash
Kickboxing
taekwondo
Taekkyon
Hapkido
YongMudo
Tong-il Mu do
Belt Wrestling

Ttaekyon itself included an artistic section first, a freestyle demonstration, and then individual tournaments. Some tournaments also have a battle format with 5 people per side.

PartyDeux71 karma

Some tournaments also have a battle format with 5 people per side.

OK, that is awesome.

crossmr49 karma

Basically it's like a line up. If you win, you face the next guy, if you lose the winner faces your teams next guy. Sadly it's not 5 on 5 all at once. That might be too chaotic for a tournament.

MaoMeowed37 karma

What does an average day of training look like?

crossmr45 karma

I spend some time on standard warm-up, some self training on basic forms, then learn 1-2 new techniques, practice those, then usually a series of the 12 basic high kicks (which adds up to a lot of kicks over a session as I do each one for 20-40 times) and the move on to blocking where the master basically uses it as an excuse to beat me with a wooden staff wrapped in a thin foam. I think he secretly enjoys that part.

If there is time and a partner there I'll do some sparring and work on live blocking and also practice some feints and other moves.

mortiferus30 karma

Have you ever needed to use your martial art skills outside of the arena?

crossmr19 karma

I have not. Korea doesn't have a lot of street fights or things like muggings or robberies, but if i had to, I wouldn't shy away from it.

TripperBets16 karma

wait, so you're telling me the movies were lying?

crossmr35 karma

I've heard they occasionally exaggerate things.

funpak16 karma

Did you by any chance meet Baptiste? link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sQ2NTjHosI

crossmr25 karma

I had the pleasure of being kicked in the head 3 times by baptiste.

gnome_where16 karma

I recently saw a martial arts weapons form competition on TV. it looked like gymnastics. How does that type of kata / judging competition relate to point fighting or sparring tournaments? Do people generally participate in both, or specialize?

crossmr13 karma

Yes, they did here. The winner of the gold medal against me also participated in the artistic portion which has a much higher focus on the fluid movement and is set to music. It is scored like gymnastics. He also took gold in that.

The actual fights are objectively scored on kicks to the head or someone being knocked down.

elephantrambo14 karma

What do I have for dinner tomorrow?

crossmr25 karma

Try these:

http://lovelylittlekitchen.com/baked-honey-lime-chicken-taquitos/

They're absolutely fucking fantastic. I might make them myself.

dragonsnap_13 karma

Great job :) South Korean here, though I have never been to Cheongju. What do you think about South Korea itself? It interests me what foreign athletes think about the country.

crossmr12 karma

I enjoy Korea enough to become a Korean citizen, so I like it. For me, I simply felt comfortable here, so that's why I came and why I stay. Sadly I didn't get much time to look around Cheongju. Mostly I had to head out Friday night for the competition, fight then head home. But I'd like to get a chance to go back and look around some. If the traffic isn't hell again.

Joabat11 karma

Can you describe your average day of training?

crossmr8 karma

I spend some time on standard warm-up, some self training on basic forms, then learn 1-2 new techniques, practice those, then usually a series of the 12 basic high kicks (which adds up to a lot of kicks over a session as I do each one for 20-40 times) and the move on to blocking where the master basically uses it as an excuse to beat me with a wooden staff wrapped in a thin foam. I think he secretly enjoys that part.

If there is time and a partner there I'll do some sparring and work on live blocking and also practice some feints and other moves.

Le_Rone9 karma

Do you get to skip military service now?

crossmr20 karma

I'm not an ethnic Korean, but I hold dual citizenship with Korea and Canada and I represented Canada at this tournament. I'm not required to do military service as a non-ethnic Korean who received citizenship via marriage. If I were an ethnic Korean who still hadn't done military service, I don't know if this would count or not. I know the Olympics count, and certain intentional competitions in certain sports. The government maintains a list of sports which qualify. Even if you get a gold if it isn't on that list, you'd still have to serve.

veryscruffyjanitor7 karma

Is this something you do on the side when not at work or is this your full time job so to speak? If it's full time, what made you decide to dedicate yourself to the sport, and when did you decide that it was the lifestyle for you? If it's on the side, what do you do in your day to day life?

crossmr7 karma

Sadly it's not full time. I still have to make a living. There isn't much money in Taekkyeon. I have a lot of jobs I'm doing here, teaching, web design, some graphic design, photography, and studying as well as general exercise I do on top of this.

Enviromente5 karma

I am really excited to see such a art come from Korea, honestly (TKD) is boring to me, so I share your enthusiasm for the rhythmic movements of Taekkyeon.

My Question:

I noticed the similarities with this art and TaiChi or kung fu. Im guessing there is a bit of history between the two.

What special or unique history have you learned about while practicing?

Any stories of grandmasters or elite master training? Such as KungFu has qigong, what would taekkyeon have?

Thank you & congratulations!!

crossmr5 karma

I've done a little research and while some people theorize there is a link, they haven't really shown a clear link yet, and taekkyeon has some unique moves, like using your opponents leg as a launch pad to kick them in the head.

What I do know is that Taekkyeon mostly comes from one guy who saved as much of the knowledge as he could during the japanese occupation. It is likely not complete. We are missing some of the techniques that were created before and they haven't had any luck finding them.

Aegon-the-Conqueror4 karma

I don't know if you would know this, but how would a martial artist fare against an armed opponent? Say the enemy had a sword and shield and armour, how would the unarmed taekkyeon fighter go about taking that down? Apologies if you have never thought about this prospect.

crossmr7 karma

Well, it depends on how armed they are and how skilled the martial artist is and what exactly it is they know.

If someone were armed solely with a knife or other small weapon like that, the martial artist might have a fair chance. Many arts have a focus on blocking, so being able to block a knife attack would allow you to counter and take them down. A sword and a shield? Well, that's a bit much if it's a face to face fight. The sword gives a lot of reach, and is quite deadly. I wouldn't expect them to do very well outside of demonstration.

flukz4 karma

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crossmr7 karma

Some of the basic moves can be used like that, but you need to watch further into the video. The movement is used to try and confuse your opponent, and make your attacks less clear. You'll also see the advanced kicks and techniques to be quite powerful. Watching from here: https://youtu.be/l0nuZlolOqc?t=926 you might get a different impression especially at 15:40.

BWilliamsRemembers3 karma

Have you ever tried any of the moves seen in Karate Kid? But really, congrats on the medal. It is always nice when hard work is rewarded.

crossmr5 karma

The crane? No.. I suppose I did do a similar jump kick today though. Feint with one foot then strike with the other. and thanks!

LottaFagina3 karma

How long do you think you would last in a fight against someone with an mma background?

crossmr5 karma

Hmm... that depends. Do I get a head start?

If I was younger and had the time to learn a complimentary art for ground fighting, probably much longer. With only take downs, kicking, and strikes, probably not that long.

vitvin3 karma

Different sport, but I once saw Tony Anthony speak (ex-Kung fu world champ) and he said there are some 'old masters in the mountains' who would beat him with ease, but never fight in tournaments - is this true for Taekkyeon?

crossmr2 karma

Yes absolutely.

AdrianBlake2 karma

That's a pretty cool medal. Is this your first time competing on the world level?

crossmr3 karma

Yes it is. Won't be my last either. I'll be far more prepared next time.

RandomWriterGuy2 karma

How did you feel about Rio de Janeiro?

crossmr2 karma

I thought it was a gong show and can't wait for the show to begin here in 2 years.

Apoindexter2 karma

Congrats on the medal. Whereabouts in Korea are you? I'll buy you a congratulatory beer man

crossmr3 karma

Thanks, I live in Seoul. So it was a bit of a trip out to the tournament. Traffic was a nightmare getting back into Seoul on a Saturday. 1:50 minutes turned into a 4 hour drive.

42fortytwo422 karma

Congratulations! :) when did you get involved in martial arts and what was your journey from starting out to competing in high level competitions?

crossmr2 karma

For serious study, I started intensive training this year.

Like many youths, I actually had a book when I was young. We didn't actually really have any martial arts schools where I grew up, but I did have this illustrated guide to Karate. I can remember for a year or so learning those moves in my spare time, but it wasn't really anything formal or that really stuck. I only just thought of it now.

In this case, since I was training with one of the top masters here in Korea, who is also involved in the competition, after he saw how I was progressing, he suggested I enter and represent Canada.

nicetryguessagain2 karma

do you think you can beat manny pacquiao in a street fight?

crossmr4 karma

have to go with no there.

christopherkj2 karma

What does becoming better than your teacher/master feel like? How does the relationship and respect dynamic change?

crossmr6 karma

I fear that my master would probably be dead by the time I was ever better than him. He's 61, but he's built like a brick house wrapped in honey badgers. He does nothing but train in everything. During my training when he's not actively supervising me on something all he does is run around, pump weights and practice random moves from everything. He's trained in weapons, several non weapon martial arts, boxing, probably things I haven't seen yet.

theskyismine2 karma

Congratulations! Have you ever had to use your skills in a street fight? You probably get asked that all the time.

crossmr7 karma

I have not. Korea is a pretty safe country with very few random street fights, muggings or things of that nature. If the situation did arise though, I'd like to think I'd step up.

crystalraindrops2 karma

Do you know how to speak Korean? Or are you interested in Korean culture?

crossmr5 karma

I speak intermediate Korean and have dual citizenship between Korea and Canada, so yes I am :)

fiqar1 karma

Do you have a job or is training your full-time job? What do you do for fun?

crossmr2 karma

I have several jobs that I do.

For fun, I game to unwind, both video and table top games. I have a kid, so that eats up a lot of time.

Trauermarsch1 karma

Did you enjoy the food?

crossmr2 karma

At the competition? Yes the provided a buffet lunch that was okay. The chicken and rice were good, the fried pork was not great.

jamiedee1 karma

Favorite Pokemon?

crossmr3 karma

hmm..

I never played pokemon when I was young. Go isn't out here, but I did download an emluator and start playing emerald out of curiosity. I've got some kind of raccoon looking thing that is killing everything right now, so I'll pick that.

Flurex1 karma

What is your favourite type of sandwich?

crossmr4 karma

It's pretty boring, but I've been a life long peanut butter sandwich guy.

muricabrb1 karma

Congrats on the win! Have you considered crossing over into MMA? Taekkyeon's movement, grappling and kicks could translate well in the octagon.

crossmr4 karma

You'd need to combine it with an art that had some solid ground techniques. Taekkyeon doesn't really have any ground techniques at all. If I had a time machine and I could start learning this 20 years ago along with someone else, I might consider it.

quingard1 karma

Would you define yourself as a "living weapon"?

crossmr0 karma

I would not. No more than anyone else.

VoraciousVegan1 karma

Looks like Tae Kwon Do mixed with Aikido. This is an Olympic sport?

crossmr1 karma

No, but I've heard they'd like to make it one. It's very different from Taekwondo.

minamo991 karma

Do you consider Taekkyeon to be effective in terms of self defense in todays world?

crossmr2 karma

I think so. It focus a lot on taking the opponent out of it. They also have some defense techniques that would work well against a mugger with a knife or something like that, as long as they weren't a trained knife fighter or something. The quick strong kicks to the head would help you out, as well as the takedowns.

StareInTheMirror1 karma

Random but my mom is from seoul and lost contact with her 7 other siblings during the late 80s. Any method you know of that connects familys in korea? Sunyeoung mak ye i think is her korean name

crossmr3 karma

Hmm.. if she has a family certificate, there should be a record of all her siblings. She could simply go to the police here with that certificate and ask them to help her locate them. If she's living outside of Korea, it'd probably be worth the trip or there might be an agency. I know there is one for adoptees.

mrtyson561 karma

What's the worst you've ever been hurt in training or competition? What's the worst you've hurt someone during the same scenarios?

crossmr2 karma

Your legs get pretty beat up. I haven't broken anything. We had a particularly bad knee on shin collision during some sparring that was mostly at full speed and lead to some pretty hobbled walking for awhile.

Personally I threw someone who tried to save himself by wrapping his arms around me, that lead to me going down on top of him and his nuts.

There have been a few injuries. Broken noses and things like that.

Monsters_of_the_Past1 karma

Have learned any other martial arts like Hapkido, Jiu Jitsu, Karate? If not, do you plan to?

crossmr2 karma

I have not yet, but I will start learning medium staff and two stick fighting.

KKlear0 karma

Have you seen/enjoyed The Raid: Redemption? Do martial arts movies interest someone who's world-class when it comes to them?

crossmr0 karma

I have not seen it, but I'll add it to my list.

I don't know that i've ever seen a movie specifically about Taekkyeon, but I really enjoyed the Korea movie "Fighter in the wind" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBJKoGgUfwY

I do like some of the martial arts movie, It's not my main genre.

conanap-1 karma

As a Canadian, I'm proud of you! May I assume taekwondo?

crossmr-1 karma

Thanks, but no, as I said in the post Taekkyeon. It's another Korean martial art.

as far as I know it's canada's first medal in this sport.

PM_ME_FURRY_PICS-3 karma

Do you think you'd have been happier if you'd won bronze, being last winner rather than first loser (sorry for the harsh terminology, I don't mean it like that)? Either way, it's a hell of an achievement and I hope you're s proud as you should be!

crossmr7 karma

Thanks! While I didn't win in the gold medal match, I wasn't sure I'd make it that far to begin with so that in itself is an accomplishment to me. The guy who won has practised much longer than me, and he also has a height and reach advantage. But even so, I was satisfied with where I ended up. I don't think I'd have been happier having a bronze.

u38cg2-6 karma

How does it feel to be a loser?

Please don't hurt me

crossmr1 karma

Considering what I had to accomplish to get to the point where I could lose there in that match. It feels good.