answered here before but I return to this topic again as it is a question a lot of people ask. Is Karate effective; is Tang Soo Do effective? Oh my heavens, yes.
Before we get too far, let me put it right out here that I’m answering “the question” as it is intended, as opposed to answering a hundred nuances of the question. I could say, Tang Soo Do is effective in creating self esteem, or improving physical conditioning, or encouraging the development of a disciplined mind.
All of these would be true, and worthy of extended conversation, but let us cut to the chase. Most of the time when someone asks “the question,” what they really want to know is, could a Tang Soo Do martial artist defend themselves against a larger, stronger opponent?
For example, can a woman, trained in Tang Soo Do, defend herself against a larger male attacker? Yes, with caveats. More on this below.
I’ve never been attacked by three ninjas in an alley, but I have sparred in class and at many tournaments, and frankly (and with a little embarrassment) cannot count the number of ribs, fingers, and toes I’ve broken. Not my bones; rather the bones of my partners with whom I was holding back, going half speed, and who were wearing pads.
I have heard countless stories of students who reacted spontaneously to aggression with very basic blocks and counter strikes (without thinking) that in every case ended a fight very quickly. This is true of children, young adults, and more than one parent at what should have been a friendly soccer field.
I would also stress the value of Ho Sin Sul, or extractions from grabs. In Tang Soo Do we practice these a lot, and at the Black Belt level, test with multiple attackers grabbing and holding you while others try to punch and kick. It is not for the faint of heart.
Lastly, the caveat to all of this is you will execute your martials arts exactly as you practice it. If you go to class multiple times per week, and practice each punch, kick, block, turn, jump, and dodge with sincerity, precision, and effort you will become an effect artist. If you practice half heartedly, you will reinforce half hearted execution and you get your clock cleaned in actual combat. You are what you practice.