|7 Tigers has moved into our new location at the Hollymead Town Center
We have completed our move into a brand new space with more parking and a better facility. Be sure to stop by and check us out! While you’re there try a free class with no obligation or high pressure sales pitch. Come see what we’re all about!
A Proud Vietnam Veteran
About 7 Tigers
7 Tigers Taekwondo and Hapkido School is Charlottesville’s leader in martial arts training since 1990. Headed by Grand Master Thomas Henzey (8th Dan) under Grand Master Sung Soo Lee (9th Dan), we offer a number of programs for physical fitness and instruction in Taekwondo and Hapkido.
Men, women and children of all ages can take advantage of our programs. Each student is given personalized instruction and attention from certified Black Belt instructors, with emphasis placed on individual ability.
The training and exercises at 7 Tigers Taekwondo and Hapkido develop physical and mental coordination, self-confidence, as well as relaxation, which involve the movement of the entire body will keep you trim, fit and in good health. Besides keeping you physically fit, your training can be most effective and powerful when used in self defense.
Our style is a blend of Korean Martial Arts including Jidokwan, Taekwondo, and Hapkido. All three of these martial arts make up the American Jidokwan system founded by Grand Master Henzey in conjunction with Grand Master Sung Soo Lee.
The american jidokwan system
In the last few decades there has been an increasing trend within Taekwondo toward an exclusive focus on sport fighting.
This drift away from the other important elements of Taekwondo (self-defense, forms, breaking and a defined set of values) is in reality the transformation of a martial art into a sport.
A similar trend can be seen in the development of Olympic fencing in which the modern sport resembles only in a superficial manner its art of origin. There is a difference, however, between the alteration of fencing from art to sport and the modification of Taekwondo: carrying a sword and resolving conflict through sword fighting are not practical endeavors in the modern world.
Having the ability to defend one’s self and one’s family, however, still remains crucially important. In other words, sport Taekwondo should be seen as a facet of the martial art of Taekwondo, not its core.
Grand Master Thomas Henzey believes that Taekwondo should remain a martial art. With that in mind he, in conjunction with Grand Master Sung Soo Lee have developed the American Jidokwan System, which combines the forms and kicking of Taekwondo, the footwork, self-defense, weapons and philosophy of Jidokwan with the throws, takedowns, joint locks and pressure points of Moohakkwan Hapkido.
The American Jidokwan System was developed to be a complete martial art system, while remaining true to its Jidokwan roots. According to the Jidokwan Historical Society, the motto of Jidokwan is “a tradition of change,” hence the American Jidokwan System is designed to accommodate evolution.
A signature feature of the American Jidokwan System is the performance all self-defense (hoshinsool) and sparring (gyorugi) from the Jidokwan fighting stance, not from forward stance/low-block.
The Jidokwan fighting stance resembles a boxing stance in which the feet are no more than shoulder width apart. Such a stance requires only minor shifting of body weight in order to execute a kick or a punch and the stance allows for quick footwork designed to move at angles to an attack rather than in a linear back-and-forth motion. The stance also has the shoulders angled away from opponent to present the smallest possible target. Fighting from forward stance/low-block is not only unrealistic, it telegraphs kicks due to the major shift in body weight required to lift the leg from that position.
Another distinctive aspect of the American Jidokwan System is the use of punches in sparring matches. The habit of dropping one’s hands when fighting, as exhibited in Olympic Taekwondo, would spell defeat in any other self-defense situation. It should be remembered that Taekwondo literally means the foot-hand-way; hand strikes are important weapons in Jidokwan’s arsenal. Moreover, the American Jidokwan System teaches all techniques from both right-side and left-side forward, and trains practitioners in both front and back leg kicking.
Grand Master Henzey promotes five foundational tenets of American Jidokwan:
- Know the Distance; Work the Angles. Perceiving properly the distance between you and your opponent is crucial to any encounter. In a fight, the person who commands distance (either creating it or closing the gap) maintains a distinct advantage. ‘Working the angles’ refers to a fighter’s ability to move in 360 degrees not merely 180. Too often Taekwondo practitioner’s will attack and defend only in a linear manner. Using angles is an effective way to gain the upper-hand.
- Control the Weapon being used against you. Controlling the hand, foot, knife or other weapon being wielded against you is paramount in any encounter.
- Apply Effective Technique; this may sound self-evident, but the only way to apply effective technique is to practice effective technique. In other words, while training, focus on proper footwork, punching, kicking and blocking. Execute every move with focus and intensity; merely ‘going through the motions’ will not serve you when the time comes to defend yourself.
- Follow-through; This can also be thought of as “do not practice to miss.” In other words, during training, when punching your opponent in the face as part of a self-defense technique, do not punch air to the side of his or her head; instead make (light) contact with the opponent’s chin. This will train your body to follow through properly in a real situation.
- Finish; After a self-defense technique has been executed, always implement a finishing technique. This should be spontaneous strikes, throws or take-downs employed after the prescribed technique. Making the finishing technique spontaneous rather than scripted teaches your body to act without hesitation.