In Taekwon-do circles often use the words “Champion”, “Professional” and “Amateur”. Not always, however, implied meaning in these words is correct.

What exactly do these words mean and in what sense it is correct to use?



image-2-for-jade-jones-the-making-of-an-olympic-champion-gallery-448872572Champion is a winner in sports competition and comes from French “champion”. Champion in the sport’s highest honors in a tournament. In individual sports champion is a man, while in team sports champion is a whole team. The champion is usually rewarded with a medal and / or bowl.

Conducting multiple tournaments and competitions at local, national or international level is a prerequisite to have many champions. If it is European, World or Olympic champion is quite different. There is cruel competition, and such competitions are conducted on a larger time interval – such as the Olympics are in four years.

About the shiny side of the medal each realizes – it’s Glory, photos on the covers of magazines, participation in the TV programs, financial rewards, etc. These are things that most people would like to achieve. Of course, the path to them is not at all easy and eventually fame and money are not everything!

But what is on the back of those medals? Some would say perseverance, work, sweat, hard work and a little sporty happiness. Yes, these are the things spoken of. More interesting are those who remain silent – blood, injuries, bruises, broken noses, teeth knocked out, operations on their knees, psychological trauma, etc. Consequences range from temporary inability to permanent physical and mental disabilities, often leading to early termination of a career in sports.

On the other hand, champions contributed a lot to the promotion and advertising of martial arts, but rarely champions are good as instructors doing the “dirty job” to train groups of beginners daily. Even coaches of champions most often have not been champions!

Even more so Taekwon-do is a martial art and the sport is a very small part of it. From this viewpoint the champion in Taekwon-do is like in the saying “Every miracle within three days …” and then remain only medals in the window with both sides – shiny and reverse.

protkdProfessional means a person who has turned his free time pursuits in profession or someone who is very good at their profession. Professional exercising the duties of the profession and receive a monetary reward for it.

A man is a good professional when he exercises and develop his experience and knowledge acquired as a result of his training and for this activity receive a fee. An important addition to this definition is that the professional work according to rules and ethical standards established in its field.

We are witnessing a huge discrepancy on the issue of professionalism. Not infrequently someone claims to be “professional” and receive remuneration for their work, but far away not as qualified and competent as you expect it to be. In the field of martial arts rules and ethical norms overlooked mostly from such “professionals”, especially when it comes to business and money. We hear “professionals” to claim that “Martial arts are not business”, namely they are those businessmen benefiting from this business.

Professionals rely heavily on that to produce the champions at all costs. The champions are the face of the business of these professionals and bring them additional revenue. Respectively professionals need to invest resources in these champions to train them and develop them to achieve high sports results. Usually in this process is often cross the line of Martial Arts and entering “the twilight zone” and out there is not clear what happens …

The paradox is that it is these “professionals” should give a personal example of people they train. Practical most people who train in them learn what not to do!


Amateur is a non-professional. It may mean novice unprepared, untrained or unskilled.

Usually those who practice Martial arts or sports in their free time are classified as amateurs. This does not mean that these people do not have enough knowledge or skills in what they do. Rather martial arts have very fond practicing Taekwon-do as a hobby that possess high technical degrees and impressive skills. They also participate in international seminars and tournaments where improve their qualifications. From this viewpoint the definition does not mean amateur – novice or unprepared unskilled. Even a number of amateurs deserve to be called “professionals” because of their high knowledge and skills.

Amateurs are usually much closer to the philosophy and teachings of martial arts, compared to champions or professionals, because they are not leading high sport achievements or business and money. In practicing martial arts as a hobby lacks need to achieving high sports results. The learning process goes smoothly without stress and with minimum injuries. Psychology practitioners ‘amateur’ is balanced and this gives them an advantage in other activities of daily life.

Philosophy in Taekwon-do as a martial art is not fully compatible with sport and business. This is the reason to receive such striking discrepancies that cast a shadow over Taekwon-do and its strengths as a modern martial art.

In the martial arts community has always been and will continue to have a need champions, professionals and amateurs. The difference in the future will be in proportion to their distribution. It will depend on the interest of those who want to engage in martial arts and their attitude and willingness to achieve what we want to be.

Boris Atanasov

Original article in Bulgarian published in 2013

(Visited 41 times, 1 visits today)