“Forbidden Subjects”

What other martial arts don’t want you to know.

“It is not true that identical techniques can produce the same results for everyone since all people are not created physically equal”

Master Roger Koo has been developing a new training idea in martial arts that is unlike any other in the world!
Master Koo’s martial arts training started at the age of fifteen. His background includes Shotokan, Wado-Ryu, Shotokai, Tae Kwon-Do and Choi Kwang Do. He has been teaching since 1977 in Tae Kwon-Do and turned professional in 1982. Since then, he has trained thousands of students. He has held many high offices such as Treasurer of the United Kingdom Tae Kwon-Do Association, Secretary-General of All Europe Tae Kwon-Do Federation, President, Chief Instructor & Examiner of United Kingdom Tae Kwon-Do Federation, President, Master Chief Instructor & Examiner of United Kingdom Choi Kwang Do Federation and vice-president of Choi Kwang Do Martial Arts International, headquartered in the United States.

Master Koo has been on the cover of the U.K.’s “Fighters” martial arts’ magazine (Vol. 1, #2) in 1977, the cover story in Tae Kwon- Do Times, January 1990 and U.K.’s Martial Arts Illustrated, March 1990. Master Koo moved to the United States in February 1991 where circumstances allowed him to open the Koo Karate studio in Cartersville, Georgia (a small town forty-five miles north of downtown Atlanta) on February 1, 1992. He began building the Koo Karate system (a culmination of his lifetime of martial arts experiences) without any financial resources and no U.S. credit history. He has developed a karate studio that has more students than all other martial art’s studios in Bartow County combined (which has a population of approximately 80,000 people).

In June 1994, he was included in the “TOP 200 MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOLS IN NORTH AMERICA” by Martial Arts Business Information Magazine and was the only instructor in Georgia to receive this award. This award was presented to Master Koo at a special banquet in Palm Springs, California.

That same year, he received his immigrant visa to the United States without sponsorship, which is awarded only to the top one percentile of all people immigrating to the U.S. (exclusively given to Nobel prize winners, worlds’ renowned sportsmen, scientists, actors and so forth). Master Koo was also selected to be an honored member in the National Directory of Who’s Who’s in executive and professional 1994-95 edition in June 1994.

In 1995, Master Koo produced the youngest Black Belt in the World at age five. Joshua Bishop was featured on many television news and newspapers.


In other martial arts, the emphasis is on the art and the quantity of techniques that can be learned, which is so vast that it would take a lifetime of training to master even a small percentage of those techniques referred to in traditional martial arts as the alphabet of Karate.

In the English language, the alphabet taught from the very beginning level of education can later be used to form logical words and sentences and convey ideas and produce such eloquent works as those of Dickens, Shakespeare, and to drafting the Constitution of the United States of America.

Unfortunately, this is not true in traditional martial arts training where the so-called alphabet cannot produce even one logical statement. One example is the difference between the forms being taught and the application of these forms in sparring and other traditional class activities. It is analogous to teaching one to play tennis and then suddenly throwing them into a badminton game where on the surface they are similar, but in reality they are very different.

Street fighters who do not know many techniques are very effective. Koo Karate employs this strategy. It is not the quantity, but the quality of the techniques being learned as they are rehearsed using realistic training methods and delivered without hesitation or control with full power.

The Koo Karate system has eliminated all traditional punches, blocks, three steps, two steps, one step, prearranged and free sparring. These techniques emphasize control and do not promote the freedom to execute techniques without restraint. Furthermore, if traditional punching techniques (said to be cultivated and perfected for thousands of years) are so effective then why don’t boxers, who fight for millions of dollars, use them? ( the answer is because they do not work! Even the techniques of world class boxers vary depending on particular size and shape of the fighter).

Master Koo has changed his entire method of teaching. He replaced punching and kicking drills in the air with totally realistic drills done on focus mitts and shields. The practice of blocks was abandoned for training.


In The Koo Karate system the practice of forms has been totally abandoned for Children under the age of fifteen. From the age of sixteen, forms are used for aerobic and cardiovascular training only since they have no realistic street defense value. The movements in the forms exclude any type of blocking technique executed very lightly in the air without the false emphasis on power generally associated with the snap of uniforms, as found in other martial arts. This system of doing forms in an aerobic fashion is to warm up the body for the anaerobic workout that is to follow.

After the initial stretching (yoga) exercises, which takes around fifteen to twenty minutes, adults do forms for about ten minutes at every class to warm up the body system (just like a light jog). The rest of the class times is then dedicated to the development of power and accuracy by using mitts and shield drills (equivalent to a sprinting event). Children do not require this aerobic work out since their daily physical activity level be much higher than that of adults.

The Koo Karate system does not place a strong emphasis on forms. There are no forms beyond the Black Belt level. This is unlike other martial arts systems that are totally developed around them. In other systems, from white belts to the highest belt level, the perfection of forms weighs heavily on their testing procedures.

Koo Karate students do not fail the Black Belt test because their techniques for forms executed in the air are not perfect according to the standards of other martial arts system, by which everyone must look the same to be considered correct. It is not true that identical techniques can produce the same results for everyone since all people are not created physically equal.

Unlike other sports where successful athletes fit the mold for their given sport such as basketball, gymnastics, ballet, sumo wrestling and so forth, the Koo Karate system has been developed to cultivate the natural ability within all people despite physical size or shape.

Class Training

Most people do not go in search of artistic value when they are looking for an exercise or self defense program. This is where a tremendous difference exists between Koo Karate and other martial arts training. All martial arts follow the same path when they teach their beginners, placing the emphasis of the perfect punch, block or kick in the air. The student is constantly being over- corrected for the perfect look, preventing the continuous flow of learning. This path creates a training process that stifles the student’s ability to obtain a thorough workout.

Yet, in every style there are different interpretations of the same movements, creating dissension between instructors and causing confusion among students within organizations. In other martial arts, where it is thought that the instructor must be the best technician, certain techniques are reserved for advanced students that usually only serves to keep students submissive to their instructors and prevent them from developing their natural abilities quickly.

In the Koo Karate system, the Master becomes the sculptor, molding and shaping his students through unselfish devotion to produce the most powerful and well trained martial arts athletes in the world in the shortest possible time, not concerning himself with the traditional egotistical thinking that the Master must be the most talented within his own organization.

Once a month for an entire week, the students have to endure a “stamina week.” During the stamina week, various power drills would be done on the focus mitts or shields by which the students would not receive a break until the drills are completed. We have several students who run five to six miles daily and they mentioned that the Koo Karate is much more demanding than their running!

This is why Koo Karate beginners are taught techniques considered by most martial arts organizations to be for advanced students only. The round punch (hook) for instance, which is the same punch most street attackers would use, is taught from day one, allowing the student to cultivate this technique from the beginning rather than withholding it until he or she has reached the so called advanced level. Stationary targets are simple drills to maximize power, but moving targets are harder to hit and require more training. Anyone can train themselves to shoot a pistol and be accurate hitting a bull’s eye on a stationary target. Yet to do the same thing with a moving target is a very difficult task.

Unlike many martial arts that focus on the nerve points of the body, which are impossible to hit when moving, Koo Karate uses the same principal as boxers to hit the general area with so much power that pinpoint accuracy is not necessary for a knock out. Unlike in free sparring, where one delivers one technique and stops and controls, Koo Karate students develop the habit of throwing many techniques in fast sequences that would be impossible for an opponent to block. In a typical hand technique class, the students would execute from 600 to 1,200 hits on the focus mitts. Because of that principal, blocks have been eliminated from the training for empty hand confrontations. Street attacks are fast, furious and wild.

Trying to block attacks that are difficult to detect is suicidal. The students, through the shield and mitt drills, learn to be a moving target themselves. All of the Koo Karate training is done using maximum power and follows through on focus mitts and shields under various stationary and mobile conditions (targets moving forward, backwards, sideways and so forth). The Koo Karate system eliminates the traditional constraints normally imposed upon beginning students by the martial arts organization to which they belong or by the instructor himself.

Most instructors hold on to the traditional thinking that he or she must possess the most power, rather than allowing the student to use his own natural ability to produce maximum power from day one. Often a lower belt in the Koo Karate system surpasses the power of Black Belts from other styles whose organizations impose such restraints. It is the philosophy of Koo Karate to develop any student to his or her maximum potential from day one.

Some martial artist argues that if you do not know how it feels to be hit, you would not know how to react. The reality is that in a real street fight situation, where the Adrenaline is pumping, one can be hit several times without the feeling any pain. On the other hand, if one has been trained to deliver the knock out techniques, one would stand a better chance of finishing the fight quickly and successfully.

In many martial arts organizations’ ranks are not transferable, martial artists from other style who join the Koo Karate system, enters at an equivalent belt level. He or she quickly discovers that to hit an object with full power demands a very different type of body posture and wrist angle. This gives the student immediate feedback about the quality of the techniques he or she is using, which becomes self corrective.

This is unlike other martial arts where the instructor is constantly correcting the student for the perfect movement. Change is the constant force that exists in the universe, yet martial arts training have remained unchanged for centuries. The use of firearms has evolved dramatically in only the past one hundred years. Given the choice, would you use a 1700’s pistol, or would you use a 1995 model? For centuries warriors have marched into battle face-to-face with their enemies with only primitive weapons, unprotected, and ill prepared for the battle that lay ahead blindly following orders as traditional warfare dictated.

Imagine, if you will, what the outcome would be using these same tactics in today’s modern age where the street is the battlefield and your opponent would be under the influence of illegal drugs (PCP, crack, acid) or alcohol, which renders them immune to the normal amount of pain necessary to subdue an attacker. Using conventional martial arts, joint manipulation techniques would be futile since even broken joint would not be sufficient to stop such an attacker. This is why training to achieve the knock out power is essential. Unfortunately, the martial arts world maintains similar traditions as those used in the previously mentioned primitive warfare, not keeping pace with modern technology.

Koo Karate has eliminated the ancient training techniques and through modern technology and sports science is leading the martial arts world into the twenty first century!


This is where the students in other martial arts obtain the most physical workout. Yet sparring is an artificial form of fighting designed for tournaments with every organization having different types of rules and regulations. Here you do not see the use of head butts, grappling, groin/eye attacks, biting and so forth which naturally occurs in street fighting.

Traditional sparring also causes bad habits because of the use of control. If a student spars for years showing the art of control, this naturally becomes a habit. In a scenario of a street fight, where everything happens so fast, the brain cannot suddenly change a habit in a split second.

It is just like learning to drive, at first one has to concentrate until it becomes natural and then reflexes just takes over. One can be driving and thinking of something else and still react spontaneously to a sudden change in driving conditions. But if one is suddenly placed in a different situation, it is impossible to react very quickly. Drivers who have always driven on the right side of the road must completely concentrate when they have to drive on the left side of the road. They cannot rely on their natural reflexes anymore. Many accidents occur both ends of the English Channel, where drivers have to switch road sides and often forget where they are. It takes much more concentration at first trying to get used to a different condition.

The same goes for martial arts training where sparring restraints are suddenly exchanged for realistic street conditions. Correct habit is everything. Full contact sparring is not for everybody, as tremendous injuries often occur. One cannot spar every day or even once per week and remain uninjured most of the time. This defeats the self-defense aspect when one would not be totally (body and mind) ready for a street confrontation.

A true self defense situation might happen once in a lifetime and does not occur daily. Boxing is a full contact sport and is only for a small sector of the population. Many people do not have the physical makeup to take the punishments that are required to endure during the training. Full contact Karate is the same.

Koo Karate is designed for anybody who has the desire to get fit and develop the ability to defend oneself on the street in the shortest possible time.


A student joins a martial art studio for various reasons: physical fitness, practical street self defense, character development and ultimately achieving the Black Belt. Most of the martial arts system tests their students through the ranks up to Black Belt and beyond.

From June 1, 1996, Master Koo has made another change in his system. Colored Belts denotes the time spent training at the studio and has no direct relevance to the effectiveness of the student ability in terms of street self defense. Master Koo believes that how the students are trained matter more than achieving color belts through testing. By eliminating the colored belt tests, the students would concentrate more on the training for practical street self defense, physical fitness, character development and practicing all the breaking requirements for the Black Belt test.

The Koo Karate Black Belt test is much more demanding as it requires much more stamina (through all the moving mitt and shield drills) than other martial arts testing. The Black Belt level is the most intense test because the criterion for an adult male is to break between eighty and eighty-six boards to pass. A different criterion exists for Adult Female and Children. These breaking techniques are done on new plastic rebreakable boards varying from one board to four boards depending upon the technique. For the adults, they must achieve 80% (Children 70%) first time break out of fifty-two separate breaking techniques for each hand and foot.

Additionally, there is a power break with any technique of their choice. For the men, it is four boards and for the women it is at least 2.5 to 3 boards (Children varies according to age and size, anywhere from one board and up) for each leg or hand.

Some martial arts restrict the level of the examiner to 4th degree black belt and above. In our objective system, whichever Black Belt level you have attained, you can test students up to one level below yours.

Black Belt Training

Other martial arts emphasize their black belt training around forms all the way to the highest black belt level. The Koo Karate system stops all forms at the Black Belt and concentrates on grappling, knife defense and stick fighting. Again, it is not the quantity, but the quality of a very few select workable techniques rehearsed thoroughly for instinctive use. Furthermore, because of the simplicity of the Koo Karate system, Master Koo has eliminated all the very high artificial rankings found in all other martial arts that take a life time to achieve, but have no real value. The highest level one can attain in the Koo Karate system is the fifth degree Black Belt (Master Level) which takes about 16.5 years to attain from the beginner.

Video and Affiliation

The organizational structure of the Koo Karate system is also different from all other martial arts organizations. Master Koo has altered the entire idea of what an organization should be. In the Koo Karate system there is a total separation between business and training curriculum, unlike other martial arts organizations where ranks and titles determine the overall hierarchical structure with the usual organizational politics.

In the Koo Karate system each business owner is considered equal and is not limited by the conventional restraints of a franchised organization and the high fees that go with it, nor the high cost incurred for colored/black belt certification. Master Koo has released his introductory video (45 minutes) which show his training ideas (an instructional video series will follow). Any Black Belt from another martial art system is welcome to join the most revolutionary organization in the world today.

Any further inquiries please write to Master Roger Koo of Koo (Karate) Self Defense International, World Headquarters, 41 South Public Square, Downtown Cartersville, GA 30120. U.S.A Tel: 770-386-5878. Email:

This article was written by Master Roger Koo and Mr. Joe Smith.