I have talked with many of you in person about this announcement.

First, I want to tell all my students and fellow instructors again how much I have enjoyed training with all of you or your children, and how very much I have appreciated all of your support along the way.

After over twenty years of Taekwon-do in Bozeman and in Three Forks, I have decided that it is time to make a change in my life and to close the Three Forks Kim’s Taekwon-do School.

Closing the Taekwon-do school will provide me with a more flexible schedule to pursue other business and personal interests both here in Montana and abroad, which has been difficult over the last nine years while I was running the Three Forks school on a daily basis.

This change will also enable me to fully support Joe Diaz’s Top Level Boxing Gym to grow and to provide training opportunities for professional fighters and for people interested in boxing for health and fitness.

I will continue to provide self-defense and personal safety workshops by appointment for individuals and groups.

All Three Forks students will be able to continue their Taekwon-do training at the Bozeman school located at 2430 N 7th Street. As we discussed at our last class, please let me know if you want to continue in Bozeman so that we can facilitate a smooth transition.

I will miss the Taekwon-do School and training with you, and I will always treasure the time we spent together.

Again, thank you for your friendship and support over the years. I wish all of you the best on your journeys!

Brigitte Tuller
– three rivers defense –


Non – Contact Taekwon-do

Why do you practice non-­contact?  How can you know that you can defend yourself in a “real fight” if you practice non-­contact? What are the benefits of non-­contact training? These are a few of the questions that I was often asked in personal protection and self-­defense communities and sometimes by our students when I taught Taekwon-do.

I’ve trained both non-­contact at our Kim’s Taekwon-­do School and full-­contact at Grand Master Jung Sae Park’s Chung Do Kwan Karate school in Indianapolis. I’ve also trained with self-­defense instructors outside the martial arts in Nevada, Washington, and New Mexico, both non-­contact and full-­contact with padded aggressors. Non-­contact training combined with board breaking, if practiced thoughtfully and with appreciation for its benefits and limits, balances various training goals and benefits. I practiced Taekwon-­do for several purposes, including physical and mental fitness, health, and fun to name a few.

1st Dans learn their new hyung

1st Dans learn their new hyung

Many students seek self-­defense skills but list recreation, health, and fitness as well as self-­control and self-discipline as additional reasons for joining a martial arts school. Many train with family members. Parents often first enroll their children and later decide to join themselves.

Non-­contact training minimizes the risk of injury. Many families join martial arts schools to enjoy a physical activity together without much risk of injury. Many schools have more family members as students than individual students. Mothers and fathers with sons and daughters, brothers, and husbands and wives train together. Occasionally, students are divided into adult and children sparring groups. But most often, they spar together. Such family-­focused training might be harder with full-­contact training.

Board Breaking

Board Breaking

Of course, we don’t engage in non-­contact sparring just to make Taekwon-­do family-­friendly. What, then is the reason behind non-­contact training? In my opinion, one of its main benefits is its focus on accurate targeting of vulnerable points of the body – for example, the temple, eyes, throat, occipital protuberance, or solar plexus. Because techniques are pulled, accurate targeting of vital points is possible without major risk of injury.

So-­called “full-­contact” sparring, just like full-­contact self-­defense with padded aggressors, is still not full-­contact. Padding and shielding, such as boxing gloves, shin guards, chest protectors, helmets, and other protective gear prevent truly “full” contact. There are also rules regarding forbidden targets. Since “full-­contact” is not really “full-­contact” it cannot realistically simulate criminal attacks in the street or in the home. Even in boxing, some targets are not allowed and the boxers wear wraps and boxing gloves.



Full-­contact Taekwon-­do is not, and as a sport, should not, be the same as a full-­contact criminal attack. One is consensual activity; the other is criminal violence with no rules and no referees. In “full-­contact” Chung Do Kwan Taekwon-­do, students use helmets, chest protectors, arm protectors, gloves, shin and instep protectors, cups, and mouth guards. In self-­defense training with R.A.D. Systems and other similar training systems, the students use helmets, eye protection, chest protectors, gloves, and knee protectors. The attacker uses a full-­body armor suit.

Padded Aggressor

Padded Aggressor

“Full-­contact” is a misnomer for any martial art or self-­defense training, because none of these training modes realistically simulate “full contact.” If they did, these programs wouldn’t be in business for very long. Participants would be injured and possibly killed on a regular basis if the techniques were practiced effectively with full force and without rules or referees. Even Mixed Martial Arts or cage fighting has rules to prevent injury. For example, the following movements—all potentially valuable for truly incapacitating self-­defense—are not allowed: eye gouging, eye clawing, strikes to the throat, elbow strikes to the spine, stomping an opponent on the ground, etc.

Non-­contact Taekwon-­do acknowledges that we practice in a controlled environment with rules and referees. Targeting, striking, and pulling techniques right before impact allow the student to practice accurate targeting while minimizing the risk of injury. When practiced together with breaking boards, with static bag work, as well as with dynamic, moving target work, a student should be able to maximize power and targeting, including striking moving targets, with minimal risk of injury.

Board breaking also serves to test proper body alignment for maximum power generation.

Broken Boards

Broken Boards

It should complement non-­contact training. So should body bag, heavy bag, and dynamic target practice. In self-­defense, we also include non-­contact training, with accurate, slow-­motion targeting of vulnerable body parts on a non-­padded training partner. We add power and speed with body bag work and training with dynamic hand-­held shields and targets. Practicing your targeting on an unpadded human body, however, is crucial for zeroing in on vulnerable body parts in an actual attack, with its extreme stress and fear-­induced adrenal stress reactions

Non-­contact Taekwon-­do strikes a balance between self-­defense skill development and training safety, maximizing each student’s opportunity for accurate targeting of vital points and range finding.


Taekwon-do and Gangnam Style

We had fun with our visitors from Korea. I-Ho Pomeroy brought a group of Korean teachers to Three Rivers Defense for an evening of Taekwon-do and Gangnam Style dancing. Read more…

Meet Korean Teachers at Three Rivers Defense Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange Evening at Three Rivers Defense

We invite the public, and especially teachers, principals, school board members, and everyone else interested in Korean culture and education to join us for a Cultural Exchange with I-Ho Pomeroy and Korean High School and Elementary School teachers. Read more…

Three Rivers Defense in the News

3 rivers defense

A Fighting Chance, Three Forks self-defense classes teach protection, safety for women” is the title of a recent article by Jodi Hausen in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Check out “A Fighting Chance”  Read more…

Taekwon-Do or Self Defense – which should I choose?

How does taekwon-do relate to personal safety and self-defense? Read more…

Spring 2012 Three Rivers Defense Open House

Join us for our spring 2012 Three Rivers Defense Open House at 15 Main Street, Three Forks, from 6-8p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2012. Read more…

Boise Taekwon-do Tournament March 17, 2012

See you at the  28th Annual Boise Kim’s Taekwon-do Championship on March 17, 2012. Read more…

February Taekwon-do Promotion Test

The February Kim’s Taekwon-Do Montana Promotion test will be held at 6:00pm on Thursday, February 23, 2012. Read more…

Girls for a Change 2012 Conference

GFAC 2012 Demo Team

We had a lot of fun at the  2012 Girls For a Change Conference at MSU in Bozeman on Saturday, February 25, 2012. Read more…