Martial Arts training that will get you fit for
self defense!



Frequently asked questions

What is your mission?


The mission of the White Dragon Dojang is to clearly teach sophisticated, high-quality martial arts with the goal of providing our students with a reliable method of self-defense. Specifically, we strive to teach Taekwondo as a serious combat system first, and kickboxing style for both personal protection and sport fighting second, while retaining its traditional aspects as well as its aesthetic distinction as an Olympic sport. We promise that our curriculum quality lines up with the standards of the World Taekwondo Headquarters in Korea, the Kukkiwon.

What does White Dragon Dojang mean? 

White Dragon Dojang means "White Dragon Gym." Dojang is the Korean transliteration of the Japanese word dojo which means gym. Dojang means gym or training hall. At first listen the name is colorful, fun, evokes images of old Kung Fu movies while also sounding cool. But there is some philosophy behind it. The Korean name of our gym is Baek Ryung Dojang. The hangul is  룡 장. 

The name White Dragon refers to the legendary, mythological Asian creature of the dragon. In Korean culture the dragon symbolizes various positive attributes. It is a benevolent being, but when confronted the dragon is a fierce creature with claws, teeth, and magical powers used to protect and fight aggressors. Legend states that the great King Munmu who unified the 3 kingdoms of Korea, on his deathbed, wished to become a "Dragon of the East Sea in order to protect Korea". The symbolism of the dragon in Asian warrior cultures is strength, power, honor, and ferocity in battle.  

Korean dragons are full of devotion, kindness, and gratitude and are said to be water beings that bring fourth rain and clouds which speaks of sustaining life. The king of Korea wore a dragon symbol and many palaces are filled with dragon symbols for protection. The Korean kings believed they were protected by a great dragon. 

The color white in Korean culture symbolizes purity and innocence. White is an extremely important color in Korean culture. Historically Koreans often wore white, and much of their artwork was pure white. They were known as "the white people." This is why the Taekwondo uniform is white and not other random colors. Our uniforms symbolize purity and what is good and this is why the "White Dragon" is symbolically used as opposed to another color of a dragon. Such things are what a warrior should fight for. White also symbolizes being close to death and mourning at funerals. This brings understanding that a warrior must embrace death and not fear it if he is fighting for the right cause. 

Such philosophical meanings are what the White Dragon Dojang embody. Our martial arts are serious, dangerous, and are to be used with moral purity. 

What do you mean by the dojang that comes to you? 

The White Dragon Dojang is the dojang that comes to you. It is the gym that comes to you. That means the instructor is willing to meet you where you're at! This is private martial arts instruction and small groups. Do you have a training space or know of a place you can use? Then hire Instructor Allwander to come meet you there and train you. This works much like a personal trainer for fitness that comes to your house, but instead it is martial arts! Private lessons work and are highly effective in teaching someone well and at a faster rate than large group classes. People meet with the instructor in various places such as garages, parks, racquetball courts, tennis courts, gyms, backyards, churches, playgrounds etc...these are types of places you can meet. If you have a decent space that is safe and big enough for martial arts training than the White Dragon Dojang is for you. 

What makes the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program better than other Taekwondo schools around town? 

The White Dragon Dojang is the dojang that comes to you. For certain people private lessons and small group training are more beneficial than taking a large class. Often times in large classes there is alack of personal attention from the instructor. You could go to other gyms around town traveling far, and be thrown into a large class and not learn very much. While the White Dragon Dojang makes training convenient and personal because you can schedule training at your house, in your backyard, in your garage, at a park, at a church, anywhere you find a training space in Clanton or Hoover. Instructor Allwander will show up and teach you! The White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program teaches the true style of Kukki-Taekwondo. Instructor Allwander is certified internationally by Korea registered in the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters). Because we train for the purposes of perfecting the martial art for practical applications in realistic combat we don't waste time on point tag or silly dancing and musical performances; but for every kick, every punch, and every strike to cause destruction and the total devastation of your opponent while still keeping the positive attitudes of humility in how we portray our art: respect, confidence, and health that is keeping with the Korean culture and tradition of our style. The 5 Tenets of Taekwondo are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit! This is Taekwondo for fighting! 

What are martial arts?

Martial arts are various systems of combat used for self-defense and also times of war. They are used to protect people, protect nations, prevent enemies from causing harm, and for self preservation. A Martial Artist will use techniques to defend against attacks while causing appropriate damage to the attacker in a life-threatening-or socially violent situation. Martial arts should be used to defend one-self, your family, friends, and country. A martial artist knows when to use appropriate force. Martial arts techniques are dangerous and can seriously injure a person including death. Such outcomes ONLY occur in the most extreme circumstances. A true martial artist knows when to use and when to not use certain techniques. Martial arts should never be used to show off, impress people, or bully a person. Misusing martial arts goes against the very nature of what it means to be a warrior, or a man or woman of respect and honor. The black belt symbolizes mastery of the basics of a style as well as maturity both mentally and physically.

Martial means military; inclined or disposed to war; warlike; of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces; characteristic of or befitting a warrior

Art means the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Skills and techniques of such.

So Martial Arts express and display such military and warrior-like skills.

There are also sports based on martial arts such as Boxing, Kickboxing, Olympic Taekwondo, Mixed Martial Arts, and more. Sport fighting allows people to practice and compete against other fighters using certain techniques without the purposes of fatal consequences. There are rules involved to allow for certain techniques while protecting the fighter’s safety as well as safety gear. 

Martial arts are the ability to fight well and be a warrior. As civilians we have to have a mindset as a civilian warrior since we are not in the military. With fighting abilities come great responsibility. Martial Arts are about combat skills, yet they are not simply ONLY about fighting. A true martial artist has a moral philosophy that comes with their skills that helps them be stronger, better, and more capable people in life.

What is Taekwondo?

A Korean Martial Art system of striking and blocking with the feet and hands. Taekwondo emphasizes kicking. Taekwondo is a hand-to-hand fighting/combat system for self-defense developed and established by Koreans in 1955.

10 original kwans (or schools) of martial arts came together and created the name Taekwondoto specialize in a Korean way of fighting. Taekwondo is heavily based on Japanese Karate (most notably Shotokan Karate), as well as northern Chinese Kung Fu and indigenous Korean styles.  The Imperial Japanese took over Korea in the Pacific War and destroyed much of their culture including Korean martial arts and would not allow Koreans to study their own martial arts.  Instead the Japanese forced Koreans to train in only Japanese styles (the Korean styles are said to be based on ideas of Korean styles going back over 2,000 years). The only styles available for Koreans were Karate and Judo in Korea at select locations. Only privileged Koreans could train in such martial arts and most of these privileged class Koreans learned in Japan overseas while studying at Japanese Universities. Much of the information for indigenous Korean martial arts was lost, but the primary Korean style that Taekwondo is based on (or copied) is called Tae kyeon which is a Korean kicking style developed into a sporting game from ancient techniques. Taekwondo was also developed to perfect Karate better than the Japanese who once occupied their homeland. The Karate learned in Japan, and in select gyms allowed in Korea at the time, was to be perfected and Koreanized. The original Taekwondo masters studied martial arts such as Karate, Judo, Jujitsu (Japan)  Kung Fu, Chuan Fa, Tai Chi (China) Hapkido, Tang Soo Do,  Soo Bahk, and Tae Kyeon (Korea). Taekwondo has various striking and blocks with kicks, punches, knees, elbows, and some throws and joint locks with pressure point attacks. Taekwondo has been been developed into a distinct system of combat with dynamic kicking and intricate footwork that is unique to Taekwondo. Taekwondo is also an Olympic sport and was inducted into the Olympic Games in 2000. Taekwondo also has poomsae (forms/patterns) competitions and board breaking competitions that display the aesthetics of Taekwondo. The sport form of Taekwondo sparring is a game with only kicks, body punches, and blocks allowed. Taekwondo is a Martial Arts system for self defense first and foremost, and is an Olympic sport second. The Taekwondo practitioner needs to acknowledge this.

The Kukkiwon is the World headquarters for Korean Taekwondo and gives out black belt rankings worldwide. The Kukkiwon is recognized and approved by the Korean government. Kukkiwon Taekwondo is the original Taekwondo style. The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) is the governing body for tournament competition and is the only organization that oversees the Olympic Taekwondo games. The WTF works together with the Kukkiwon and only allows Kukkiwon poomsae for tournament competitions.

There are other organizations for Taekwondo, most notably the International Taekwondo Federation which branched away from the Korean Taekwondo Association (the precursor to the Kukkiwon and which still exists as the national governing body for Korea). It can be said that ITF is the brother of the WTF/Kukkiwon. There have been efforts to combine both the ITF and WTF/Kukkiwon together but with no success.

The Taekwondo we train in is the Kukkiwon system. We practice WTF approved Kukkiwon forms. 

Why should I train in martial arts and most specifically Taekwondo?

MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING IS ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCES YOU CAN HAVE. Not only do you learn valuable fighting skills for self defense, you are learning an art-form which is an expression of lethal beauty and grace! And it is EXTREMELY FUN! It is a life skill that you can carry over into multiple avenues in life. Not simply using moves for self defense, but the mental strength and strong character it develops through discipline will benefit you in all areasa of your life. Your job, family life, and more. You will learn to master yourself, your mind, and your body while gaining the benefits of great physical fitness! Lose weight, gain strength, and burn thousands of calories doing Taekwondo and Kickboxing drills! You will gain great health. 
Gain both mental and physical confidence! Learn not to fear walking down the street to your car and have total self awareness! Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Taekwondo was founded in South Korea and through much effort Korean masters spread it to every country and region and now it is the most popular Martial Art in the world! The White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program will get you fit for self defense! Do yourself a favor and choose Instructor Andrew Allwander to train you in the fullest and most effective self defense based Taekwondo training program in the Birmingham area. Learn to actually fight. Be a part of the true fighting system and true linage of Taekwondo from South Korea. Other Taekwondo gyms have no links back to the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul, Korea) and are simply watered down and diluted creations by money making schemers that nickle and dime you for everything (multiple uniforms, extreme contracts, belts, overpriced testing fees, mandatory ceremonies, patches, demo team, etc). Let's be honest, people choose to train in Martial Arts to learn self defense and get a great workout. White Dragon Dojang is no nonsense martial arts taught in the Korean tradition of Taekwondo as a fighting art.
Fighting skills are mastered by practice, practice, practice! Repetition over and over, and personal fitness are the norm! Taekwondo is not easy nor are any other real martial arts styles in their training. You cannot skip steps and expect to progress. If you ACTUALLY WANT to be able to use self defense techniques you HAVE to go through the training program under a qualified instructor. You cannot teach yourself. This is reality. White Dragon Dojang is looking for students who understand hard work and dedication to martial arts and who WANT IT! Is that you? Come train and sign up!

What kind of Taekwondo do you teach? 

White Dragon Dojang teaches Taekwondo from the Kukkiwon system. This is called Kukki-Taekwondo which is the original Taekwondo linage taught in South Korea and sanctioned by the Korean government to give out proper black belt rankings to practitioners worldwide. Black belt certifications are given through the Kukkiwon. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and important to the Korean culture. Kukki-Taekwondo is the only Taekwondo that is recognized in Korea. South Koreans train in Kukki-Taekwondo and not any other organization of Taekwondo. The Kukkiwon black belt is the most prestigious black belt certification one can get and is respected worldwide. We also practice World Taekwondo Federation approved forms. The World Taekwondo Federation is the governing body for Taekwondo competitions worldwide including the Taekwondo event in the Olympic Games. 

The White Dragon Dojang comes from the linage of the Jidokwan (Way of Wisdom School) one of the 10 original kwans (schools) from Korea that came together to create Taekwondo. 

What kind of Kickboxing do you teach?

The White Dragon Dojang teaches Kickboxing which is a generic term for a full range of stand up striking practice. We use Taekwondo for Kickboxing and any other techniques from various other martial arts instructor Allwander has learned from in order to have a full range of attacks and defenses. Since Taekwondo sport is an Olympic event with rules prohibiting punches to the face, elbow strikes, and knee strikes, we allow for Taekwondo to be trained and perfected by the individual student in a free form of stand up fighting. This includes the full range of Taekwondo strikes, with hand strikes to the face, elbows, and knees all practiced. Taekwondo as a martial art is a complete striking system so we allow an avenue for it to be trained that way, with its proper intentions. This will enable the Taekwondo student to not only fight in Olympic sparring events, but also cross-over into Kickboxing, knockdown, and mixed martial arts events. Kickboxing sparring is more often trained with the White Dragon Dojang than Olympic sparring. We do not focus on WTF sparring, and instead spend out time honing Kickboxing skills for free range combat and self defense. Our inner-school Kickboxing is called White Dragon Kickboxing and is simply a term used to describe the way our schools personally uses Taekwondo for Kickboxing.  

Try out Kickboxing with the White Dragon Dojang! White Dragon Kickboxing will get you set in the basics and ready to train for fighting! This is not kickbox fitness. This is kickboxing as a martial art for fighting based off of the quick brutal techniques of Taekwondo!

What do you mean by Combative Self Defense?

The term Combative Self Defense implies that our Taekwondo is trained for self defense purposes and we spend a lot of time doing combatives drills using the various stances, strikes, blocks, joint locks, pressure points, throws and sweeps, chokes, and other techniques to teach self defense. Taekwondo is a self defense fighting art and has very effective techniques to escape holds and grabs, and avoid punches and kicks and other kinds of attacks a confrontation in the street might bring up. We like to refer to our Taekwondo as "Street Taekwondo." This is Taekwondo training for lethal intentions to cause the most significant damage to an attacker in order to save your life. Taekwondo has many brutal techniques that will stop an attacker. 

The White Dragon Dojang is all about combative Taekwondo. The techniques of Taekwondo for the purpose of more serious fighting and self defense. We do this while keeping the roots of Taekwondo and martial arts tradition and history. We believe this is the true nature of martial arts and the self defense art of Taekwondo as promoted by the Kukkiwon. We do not reject the sport of Taekwondo, but we focus less on it and more on realistic world applications.

Is Taekwondo good to train in for MMA?

We believe it is! Taekwondo has shown to have a proven track record for providing the MMA fighter effective striking techniques and tactics: spin kick knockouts, back kicks to the liver, punching off of angles, tricky footwork and more. Taekwondo strategy and kicking combinations have helped certain fighters win their fights. Of course MMA is mixed martial arts so one cannot simply rely on any one martial art to win. An MMA fighter cannot only train in Taekwondo and expect to do great, but Taekwondo certainly can help. Training with the White Dragon Dojang Martial Arts Training Program is certainly a valid way to equip yourself with Taekwondo weapons for your overall MMA game if you want to fight in MMA. Instructor Allwander will help you obtain skillful Taekwondo striking that you can use in your upcoming fights. 

Do you teach Olympic sparring or participate in tournaments?

Yes we do, but we do not focus on Olympic sparring or tournaments. They are simply an extra activity and a small percentage of what Taekwondo is. Taekwondo is a martial art first and a sport second. We do teach Olympic sparring in certain classes, and it is mandatory to learn the sport and participate in it to advance in rank at certain stages, but it is not the focus of our training. There will be chances to compete in Taekwondo tournaments and we encourage students to participate in them and will coach them, but our focus is more on self defense and Kickboxing as well as MMA. The White Dragon Dojang fully supports the World Taekwondo Federation for worldwide sport competition as well as Taekwondo Olympic athletes, yet we are not a sport oriented school. We are a self defense oriented school. 

How do I become a black belt? 

Through years of hard training at a consistent pace. The average rate of earning a Taekwondo black belt takes about 3 and a half years. Some people have done it in 3, and some have taken 4 or more years. Some have taken longer. Not everyone has it obligated to them to become a black belt. Not everyone will become one, and that is ok. Also, depending on natural physical ability and physically challenged individuals the curriculum will be modified to fit their disabilities so ranks can still be earned. Ranking up in Taekwondo has more to do with personal progression. The White Dragon Dojang will not give out belt ranks simply for money. They are earned through hard work and pain. The belt colors people earn in Taekwondo should not be the goal. Training and learning and progressing in the martial arts as an individual should be your goal. If you worry about earning a black belt, and all you care about is the piece of cloth to tie around your waste, then just to online and order one from a martial arts equipment website! In reality the black belt symbolizes a mastery of the basics or a strong understanding of the basics. It means you are a strong fighter and capable of defending yourself, but still have a lot more to learn. It is a new beginning for more advanced martial arts training. A person must be at least 16 years old to be eligible for black belt testing. The adult black belt rank is called a dan rank (degree). Younger people instead earn a child's black belt called a poom (or junior black belt), which means the young person is a very good student for a kid. Only adults (16+) with discipline, maturity, and who are able to showcase proper martial arts technique that not only looks good, but is able to be used effectively for its intended purposes will obtain black belt dan ranking.   

What is the instructor's rank and qualifications?

This can be answered by clicking the "Experience" page on the top menu. Even so, Instructor Andrew Allwander is a 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo, and certified master instructor from the Kukkiwon earned in Korea. He is also a Level 2 Basic Instructor for Ensayo Kali stick, blade, and empty hands fighting. He has over 20 years of training experience. He also has various knowledge in other martial arts styles. He has knowledge from Judo, Japanese Jujitsu, Karate, Tang Soo Do, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Yaw Yan, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Mixed Martial Arts, Shaolin Kung Fu, Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate, and other self defense systems; all though he is NOT ranked in any other style except Taekwondo. Our classes focus on Taekwondo, Kickboxing, and combatives for self defense and dabbles in ideas from these other systems. The only rank you will earn in this class is Taekwondo rank, but you will have other knowledge that will benefit and be supplemental to your training.