TKD has and continues to evolve. It is an ever-changing art, especially when it comes to footwork. Are there a lot of crappy schools? Sure. Are some focused on kids' grades and behavior and not on true combat? Sure. Are some of the rules and techniques of sport TKD terrible for real combat? Sure. That being said, there are also many TKD schools that teach tradition, sport, and combat and their differences very well and those schools seem to have no problem producing TKD practitioners whose techniques hold up just fine in the combat department. I've personally witnessed others' success and experienced it myself.
It's an ever changing art? What have they changed major in the last 10 years? 20 years? To be honest I went to many TKD schools that many people swore by and said were "real" schools and they were all the same b.s. across the board. All I would ever get from most TKD practitioners is a lot of talk about how it can be effective on the street, but when you ask them to demonstate what's effective on the street they show you a bunch of flashy kicks and techniques that would never work in real combat.
Let me ask this...if there are some TKD schools that produce TKD guys that do just fine in combat then why are there no TKD guys in real combat sports? Where is the UFC champ that's a TKD guy? Where are they in WEC, Strikeforce, Dream, K1, King of the Cage, etc...where are all these combat ready TKD guys? I mean I would think as many TKD schools as there are across the nation (probably double any other martial art) that there would be at least a handful of guys out there doing MMA that have a pretty much straight TKD background...if it's that effective...
Don't get me wrong and think I'm coming off like a dick. I'm really not trying too. I'm just saying that you look at other martial arts like BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, and even wrestling....there are guys out there fighting using those styles as their base. Where are all the TKD guys if it's as effective as most TKD guys like to think it is.
To me I feel like a lot of TKD guys want to compare them having a black belt in TKD to me having over 7 years of Muay-Thai experience and in my eyes there is no comparisson. I've never sparred with one TKD guy regardless of rank that's made it past the 1st round.