Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, that teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing our spirit and life through training our body and mind.
Today, it has become a global sport that has gained an international reputation, and stands among the official games in the Olympics.
The meaning of the word “Tae” “Kwon” “Do”, although composed of three parts as shown in the English spelling, is only one word in Korean language.
Tae means “foot,” “leg,” or “to step on”; Kwon means “fist,” or “fight”; and Do means the “way” or “discipline.” If we put these three parts together, we can see two important concepts behind “Tae Kwon Do”.
The first concept is that Tae Kwon Do is the right way of using Tae and Kwon ‘fists and feet,’ or all the parts of the body that are represented by fists and feet.
The second concept is it’s way to control or calm down fights and keep the peace, which comes from the meaning of Tae Kwon – ‘to put fists under control’ [or 'to step on fists'].
Thus, according to Korean martial arts doctrine, Tae Kwon Do means “the right way of using all parts of the body to stop fights and help to build a better and more peaceful world.”
Tae Kwon Do can be traced back far into the history of the Koguryo kingdom, once being called by a different name. In Korea, Tae Kwon Do began as a defense martial art known as “Subak” or “Taekkyon”.
Although Tae Kwon Do today is similar to martial arts in other Oriental countries and may share similar features with them, it is very different. Tae Kwon Do is a highly physical with very dynamic movements emphasized by a mirage of foot and hand skills. Tae Kwon Do practice teaches how to mentally, physically, and philosophically defend oneself when attacked. In Tae Kwon Do, the principle behind its physical movements, the principle of mind training, and the principle of life are one and the same.
The Five Tenets of WTF Tae Kwon Do
Courtesy: To be thoughtful and considerate of others. Taekwondo students and instructors should be polite, and show consideration for others.
Integrity: To be honest and good. Taekwondo practitioners should live by a code of moral values and principles.
Perseverance: To never give up in the pursuit of one’s goals. Students should welcome challenges, because challenges cause us to grow and improve.
Self-Control: To have control of your body and mind. A Taekwondo student should practice controlling his actions and reactions.
Indomitable Spirit: To have courage in the face of adversity. A Taekwondo student should never be dominated by, or have his spirit broken by another.
What is a normal class like?
A normal class runs around 50 minutes depending on the level of practioners and the size of the class. All classes begin and end formally with respect being paid to the flag, the instructor and one’s fellow students.
There are typically five stages to every class:
- The start of class begins with instuctor-led stretching and warm-up exercises.
- The second stage of class involves executing a review of forms (poomse), blocks, kicks, and stances. This routine is to ensure that in every class students work to develop proper techniques, as well as basic understanding, physical fitness and endurance.
- At the third stage of class, mostly dependent upon the week’s schedule, will comprise of either full-contact sparring practice, weapons training, or self-defense techniques.
- The fourth stage of class begins with instuctor-led meditation and Dan Gun breathing exercises.
- The final stage is when students line up according to their rank and the instructor concludes the class with final instructions or comments.
What style of Tae Kwon Do is taught?
World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) style Tae Kwon Do is taught here at Yong-in Tae Kwon Do Cypress. This style of Taekwondo is currently the only Tae Kwon Do sport sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). We use the WTF Tae Kwon Do belt system of recognition and promotion which give an incentive for all students to work hard, as well as help to develop their sense of self-esteem and confidence by providing a visual evidence of progress.
Who can learn?
Everyone from age 4 and up can learn TKD. It is a discipline that is specific for the individual—so whatever age, whatever weight, whatever handicap you may have, Tae Kwon Do can help you learn to improve yourself and your lifestyle. Tae Kwon-Do offers a vigorous and challenging workout. Through conditioning exercises involving the entire body, Tae Kwon-Do promotes quickness, strength, flexibility and endurance. Its emphasis on technique and body-control also provide invaluable training for those active in other sports from soccer and hockey to tennis and golf.