What is Taekwondo?
The name Taekwondo literally translates as the way of the foot and the fist. ‘Tae’ means to break or attack with the foot, ‘kwon’ means to break with the fist and ‘do’ translates as the art or way.
Taekwondo has over 60 million practitioners in 184 countries. It originates from South Korea where the Word Taekwondo Academy (Kukkiwon) and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) are currently based.
In Taekwondo, you learn a variety of blocks, punches and kicks. The blocks include rising, knife-hand and palm variations. Among the various punching techniques are jabs, reverse punches, upper cuts, hook punches and back fists. The basic kicks are front, back and side kick; as you progress, you learn turning kick, hook, spinning hook and crescent kick. Advanced versions of blocks, punches and kicks come with higher belt levels and years of study. Taekwondo teachings also include multiple stances, including front stance, fighting stance, horse stance and walking stance.
Sparring – during Taekwondo training, you will participate in one-step, two-step, three-step and free sparring. The step sparring is a form of drill training used by taekwondo students that aims to perfect the physical skills of the martial art. Free sparring pits you against one or more opponents. This teaches you to apply the kicking, punching and blocking skills in a real-life fighting situation. Protective gear is worn during sparring to protect you from injury. Sparring is integral to learning self-dense techniques of how to use an attacker’s strength and skills to defend yourself.
Poomsae – are a combinations of kicks, punches and blocks done in a coordinated movement against an imaginary opponent. Poomsae teaches defensive and offensive actions to be automatic. The poomsaes become increasingly more complex as you move up in color-belt rank. Breathing control and mental focus are elements also taught in the poomsaes.
Breaking – is another important part of the taekwondo curriculum. At each belt level, you learn to execute power through specific kicks and punches to break boards. You learn the proper speed, strength and focus required to properly execute skills that cannot be demonstrated on humans without causing injury.
Mental Control and Discipline – You will also learn about the history of taekwondo and Korean terms. Taekwondo can be especially valuable for children in learning self-respect, concentration, self-discipline and respect for authority.