What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a martial art rooted in ancient Korean traditions. Young men of noble families were given special instruction in not only combat techniques, but also moral and ethical values, so that they could be valuable assets to their country.
Although the physical practice of Taekwondo (‘the way of the hand and foot’) suggests warfare, the study of its philosophies indicates something much less aggressive.
The five tenets of Taekwondo are:
- Courtesy – Be polite and respectful to everyone, every day, everywhere.
- Integrity – Be honest and trustworthy; say what you mean, mean what you say.
- Perseverance – We grow by overcoming challenges; try again . . . and again . . . and again . . . .
- Self-Control – Have strength of mind as well as of body; be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
- Indomitable Spirit – Getting knocked down doesn’t matter, as long as you keep getting back up.
When we incorporate these into our daily lives we quite simply become better people, and earn the respect of those around us.
By definition, a martial art is a way of fighting (the martial part) with style (the art part). Everyone brings their own style to Taekwondo, depending upon their age, gender, and physical condition. And their style will change as their proficiency, fitness and attitude change.
There are four main components to taekwondo:
- Poomsae, or patterns are sequences of movements which demonstrate many of the various stances, blocks, strikes and kicks which are learned. There are eight coloured-belt and nine black belt poomsae. Competition is done individually or in synchronized pairs or teams.
- Gyorugi, or sparring is the competitive application of techniques in the competition ring. Points are gained by hitting their opponent’s body pad or headgear accurately and powerfully, and given away by cheating or unsportsmanlike conduct.
- Ho Shin Sool, or self-defense begins with conflict-avoidance techniques but includes learning how to defend oneself using traditional blocks, strikes and kicks, as well as joint locks and pressure points. In Taekwondo we never start a fight – except in the competition ring – but if cornered, we intend to be able to walk (or run) away.
- Kyukpa, or breaking is a popular and well-known aspect of most martial arts. It is used to illustrate the flexibility, power, precision, and mental preparedness of the student.
With Taekwondo we learn to have faith in ourselves and believe that we can succeed, and that one day we will succeed. We dare to dream, and strive to make our dreams reality.