TaeKwon-Do is a first cousin of Karate. It can be loosely described as a cross between Karate and Kickboxing. Translated from Korean, Tae literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot. Kwon means a fist; chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. Do means art, way or method. In it’s truest sense, it is a system of unarmed combat for self-defence purposes, involving the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks, dodges and interceptions with the hands, arms and feet, to rapidly defeat the opponent both in the street environment and in the competition arena. To the Korean people Tae Kwon-Do is more than a mere use of skilled movements. It also implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling a concept and spirit of strict self imposed.
Why Do TaeKwon-Do?
People start Tae Kwon-Do for many different reasons, these mainly boil down to wanting to learn self-defence, wanting to become and stay fit, and to have fun.
What Happens in the Lessons?
In the class you will find yourself working in different areas of Tae Kwon-Do that gel together to become one: -Syllabus, sparring, self-defence and fitness.
The syllabus work is the main foundation of the TaeKwon-Do we teach – it’s what you learn in order to move through our coloured belt system – aiming ultimately at black belt! Syllabus work takes up roughly half the training time. The syllabus is comprised in the main of patterns (Solo performance set routines of TaeKwon-Do moves against an imaginary opponent – in Karate called kata, practised as a whole class), line work (practising Tae Kwon-Do techniques moving forwards and backwards in lines – again practised as a whole class), set sparring (set routines practised with a partner), sparring (see right) and at black belt level, destruction (the breaking of boards to demonstrate correct technique and power).
The very act of taking part in a TaeKwon-Do session is in itself a workout! The beauty of our ‘workouts’ though is that you are constantly learning and honing your skills at the same time, which is a lot more fun than just working away in a gym! For more information on TaeKwon-Do and fitness, please see our Fitness page.
What About the Fighting?
Our sparring (fighting/kickboxing) is semi-contact, meaning that whilst you are attempting to hit people and they are attempting to hit you, this is done with no intention or attempt to hurt or knock out in any way. Accidents rarely happen and even then are rarely serious. You will only free spar once you have enough skill in the basics of TaeKwon-Do that you can spar safely – the most dangerous people in the room to spar with is not the black belts, it’s the beginners! You will learn attack and defence combinations and how to apply them to opponents, you will be hitting and kicking pads to develop technique, speed and accuracy, and then you will be free sparring. Our semi-contact free sparring is always done wearing protective equipment; head guard, gloves, foot protectors, shin guards, groin guards (for the men and boys) and gum shields.
Like most martial arts, in Tae Kwon-Do we learn pattern forms to train and perfect our techniques. Hidden within these patterns are some very powerful techniques, and one of my personal interests is in unlocking these techniques and applying them to very real and practical self-defence situations – for more information on the self defence aspect of TaeKwon-Do, please see our Self-Defence page.
More questions? See our ‘FAQ’s‘ section.