What Is Taekwondo

Tae Kwon-Do is a modern Korean martial art, characterized by its fast, high and spinning kicks.

Tae Kwon-Do is often translated as 'The Way of Foot and Hand'.

'Tae' means to jump or smash with the foot.

'Kwon' means to punch or destroy with the hand.

'Do' means art, way or method.

Tae Kwon-do is a martial art that comes from Korea.

Tae Kwon-Do indicates the technique of unarmed combat for self-defence, involving the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks, dodges and interception with the hand, arms and feet to the rapid destruction of the opponent

What Can Tae Kwon-do Do For Me?

The most obvious benefits of Tae Kwon Do are physical. At their most basic level the martial arts were designed as a system of physical exercises. Continuous training strengthens the bones and muscles while building coordination, muscle toning, flexibility and endurance. Aside from the physical advantages, Tae Kwon Do helps build self-confidence, self-discipline, and mental conditioning and presents an opportunity to meet new friends.

Through Tae Kwon Do, students learn patience and the ability to better relations with others. The training and the trust the student has in the master, teach him the true meaning of respect, which is the basis of Tae Kwon Do. Respect enriches a student's sensitivity to the people around him, enabling him to anticipate another person's actions in advance. This increased awareness and assurance in handling any give circumstance removes the insecurity and fear that complicates communication.

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In Tae Kwon-do, we recognise that each person has a unique level of ability, talent and knowledge, and that those levels change with time and training. The aim is to improve the student in terms of physical strength, agility and fitness, as well as expertise in the Art. In the process the student will gain improved self-esteem and confidence, better health and long-term wellbeing.

Being a Beginner

Anyone who trains in Taekwondo had to be a beginner at some stage therefore all students will support new starters and help guide you through your training offering encouragement and advice. Don't be put off learning a martial art because you're intimidated about entering an environment where it seems that everyone but you knows what they're doing!

A new student is not expected to know anything about the Art or be able to keep up with everything you need to go at your pace. There is no upper age limit. In fact, anyone and everyone who wants to learn Tae Kwon-do will be greeted warmly, and with consideration for their individual circumstances.

Every student regardless of grade, age or ability is being challenged to learn or perfect something.

Self Defence

A common reason why people wish to learn a martial art is because they feel a need to equip themselves against the physical violence that is becoming more widespread in our society. Tae Kwon-do is a good way to answer that need.

In Tae Kwon-do, a student is taught to cope with a huge range of dangerous situations. Not only do they learn how to execute defence and counter-attack techniques, they are drilled so thoroughly that, even years later, they can be performed instinctively if the situation demands it. The dynamic nature of Tae Kwon-do means that a student learns how to quickly assess threats or dangers that are approaching them, and can choose from a wide range of techniques and combinations how to avoid, block or counter that attack.

Psychologically, this gives a person an enormous sense of self-confidence and peace of mind. It can make a significant difference to their lives, influencing their attitude towards various situations, not just those involving physical violence. A person who knows they can deal with dangerous situations is more likely to stand up for their own rights, and for the rights of others. They will be more self-assertive and less prone to stress.

These benefits will enhance the life of anyone who tends to be, or is, the victim of bullies, whether it be at work or school.

Considerations Before Starting

Tae Kwon-do can be very physically demanding.

Anyone who has not done any form of regular exercise for some time, or has a known medical condition that might be affected by a sudden increase in physical exertion, should consult their GP before commencing training.

Health Benefits

Being slimmer, fitter and more flexible not only does wonders for your self esteem, it is well recognised that to avoid complaints such as heart disease, osteoperosis, arthritis and other age-related illnesses in later life, it is important to take regular exercise, and to do so as part of your ongoing lifestyle.

Weight Control

If you're looking for a way to lose weight through exercise that's not boring or repetitive, if you would like to tone every single muscle in your body without making yourself look like a steroid-munching body-builder, then Tae Kwon-do fits the bill. Like other forms of exercise, you can only take out of it what you are willing to put in, but during training, you hardly notice how hard you're working-out, anyway!

Fitness

Tae Kwon-do does not expect a person to be fit or to have any previous knowledge before they begin. Through practising the patterns and techniques and developing sparring ability, a student automatically becomes progressively fitter. The training programme is designed to fashion a complete newcomer into a skilled, precision-engineered expert. Although becoming a black-belt takes a number of years, the acquisition of a high level of fitness takes only a matter of weeks, depending, of course, on the amount of effort the individual puts in. Because it is progressive, it doesn't matter at what level of fitness you start training at - you simply have to make an earnest effort during training, while not pushing yourself beyond sensible limits, and before long you will see a positive difference in your agility, strength and fitness. To enable a student to successfully execute some of the more advanced techniques, such as high-section kicks, or airborne attacks, they need to become extremely flexible. Again, no assumptions are made when a student begins training; more often than not we cannot make those high kicks without lots of stretching exercises! Being flexible for Tae Kwon-do also means that you will be more flexible and agile in general. This has long term health benefits, as well as making a difference to how you live your life now. The stretching exercises help to tone your muscles, as well as lengthen them, so that a student eventually develops a long, lean muscle profile.

Co-ordination

Tae Kwon-do training requires a student to execute moves that increase in complexity as they become more adept. While this can be challenging for a new beginner, all it really takes is practice! Once a person has mastered a technique that they once found impossible, they experience an enormous sense of satisfaction. Satisfaction is not all a person can gain from this. The relationship between mind and body is something we often ignore in our society, but can lead to great benefits that we don't appreciate until it begins to improve.

This improvement in our co-ordination means that we have greater spacial-awareness, more poise and better inner and physical balance. We are able to cope better with life in general because we're in tune with our immediate surroundings.

Character

Learning Tae Kwon-do is a challenge. It requires dedication and commitment, and often involves a person delving deep within themselves to tap their inner reserves. At times they will reach what they believe are the limits of their endurance or ability, only to discover that they are stronger and more able than they think.

Reaching new discoveries about themselves, they begin to get a better picture of who they really are, and can take that new-found knowledge, that new perception of themselves, out into the world of their everyday lives.

This deepening of self-awareness is often referred to as 'character'. With its emergence and development come other qualities - a nobility of the spirit which is so rare to find in the materialistic environment we exist in.

A strong character gives someone the courage to stand up to injustice, the mindfulness to be aware of how our actions can or will influence and affect others, and the integrity to know when we are being honest with ourselves.

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