I have been involved with Taekwondo for many years (Greater than 15) and it has become something that my wife and I just do. I get the usual comments referring to licensing my hands as weapons and not wanted to fight with me, but that just tells me that people don’t understand what it is all about. I would like to think that I have learned how to defend myself, but like all learning, I have really just discovered how much more there is to learn.
For those people who have never experienced Taekwondo, I thought it might be nice to post a short description of a typical class. Each class starts with a “bow in” which includes reciting the tenants of Taekwondo. This is followed by a 15-20 minute stretch and warm up.
The class is started by the most senior student who says the following.
- Line up (From right to left in rows. Most senior on the right)
- Charyot (Attention stance)
- Face the flag, Googidahia Genay (Bow to the Canadian flag as a show of respect).
- Face the instructor, Sabum mingae Genay (Bow to the instructor and say Taekwon).
- Raise you right hand, student oath number one. (Everyone says the following together)
- 1. I shall observe the tenants of Taekwondo. Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit.
- 2. I shall respect my instructors and seniors.
- 3. I will never misuse Taekwondo.
- 4. I will be a champion for freedom and justice.
- 5. I will build a more peaceful world.
- The second most senior student then says oradora (Turn right)
- Genay (Bow to the senior student)
The starting of the class introduces some Korean language and reminds the students that they have certain responsibilities in class and in the wider community.
The instructor then selects a student to lead the warm-up which starts at the top and works its way down. (Head rotations, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, waist, legs, ankles, etc). This is followed by dynamic stretching with stretches that incorporate motion. There might be a brief partner stretch where students pair up and help their partner do deeper stretches.
The instructor calls the class back to order after the stretching and explains what is scheduled for the class. There is a training cycle that changes each week, but the content of the class is at the discretion of the instructor. The first week of the month is usually fundamental movements, that if followed by patterns, followed by sparring and then self defense.
Each of these weekly cycles has re-occurring exercises to help develop skills. Some of the skills develop your thinking (Do), some of the skills are hand skills (Kwon) and some of the skills are foot skills (Tae). Yup, that’s where the name comes from.
Most clubs have free intro classes so you can come out and try it out before you commit to a regular training schedule. There is nothing like regular exercise with a good group of friends to keep you flexible and fit.