What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a martial art originating in Korea. It is the most widely practiced martial art in the world, and is the national sport of Korea as well as an Olympic sporting event.

Taekwondo loosely translates as "the way of the hand and the foot."

The sport emphasizes a variation of kicks, & incorporates punching, strikes & blocks. This is because practitioners feel that the leg is the strongest part of the body.
It is a discipline of entire body training character building, as all members are required to learn Korean terms & develop many skills through light contact sparring, belt grading & competitions (optional). As it provides a full body workout Taekwondo is favoured by women and practiced by all ages.

If there is a difference between Taekwondo as a sport and Taekwondo as an art it is that the art recognises no rules for combat while the sport of Taekwondo is highly regulated for the safety of it participants.
As an art, Taekwondo focuses on a combination of combat techniques and self-defense as well as being a good form of exercise and entertainment.

In Taekwondo a system of attacking and defensive movements incorporating punching, kicking and blocking techniques as well as differing stances is done in a set sequence and is referred to as Poomsae. These basic movements bring together all the martial art skills in a graceful yet powerful manner.

Poomsae forms a significant part of the promotion process in Taekwondo and practitioners must be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the arrangements before that can progress to the next rank.

 

Belts and Promotion

The typical student needs between three and six months before moving up each kup rank. The average student who trains two or three times per week could expect to have achieved green belt rank after one year, red belt after the second year and then black belt after more than three years of regular training. In reality many students can take up to five years to achieve their 1st dan black belt but this depends on the individual.
After achieving black belt grade (1st dan), there are further gradings up to ninth dan.

Each grading starts with a warm-up, basic punching and kicking technique drills. It then moves onto patterns specific for each grade. The higher the grade, the more patterns/forms that the student will have to display. The grading also includes free style sparring and set ‘one step’ sparring. These exercises allow the student to demonstrate a variety of techniques that are executed with control. Higher grades will also usually be required to break wooden boards in order to display the accuracy of their technique.

White Belt (10th Kup) - White signifies the innocence of the beginner and his ignorance of Taekwondo.
White Belt with Yellow Stripe (9th Kup)
Yellow Belt (8th Kup) - Yellow represents the earth, from where a plant takes root and sprouts as the foundations of Taekwondo are laid.
Yellow Belt with Green Stripe (7th Kup)
Green Belt (6th Kup) - Green signifies the plant itself as, like a plant, the student's Taekwondo skills continue to grow.
Green Belt with Blue Stripe (5th Kup)
Blue Belt (4th Kup) - Blue represents the heavens above, the divine direction in which the plant is growing.
Blue Belt with Red Stripe (3rd Kup)
Red Belt (2nd Kup) - Red signifies danger, warning the student of his own capability for damage and other students of his skill.
Red Belt with Black Stripe (1st Kup)
Black Belt (1st Dan) Opposite to white, therefore signifying maturity and proficiency in Tae Kwon-Do. Also indicates the wearer's imperviousness to darkness and fear