Sport and Art of Taekwondo

Modern Taekwondo is a descendant of traditional Korean Martial Arts. It was founded by General Choi-Hong-Hi in 1955 and has since spread to most major countries and become an Olympic sport. Viet Nam adapted it in 1962. Master Duc Huy Dang won the first Vietnamese Taekwondo Gold Medal in Hong Kong in 1969. Taekwondo was considered a “tough-style” martial art, opposing an attacker with punishing kicks, blocks, and punches supported by agile footwork. The student learns how to deliver maximum power with minimum effort and time. Taekwondo constitutes direct, no-nonsense self defense. General Choi, in his books and lectures, promotes Taekwondo as a way of life incorporating self-reliance, moral development, and service to others.

The utmost purpose of Taekwondo is to eliminate fighting by discouraging the oppression of the stronger over the weaker with a power that must be based on humanity, justice, morality, wisdom, and faith, thus helping to build a better and more peaceful world.

Who Should Learn Taekwondo?

Taekwondo training is for anyone who wants to reach his/her maximum physical and mental potential. It is for children, men, and women who are interested in weight control, body conditioning to avoid heart disease at the same time learn the art of self-defense. People do not have to be superstar athletes but do need to maintain and attend the training regularly. Children would benefit from Taekwondo as it helps them stay focused in school, think quickly, get better grades and develop self-discipline and self-control. The results may far exceed people’s expectations!

Meaning of Taekwondo

Tae…….. kick or smash with foot
Kwon…. smash with fist or hand
Do……… the way or method, and it implies a philosophical means of discipline.

Thus, Taekwondo is a way of disciplining the mind and the body through fighting methods.

Theory of power in Taekwondo

The power behind focused punches and kicks are generated from the following principles:

  1.  Concentration
  2. Proper breathing
  3. Good balance
  4. Speed

Moral Culture of Taekwondo

The mental education of Taekwondo is aimed at enriching the noble character of each student and at promoting good and healthy sportsmanship.

The “Yin and Yang” Theory of Taekwondo

At the center of this philosophy is the concept of interaction between opposing forces in nature (Yin versus Yang). Equilibrium is only achieved when opposing forces are distributed in equal amounts, resulting in balance and harmony. When only one force dominates, however, the result is imbalance, which could mean discord or failure. Under this concept, health is one consequence of the balance between the “Yin” and “Yang,” energy forces that rule the world. An imbalance between these two forces can result in illness. According to Taoism, the force of Yin and Yang is the harmony between heaven and earth. The day (Yang) is followed by night (Yin) in perpetuity. Similarly, a person has a body (Yang) and a mind (Yin). The front side of the body is Yin whereas the backside is Yang. Yin and Yang represent the dualism of the universe and can be seen as opposite ends of mutually complementary and interacting systems. Yin represents the passive or negative female force (i.e., moon, earth, water, poverty, sadness) that produces cold, darkness, and emptiness. Yang is the active male force (i.e., sun, heaven, fire, goodness, wealth) and is reflected in warmth, light, and fullness. To be healthy, the individual must seek to balance the force of Yin and Yang.

Taekwondo builds on this “Yin and Yang” philosophy. Taekwondo training concentrates on physical, mental, and spiritual balancing of left and right, hardness and softness, strength and weakness.

Taekwondo is a complete sport that trains an individual to be physically, mentally, and spiritually fit.

Art of Taekwondo

Learning how to defend yourself can be both very beneficial and fun through Taekwondo (TKD). TKD is a Korean martial art that literally means “the art of kicking and punching.” TKD, the most popular martial arts, had been around for much longer than many people think. The first appearance of TKD was around the year 3 A.D.

Even though the literal meaning implies that the martial art is nothing but hitting other people, it consists of much more. One of the most important concepts in TKD is respect to elders and higher-ranking students. When one enters the do-jang, one must greet the instructor with, “good morning/evening, sir”

“Sir” is always used when speaking to instructors and higher-ranking students. At the beginning of classes, students bow to their teachers and address them according to their rank. TKD takes respect, discipline, and manners very seriously.

What most students of the art find most enjoyable is the sparring, or fighting practices during classes. This is probably the essence of TKD; in that, students implement all the techniques and everything they learn and execute against their opponents. Practice fighting in class help students learn from their mistakes and improve their techniques so they can apply them in real life if they ever have to use them.

Taekwondo students also learn various Taekwondo forms. Forms are specific moves that are put together in sets of orderly steps. For example, in the first form, students start out turning to their left and block a low kick. The proceeding step is a counterattack: Students step forward and throw a punch. Then different moves go on for another 20 steps or so. One of the requirements to pass a belt test is the memorization of the forms.

During the classes, students are taught a variety of different techniques, ranging from normal punches to jumping, spinning crescent kicks. It is a lot of fun to learn these fancy moves, even though it takes a lot of practice. TKD helps stretch and work the muscles of the body. No matter how fit and flexible people are, they can always improve their flexibility level by practicing TKD.

In conclusion, there is so much to gain from practicing TKD. Not only does TKD incorporate the self-defense techniques, but it also teaches discipline and respect. It is a joy to participate in this sport, and TKD is very helpful in life.