Taekwon-Do is a version of an ancient form of unarmed combat practised for many centuries in the Orient. Taekwon-Do became perfected in its present form in Korea.
Taekwon-Do was officially founded in Seoul, South Korea by Major General Choi Hong Hi 9th DAN in 1955. Although a relatively new martial art, modern Taekwon-Do is based on the Korean arts of Soo-Bak and Taek Kyon, and these arts date back over 2000 years.
The best hand techniques from Japanese and Okinawan systems were also added to the spectacular foot techniques of the indigenous Korean arts to make one of the most effective and dynamic martial arts in the world.
Consisting of around 3,200 individual techniques, Taekwon-Do teaches the student to employ the hands and feet as tools of personal protection.
ITF Taekwon-Do teaches scientific principles allowing the students to develop tremendous power with minimum effort, thus allowing a small person to defend themselves against a larger, stronger aggressor.
Taekwon-Do places equal emphasis on the importance of spiritual as well as physical training. All the years of hard training would mean nothing without the proper adherence to modesty and propriety – which are the very essence of oriental philosophy.
Students are encouraged to go beyond the technical aspects of the art and establish a lifestyle based on a solid and traditional code of morality.
Taekwon-Do is more than just the effective use of attacking and defensive techniques. True martial arts also enrich the spirit, calm the ego and create a strong sense of morality that will benefit the student, their friends and family for the rest of their lives.
On April 11th, 1955, the name “Taekwon-Do” was officially adopted. Its founder, General Choi Hong Hi developed the art using elements of the ancient Korean martial art of ‘Taek Kyon’ and of ‘Shotokan karate’, a martial art which he had learned while studying in Japan.
The philosophical values and the goals of Taekwon-Do are firmly rooted in the traditional moral culture of the Orient. On the technical side, defensive and offensive tactics are based on principles of physics, particularly Newton’s Law, which explains how to generate maximum force by increasing speed and mass during the execution of a movement.
Wanting to share the results of his philosophical reflections and his technical experiments, General Choi planned and wrote a unique reference work, the Encyclopaedia of Taekwon-Do. In its fifteen volumes, he explained in detail the rules and practices of this art.
The philosophy of Taekwon-Do can be summed up by the last two phrases in the ITF Student Oath:
“I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.”
“I shall build a more peaceful world.”
By practicing Taekwon-Do and living in accordance with its fundamental values, we will become good citizens and be able to create a better world.
The development of the Taekwon-Do philosophy by our founder General Choi Hong Hi was influenced by oriental philosophers such as Confucius and Lao Tzu, by Buddhism, and by the philosophy of martial arts. However, the fundamental values, as expressed in the tenets of Taekwon-Do, are universal.
In the Encyclopaedia of Taekwon-Do, General Choi showed us how to find a harmonious balance between the physical and the mental.
The utmost purpose of Taekwon-Do is to eliminate fighting by discouraging the stronger’s oppression of the weaker with a power that must be based on humility, justice, morality, wisdom and faith; thus, helping to build a better and more peaceful world.
The promotional scale is divided into nineteen ranks: 10 coloured belt grades (“Gup”) and nine black belt degrees (“DAN”).
The former begins with 10th grade (Gup) the lowest and ends at first grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (DAN) and end with the ultimate ninth degree.
In Taekwon-Do, character development, fortitude, tenacity, and technique are graded as well as individual capacity.
There are six belts colours in ITF Taekwon-Do.
The belt colours were not chosen arbitrarily. They are, in fact, steeped in tradition. The colours of black, red and blue denote the various levels of hierarchy during the Koguryo and Silla Dynasties of ancient Korea.
White is given to beginners. White signifies “innocence” as the student has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
In addition to these, we also have foundation grades using the colour purple. These foundation grades allow instructors to quickly identify the minimum skill level of a beginner, while at the same time allowing a new student to chart their own early stages of progression in the foundation level techniques.
Patterns are various fundamental movements, set in a fixed and logical sequence, against one or more imaginary opponents. When performing patterns, students must observe the following points:
Pre-Arranged Sparring (Yaksok Matsogi)
This is practiced under pre-arranged modes, with various assumptions. For example: the number of steps to be taken, the target to be attacked and the attacking tool are to be agreed beforehand by the students. The primary emphasis should be on correct form.
Pre-arranged sparring is divided into the following categories:
Students will be assessed on their ability to form correct distance, timing and focus, using the correct blocking tools.
Semi-free, Free and Foot Sparring
This can per performed in numerous ways, i.e. one student making a series of attacks while the other defends and then counters. The number and type of attacking technique should be pre-arranged prior to commencing semi-free sparring. Students should defend using guarding, dodging, and checking and parrying techniques.
Every aspect of Taekwon-Do training is ultimately designed to allow the student to defend themselves. With this in mind, “self-defence” should not be singled out as a separate aspect, or an add on module (as is often the case in many martial art schools).
Applications allow the student to practice Taekwon-Do techniques against an opponent who is grabbing or holding them in a fashion otherwise precluded in other forms of Taekwon-Do training or sparring.
Students are permitted to use strikes, chokes, strangles, throws, sweeps and joint manipulation techniques to defend themselves in a practical and logical manner, without superfluous movements or wasted energy.
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