Tae Kwon-Do

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Tae Kwon-Do Founder, General Choi Hong Hi, trains 2 students

Tae Kwon-Do is a version of an ancient form of unarmed combat practised for many centuries in the Orient. Tae Kwon-Do became perfected in its present form in Korea.

Translated from Korean, ‘Tae’ literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot. ‘Kwon’ means a fist chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. ‘Do’ means art, way or method. 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.

To the Korean people Tae Kwon-Do is more than a mere use of skilled movements. It also implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling a concept and spirit of strict self-imposed discipline and an ideal of noble moral re-armament.

In these days of violence and intimidation, which seem to plague our modern societies, Tae Kwon-Do enables the weak to possess a fine weapon to defend himself or herself and defeat the opponent as well. When wrongly applied it can be a lethal weapon

What is a Pattern?

A pattern in a set of fundamental movements, mainly defence and attack, set in a logical sequence to deal with one or more imaginary opponent's. Patterns are an indication of a students progress, a barometer in evaluating an individuals technique.

Why do we perform Patterns?

We practice patterns to improve our Tae Kwon-Do techniques, to develop sparring techniques, to improve flexibility of movement, master body shifting, develop muscles, balance and breath control. They also enable us to acquire techniques which cannot be obtained from other forms of training.

Why are there 24 Patterns?

The reason for 24 patterns in Tae Kwon-Do is because the founder, Major General Choi Hong Hi, compared the life of a man with a day in the life of the earth and believed that some people should strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy to forthcoming generations and in doing so gain immortality.

Therefore, if we can leave something behind for the welfare of mankind, maybe it will be the most important thing to happen in our lives.

As the Founder said:
“Here I leave Tae Kwon-Do for mankind.
As a trace of a man of the late 20th Century.
The 24 patterns represent 24 hours,
One day or all my life.”

The following Points Should be Considered when performing Patterns.

  1. Patterns should begin and end on the same spot. This will indicate the performers accuracy.
  2. Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
  3. Muscles of the body should be tensed and relaxed at the proper critical moments in the pattern.
  4. Each movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to instruction.
  5. Students should perform each movement with realism.
  6. Students should know the purpose of each movement.
  7. A pattern should be performed in a rhythmic movement with the absence of stiffness.
  8. Each pattern should be perfected before moving onto the next.

One for One Sparring:

This is mainly used for stamina training between intermediate and advanced students. Both students start in fighting position and when the command is given, one student will start with one technique, as soon as his technique is over, the other student attacks immediately, and so on. Because this is a stamina exercise, it does not mean that techniques should be sloppy, they should be crisp and well executed.

Free Sparring:

Free sparring is basically putting what has been learnt so far into practice, with no prewarning of attack. Therefore, not as many defending techniques can be practised as in the other forms of sparring. Free sparring can be practised with no pads and should be strictly non-contact. Semi contact sparring is allowed only with adequate protection (i.e. safety boots and gloves etc.). This type of sparring must only be carried out under strict supervision of a qualified instructor.

Tae Kwon-Do was inaugurated in South Korea on April 11th, 1955 following extensive research and development by the founder Major General Choi Hong Hi, 9th Degree Black Belt

Tae Kwon-Do was introduced into the United Kingdom In 1967

Tae Kwon-Do is a martial art developed over 20 centuries ago in Korea. The earliest records of its practice date back to 50BC where tomb paintings show men in fighting stances practising forms known as Taek Kyon.

It is believed that the origins of Taek Kyon date even further back and originated as self-defence against wild animals whose defensive and offensive movements were also the subject of much analysis. Taek Kyon, at the time was only one style of fighting. Others had names such as Subak, Tak Kyon and so on.

By 57 BC Korea had three kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla) and, with a certain degree of inevitability, a strong rivalry amongst them led to the focus on the development of very effective fighting techniques. History, repeatedly, has shown that it is the victor who writes the script and this case was no exception. Silla won its wars against its two rivals and in 668 AD it unified the three kingdoms. Instrumental in its victory were the Hwa Rang Do, an elite group of young men who were devoted to cultivating their bodies and minds and serving the kingdom. Hwa Rang Do, quite literally, means flowering youth (Hwa=flower, Rang=young man) and the young noblemen of the Hwa Rang Do practised various forms of martial arts. The Hwa Rang Do also developed an honour code and it is this which today forms the philosophical background of Tae Kwon-Do.

In 936AD the Silla dynasty came to an end and with it the kingdom. In its place, Wang Kon founded the Koryo dynasty. Koryo is an abbreviation of Koguryo which Wang Kon sought to revive. The modern name Korea is derived directly from the word Koryo. It was during the Koryo that a new sport was given form. It was called Soo Bakh Do and it was used, principally, as a military training method. Drawing from the many different forms of martial arts which had preceded it Soo Bakh Do used bare hands and feet as a weapon and its intensity was such that it was seen as a very good way of maintaining one's strength and overall fitness. As a result, its popularity spread throughout the kingdom of Koryo.

This was the precursor to modern day Tae Kwon-Do. Despite its effectiveness as a means of training for warfare however and its popularity with the peasants in the fields by 1492 it had almost disappeared. What happened was that King Taejo, founder of the Yi dynasty, replaced Buddhism with Confucianism as the state religion. The teachings of Confucius, imported from the refined, rarefied culture of China, dictated that the higher class of man should read poetry and music and the practice of martial arts should be something left to the less refined, even inferior, man. The Yi dynasty lasted from 1392 to 1910 and during that time the practice of martial arts and the code of honour of the Hwa Rang remained alive in isolated, stubbornly traditional cultural backwaters of Korea.

In 1910 however, Korea was invaded by Japan who dominated it until the end of World War II. The Japanese tried to erase all of the Korean culture including its martial arts. As is usual with such situations this brought a stubborn resurgence in the practice of martial arts which now, once more, had a very practical role to play against an invader who strictly controlled the supply of weapons.

Along with occupation, the Japanese also brought karate with them and indeed the quick, straight-line movements which characterise many Tae Kwon Do moves today are a direct result of the legacy left behind by the Japanese army of occupation. After the end of World War II, when Korea became independent, several Kwans, or fighting styles, arose. These were: Chung Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Chi Do Kwan and Song Moo Kwan. All these Kwans were united in 1955 under the name of Tae Soo Do.

Korea’s struggle to re-discover its identity and many traditions was, with some degree of inevitability, reflected in the subsequent development of its martial arts movement and by the beginning of 1957 several Korean martial arts masters had adopted the name Tae Kwon Do for their form of martial arts, because of its similarity to Tae Kyon. The very first Tae Kwon Do students were soldiers because General Choi Hong-Hi, who is credited as the father of modern Tae Kwon Do, required his soldiers to train in it.

The police and air force had to train in Tae Kwon Do as well. At the time Tae Kwon Do was still very heavily under the influence of Japanese karate and, indeed, many of its moves and style bore a very close resemblance to Shotokan Karate. In 1961, however, the Korean Tae Kwon Do Union arose from the Soo Bakh Do Association and the Tae Soo Do Association. In 1962 the Korean Amateur Sports Association acknowledged the Korean Tae Kwon Do Union and in 1965 the name was set to Korean Tae Kwon Do Association (KTA).

General Choi Hong-Hi was president of the KTA at the time and he was asked to start the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) as the international branch of the KTA. What follows next is best described as the rise of the acronyms. In 1961, following the overthrow of the southern government of Korea general Choi left for the United States where he established the ITF as a separate entity, in 1963. Tae Kwon Do was introduced in the UK in 1967, just four years after the foundation of ITF. Six years later the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) was founded and in 1980 it was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which made it a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games.

Courtesy - To be polite to everyone. You must always be courteous to your Instructors, seniors and fellow students.

Integrity - To be honest with yourself. You must be able to define the difference between right and wrong.

Perseverance - To achieve a goal. Whether a higher grade or a new technique, you should never stop trying.

Self-Control - To always be in control of your actions. You must be able to live, work and train within your capabilities.

Indomitable Spirit - To show courage when you and your principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. You should do your utmost to never give up.

As a student of Tae Kwon-Do, I do solemnly pledge to abide by the rules and regulations of the Tae Kwon-Do Association, to strive always to be modest, courteous and respectful to all members, in particular my seniors, to put the art into use only for self-defence or defence of the weak and never to abuse my knowledge of the art.

Every student must observe the following conduct in the Dojang in order to maintain an orderly and effective training hall.

  1. Bow upon entering
  2. Bow to the Instructor at a proper distance
  3. Exchange greetings between students
  4. Bow to Instructor upon forming a line prior to training
  5. Bow to the Instructor upon forming a line prior to dismissal
  6. Bow before leaving the Dojang.
  1. Never tire of learning; a student must always be eager to learn and ask questions. A good student can learn anywhere anytime. This is the secret of knowledge.
  2. A good student must be willing to sacrifice for his art and his Instructor. Many students feel that their training is a commodity bought with monthly fees, and are unwilling to take part in any demonstrations, teaching, or work around the Dojang. An instructor can afford to lose this type of student.
  3. Always set a good example to lower ranking students. It is only natural that they attempt to emulate their seniors.
  4. Always be loyal and never criticise the Instructor, Tae Kwon-do, or the teaching methods.
  5. If an Instructor teaches a technique, practise it and attempt to utilise it.
  6. Remember that a student’s conduct outside the Dojang reflects on the Art and on their Instructor.
  7. If a student adopts a technique from another Dojang and the Instructor disapproves of it, the student must discard it immediately, or train in the Dojang where it was learnt.
  8. Never be disrespectful to the Instructor, although a student’ s allowed to disagree with the Instructor, he must first follow the Instruction, then discuss the matter later.
  9. Always arrive before training is due to start and ensure that you have a good attendance record.
  10. Never break a trust.