Aspects of Tae Kwon-do
The Tae Kwon-Do syllabus is a set of carefully graded exercises and training skills that develop a students abilities over time.
The following is a brief overview of the key syllabus areas:
A Pattern, or 'tul' in Korean, is a set of fundamental movements, mainly defence and attack set in a logical sequence to deal with one or more imaginary opponents. Patterns allow students to develop sparring techniques, improve flexibility of movement and co-ordination, to master body shifting and direction changes, develop muscles, balance and breathing control. They also enable students to learn the use and application of new stances and techniques. Many of these techniques cannot be obtained from other forms of training. There are 24 Patterns because the founder Major General Choi Hong Hi compared the life of man with a day in the life of the earth and believed that people should strive to bequeath a spiritual legacy to future generations and hence gain immortality
As the founder wrote:
"Here I leave Tae Kwon-Do for mankind, as a trace of a man of the late 20th Century. The twenty-four Patterns represent twenty-four hours; one day or all of my life."
The Patterns are named after figures in Korean mythology or history. The following points should be considered when performing patterns:
Patterns should begin and end on the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
Muscles of the body should be tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with the absence of stiffness.
Each Pattern should be accelerated or decelerated according to instruction.
Each Pattern should be perfected before moving on to the next.
Students should know the purpose of the movements.
Students should perform the Pattern with realism.
Club sparring and competition sparring (optional) are way for a student to put their training into practice. Sparring matches are semi-contact with the student using full safety equipment. The pace is fast and furious and is an exciting way to learn and develop Tae Kwon-Do skills. Winners are decided on a point stop or continuous system with referees constantly monitoring the bout to keep strict control on contact.
This is taught from the very first lesson with pre-arranged movements before moving to more realistic situations as the student's training progresses. Self defence training improves confidence and prepares the student to deal with dangerous situations.
Terminology and Theory
Although many martial arts have become more and more westernised, with the importance of theory abandoned by many styles, the TAGB believes theory is an important part of training and that the student should understand the movements and the reason for doing each. This is apparent in the early stages of training, when students are taught the purpose of the exercises and why they have been developed.
This element of Tae Kwon-Do is strictly for adult black belts and involves the breaking of boards with bare hands and feet, thus displaying a high level of discipline and skill.