Hana, dul, set net, kiya! Those might just be the first things you hear when you step into a Taekwondo school, most schools count in Korean but they don’t just count they shout! Projecting your voice is one of the many things that helps the students build confidence and self-esteem in this sport. Taekwondo is the art of self-defense that originated in Korea, it’s known as one of the oldest forms of martial arts, and is the most practiced martial art in the world. The real meaning behind the word is: Tae (which means foot). Kwon (which means hand), and Do (which means art). Put that all together and you get Taekwondo or “hand and foot art”.
This hand and foot art doesn’t just focus of fighting, but instead on stopping fights, they teach you the importance of developing your body, mind, and spirit. The skills learned are: self-defense, confidence, self-discipline, and improved character. There are 3 main curriculum's learned at Taekwondo schools: sparring (gyoroogi), form (poomsae), and breaking (kyukpa). These are also the 3 competition choices to enter into.
This art is basically for everyone who can walk and is willing to learn self-discipline and a new focused way of life, but it is more difficult for people that aren’t willing to learn disciplining techniques and patience, but for people who want to try something new this is definitely a good place to start, especially if you want to learn self-defense. For anyone wondering, no you cannot just wear any type of athletic wear to you Taekwondo class. Unless your school has specific rules that you can wear athletic wear the usually uniform requirement is a Dobok which means”way” and “clothing”. Corresponding belt colors go with each person's skills level. The belts are made to give people a goal to look forward to.
A typical class experience might go like this:
Enter the Taekwondo Gym, people usually bow and greet you by name
Take shoes off and put sparring gear on if necessary
Bow before getting on mat (if your school does that) and start stretching until class starts
Class begins instructor starts with lesson of whatever they have planned for the day which can be a variety of activities including: Sparring, kicking, punching, blocking, faking, and striking
After class has concluded you bow to family and each other (if your school does that) and make your way back home after that intense workout.
Another thing that interest people is if you can do Taekwondo professionally. This can absolutely be done professionally, if you start this sport and realize that you love it and want to go farther with it there are many options to enter competitions and even go to the Olympics!
In the end Taekwondo is a beautiful yet vigorous and intense sport that should be given a chance by everyone that wants to learn self-defense as well as confidence. The forms and techniques help to increase self-esteem and the school environment is the perfect place to meet new people and friends, the communities built by Taekwondo is far and wide as well as extremely supportive. The classes are filled with encouraging phrase such as: “You can do it” and “ Kick higher I believe in you”, not only that but they never discriminate, between belt colors. If your a white belt you will most likely be in the same class with everyone up to black belts, but the difference is everyone helps everyone, they understand that you don’t know all the curriculum yet and want to do everything to help you pass your belt tests. I would recommend this wonderful sport to everyone that’s willing to give it a siheom