Q. What is Taekwon-Do?
A. Taekwon-Do is a Korean martial art designed and created to be “A way of life”. A version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self defence. “Tae stands for jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot. Kwon denotes the first-chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. Do means an art or way the right way built and paved by the saints and sages of the past....” Quoted from the condensed encyclopaedia of Taekwon Do by General Choi Hong Hi.
Q. What does Taekwon-Do consist of?
A. Taekwon-Do consists of three basic elements, Patterns, Sparring, and Destruction. Patterns are the artistic for of Taekwon-Do, Sparring is the fighting element and Destruction is the highly skilful breaking technique performed by the black belts.
Q. What do I need to wear?
A. When you first start, it is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for plenty of flexibility. Long training/tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt are ideal.
Q. Why do I require a licence / membership?
A. Your licence is your membership to the England Taekwon-Do Association and the International Taekwon-Do Federation. The combined annual fee to cover this is £30. Possessing a licence is very important as it is a form of insurance in the unlikely event of an accident in class. it also entitles students to take part in ETA/ITF seminars and tournaments and keeps an official record of grading's. You will not be allowed to train if your licence is not up to date.
Q. When do I need a suit (Dobok)?
A. Whenever you are ready. There is no hurry however you will need one to take a grading exam.
Q. What is a grading?
A. A grading is an examination to determine whether you have learnt the required elements of your belt and are ready to proceed to the next Kup. After a successful grading the student is awarded a new belt and certificate. There is a fee for each colour belt grading that you take.
Q. Why do I need to pre-grade?
A. Pre-grading's are held before your grading in order to monitor your progress. If either you or your instructor are not happy with your progress, this pre-grading is the point at which it is decided whether or not you will be entered for the grading.
Q. What equipment do I need?
A. If you are going to spar, you will need a full set of (approved) protective padding. This consist of a helmet, hand and foot pads, shin pads, gum shield and, for males, a groin guard.
Q. Where can I buy equipment/clothing from?
A. Any advice on equipment can be obtained from your instructor and any equipment or clothing you need can be purchased through your club.
Q. I am not very flexible at all, can I still learn Taekwon-Do?
A. Yes you can. Flexibility is very practical for high kicks but t is not an absolute must. Speed is a big influence as well. You will see that using proper technique and speed, you will reach pretty high, even if you are not the most flexible in the class!
Q. I am not very fit, will that be a problem?
A. No, start training right away! Taekwon-Do will help you to become fit in a (relative) short amount of time.
Q. How long does it take to become a black belt?
A. That totally depends on how much you train. it takes 3 and a half - 4 years (training twice a week) to become a black belt, providing you pass every grading examination.
Q. What is the difference between Taekwon-Do and Karate?
A. Taekwon-Do is a Korean art, while Karate is a Japanese art. Taekwon-Do uses most of the same hand techniques as Karate but emphasizes the kicks more. Taekwon-Do is well known for its flashy, high, aerial and/or spinning kicks. However, all martial arts have benefits. We believe that it is more important to be comfortable with the academy’s overall goals, the instructors teaching skills, and the learning atmosphere than to choose a school based only on the style of martial art or the price.
Q. Can I enter competitions/tournaments?
A. Once you have taken your first grading, you can enter tournaments for both patterns and sparring. Details of each tournament are given out during class and via the website. Please make sure that you keep yourself informed through these sources.