AweSam Interests

-Samantha Scoggins

All about Taekwondo

For about 2 1/2 years, I studied and practiced Taekwondo. I currently hold a first-Degree Black Belt, and will be working on my 2nd degree soon after graduating college. I was on the Demonstration team as well as the leadership team. This especially is something I love and strive to be great at. So here's some information about it that you may find interesting.

Taekwondo- What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean traditional and national Martial Art with its origin’s in the martial arts of China and Karate (which also originated in China though it's Japanese). It can be described as “the world's most widely practice martial art, an Olympic sport, an artistic discipline, a system of self-defense, and a way of life.” Philosophy- "Through Tae Kwon Do training, practitioners should develop many physical attributes including flexibility, strength, speed, balance and coordination. Also through training, practitioners should improve their character, attitude and manners. Practitioners should also develop integrity and self-discipline, and should become considerate, helpful and respectful people, therefore should become assets to their communities and should help to develop a more peaceful world."

  • Courtesy: To be thoughtful and considerate of others. Students and instructors should be polite, and show consideration for others.
  • Integrity: To be honest and good. Practitioners should live by a code of moral values and principles
  • Perseverance: To never give up in the pursuit of one's goals. Students should welcome challenges, because challenges cause us to grow and improve.
  • Self-Control: To have control of your body and mind. Practitioners should intend to control actions and reactions in all situations.
  • Indomitable Spirit: To have courage in the face of adversity. Practitioners should never be dominated by, or have his spirit broken by another.

  • Terminology and Techniques

    There are many techniques a student of Taekwondo learns, as well as the terminology, most of which is Korean, to go along with them.
    Kicking techniques-
    These are practiced to use in sparing, tournaments, breaking techniques, forms, and self-defense. At many schools the first couple of kicks learned would be the Front kick and Axe kick, which help to lay the foundation for many of the other techniques. Many of the following are the most basic and commonly used techniques. Block types-
    While kicks are extensively used and focused on, blocks are essential to self-defense. There are normally 2 parts to a block practiced in forms to create second nature motions. First is the “chamber” or place your hand is coming from in preparation, and second, the actual block is the motion and “snap” from the chamber to what one is blocking. Basic Blocks - Knife Hand Blocks and Closed Fist Blocks Blocks Using Kicking Techniques
    Forms- Poomsae
    Forms are patterns of repetitive movements consisting of various stances, attacks, and blocks that train and develop muscle memory for self-defense and striking techniques. They focus on developing and perfecting technique. Schools related to the World Taekwondo Federation use Taeguk forms, of which there are 8, along with 3 basic (kibon) forms for the very beginning belts. Once Black belt is reached, forms are more advanced starting with Koryo. Each form represents something symbolic and focuses on particular attacks and blocks. My personal favorite is Taegeuk chil jang because it represents the mountain with it’s steady firm movements as well as its portrayal of interesting techniques. I actually won second place out of four at a Young-in University tournament, losing only to someone performing Taegeuk pal-jang(number 8). Below lists the forms up until the 8th Taegeuk. These are learned and practiced in the levels leading up to black belt. Of course different schools have differing belt systems, so the belt level each is learned at varies with the school. As stated above, first-degree black belts learn Koryo, while higher degrees learn even more advanced forms. There are many tutorials and videos to help the everyday student practice and can supliment learning. Other terminology-

    Tournaments and Demonstration Teams-

    One great thing about taekwondo is that it not only does it teach self-defense, it gives the opportunity for competition with others across the world. Tournaments are the perfect setting to meet other Taekwondo students from around the state, country, and even the world. They are also a great way to encourage extra training. It was once said that it should be required for all students to participate at least once in a tournament before they can test for black belt. This is because competition drives students to train and perfect everything they’ve learned, which could be worth as much as 3 months of normal practice. I can say this from experience. What can you do at tournaments?
    One can compete in-

    What are Demonstration teams???
    One of the categories usually held at tournaments was Demonstration. It is common that a Taekwondo School would take many of its best students and create a demonstration team. This team would go and perform for entertainment, cultural exposure, and recruitment. They perform different techniques, unique “musical forms” (basically dances), and self-defense skits to “demonstrate” different Taekwondo aspects. Students who participate in demonstration teams often train much harder and learn many more advanced techniques than regular student. While normally older students may participate in a demonstration team, a tournament would most likely require all participants to be under 18. There are also professional demonstration teams, such as the__ k-tigers from South Korea, that preform at various high class events.
    I personally was on the Demonstration team for my school named (10) Majest Martial Arts at the time.

    Black belts and belt testing

    There have been many times where if I even briefly mention that I have a black belt, I usually get one of two reactions. – There’s no way, and “omg you can break me in half!” Attaining a first degree black belt in any martial art is an arduous task that can take many years. However, that doesn’t mean that someone with a black belt knows everything and is a master. I know some black belts where it’s obvious they didn’t take any of their training seriously. This can happen because, people struggling to advance in belt level can just “get by” on testing, and eventually pass black belt testing. This is why I find the statement “you could break me in half,” interesting. A first-degree black belt is more like a “trained student”, one who has learned most of the basics, and is ready to learn more advanced techniques. Dan – the term for black belt (So I would be 1st Dan) actually means level. So it does not denote mastery. One is not considered a master (Sabunim) until they are 4th Dan. At 6th and above one could be called Grand-Master. There are 9 possible degrees of black belts in Taekwondo. The 8th and 9th being reserved for special people who have advanced taekwondo, extremely honorable, etc. thus while skill is necessary up until 7th, later degrees focus especially on character. There is also an elusive extremely rare 10th degree.