There are rules of the Do-Jang (training hall) which must be observed at all times. These are the discipline side of the Martial Arts. We must treat each other with respect and always be friendly and leave any ego’s outside the Do-Jang. After all we are all here to have fun.
Every class has a workout of one form or another. This has the obvious benefit of keeping you fit in general but also means that if you decide to take your sparring seriously, you will be able to spar for longer with less effort. A useful ability if you want to compete.
Along with fitness, we perform a lot of stretching. We use 4 types - dynamic, static active, static passive and isometric and each is used in the appropriate part of the class. Flexibility is very important in Tae Kwon-Do as we perform a lot of kicking techniques. However, you do not have to be flexible to start, you don’t have to be able to kick high.
This is basically where students practice techniques against a partner holding a pad and feel what is like to hit something. This means that students can develop proper balance for when hitting a target (different from kicking air), practice generating power and its a great stress buster!
LINE WORKS / ROUTINE
Techniques have to be learnt and practiced before trying them out. Here is the main part of this learning. Techniques are very stylised but develop the correct muscles to perform the techniques for real. Routines are pre-set groups of these exercises which are used for beginners to practice and as a general warm up.
SET SPARRING KATAS
These are sets of techniques performed with a partner as if having a fight. Obviously no one would ever fight like this but it does develop timing, distance, control and gives students a feel for what it is like to face up against somebody and have punches and kicks thrown at them - without fear of getting hurt.
ONE STEP SPARRING
This is semi-free form of sparring. Techniques are performed with control but students have to defend themselves against a single attack from a partner. Any and all counter techniques are allowed and it is a good prelude to self-defence techniques. After all it’s harder to defend against a straight punch than a bar-room style swing.
It is a regrettable fact that there are times when some of us will have to confront a potentially dangerous situation. Here we develop skills to protect yourself. The main emphasis is on conflict avoidance and not having to get into a fight in the first place. If, however, you have no choice then we practice realistic and practical techniques to counter a variety of situations.
Patterns are sometimes better known as ‘POOMSE’. These are properly executed techniques against one or more imaginary opponents in a pre-set form. Each grade must learn a progressively more difficult pattern to progress through the grading system. Each pattern has an interpretation from Korean history which must be learnt.
Though this is strictly speaking an optional part of the syllabus, everybody has a go because it is so much fun! Students wear protective hand and feet pads and ‘fight’ each other according to a strict set of rules governing acceptable target areas and levels of contact. It is a ‘semi-contact’ sport, meaning that though students do hit each other, they only make contact for points and are not trying to hurt each other.
Again an optional part, usually only performed by senior grades. Here the levels of contact are brought right down for safety reasons. Students can use almost any technique to almost any area of the body, making sparring very realistic. Knees, elbows, sweeps, throws and take downs are allowed. Multiple opponent sparring also is incorporated.
Only done by senior grades, techniques are performed against either wooden or special plastic boards. This is to demonstrate power and build confidence that the techniques do work.