Taekwondo training: Typical process & content

Traditionally, learning Taekwondo consists of various elements that are carefully coordinated with one another and, in their entirety, form a modern, sporty, challenging and effective martial art. The way from the first Taekwondo course on the weekend to becoming a Taekwondo master is long and rocky, but it is definitely worth taking up the challenge. It will shape your body as well as your self-esteem. In the following we present typical training stops and which exercises can be imitated at home.

Taekwondo Training
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Videos vom Taekwondo Training

In the following videos you can see how far the Taekwondo martial art can take you and what professionals are capable of – but don’t be intimidated, everyone starts at the beginning.

Black belt during training

Taekwondo talents during training

Process of a typical Taekwondo training

1. The greeting As with karate and judo, it is also customary in Taekwondo to bow to the training room, the trainer and classmates on the threshold of the hall (dojang). This also applies if you are the first to be present.

For the actual greeting, people are placed in a block across from the trainer. The most experienced students stand on the right in front and as a new student you have to stand on the far left at the back. The highest ranking student then greets the trainer with the words “Charyot, Kyosa-nim, kyong-ye” (from 4th Dan upwards “Charyot, Sabum-nim, kyong-ye”) and a bow follows.

Then comes the greeting to the flags. Here you turn to the flags and the highest-ranking student says “Kuk-ki, keterio, kyong-ye”. Then bow to the flags (usually the German and Korean flags in Dojang, the Korean flag and the flag of the host country during the competition). This greeting is sometimes traced back to the roll call from the time when dangsudo was primarily a military sport.

There are probably also clubs and associations in which the greeting is carried out sitting in a row, as in karate and judo. If in doubt, you should ask the trainer beforehand or simply know both variants so as not to fall out of line on the first day.

2. Warm up The greeting is followed by a warm-up, whereby the focus in Taekwondo is on warming up the leg muscles. This is because the extensive footwork in Taekwondo puts a special strain on the muscles of the feet, hips and thighs. The high-performing foot techniques can quickly lead to an injury in the hip area if the body is not warmed up properly.
3. Stretching exercises
After warming up, as in any sport, a few short stretching exercises follow. These two phases usually take up about the first half hour of training.
4. Theory The trainer will always incorporate part of the theory into the training unit, as this is essential for training and testing. This includes knowing the names of all techniques and basics of self-defense law.

However, this will not take place in one piece and while sitting, as in school, as the muscles cool down too much. Rather, the trainer will incorporate the theoretical knowledge at useful points in the training, for example during a short drinking break. This maintains concentration and the central theme of the training.

5. Elementary school In elementary school you train individual techniques as well as combinations, usually with several repetitions. The focus here is on the correct execution of movement sequences, the correct application of the foot positions and the internalization of the techniques. You should get a feeling for how your body works in order to master the techniques blindly in the later process, so to speak.
6. Mold run The form comes from karate and is therefore very similar to kata in karate. This fight against one or more imaginary opponents often appears to an observer like senselessly lined up techniques, but it always has a deeper meaning. As you study the shapes more closely, you will understand better why the Grand Masters invented them.
7. One step struggle The one-step fight, as the first form of fight against a training partner, should give you first experiences for the distance of an attack and the feeling of a block. The attack is announced here so that you can concentrate on the clean execution of the technique. There are also two- and three-step combat, although these forms are used less often.
8. Break test A well-known symbol for Asian martial arts is the break test, which is actually part of the training in Taekwondo. You will learn to destroy boards with Taekwondo techniques, while stones are used for the pure show and have no place in training. The thickness and material of the boards are precisely prescribed for the belt tests.
9. Free fight In free combat, the goal is to get a feel for the flow of a fight and, if necessary, to prepare for a competition. It can take place without contact without protection or with hits and protective equipment. In any case, the aim is not to force the opponent onto the mat, but to win in accordance with the rules and with clean Taekwondo techniques.

Depending on the specialization of the club, more value is placed on different disciplines than on the rest. A competition club will train more free fights, while a club that is open to public shows works on break tests. Each body adapts differently to different loads, so it is impossible to say in advance which training you will enjoy the most and which will take you the most. So find out for yourself in practice where your strengths lie.

Conclusion: Taekwondo suitable for self-defense?

Taekwondo is not a sport that lends itself to filling in the occasional boredom. Rather, you have to invest a lot of time and work to bring your body to the right level and to keep it there. You will encounter the greater difficulty here with the foot techniques, as you need various muscles for the different kicks that you do not use in everyday life.

In general, almost all Taekwondo techniques can be used for defense in an emergency, because only a few of them are better suited for competition. However, caution is advised when using leg techniques with shoes, as they can cause serious damage if, for example, they hit the face. Knowing the right to self-defense is therefore essential if you want to use Taekwondo in an emergency.

Part of the training consists of simulating self-defense. This means that you will practice to free yourself from various situations sensibly and without using excessive force. You will also learn to defend yourself against stick and knife attacks, although the best defense against armed opponents is usually to flee.

The basic learning of the various leg techniques should take a few months to a year, depending on your fitness. However, this only means learning, because we are not yet talking about competitive perfection. However, if you have the courage and persevere in the strenuous training program, you will be rewarded after a year with a physical constitution that is second to none.

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