Korean Taekwondo Sparring...Fast...Exciting...and brilliant Fun!

We were lucky enough to do some Korean taekwondo sparring sessions with the university students at Chung Cheong University.

These students do a full time degree in taekwondo.

Imagine that!

Studying taekwondo full time for three years! How good would that be?

Of course the students are all taekwondo black belts before they start. And during their time at Chung Cheong they become truly awe inspiring taekwondo players.

We were lucky to get a chance to spar with these guys. And it was a very humbling experience.

Taekwondo warm up...Korean style!

Korean Taekwondo Sparring Warm Up Leap Frog

Of course we train regularly in taekwondo. So we are used to warming up.

But a Korean Taekwondo sparring warm up with the Chung Cheong students. Is a warm up like no other.

The energy in the Dojang can only be described as electric. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing as I write about it. (Deb)

From the minute we started to move our bodies the key-ups came loud and strong.

One taekwondo student would shout. And everyone would respond. Literally everyone.

We swear the Dojang roof vibrated!

Of course we got swept away with the energy.

And found ourselves laughing crazily as we leapfrogged, negotiated leg ladders and dodged in and out of lines of people.

Next fast and furious pad work

Korean Taekwondo Sparring Turning Kick

This is where the Korean taekwondo students amazed us with their patience and understanding.

Although the pace was fast and furious. Our teachers took time to stop and show us improved ways to kick.

They were always smiling. Always enthusiastic. And always patient.

And because our legs were so loose from a long warm up. And we were so relaxed and happy.

We found we kicked faster and more freely than we'd ever been able to before.

One session focused on speed kicks. We did groups of 100 kicks and were feeling quite proud of ourselves.

Then we asked the students how many they normally do.

It turns out they do groups of 1000 speed kicks. Three times a day. Every day!

'Do you really need to do that many?' we asked.

'You do if you want to win!' was the reply.

Korean Taekwondo Sparring

Korean Taekwondo Sparring Hook Kick to Pad

Once we started taekwondo sparring the electricity moved up another notch.

The sparring was fast, controlled and accurate.

No-one was out of control. No-one kicked hard. And everyone was smiling and laughing.

We used arm, shin and groin guards, but no chest protectors.

This worked well. Because it encouraged light and controlled body and head contact.

The students were patient and kind with us, taking time to show us techniques. And work through sparring sequences. And learn other ways of attacking and defending.

When it was time to take a breather it was great to watch the Korean students sparring with each other. We cannot emphasise enough the good humour of these taekwondo sparring bouts.

There were no egos clashing. There was no intimidation. And no heavy contact.

Korean Taekwondo Sparring was like a game.

It was about being quicker and smarter than your opponent.

And passing on knowledge.

And having fun!

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