Korean taekwondo training - great lessons learned on our Korean taekwondo tour.
This page is one of our favorite pages on the whole site!
We loved putting it together because it sums up the lessons of our Korean taekwondo training tour.
Great taekwondo lessons
And great life lessons!
Korean taekwondo lesson 1 - Pay attention to detail
In Korean taekwondo training attention is paid to every little detail!
And this is great lesson to learn as a taekwondo Kup grade.
The message was simple. Do your best to do taekwondo right. Do it right from the very beginning. And keep doing it right.
We were incredibly privileged to do Korean taekwondo training at the World Taekwondo Instructor Academy under Grandmaster Lee.
Yes. It is an instructor academy. Where usually only instructors can train. And yet Grandmaster Lee seemed very happy to give a very mixed bag of Australian Students his time.
His Dojang is out in the country with an inspirational outlook over stunning Korean mountains covered in and fabulous pink cherry blossoms.
Not that we had much chance to look at the view!
Our teacher seemed to immediately sense any hint that our focus might be slipping towards the Dojang window. And he brought us quickly back to the task in hand.
We started with taegeuk il-jang. And two hours later we hadn't progressed very far!
We learned exactly the right position for every part of our body. For every step of the poomse.
We learned simple tips like turning the front foot before you move. So that it's already in the right position for the next stance. We broke down moving through stances until they were pretty fluid. And we worked on our blocks until our shoulders ached.
By the end we thought we looked a whole lot better. But we're not sure we were quite up to the standards Grandmaster Lee is used to!
Korean taekwondo lesson 2...take taekwondo stretching seriously!
Korean taekwondo training starts young.
Children generally start training when they are flexible 3 and 4 year-olds.
And they stretch and stretch as part of their training.
Also training sessions are generally longer than we are used to in Australia. And large chunks of time are devoted to stretching in each class.
And so we discovered that all Korean martial artists are incredibly flexible.
They can all do the box splits and head high turning kicks without batting an eyelid.
Us westerners were not quite as flexible! We struggled through the stretching classes. We struggled with the high kicks.
And to be honest we are embarrassed to admit that we struggled to sit cross legged through our meals.
We came back from Korea with a new determination to stretch more often and more fully. And not just to stretch our muscles. But also to stretch our joints. Through full ranges of movement.
It's tough. But then if you're not flexible taekwondo is even tougher!
lesson 3...be humble!
In Korea we saw excellence. Excellence as a result of Korean taekwondo training methods.
We saw Master Park Kil-Jun do lay-out somersaults from a standing start. And then fly over 3 students to land in a perfect cat roll.
We saw one of Master Park's students perform such perfect poomse that we had goose bumps on our arms.
We trained with Master Yong Nam Kim. Who is a 7th Dan in Taekwondo, a Korean yoga instructor, a first class chiropractor and a Korean Zen master.
We saw the Kukkiwon demonstration team pull out a brilliant display of unbelievable skill in appalling weather conditions.
And despite the amazing heights these people have reached. They were all incredibly humble. They were gentle and kind to us.
They just could not do enough for us. They gave us gifts and invited us to their homes. And Master Kim's wife even did our laundry!
We felt very humbled.
And those of us that went to Korea thinking that we knew something about taekwondo. Saw Korean taekwondo training.
And realized very quickly that we had a lot to learn!
Korean taekwondo lesson 4...if you want to be good- train hard!
Korean martial artists are passionate about their taekwondo training. And they train a lot.
Korean taekwondo training sessions are long- usually at least 2 hours.
So lots of time is devoted to getting each technique right.
Korean martial artists practise taekwondo kicks and hand techniques over and over again.
And that perseverance pays off. Big time. In the form of great results.
Korean children and young adults see the taekwondo Dojang as a place to gather socially.
They spend time outside of formal classes practising their techniques. Over and Over.
Older students help and mentor younger students. So a positive nurturing environment is created.
And it's in this great environment that the seeds of excellence are sown.
Lesson 5...there's more that one way!
When we went to Korea we thought we knew how to do a few things.
We thought we knew how to kick a pad. And punch a bag. To do a high block. Or to deal with a wrist grab.
And we were right. We did know a way to do these things.
Then we did Korean taekwondo training. Under so many great Korean Masters. And they also showed us other ways. Maybe better ways. Maybe ways that suited us better.
We learned lots of little tips along the way. Little tips that helped us with our old ways.
And in the end we found the best way of all.
The way of the open mind.
Korean taekwondo lesson 6... all martial arts are the same!?
Master Won-Kyn Cho told us that all martial arts are the same.
At first this seemed to be a very strange concept.
How can it be that Judo and Taekwondo are the same? Or Hapkido and Gumdo?
They certainly look very different!
We thought about what he said a lot as the tour progressed.
And in time we came to realise that it didn't really matter if we were using a stick, a block or a throw. It all came down to the same core principles.
Strengthening our bodies and minds.
Learning the power of perseverance.
Aiming for the wisdom of self-control.
And enjoying huge personal growth in the process.
And finally... Lesson 7...we're not finished yet!
Master Chul Wung Park taught us what we call the lesson of the tortoise.
And we've found that it's a great lesson to think about when we come up against set-backs. Or when we find things difficult.
This was his simple lesson for Korean taekwondo training.
Remember that you are not finished yet!
It's not about where you start.
It's about where you finish.
If someone tells you that they think your turning kick is not high enough.
Or strong enough.
You can think inside.
Well maybe that's true at the moment.
But I'm not finished yet.
I am still working. I am still training. And I am still persevering.
And if I keep going with my training. And doing my best.
Then one day my kick will be stronger and higher than it is now.
And I will be stronger and taller than I am now.