Your Taekwondo Dojang...'a place to sweat and find peace'
Your taekwondo dojang is simply the place where you train.
'Do' means 'way' or 'path'.
And 'jang' means 'place'.
Put them together.
And you get the 'place where you practice the way'. In our case the way of the hand and foot- taekwondo.
We've trained in many different dojangs over the years.
In the UK, Australia and Korea. In our clubs and at competitions and seminars.
Many dojangs are dual purpose. So they're also used as gyms or dance studios.
But you might be lucky enough to train in a dedicated martial arts centre.
choosing a dojang
If you are trying to decide whether a particular taekwondo school is the right one for you. We suggest you don't just consider the look of the Dojang.
The feel is far more important.
A calm instructor. Who you feel comfortable with. And happy students. Who smile and make you feel welcome. Is far more important than a flashy taekwondo Dojang.
In fact we have had some of our best training sessions in very scruffy Church Halls. And we have found that as long as the taekwondo instructor is a good teacher. Who is passionate about taekwondo. And cares about their students. The training session will be a positive one.
Your dojang flooring
The flooring of dojangs varies.
It is popular at the moment to use flooring made of foam mats. The mats click together like a jigsaw.
The mats good because they are soft. This reduces the impact on your joints when you run and jump.
But one bad thing about these mats, is that compared to training on a smoother floor, the mats don't allow your foot to slide. So it's harder to turn your standing foot when you kick. And this can strain your knees.
We suggest that you try to be as light as you can on your feet if you train on this type of floor. So that you can pivot more easily on that standing foot.
It's also important to pick your feet up and not to drag them. Otherwise you can catch your toes. Which hurts!
Some of the dedicated dojang's we saw in Korea were awesome! With fabulous sealed, padded flooring. Perfect!
Etiquette in your dojang
It is very important to respect the taekwondo dojang. You should stop and bow as you enter. This shows respect to your instructor. And respect to taekwondo.
It's also important to line up right. To work out the right place to stand you could try this. Imagine you are standing facing the front of the dojang.
OK. The highest ranked student stands at the front of the class on the right side. And in most schools the next highest grade stands on his or her left. Then the next highest. And so on.
And when the front row is full. The next student stands in the second row behind the highest ranked student. And so on.
So if it's your first class. We suggest you head to the back left corner of the taekwondo dojang. Then if you line yourself up level with the person at the far right of your row. And stand directly behind the student in front. You'll be fine.
And if you're the same grade as another taekwondo student. Stand on the left of them if you are younger than them. Or if you've been training less time than them.
If you're not sure. It's generally much better to stand in the position of the lower grade. It shows courtesy. And respect.
peace and tranquility
The first few times we trained we felt quite nervous in the taekwondo dojang. It felt strange and unfamiliar. And we felt awkward because we didn't know what we are doing.
But we found in time. As we trained more and more. And started to really enjoy our taekwondo.
That the minute we came through the door. We felt peaceful and calm. However stressful our day was.
We've thought a lot about why this is. We think it's probably because taekwondo is difficult. And absorbing. So while we are training. We can't think about anything else.
We have to leave all our worries outside the door. And just concentrate on ourselves. And our taekwondo.
And at the end of the session. We feel happy. And relaxed. And peaceful. And great!
And those peaceful, calm feelings. Come flooding back next time we walk through the dojang door!
And talking of the dojang door. One bit of advice we would give beginner students is this. We think that you should try to leave your ego outside the taekwondo dojang door. And try to walk in with an open mind. This would also apply if you've trained at another school.
Because every school is different. And every instructor is different. And there is more than one way to do most things.
So if you can open your mind. You can learn another way. And you could find that it's better than the way you know.
Or. It might not be.
But if it's not. You haven't lost anything.
Because now you know 2 ways.