What is taekwondo?...we'll help you decide

What is taekwondo? Taekwondo is many things to many people.

On this page we explain what taekwondo means to us as a family of tkd students.


Is for Art. A Martial Art. From Korea.

Ancient Korean armies learned to fight and defend themselves using early forms of taekwondo. With their hands and feet for weapons.

And what is taekwondo for in modern times?


Train in taekwondo and you learn to kick. And punch. And to defend yourself.

And you get fitter and stronger. In your body. And in your mind.

Which helps you enormously in daily life.


Is for Brain. Train in taekwondo and you use your brain.

Taekwondo is not like exercising at the gym. Where you can switch off and listen to your i-pod. Or think about your day at work.

When you train in taekwondo you have to concentrate 100% on what you are doing.

The kicks are difficult. The blocks and strikes take concentration and practice to get right. And the patterns or forms are intricate with many moves to remember.

So what is taekwondo? It's a brain test!

what is taekwondo Kukkiwon demonstration team


Is for Calm.

Relaxation. Stress relief. A feeling of inner peace.

For us this was a huge unexpected bonus of tkd training.

Train in martial arts and you will become a calmer and more peaceful person.


Is for Defense. Self Defense.

Outside of training we hope we never need to use our taekwondo. But if we have to. We can defend ourselves against attack. And as parents it's good to know that our daughter can too.

So what is taekwondo? It's a system of self defense.


Is for Energy. Positive Energy.

As you train in taekwondo. You become energized. Because you are fitter and stronger. In body and mind. And your self esteem grows.

And this positive energy radiates out from you. And affects those around you in a positive way.


Is for Fitness. Total body fitness.

Train in taekwondo and you will get physically fitter. Physically stronger. And much more flexible. Taekwondo training results in whole body fitness. Which makes your body feel good and look good.

So what is taekwondo? It's a fitness system!

Taekwondo group exercise in Korea


Is for Group. Group exercise.

Do you exercise alone? We used to. And to be honest. It was a bit of a struggle to motivate ourselves to get to the gym.

In tkd your training is individual to you. But you are also part of a group. A team member.

And each team member has to contribute. By taking turns to hold pads. In self defense and sparring practice. And by teaching lower grades.

We've found by helping others and being helped. As part of a group. Exercise has become much more fun.

So what is taekwondo? It's fun group exercise.


Is for Humbling. There are times when martial arts training can make you feel very small.

Just when you think you've made some progress. And you think you've cracked your turning kick. Or learned that take down.

You mess it up. Or you fall over. Or a lower grade beats you in a sparring competition.

And you realize that you're not that great. And you've got so much more to learn.

And from there you pick yourself up. And keep training. And get stronger.

But stay humble.


Is for Interesting. Taekwondo is fascinating!

The more we learn. The more we want to learn.

We have been lucky to train internationally. At our first school in the UK we learned modern poomses and wtf sparring techniques from top instructors.

And now in our Australian school we also learn traditional patterns and complex self defense techniques.

Each new thing we learn broadens our minds and extends our range.

And keeps it interesting. So we keep training.


Is for Journey. As we just said our taekwondo journey is an international one. And through a time of great change in our lives. Taekwondo has been a constant.

But also as we train. Each of us finds out more and more about ourselves.

Deb found the confrontation of sparring difficult. And had to battle hard to overcome her fears. And now she copes better with confrontation in daily life.

Neil found performing a pattern at a competition or grading very daunting. But with training and perseverance. He is finding this easier and building self confidence.

So what is taekwondo to us? It's an international journey of self discovery.

Taekwondo hook kick in Korea


Is for Kick. Of course it is!

Taekwondo is famed for it's kicks. At first you learn front kick and turning kick.

And before long you're learning more complex stuff. Getting your legs higher than you thought possible. And getting dizzy when you first try spin kicks.

We get a huge thrill from watching top level kicking. Seeing demonstrations of enormous skill and physical fitness. Where people break boards at great heights with spinning kicks.

Because once you start training. You realize how hard that is to achieve!

So what is taekwondo? It's a cool system of kicks!


Is for Laugh. A good laugh!

And do we laugh!

At every single training session.

Yes taekwondo is tough. And painful. And exhausting.

But it's also great fun!

We laugh and smile when we finally get a pattern right. Or break that board we missed at the last grading. Or when a team mate achieves that jump kick they couldn't seem to master.

And we also laugh at ourselves. When we fall over trying a spin kick.

So what is taekwondo to us? It's a good laugh.


Is for Motivation. With taekwondo we are motivic to keep training. We want to learn more. We want to achieve that next belt. To achieve the calm assured self confidence we see in some black belts.

When we look back at old photos and videos. Of us when we first started. The progress we have made is amazing. And our progress keeps us motivated to keep training.

So what is taekwondo? It's a great motivator!


Is for Not easy! Taekwondo is not easy. It's not meant to be. It's difficult. Tough. And at times exhausting.

If it was easy we'd have got bored and quit ages ago. If it was easy it wouldn't push and challenge us. So we wouldn't reach the same level of mental and physical fitness.

So what is taekwondo? It's difficult!

Taekwondo kids sparring


Is for Ours. It's our taekwondo.

The benefits taekwondo gives us. Like fitness and strength. Are Ours. Ours to keep. To benefit us now. And in our future lives.

So what is taekwondo? It's ours. To keep.


Is for Punch. Taekwondo is famed for its spectacular kicks.

But train in taekwondo. And you also learn to punch.

You learn jabs, crosses, uppercuts and technical punches. And as you punch that target. The stress flows out of your body.


Is for Quality. Quality family time.

Time when the three of us can be together. Doing something we love. And getting fit in the process.

So what is taekwondo? It's a great way to spend quality time.


Is for Respect.

In taekwondo huge emphasis is placed on respect. And we think this especially benefits the children in the club.

They learn to respect everyone. Young and old. Male and Female. Weak and strong.

They learn to respect taekwondo. And to respect themselves.

So what is taekwondo about? It's about respect.


Is for Spirit. Strong spirit. Indomitable spirit.

Finding the strength to keep going. When you are exhausted. When your body is screaming at you to stop. When you are scared. When you feel weak.

And as you train in taekwondo. And face tougher and tougher challenges. Your strong spirit develops.

So that when you are old. And your body fails. Your spirit will always be there for you.

So what is taekwondo about? It's about developing your spirit.


Is for Training. The answer to it all.

Turn up for training.

If you feel down. If you think you'll never master that spin kick. Or you're scared of sparring. Or you can't remember the pattern for your grading. Or you feel overwhelmed.

We say.

Don't quit. That's the easy option.

Just keep turning up for training.

Get there somehow. Train. And in time. You get to where you want to go.


Is for Uplifting. Taekwondo training makes you feel good!

Train regularly and you feel fit and well and happy. Your steps are light and springy.

And your problems seem a bit less daunting. And a bit easier to cope with.


Is for Valuable. Taekwondo to us is valuable.

More precious than anything money can buy.

Being physically fit and mentally strong brings a level of satisfaction to our lives we never knew before.

So what is taekwondo? It's priceless.


Is for Way of Life. In time martial arts training becomes a way of life.

A code to try to live your life by. Keeping your body and mind fit.

Having respect for others. Being true to your word. Finding self control. Persevering. Sticking with things even though they are hard.

And finding that uncrushable spirit.

So what is taekwondo? It's a good way of life.


Is for Exhilarating. The sense of achievement.

When you do what you never thought you could. When you face your fears. Or break that board. Or do 100 push ups.

It's amazing what you can achieve. If you stick at it.

And when you achieve your goals. Or even go past them. It feels fantastic!


Is for Yin and Yang. The symbol at the centre of the South Korean flag.

It represents constant flow. And balance.

Between good and bad. Strong and weak. Male and female.

Taekwondo is a balance. Between strength and relaxation. Between male and female energy. And every action has an opposite reaction.


Is for zzzzzzzzz- a good nights sleep! After that physical exertion. And the mental challenges.

We find we are exhausted. And we get the best night's sleep!

So what is taekwondo? It's a healthy way to a good night's sleep!

beginner taekwondo index

Taekwondo training tips

Purpose of taekwondo

Principles of taekwondo

Dojang etiquette

Tips for white belts

Belt system

Stances, blocks, strikes and kicks

Korean vocabulary

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