Tradition Versus a lacktherof

Tae Kwon Do, or any martial art for that matter, carries a lot of tradition and history, and this is something very important if you are going to get involved in it. The same of course, can be said of any martial art, however the age of the art depends on the amount of tradition that exists. When it comes to an art such as Iaido, which is samurai sword training, the traditions and history run back hundreds and hundreds of years. An art like Tae Kwon Do does not have quite as rich a history, however it certainly bears it’s own traditions that need to be respected.

This is where the question falls on the school it’s self. On the one hand, a school that is very traditional may also seem somewhat stifling and difficult. A school that doesn’t follow traditions as closely may seem too loose. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you are purely looking for fitness, then a less traditional school may be the perfect place for you.

However, if you aim to master the art in both its physical and spiritual forms, then you will need to learn of the traditions at some point. The other thing that tradition does is give more validity to a school and it’s training. A school draped in the history of the art shows that it’s founders studied the art for a long time and with a great amount of care and consideration for tradition.

Usually traditional schools will have more complicated acts such as bowing in then a less traditional school may have. You also find that a traditional school will seek to create a tight knit community, something that may or may not be important to a less traditional school.

Ultimately the choice comes down to whether you are looking for serious training or a tool for fitness such as weight lifting or running. Tradition breeds excellence, but depending on your dedication, that may not be what you are looking for, but rest assured, you can have fun no matter where you train!

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Taekwondo Sparring

Taekwondo Sparring is the act of practicing combat against a live opponent, without actually having to pick a real fight! It is almost unheard of to practice Tae Kwon Do without at least doing some light sparring, as this is an integral part of your training not only in Tae Kwon Do, but in martial arts in general.

Taekwondo Sparring should be done in a controlled environment, with senior students, or better yet, instructors, present, as it can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Taekwondo Sparring

When sparring in class it is common to practice partial contact sparring, which has been discussed here before, however in tournament sparring your goal is to defeat your opponent, and full contact sparring is usually practiced when fighting in an adult division.

When you spar it is customary to bump fists before fighting as a show of respect. You goal should NOT be to hurt your opponent, but to score points.

In full contact competition sparring you will usually end up with and inflict a few bruises, however in a class environment the goal is to better yourself and your opponent, so you should avoid injuring yourself or your opponent.

Respect is perhaps the most important part of Taekwondo sparring, by learning to respect your opponent despite the clear objective of defeating him, you better yourself as a martial artist and a person.

 Perhaps even more difficult (and by far more important) is to accept a defeat with good sportsmanship and respect.

In order to succeed at sparring, you will need to have control over your techniques, strike quickly, and above all avoid telegraphing you’re attacks.

Telegraphing is the act of giving away a strike before actually doing it, by raising your leg early or flexing a shoulder muscle prematurely you can set your opponent up for an easy block and counter.

 On the flip side, you should try to recognize subtle movements from your opponent in order to see their moves before they come, allowing you to block and set up a counter.

 In closing, Taekwondo sparring is very important to your training, and as such you should become comfortable with it as soon as possible!

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Finger Strike

We have been talking a lot about open hand versus closed hand strikes, however now I want to talk about one of the most effective strikes in the skilled Tae Kwon Do combatant’s arsenal.

FINGER STRIKE Chops, punches, back fists and other hand strike all serve a very similar purpose: Injuring your opponent, but today’s technique could very well end a fight without much fighting if done correctly.

 The strike is called the finger strike, and revolves around striking the opponent with an open hand with fingers straight, and then striking with the tips of the fingers.

The strike starts from a hands raised ready position, and is done very quickly with an extension of the arm and a final position of arm extended and palm down.

 The reason this strike can be so potent is because of it’s precision.

 You can deliver an eye strike or a throat strike very quickly, and these can be painful and damaging enough to end a fight without much effort.

Honing the finger strike is important as if poorly executed you will hit in an unintended area, which may very well put you in a dangerous position.

Performing a break with the finger strike is highly inadvisable, as this can lead to serious damage to the hand and fingers. Highly trained and skilled individuals may be capable of breaking a board with the finger strike, however it is only due to years of training.

The finger strike is also not very useful in sparring as it’s usefulness lies in the precision it offers, and in sparring you will be wearing protection over the hands which will ruin that precision that the finger strike offers.

Another reason that the strike is not useful in a sparring match is that you will usually use it to attempt to injure an actual opponent greatly, and this should not be your goal when sparring.

Using the finger strike in the right situation, after much practice and repetition, can lead to a damaging strike that may end the fight before it is really finished.

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