TaeKwonDo

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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 Organizations

TaeKwonDo is a very diverse art, while there are certain things that are agreed upon by everyone, there are minor details that some practitioners disagree on. These disagreements are what birthed the various Organizations around the world that practice Tae Kwon Do.

TAEKWONDO ORGANISATION TKD ITF WTF

It should be noted that for the most part, these organizations all seek to help each other and help each other, they simply have disagreements on things ranging from organizational issues, such as the number of ranks, to technical issues, such as foot positions in a form.

The two largest TaeKwonDo organizations in the world are the International Tae Kwon do federation (ITF) and the World TaeKwonDo Federation (WTF). These two organizations were both created in Korea, the ITF being founded in 1966 by General Choi Hong Hi. The WTF was founded in 1973 and became the organization recognized in the 1980 Olympics.

The ITF currently exists as three organizations, all claiming to be the original, located in Australia, Canada and North Korea. The WTF is based in Seoul, Korea. The WTF is International Federation the International Olympic Committee for Olympic competition in Tae Kwon Do.

Outside of the ITF and WTF, hundreds, if not thousands of organizations exist. Each organization has a different political structure and while this may not directly effect you at lower levels, if you reach higher Dans of black belt then you will start to see the politics of the art, and will begin to understand how different organizations interact.

When choosing a TaeKwonDo school, it can be beneficial to determine the school’s organization association, and research that organization. Schools not part of any particular organization have pros and cons. While you may receive a more intimate and personalized training program, competition and recognition in the world of martial arts will be hard to come by.

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Taekwondo Ranks

taekwondo kicks ranks school

Taekwondo is about self improvement and defense, and although one should always seek constant improvement, it is also helpful to have a way to gauge you’re progress. This is where belts, and rank, comes into play.

Ranks in Taekwondo are displayed by wearing a colored belt around the waist. Colors run the gamut, from blue, to red white, to yellow black, but one thing is common, starting at white and ending with black.

The number and color of belts depends on the school and organization the school is affiliated with. Some schools will only have a small number of belts, say 6 or 7, while some will have over 20. One way to tell of a school’s credibility could be it’s number of belts.

Traditionally, most Taekwondo schools had a small number of belts, but in a modern world it is common for schools to use belts and the testing (which I will talk about in a second) that comes with them as a way to create revenue.

Typically, to gain rank one will attend a test. Depending on the Taekwondo school you may be administered a written test as well as a physical one. Usually physical tests will require you to demonstrate you’re current form(s) as well as spar at a level expected of you’re rank. Finally, at higher levels, it is often required to perform a break, which is breaking a board or other object with a specific technique.

When you receive a belt in Taekwondo, you may also receive a certificate that indicates the rank you have just reached, once again, this is based upon school. It is also common for a Taekwondo school to provide more ranks for children then adults, this does two things; on the one hand, if the school charges for testing, it creates revenue; on the other hand, it allows children to feel progress.

Gaining rank usually means that you will be required to perform more complicated Taekwondo forms, spar at a higher level, perform more difficult breaks, and in more traditional schools, have a greater understanding of the art. Improvement is never ending! Always strive to be the best you can be!

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