Classes can be varied but generally contain some similar elements.
Standard Class Structure
Classes are an hour long and always start with a warm-up and stretch. Everyone will line up from the front right-hand corner of the room, facing the instructor, starting from the highest belt present to the lowest belt. Depending on the number of students, there may be several lines of students. The highest ranked student will call the class to attention and all students bow as a sign of respect to the instructor.
The warm-up will be a short light-to-moderate exercise routine to increase the heart rate and get the blood flowing into the arms and legs. Even beginners will start to learn how to improve their stretch so that they can kick higher and without injury.
Once a warm-up has been completed, we will often keep the class together performing drills of basic stances, blocks, punches, and kicks. I will keep an eye, particularly on our newer students if they are struggling to understand the concept of a particular technique.
At this point, the class may be split into smaller groups or kept together to work on a specific area of knowledge. This can be fitness, poomse (patterns), kicks, punches, combinations, self-defense or a mix of these. As gradings approach, the weeks beforehand will concentrate on what you need to know for your next belt so that you can feel completely ready. The class will typically end with a fun activity, game or some free sparring as a warm down. Once complete, the class will line up again as they did at the beginning of class and again bow to the instructor.
Areas of knowledge
Defensive Blocks are the very first thing you will learn. This emphasises the fact that martial arts is at its core defensive. While learning to hit someone is part of learning to fight, learning how to NOT get hit is even more important. There’s no point knowing how to knock someone down if your opponent has already knocked you out.
Punches and hand strikes are the fastest and most commonly used technique when defending yourself, at least in your earlier belts. Most people think they know how to punch already, but we will show you the correct way, to miminise injury to yourself and maximise damage to your opponent
Taekwondo is renowned for its array of kicks (many famous movie martial artists use Tae Kwon Do kicks on-screen). We will teach you, not only how to kick, but when to use kicks effectively to defend yourself. Over time, you will learn to improve your ability to stretch and kick with power.
In the majority of cases, we wish to defend ourselves or immobilise an attacker without resorting to a full-on street fight. Self-defense teaches you how to use wrist locks, sweeps and choker holds. As you advance, you will also learn how to defend yourself against an armed attacker.
We will teach you break-falls so that if you do get knocked from your feet, you will know how to properly land so that you won’t hurt yourself.
Patterns are an extended set of predefined moves that teach you discipline and control of your body. Considered by many to be the most beautiful aspect of the art, the focus is on perfecting your technique and balance. For every grading to the next belt, you will be required to learn one or two patterns to demonstrate your control.
Combinations are a short set of three to six moves that will train your body to react instinctively in a fight situation. With experience, you will recognise combinations that suit your body and the situation your encounter. They are about creating muscle memory and recognising patterns from an attacker and how to counter them.
The obvious goal of learning a martial art is, of course, learning how to fight and defend yourself. Free sparring applies everything you have learned and lets you practice and reinforce them in a controlled combat environment. Beginning students will undertake safer, simplified versions such as “eye exercise” where combatants try to tap one another on the top of the head.
Of course, fitness is an important aspect of learning martial arts. We will work with you to slowly improve your aerobic (how fast your heart rate increases) and anaerobic fitness (how fast you recover). You will also find physical flexibly improves as we work on your “stretch”.
Perhaps the most important skill we learn in martial arts is discipline. Discipline is doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. It’s sticking to something because it is worth it. It’s respecting those around us, not just in a martial arts class, but in all aspects of our lives. Many black belts become successful in business or other pursuits because of the discipline that we practice in our art.
Progression in All Areas of knowledge
You might sometimes feel that you are being pushed past where you are comfortable, and this may well be true. We may push you past what you THINK you can do, but never past what you can do. Some moves are complex at first, but we can teach you most things in parts. Even a partial move can be useful in a tricky spot.
Taekwondo is a physical activity and a practical uniform has developed over the centuries. This is called a Dobok.
It is a school requirement that after a few lessons, you be in a Dobok. They are not expensive and well and truly pay for themselves compared to the normal clothes you would have ripped over the years a dobok lasts. You may wear a white t-shirt or singlet under your dobok for modesty.
Make sure that you get one that is appropriate so unless you are a Black Belt, it must be white all over (a white belt generally comes with it). It will start out feeling like cardboard but soften after a few weeks. We are happy to help you with all of this.
No jewelry (rings, bangles, chains, dangling earrings). Minimal makeup & perfumes, please. You are going to sweat if we are doing this right.
We train bare foot.