By Master Penny Duggan, 6th Degree Black Belt
Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art that was formalized in 1955 with its origins dating back to 668 A.D. Translated, Tae Kwon do means Foot-Hand-Art. Since its formalization, Tae Kwon Do has grown to become the leading martial art practiced in the United States. Tae Kwon Do’s popularity can be attributed to its disciplined fighting techniques with an emphasis on self-defense, which correlate to an excellent means of protection and exercise for both the body and the mind.
Physical training in Tae Kwon Do requires the use of all body muscles. A Tae Kwon Do class includes aerobics, stretching, punching & kicking drills and balance & focus drills. A typical class begins with aerobic movement to increase the blood flow to the muscles before starting stretching and kicking exercises. To slow things down after a good warm up, Tae Kwon Do Forms, or Patterns, are practiced. These are a predetermined series of hand and foot techniques that display focus, concentration, balance and power. To get the blood flowing again, fighting drills are practiced. These are a series of hand and foot combinations. To speed things up even more, we free-spar or combat an opponent with hand and foot combinations. Class ends with a “cool down” session consisting of a few softer drills such as self-defense drills, punching drills, stretching, or board breaking.
There are several phases of mental training in a Tae Kwon Do class. The most beneficial requires the Mind & Body to work together. The mind must work with the body to achieve proper technique, balance, focus and concentration. Mental focus, discipline and attitude make the techniques in Tae Kwon Do very effective. Tae Kwon do stimulates brain tissue creating ‘muscle memory’ so when you need to use your skills your brain can call on your techniques within a fraction of a second. Another part of the mental training is learning the Tae Kwon Do forms (patterns), history and Korean terminology for most techniques. Students also study the philosophy of Tae Kwon Do: We strive to make ourselves better people and our world a better place to live in. We become leaders and build strong character. This is done by studying the Tae Kwon Do “Tenets” and Tae Kwon Do “Oath”.
Students also put their minds into action when they communicate the knowledge of their technique to other students. Higher ranking students must explain, in great detail, the application of various techniques to lower ranking students, when assisting or coaching.
The benefits of the mind and body working together in Tae Kwon Do are many. Proper technique is accomplished when the mind and body work together to achieve balance, flexibility, focus, concentration and coordination. Another benefit is communicating skills through demonstrating and explaining technique. Every student becomes a coach, assistant and teacher at different phases of their Tae Kwon Do experience. Yet another benefit is building and developing Self-Esteem. Self-Esteem keeps students confident, enthusiastic, on a healthy track and out of trouble.
Tae Kwon Do is based on the scientific use of the body for methods of self-defense, developed through intensive physical and mental training. All Tae Kwon Do techniques are based on science and physics. To achieve the benefits of Tae Kwon Do one must train physically and mentally on a regular basis at a reputable Tae Kwon Do school. Proficiency in Tae Kwon Do will give you the ability, confidence and self-esteem you need to take charge of most any situation.
If you are interested in staying physically and mentally fit through Tae Kwon Do please visit our website at www.kims-tkd.com or contact Master Penny Duggan, Kim’s Tae Kwon Do Center, Inc. 920-434-2326 Classes are taught at Redeemer School, 205 Hudson St. Green Bay, WI on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.