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Introduction to Taekwondo

What Is Tae Kwon Do?
TAE means kicking or smashing with the foot.
KWON means punching with the fist.
DO means the art or method of.
A Korean sport, Tae Kwon Do means the art or method of punching and kicking. However, Tae Kwon Do specializes more on kicking than punching. It is the quick, spinning, high powerful kicks that sets Tae Kwon Do apart from the other martial arts systems.
2000 Olympics games
Tae Kwon Do was a demonstration sport for the Olympics Games at both Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992. It became a full medal sport for the first time at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games!
11 Commandments of Modern Tae Kwon Do
These modern axioms are used to guide the moral development of the Tae Kwon Do practitioner. According to the book, The Ultimate Reference Guide to the World`s Most Popular Martial Art: TAE KWON DO written by Yeon Hee Park, Yeon Hwan Park and Jon Gerrard, "... no student who does not fully understand these tenets can ever hope to master the true essence of the art."
* Loyalty to your country
* Respect your parents
* Faithfulness to your spouse
* Respect your brothers and sisters
* Loyalty to your friends
* Respect your elders
* Respect your teachers
* Never take life unjustly
* Indomitable spirit
* Loyalty to your school
* Finish what you begin
The most basic of all techniques and the most important. Developing proper stances is the key to the outcome of a confrontation. From my experience and my observations, I find that the unaccomplished students could not score points in a sparring match because of his/her uncoordinated transitions to an offensive stance. The movements seemed clumsy from a spectator`s perspective. Having proper stances allows the practitioner to flow smoothly into a defensive and offensive stance. It also enables the practitioner to throw hand strikes and kicks with power.
Generating power for the kicking techniques comes from the torquing of the hips and waist. Generating Power for hand strikes and blocks comes from the twisting of the attacking or blocking arms or hands and the waist. The overall power of any strike is the combination of torquing, twisting and transferring your weight into the strike.
The Human Weapon
We all possess powerful weapons that could help us defend ourselves from assailants.
The hand consists of fingers, thumb, knuckles and palm. Forming a fist, we could effectively punch our assailant in the nose, jaw, or chin with the knuckles. In Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts, the aim is to strike with the first two knuckles. With this achieved, the practitioner will not injure his hand and the assailant will sense more pain than if the whole fist was used. The reason lies in the principle of surface area and this is linked to why a person can lay on a bed of nails. Because the person`s body is spread evenly on the bed of nails, no pain or little pain (has anyone laid on a bed of nails? I haven`t...) is sensed. This leads us to the fingers.
Fingers and Thumbs
The fingers are long, covers less surface area and is a very dangerous weapon. With the fingers one can poke the assailant in the eyes, throats, solar plexus using a spear hand, and any area of the body. I`m sure everyone has been tickled at one point in your life. How did it feel like when someone accidentally poked you while they tickled you? Painful, right? This was your first lesson in locating sensitive parts of the human body known as pressure points. No matter how muscular you are, these pressure points will never strengthen. So using the fingers to poke the assailant at these pressure points, the assailant will be guaranteed pain and will probably want to leave you alone. The thumbs can also be used to poke your assailant.
Probably the strongest part of your arm, the elbow can be used to poke your assailant in the solar plexus, nose, face, stomach, ribs, kidneys, and just about any part of the body. Like the fingers, the elbow covers little surface area and like a hammer, it creates devastating damage to your assailant.
The legs are the strongest part of the human anatomy. With proper techniques, one can generate power enough to break a person`s ribs, collar bone, and legs. The targets for kicking techniques are the shin, instep, abdomen, head, jaw, collar bone, solar plexus, coccyx or tail bone, thigh, back of the thigh, and back. If you are grabbed tightly by your attacker, use your legs to kick him/her in the shin, stomach or groin depending on your distance.
Like the elbow, the knee is very powerful. If your attacker grabbed your hands in close quarters and your legs are too long to strike the groin or stomach, strike with your knee.
Tae Kwon Do is a great sport and I encourage all who are interested to learn.
Not only will you learn self-defense, you also get a total body workout leaving you renewed with energy after a long day at work.

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