HISTORY OF TAE KWON DO Tae Kwon Do is an empty-hand combat form that entails the use of the whole body. Tae means ‘to Kick’ or ‘smash with the feet’, Kwon implies ‘punching’ or ‘destroying with the hand or fist,’ and Do means ‘way’ or ‘method’. Tae Kwon Do, therefore, is the technique of unarmed combat for self-defense that involves the skillful application of techniques which include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, evading actions with hands and feet. It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline.
HISTORY OF TAE KWON DO continued Tae Kwon Do is a Martial Art that in today’s form of self-defense has evolved by combining many different styles of Martial Arts that existed in Korea over the last 2,000 years and some Martial Arts styles from countries that surround Korea. Tae Kwon Do incorporates the abrupt linear movements of Karate and the flowing, circular patterns of Kung Fu with native kicking techniques.
5 KEYPRINCIPLES • Kicking combos. Tae Kwon Do is 90% kicking and 10% hands. In competition you can see many flamboyant kicking combinations in order to score points against opponents. Kicking to a Tae Kwon Do practitioner is like punching to a boxer.
5 KEYPRINCIPLES continued • Tae Kwon Do’s stance and guard is all about agility and footwork. You have to be super light on your feet and be constantly moving, which creates very difficult angles to enable opponents to attack. If you keep moving, your opponent doesn’t know you are about to throw a kick. If you move then hold before you kick, then your opponent will know. You are in the same position as in Karate but you look for the opposite feel of being grounded; you want to be light and agile. The Guard is really relaxed, almost freestyle, and the key is to keep constant motion of the body, forward, backward, side to side; so the knees are always flexed. Never lock the legs.
5 KEYPRINCIPLES continued • Speed. Tae Kwon Do practitioners perform each attack and/or counter with dynamic speed and accuracy. Not all Martial Arts do that – they perform with power and control. They don’t all try to be as fast as they possibly can. • Accuracy. Tae Kwon Do practitioners around the world are very well known to have precision with every kick. Their mastery in their ability to kick with accuracy comes from their high ability to focus. They use less moves than in some other Martial Arts and they master these through many repetitions (Kicks, Kicks, Kicks). • The game of chess. Tae Kwon Do practitioners must learn to be 3 steps ahead of their opponents.
COMMITMENT Repeat after me:When I role-model Tae Kwon Do moves in BODYCOMBAT™, to look credible and authentic I need to: • Be agile, stay super light on the balls of my feet, keep flexion in my knees whilst moving forwards and backwards in my stance • Use a really relaxed Guard, almost freestyle • Aim for speed and accuracy when kicking • Think like a chess player – always think of what’s coming ahead and adjust my position accordingly
HEART First, you need to understand the emotional side of Kick-boxing to look authentic – the spirit, the attitude and the intention behind this Martial Art. It’s not about being pretty or super precise, it’s about winning.
HEART continued There are no formalities in Kick-boxing; right from the beginning, you’re getting hit. You have to be ready for anything. Your opponent doesn’t necessarily need to knock you out straightaway; they want to demoralize you – they want to destroy you. Because if you get down, you get frustrated, you make mistakes – wild, hopeful moves. Then they can take you out. So you have to get in there and deal to them straightaway.
HEART continued Every second in the ring is a minute, every minute is an hour, every hour is an eternity. You have to be incredibly fit to Kick-box, but it requires more than that… You have to have heart. Like when you’ve been hit – you’re spinning, there’s no air left and heart is all you’ve got left; and that’s what’s going to get you out of there, drive you to keep going and to never give up. Your heart in Kick-boxing is courage; it’s a killer instinct; it’s what’s keeping you going when you swing and miss. Your participants need to get this – not just the technique, but the mentality required to Kick-box authentically.
HEART continued You’re ready for a fight, you’re focused, always moving with intention, fixated on your opponent. Do you reflect that in each of your Punches and Kicks?
GUARD ANDMOBILITY To look authentic, you need to always look like you are ready to punch for a knockout but also always getting ready to get hit back. You have to be comfortable, mobile and ready for anything. And you need to look as compact as possible, offering less surface to strike as you can.
GUARD ANDMOBILITY continued Key areas to focus on here are: a. Footwork The Guard is not a static position – on the contrary. We need to constantly move whilst on Guard since a static target is much easier to reach than in one movement (what was Muhammad Ali’s sentence? “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.)
GUARD ANDMOBILITY continued You must always be on your ‘guard’ – mobile and agile, as you are always moving to escape and find the perfect distance. So keep your toes in the direction of your target, the back foot is 45 degrees, you are light on the balls of your feet, back heel up always off the floor, ready to move, always shift around, never stand still; a moving target is harder to hit and harder to throw off balance.
GUARD ANDMOBILITY continued Move using small footsteps to adjust the position all the time, trying to keep a strong stance, and be grounded by using a wider stance and bending the knees. Always keep the distance between your feet and readjust – never stand still. We will do a few drills soon to help you get the right feel.
GUARD ANDMOBILITY continued b. Upper body The back is slightly rounded, stomach in and shoulders relaxed. Use your hands and arms to protect your face, ribs and vital organs. Keep your hands relaxed next to your chin and keep your elbows always close to your ribs, especially the back arm. Punch but always get back to that position as fast as you can; don’t open your elbows to the side or drop your guard down between punches. Your opposite arm should never go backwards. Remember, always try to stay as compact as possible.
GUARD ANDMOBILITY continued Don’t freeze your arms and hands as it would be impossible to move and shuffle in Guard position. Relax your shoulders a little – when you punch, they come up for protection. Then, when moving, the shoulders and arms are on Guard but semi-relaxed and they move with the rest of the body. Shuffle with me, relax your shoulders but keep your Guard up. Perfect. Now the killer look – tuck your chin in towards your chest, keep protecting your face with your hands and your vital organs with your elbows, look up, go crazy and become angry!
CORE/BALANCE In Kick-boxing, the role of the core is essential to help you protect your vital organs but also to keep balance. When punching, you should never lose balance as you should always get ready to be punched back and to punch again. So belly in, abs tight and punch keeping your balance, and reset. That’s why the footwork is so important as well.