School Of Taekwon-Do

School Of Taekwon-Do

(Kyong Gi)

A Taekwon-Do match is more than merely a contest of skill and power. It is also an aesthetic display of martial art, not unlike fencing, with an honorable tradition. There is certainly beauty in aggressive yet controlled sparring, in well-executed patterns, or in the awesome spectacle of flying kicks and breaking techniques. Though the contest itself and the competitive spirit of all participants is important, students should also enjoy the match and take advantage of it for making new friends within the brotherhood of Taekwon-Do, exchanging training techniques, and spreading the physical and mental attributes of the art to the spectators. Too often, competitors take the match too far too seriously and ruin it for themselves and others through lack of sportsmanship.

The accolades and trophies are sometimes superficial forms of recognition. It is the measure of respect felt by instructors and fellow students that holds far more value.

A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the sparring aspect of matches. Though sparring is certainly an indicator of a student's training, it cannot be the sole criteria for judging any particular student's techniques. There are a lot of variables that must be taken into consideration. In the case of match sparring, there are some instructors and students who feel victory can only be decided through actual contact matches with or without protective equipment. Certainly, as in the case of kick boxing or some soft styles of open hand fighting, contact can be made without serious injury. Using proper technique, however, a Taekwon-Do student could easily shatter and opponent's jaw or cause instant death with one single blow. The larger majority favor full contact with protective equipment.

There are number of reasons why this is unfeasible:

    1. With protective equipment, it would be necessary to completely cover the body rather that some vital spots and attacking tools. Not only would helmets and chest pads be required, but also padding around throat, armpits, neck, artery, temple (which could be damaged even though a helmet was worn), and face. The whole body would have to be encased and contestants would look like medieval warriors. It must also be remembered that students, able to break four or five boards with a punch or kick, could still cause a serious concussion.

    2. Freedom of movement would be restricted and protective equipment would be a burden rather than protection, especially for a light person.

    3. Attacking tools would be limited. With boxing gloves, it would be impossible to use knife-hand, back fist, or fingertips.

    4. Accuracy and speed would be useless criteria.

    5. It would be impossible to use special techniques; e.g., flying kicks, overhead kicks, etc.

    6. Body contact would prohibit women, senior citizens, children, and persons with physical disabilities from competing.

    7. Protective equipment would eliminate pain, which induces reflexive action in blocking techniques. Pain is also the harshest, though, most effective, aid for promoting tenacity, courage, and pride.

The proper method of judging a student' skill and power would be to conduct a match encompassing several related tests of ability, which might include sparring, patterns, power tests, and special techniques. Through sparring-courage, aggressiveness, spirit, accuracy and speed could be tested; through patterns-balance, characteristic beauty and concentration; through breaking-power; and through special techniques-coordination, acrobatic skill, and resolve.

Copyright © 1966-2000 International Taekwon-Do Federation

Talk if you will, walk away if you can, run if you must BUT if all else fail, DEFEND YOURSELF.