To most people Taekwondo is a sport. It’s an Olympic event, it makes athletes out of its practitioners and is regularly active on the competition and tournament scene, so it must be a sport, right? Yes, but Taekwondo isn’t only a sport, there is another way to enjoy it. Traditional Taekwondo Brisbane has a similar outlook for training and living… Self-defence, Self-confidence, Self-awareness and respecting yourself and respecting those around you.
The formality of the way of delivering traditional Taekwondo training, as well as the physical techniques being taught, gives students the skills to defend themselves together with the willpower, self-confidence and self-belief to apply them if the need arises. It’s these qualities that make training in the traditional martial arts one of the most personally rewarding activities you’ll find.
If you’re new to martial art training you might think to yourself that you’re OK as you are. You have enough willpower and self-confidence already. All you want to do is enjoy Taekwondo training, get fit and leave it at that. But the reality is that the transformation occurs within you, while you are training. It’s not something you plan for or expect to happen. It just happens as an effect of your training as you get deeper into it, and, really, it is one of the most organically remarkable experiences that can happen to you.
Traditional Taekwondo is foremost about self-defence. That is what all martial arts is about. Of course, in any self-defence system the ultimate goal is to win or to not be the loser, but also the goal is to stop any altercation and that’s it. There is no need to go any further.
When Taekwondo training is focused on competition, the goal is to beat an opponent through your scores. Score the highest points and move on to the next stage, and so on. This is the main difference between traditional and sport style training in Taekwondo. Focusing solely on the competitive aspects of martial arts, however, removes many factors from the traditional way of training to take a path of win/lose rewards.
As a student of traditional martial arts, you can gain many benefits far beyond the “kicking and punching” rewards of training. The focus is on you being the best you can be. No matter your height, weight, gender, or anything else, you will make your martial art your own. And regardless of the rank you achieve, from day one to the day you choose to stop training, you are always referred to as a student of martial arts when you train for yourself.
As a beginner to martial art training, you’ll begin to understand your limitations, and recognise what it takes to work past them. The first lesson martial arts teach us is to have belief in ourselves, we can do more than we think we can. With an instructor delivering correct instruction, maintaining the ‘martial art-ness’ in the class and you believing you can, you’ll learn how to make your body deliver more speed, power and energy to carry out the techniques better and better over time. You will find you can kick harder and faster, punch harder and more efficiently and block accurately with little or no injury to yourself.
Self-discipline is the absolute key to success in martial arts and in fact any area where you want to excel. It is simple to cultivate too, you can practise it every time you train – at home and in your own class time. It’s about pushing through on the bad days, turning up to class even when you’ve had a bad day at work. Leave the day’s problems at the door as you walk in and commit to being 5% faster, stronger and better in that class than you have been previously.
So, the 2nd lesson that martial arts teach us is that the outcome we get is up to us. We can work hard, see ourselves improving and progressing and feel good, or give minimum effort, feel dejected that we’re not improving and quit. It’s exactly the same in daily life at school or at work.
As stated before, traditional Taekwondo is about far more than kicking and punching. While you learn strong defensive skills, it is also about respect and courtesy. You’ll learn to respect martial arts, to avoid fighting and use your martial art skills only as a last resort to defend yourself or others that may be in trouble. The self-confidence you gain through training means you don’t feel the need to prove yourself and would prefer to safely walk away from a confrontation if possible. It’s your choice.
The 3rd lesson Taekwondo instills….never give up until you reach your goal happens regularly as a student progresses through the belt levels. Seeing an unbelievable technique happen and trying to achieve it is always a challenge. Spinning heel kick for example. Anyone can spin, anyone can kick. Can you put the two together? Sure. Can you make it powerful and effective? Yes, with practice. Can you make it pinpoint accurate every time? Absolutely, but with many hours of practice. It’s not just a spinning heel kick. Where do your feet move before during and after? Are your hips lined up with your knees properly to keep trajectory and stay on target? Where are your hands in accordance with momentum and balance? Are you looking at your target after the spin, before you make contact? All these questions get answered through hours of sweat and hard work, but the payoff is amazing. Knowing you have achieved that technique will stay with you for a lifetime.
If you ever have a chance to talk to anyone who has been in martial arts for a long time, they will tell you stories of accomplishments, failures and all the moments in between and they will be filled with pride through all of it. The journey and the results are all a retrospective soft spot for anyone who takes on martial arts with a traditional mindset of life training.
Taekwondo as a sport is amazing, Taekwondo as a life choice is amazing, and understanding the differences and knowing the benefits of each is worthwhile appreciating. Achievements will always be a constant reminder of why you started training in the first place. Self-Confidence + Self-Discipline = Self Defence.