The word “Taekwondo” basically means the art of self-defence using only one’s hands and feet. Taekwondo does not practice, or encourage the use of weapons such as knives, sticks or swords etc. and it does not practice or encourage the use of any fatal strikes.
At White Tiger, students will learn a variety of traditional Taekwondo strikes and kicking techniques. This will be in the form either of individual techniques and movements, or as a series of movements known as poomsae or patterns. Through the study of these techniques, each student not only gains a greater understanding of the physical applications of each strike or kick, they also develop skills of concentration, focus, discipline and strength of mind. Poomsae in particular serve not only as a method of technical instruction, but also to enhance focus and discipline and self control as a form of moving meditation.
On a basic level, Taekwondo techniques involve learning the physical movements of each new technique. Yet every technique requires great focus to master – requiring precision in how we use our bodies and accuracy in where and why we strike. Students not only develop reflexes and accuracy in their movements, they learn how to manipulate their weight and balance to maximise the power behind every technique. More advanced students develop the ability to apply each movement with power, speed and balance: no matter size or gender, consistent training allows students to learn to use their body with absolute effectiveness.
The challenge of learning ever-increasingly complex skills, coupled with the training required to refine the speed, accuracy and power behind the application of these skills, is ongoing: with each new level we achieve, we discover there is always something more to learn or refine. As a result, students are always encouraged to approach the study of traditional Taekwondo techniques with discipline and humility, but most importantly, with an honesty in regards to their level of training. Being too hard on yourself is just as damaging as being over-confident in your skills.
One particularly challenging method of testing the skills each student learns is via board breaking. Board breaking forms part of the White Tiger curriculum, as it is exemplary for encouraging good technique. Contrary to what most people expect, board breaking is not about sheer power or brute force. Rather, accuracy, correct technique and strength of mental focus are the most fundamental elements required for successful breaks. As students progress in their skills, they are encouraged to take on more challenging board breaking techniques. Each challenge faced and overcome helps to sustain the student’s sense of achievement and progress. It is a fantastic and exhilarating feeling to conquer a new or difficult technique!
© Copyright 2009 White Tiger Korean Martial Arts