Taekwondo, pronounced as Tae-Kwon-Do, is an art of self-defense developed during the 1940s and 1950s. It originated in Korea by Korean martial artists who had experience in martial arts such as karate, Chinese martial arts, etc. If you are searching for “Taekwondo classes near me”, it is important to first know what exactly it is and how it works.
Taekwondo is a combative sport that basically means Tae (foot), Kwon (hand), Do (art). It is characterized by stressing more on fast kicking techniques.
Learning and mastering any martial arts is not a cakewalk. One needs to invest a lot of time and hard work in excelling in Taekwondo. Taking regular and frequent classes along with practice at home is the key to success.
Most Taekwondo classes last 45 minutes to 90 minutes varying from 2 to 4 times a week. That means a novice kid in Taekwondo can start from 1.5 hours to 2 hours a week. Further, depending upon the work-load, the timing can be increased to about 6 hours a week.
Whatever is the stage or number of belts of the Taekwondo learner, practicing patterns and moves at home for at least 10-15 minutes is always a good idea to stay in touch with the art.
Is Taekwondo Dangerous for Kids?
Practicing any kind of martial arts certainly inculcates valuable skills like discipline, self-defense, motor-skills, emotional development, etc. However, no Taekwondo class near you will be able to assure you of 100% safety of your kid.
Any martial art, be it, judo, kung fu, kickboxing, or taekwondo, poses some serious injury risk to its practitioners. Taekwondo practitioners, particularly, carry a higher risk of injuries to legs and feet. The American Academy of Paediatrics has given some guidelines to improve the safety of kids who learn Taekwondo.
How long does it take to get Belts in Taekwondo?
Below is a chart that defines all the belts in Taekwondo and the minimum time required to gain the belt. This chart is based on the assumption that the student attends classes at least three days every week. The minimum duration of each class should be at least one and a half hours.
Please note that the time mentioned is the minimum time required to advance to the next level. It strictly depends on how much time you can devote to practicing this art. For example, a 10th Gup White Belt holder must hold the belt for at least 2 months (or 36 hours) to advance to the next level belt, that is, 9th Gup White Belt with Yellow Stripe.
Time Required to Advance
Junior Belts 10th Gup White 2 Months (36 Hours) 9th Gup White With Yellow Stripe 2 Months (36 Hours) 8th Gup Yellow 2 Months (36 Hours) 7th Gup Yellow With Green Stripe 2 Months (36 Hours) Senior Belts 6th Gup Green 2 Months (36 Hours) 5th Gup Green With Blue Stripe 3 Months (54 Hours) 4th Gup Blue 6 Months (108 Hours) 3rd Gup Blue With Red Stripe 6 Months (108 Hours) 2nd Gup Red 6 Months (108 Hours) 1st Gup Red With Black Stripe 9 Months (162 Hours) Black Belts 1st Dan (Il Dan) Black 2 Years 2nd Dan (Ee Dan) Black 2 Years 3rd Dan (Sam Dan) Black 4 Years 4th Dan (Sa Dan) Black 4 Years 5th Dan (Oh Dan) Black 6 Years 6th Dan (Yook Dan) Black 6 Years 7th Dan (Chil Dan) Black 8 Years 8th Dan (Pal Dan) Black N/A 9th Dan (Koo Dan) Black N/A
The time period mentioned in the chart above is the suggested time-period to advance in Taekwondo rankings. However, it is not the ultimate truth. At the discretion of the instructor, it is possible for some students to skip the initial level belts.
Nevertheless, the role of the instructor is primarily important in deciding whether to test a student for a higher ranking and allow him/her to skip a belt. Provided the instructors apply the rules fairly, they might allow some good students to double grade at lower ranks.
What are the Rules of Taekwondo?
Every sport comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Taekwondo is not an exception. Any misconduct might give you a penalty or a point to your opponent. Hence, it is necessary to follow them to win.
- Competitors of the same sex and classified weight category only can contest with each other.
- A mat measuring 8 meters square defines the competition area.
- Taekwondo matches are played in 3 rounds of 2 minutes each. The contestants are allowed a 1-minute rest each between two different rounds.
- Each contestant or fighter tries to knockout his/her opponent or score points by landing blows on the opponent’s torso or head. The fighters are allowed to kick each other in both the torso as well as head while they can punch only to the body. Attacking below the waist is not permitted.
- In case of a missed point or a mistake, the fighter or his/her coach can protest. A video replay can then help judges make a decision.
- Fighters can lose points through penalties that can be incurred by actions such as-
- Punching anywhere except the torso
- Using knees to attack the opponent
- Attacking the opponent anywhere below the waist
- Stepping out of the designated play area with both the feet
- Turning back on the opponent
- Holding, pushing or grabbing the opponent
- Faking injury
- The fighter who knocks-out his/her opponent or scores more points at the end of the three rounds wins the match.
- If the match stands draw, a golden point round is fought, wherein the fighter who scores the first point is announced as the winner.
Which is Better – Karate or Taekwondo?
Karate is a Japanese form of martial arts that uses both hands and legs to attack the opponent fighter as compared to Taekwondo which strictly uses kicks. However, both forms are self-defense techniques; there are certain reasons that make Taekwondo more suitable for younger kids rather than karate.
- While practicing Taekwondo, practitioners make use of legs more and hand punching is used as backup only. More use of legs means more development of motor skills and hence more physical fitness.
- Karate is more formal and strict in comparison to Taekwondo. This means it is easier for kids to learn and inculcate Taekwondo.
- Karate encourages more use of hands which might result in severe injury, whereas kicks in Taekwondo are less prone to give severe injuries to kids.
What Should I Expect in my First Ever Taekwondo Class?
Long thing short, Taekwondo is kicking, and a lot of that. So if you are planning to send your kid to a Taekwondo class near you, prepare him or her for a lot of physical exertion in the form of kicking. It is alright if your ward complains of leg pain in the beginning. It is just a part of the learning process.
Most Taekwondo classes are mainly divided into three portions – the warm-up, the practice, and the cool down.
- During warm-up sessions, your kid will be stretching and doing light cardiovascular activities like jogging or jumping jacks.
- The practice involves kicking drills, and sparring sessions along with Poomsae (forms) practice.
- The cooldown portion again involves stretching and some breathing exercises.
One thing that is worth noting is that all martial arts practitioners expect respect towards each other. Hence, respect towards colleagues, especially the instructor, and the master, is important.
However, before you finalize that perfect Taekwondo class near you and join it, you need to prepare your kid for the challenge. One cannot simply go and start the training. Being ready for class is vital.
- Prepare your Body – Practicing martial arts of any form makes you lose weight. Hence, it is not necessary for you to workout beforehand to get into shape. However, Taekwondo surely involves a lot of physical activity, which means it is essential for you to increase stamina before you join the class.
- Prepare your Mind – Martial arts is all about staying calm and staying alive. Hence, if you hurt someone or get hurt yourself, do not take it personally. Just calm down, breathe, and start again when you and your opponent are ready. Do not fight with fury and aggression. Remember to respect everyone, no matter what.
What is the average cost of taekwondo?
Learning Taekwondo isn’t that difficult nowadays as it was around 15-20 years back. Thanks to globalization, you can easily find Taekwondo classes near you and that too at an affordable price.
Learning Taekwondo in India can range from INR 6,000 to INR 20,000 a year depending on the city, locality, experience of the instructor, whether the trainer is assigned by the government or working independently, etc.
Martial arts, especially Taekwondo, has gained popularity with time. Due to globalization, people around the world know and show interest in learning this special self-defense art. There are people who are quite old but the zeal to learn in them is yet alive and vibrant.
There is no denying the fact that learning has no age. However, there are certain challenges that a normal human body poses after the 30s, but no age-limit has ever been set that can stop a true determiner from learning Taekwondo. If you are determined to train yourself, you can even cut it out at 60.
Nonetheless, it is equally true that if you enroll your kid at an early age for a Taekwondo class near you, he or she will find it easy to learn this art now. Their body mechanics and physical abilities at such an early age make them suitable for practicing martial arts.