About Taekwon-Do

What is Taekwon-Do?
Taekwon-Do is a modern version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self defence. It has been designed using scientific principles to develop maximum power in its techniques.

Taekwon-Do contains many different elements that are broadly classified into kicks, punches and blocks. There are additionally throws and grappling techniques, joint-locking methods, and various striking and thrusting techniques which utilise many parts of the body in effective self defence.

A central element of Taekwon-Do are its 24 Patterns (Tul) which are learned as a student progresses through the ranks. Patterns are sets of various fundamental movements, both offensive and defensive, against an imaginary opponent. These are performed in a fixed and logical sequence to help the student to develop correct technique, balance and precision.


Moral culture is also a fundamental part of Taekwon-Do with emphasis placed on courtesy to others and self discipline in behaviour. This is embodied in the five Tenets of Taekwon-Do:

  • Courtesy (Ye Ui)
  • Integrity (Yom Chi)
  • Perseverance (In Nae)
  • Self Control (Guk Gi)
  • Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)

Brief History
Taekwon-Do means literally “The art of foot and hand”. It was founded by General Choi Hong Hi (9th Degree) of Korea, gaining official recognition on April 11th, 1955. It was developed as the result of many years of research into other martial arts and into the application of modern physics to blocking and striking techniques. The aim with Taekwon-Do was to develop the most powerful martial art in existence, and science was the tool used to make this possible.

Who is Taekwon-Do for?
Taekwon-Do is hugely popular in the UK and around the world because it is very inclusive. Anybody who wishes to learn the art can do so, at a pace that suits you. Young or old, whatever your size or build, male or female – all can benefit from Taekwon-Do training.

Children greatly enjoy Taekwon-Do training because of its high level of focused activity. They tend to develop increased physical coordination, discipline and concentration which carries over into their other activities at school and elsewhere. Taekwon-Do emphasizes hard work and courteous behaviour from students without sacrificing fun and enjoyable training.

Many people with disabilities study Taekwon-Do and gain greatly from it because training is flexible and geared to ability.


What does Taekwon-Do offer you?
Taekwon-Do can give you the ability and confidence to defend yourself powerfully and effectively. Whilst learning the various techniques you will also be developing a high level of fitness, flexibility and self-discipline. Rarely does another martial art offer the same strong blend of intense body conditioning and defensive skill development.

Training in Taekwon-Do is very enjoyable and can bring with it a range of benefits:

Self defence skills – You will learn basic and advanced offensive and defensive skills which will increase your ability to defend yourself from attack by one or more opponents. Significant training time is spent on defending against knives and other hand weapons, and against multiple opponents.

Moral code – Courtesy and respect toward others is an important part of training. Mental and spiritual development goes hand-in-hand with physical training in Taekwon-Do.

Improved health & fitness – Taekwon-Do sessions contain cardiovascular workouts, callisthenics, endurance training and all over strength development. This promotes weight loss, muscle development and suppleness.

Confidence and self discipline – Almost all people training in Taekwon-Do say that their confidence has improved and that this positivity extends beyond training into other areas of their lives.

Social interaction – Getting the most from Taekwon-Do is often about group spirit and team working with other students to develop your skills. Mutual encouragement and the intensity of training makes for a friendly and positive class environment.


Taekwon-Do classes are generally 1-1½ hours in duration. Special training classes and seminars may be longer. The classes are generally split into 2 or 3 phases with the first phase almost always being a warm-up/fitness regime. Training may be pad-work, patterns, technical kicking, blocking, weapon-defence, grappling, sparring and various other types of training to develop technique, accuracy, speed and power. Clothing should be loose-fitting and stretchable – for example tracksuit bottoms and T-shirt – and no footwear is required.


Gradings are the means by which a student progresses through the Taekwon-Do syllabus. These are testing sessions held every three months to assess a students readiness to promote to a higher grade or belt.

Taekwon-Do belts are: White – Yellow – Green – Blue – Red – Black. Each colour belt has one stage in between called a “tag” and black belts are graded from 1st to 9th Dan. Typical time from white belt to 1st Degree black belt with regular training is 4 years.


Competitions and Events
The ETA and other Taekwon-Do associations hold regular national and International competitions for Yellow belts and above (some are open to yellow tags also). There are opportunities from local events and friendly inter-club tournaments all the way up to representing England in the national squad. If you want to compete, the ETA will prepare you for it.

There are also various special seminar events held during the year such as weekend and even week-long summer camps where the full breadth of Taekwon-Do is taught by highly experienced instructors and World champion competitors. Sometimes these events focus on particular aspects like sparring, patterns or grappling, and sometimes it is more general training – and lots of it!