Mid-Atlantic Tae Kwon Do
Traditional Style Korean Karate
What's it like?
What is a class like?
Everyone is encouraged to arrive early to warm up and stretch before each practice. We always start promptly at the designated times and workout for 11/2 hours. Classes are structured starting with a short run followed by quick stretching exercises. We then work on Basics, Forms, Drills, Sparring, Three-Step & One-step “street” techniques, bag striking and finish with Warm-Downs. Several times per year we practice board breaking. Workouts are intense.
Basics are the fundamental movements of Tae Kwon Do consisting of punching, kicking, and blocking techniques. Each technique is practiced while moving, taking a sequence of steps forward and performing punches, blocks, or kicks with each step. Basics are not mastered, they are learned and then forever improved because you can always move faster, and demonstrate more power and focus as you maintain balance in delivery. Every move is executed with Speed, Power, Balance, Focus and control - the five tenets of Tae Kwon Do.
Forms are a defined series of Tae Kwon Do blocks, kicks and punches and movements integrating the techniques practiced in Basics. Each belt-level has one or two Forms associated with it. Forms become more complicated as the students go up in ranks. Amazingly, if you remain true to the intent of the forms, your hands quicken, your balance gets better, and you react to your opponents attacks more swiftly during sparring. We practice all forms to promote a simple idea-the student must always strive to do the forms better, regardless of the years that one has trained in Tae Kwon Do.
Sparring in our style of Tae Kwon Do is full-speed, focused on specific targets of the opponents body and are executed with Speed, Power, Balance, Focus and Control. There is No Offensive Contact. There are no pads. Strikes are stopped ½ inch from impact, which requires more skill and training than making contact. The benefits are: we train in a real life scenario, students can safely practice Tae Kwon Do techniques, learn, make mistakes, learn more and not be in fear of suffering an injury. During demonstrations, we typically use the same techniques used in sparring to break boards. It is never acceptable to fight with contact unless required for self-defense in an actual encounter. Furthermore, men and women spar with one another in class. There are no weight or age categories for sparring during class, and White belts (beginners) do not participate in Free-Style sparring until promoted to Yellow belt.
Street Techniques - Sparring
Street techniques or three-step is where the fundamentals of sparring are learned. Students practice these drills with a partner. One student attacks forward throwing punches with each step while the other student steps back and blocks each punch. Punches must be thrown with control, targeting above the lips of their partner without contact. The defending student learns to move and block. The attacking student stops after a set number of punches, at which time the defending student counters with one or more offensive techniques.
Time to warm down with a series of kicks, punches, stretching, massage and deep breathing.
Friendship and Respect
The bonding that occurs when you practice long and hard together can last a lifetime. Students are encouraged to respect, help and encourage one another in class and any other student within the USATMA organization.
Speed Power Balance Focus Control