Training Secrets in Taekwon-Do

Training Secrets in Taekwon-Do

By Brian R. Malm

Training in Taekwon-Do varies from school to school. They all have many things in common: Basics, Patterns, Sparring, Self-Defense, Breaking. What varies the most is how much time and effort are put into each. Some students work on these over and over but become stagnant and don’t improve. Sometimes they will ask, “What is the secret to getting better?” How does someone go from ordinary to extraordinary? Sometimes you just need to know the secret to take your training to the next level.

General Choi Hong Hi has the answers in his 15 volume Encyclopedia. He states 9 “Training Secrets” that practitioners can use to better themselves in Taekwon-Do. Often merely reading them can become confusing so here is a brief explanation.
1) Study the theory of power thoroughly.Plante and Gen Choi

Without power our technique is worthless! By studying the various aspects of power we learn to make each technique more valuable. Powerful blocks can protect us from larger and stronger adversaries and powerful strikes allow us to cause more damage to the same.

2) Understand the purpose and meaning of each movement clearly.

Without understanding each movement our techniques can not be effective. Compare this to trying to put a square block into a round hole. Although you might make it fit, it does not fit correctly or properly. The correct block and motion should be used against a corresponding attack to be both effective and efficient.

3) Bring the movement of eyes, hands, feet and breath into one single coordinated action.

When we learn to bring every aspect of our being into a single coordinated motion we create more power. Our eyes focus on out target, our hands are used in action and reaction force, our feet not only anchor us to the ground but push against it for more power, and our breath helps us to both mentally concentrate on our target and physically strengthen our core and engage all of our muscles to create power in a unified direction.

4) Choose the appropriate attacking tool for each vital spot.

The old saying is, “Everything looks like a nail when the only tool you have is a hammer!” Just as tradesmen have a variety of tools to use for different jobs, we have a variety of attacking tools for different targets.

5) Become familiar with the correct angle and distance for attack and defense.

Through training and experience we learn angle and distance. If we are too far away we are out of range and if we are too close then we can not create enough power or might not be able to use our tools the way we need to.

6) Keep both the arms and legs bent slightly while movement is in motion.

When we keep our body’s arms and legs straight our muscles are tight. By bending slightly we learn to relax which helps to create speed. Staying relaxed in-between techniques is very important.

7) All movements must begin with a backward motion with very few exceptions. However, once the movement is in motion it should not be stopped before reaching the target.

Just like you pull a rubber band back to shoot it forward, you need to pull the motion back first to allow it to spring forward. However the motion should be elliptical so it doesn’t stop as the speed and force continue to grow.

8) Create a sine wave during the movement by utilizing the knee spring properly.

The sine wave travels down, then up, then down again. The idea is to bend the knees (like going down a slide) to create forward motion, then we use that momentum to lift our body up (like the tide rising) so it can come crashing down (like a tidal wave) with more force into the target.

9. Exhale briefly at the moment of each blow excepting a connecting motion.

When we breathe in our chest expands and the muscles around it loosen to accommodate the incoming air. However – when we exhale we must do the opposite: the muscles around the lungs tighten as well as all the connecting muscles (including our core muscles). This means we momentarily tighten all the muscles of the body from head to toe creating a single hardened tool that performs more damage.


These Training Secrets apply to all aspects of Taekwon-Do including: Basics, Patterns, Sparring, Self-Defense, Breaking. How does applying them to our training help each aspect?  They give the practitioner more energy and power, better focus, knowledge and understanding.  This means stronger Basics, better Patterns, dynamic Sparring, effective Self-Defense, and the ability to break more boards and bricks.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”   – Vince Lombardi

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