Frequently Asked Questions
What is Taekwon-Do?
What can I expect to get out of Taekwon-Do?
Do I need be concerned at the level of contact for sparring?
Are the gradings (exams) compulsory?
I am not flexible at all is that going to stop me?
Am I too old to start Taekwon-Do?
I am not very fit, will that be a problem?
How long does it take to become a black belt?
Are your Instructors qualified?
What do I wear to training? Will I need to get a uniform before I start?
Do I have to bow and why?
How old does my child have to be to learn Taekwon-Do?
How do students earn a new belt?
Does martial arts training make a child aggressive?
Why do I need to learn Korean words?
1. What is Taekwon-Do?
Taekwon-Do is the Korean art of self defence and the world’s most popular martial art.
It was first developed by a Korean Army General, Gen. Choi Hong Hi, in the 1950s and 1960s. “Tae” means to jump or kick with the foot; “Kwon” means to punch with the hand or fist; and “Do” means art or way.
Taekwon-Do is also an exciting sport with many spectacular events such as sparring, patterns, power breaking and the high flying special techniques competition. It is also a martial art suitable for all ages and abilities. Classes are run for everyone from beginning to advanced levels, including special classes for children.
Taekwon-Do was designed for self defence, and there is a strong emphasis on the moral aspects of the art, such as discipline, humility and self control. These non-physical aspects are known as the “Do”. Members of International Taekwon-Do are taught aspects of “Do” as a part of the grading syllabus and are encouraged to live by the tenets of Taekwon-Do, which are: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit.
2. What can I expect to get out of Taekwon-Do?
We find many people join for different reasons and most stay for the following benefits:
Improvements in health and fitness, making friends, a sense of achievement, self-protection and security, confidence, experience in local and international competitions, having fun, discipline, maintaining and improving flexibility. Taekwon-Do is one of those very rare sports where children and parents can train and progress together and many families come to us to enjoy this.
3. Do I need be concerned at the level of contact for sparring?
All tournament and club sparring in ITF Taekwon-Do is touch contact only, and there are penalties for anyone who hits too hard. We know how nervous students can be sparring for the first time, everyone in Taekwon-Do has been there. Conditioning and drills are practiced often to prepare students for sparring and provide them with the "building blocks" for a full sparring match. For all sparring sessions it is compulsory for students to wear a mouthguard and other safety gear (eg. hand and foot pads) for protection and safety. Our instructors are qualified umpires and are experienced in controlling the level of contact used during sparring.
4. Are the gradings (exams) compulsory?
Gradings are not compulsory, however they are required before a student can progress to the next rank. Students are free to move at their own pace, and doing Taekwon-Do is about learning and continuous self improvement rather than "ticking the box" of getting the next rank. "Pre-gradings" are held before the actual grading date for the instructors to assess whether students are ready to grade. Pre-gradings are a good chance for students to get feedback from instructors and to ask questions.
5. I am not flexible at all is that going to stop me?
Everyone has different levels of flexibility, and you will find techniques can be performed to your own ability. Over time you will find your flexibility will improve.
6. Am I too old to start Taekwon-Do?
We have had students who have started in their 50's and have made it to senior ranks. The best thing to do is to come along and watch a class (or even join in!) so you know what to expect and know that you can take things at your own pace. Our grading syllabus makes allowance for older students to adapt techniques - for example over 50's are not required to jump. The most important thing is that you feel good about the training and that you make progress on a physical and mental level.
7. I am not very fit, will that be a problem?
No, not at all. You work within your own limits and Taekwon-Do will help you to become fit in a relatively short period of time.
8. How long does it take to become a black belt?
The average time to reach first degree black belt is around four or five years. Children normally take longer. Before grading for your black belt your Instructor will work very closely with you to make sure that you are ready.
9. Are your Instructors qualified?
Yes and we each hold a current First Aid Certificate and an Instructor's Certificate which is renewed every two years. These are the most thorough standards required by any martial arts organisation in New Zealand. Our organisation is also recognised by the government sporting agency, Sport New Zealand and operates under their guidelines.
10. What do I wear to training? Will I need to get a uniform before I start?
When you first begin, just wear comfortable clothing. Trackpants and t-shirt is fine. Once you have decided to join, we will guide you regarding when you need to get a uniform, and the best place to purchase it. We train in bare feet, so shoes are not required. Be sure to bring a water bottle!
11. Do I have to bow and why?
Bowing is a way to show respect. It is comparable to a Western handshake, not worship. You must bow to your instructors and to other students to show respect to them, and they will also bow to you to show you the same respect.
12. How old does my child have to be to learn Taekwon-Do?
The Halswell Taekwon-Do Club accepts students from the age of 6 to 80 years!
13. How do students earn a new belt?
Students must pass a grading to earn a higher rank. These gradings are internationally recognised and are held approximately every four months, for students who have learned the required skills for their level. Kids generally take longer to work through the syllabus than adults. Our "minikids" (6-8 year olds) have a separate syllabus intermediate steps to help them see their skills grow. Gradings for these intermediate steps are held in club at the end of each term.
14. Does martial arts training make a child aggressive?
Children are taught that Taekwon-Do is not about violence - but instead about developing skills they can use to take care of themselves in a tough situation. We also teach skills for de-escalating conflicts. Any aggression the child brings in to the programme usually disappears with continued training and increased self-esteem. We emphasise the tenets of Taekwon-Do, in particular courtesy and self control.
15. Why do I have to learn Korean words?
Taekwon-Do is taught internationally. We have instructors from many different countries visiting and teaching in New Zealand, and if you are ever in another country you could train in a club there. We learn the names of our techniques in Korean as well as English. This means that if you ever visit a club in Argentina, Norway or Poland you could understand which techniques they are talking about even if you don't speak the local language.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know contact us