Sport of the week: Taekwondo

28 09 2010

This week, the sports and fitness feature focuses on Taekwondo which is the South Korean national sport week – North Korea’s is mentalism. My trusty wikipedia tells me that Taekwondo translated means “The way of striking and breaking with fists and feet”. The original name “smashyface-funtime” fell by the wayside.

No bad for my first session.

Although TKD was developed in it’s current form in the 1950’s, the martial art stretches back to the first millennia. It was only during the Korean War that a demonstration of the techniques prompted the Korean government to adopt the fighting styles to teach it’s soldiers. But, all you really need to know are two words: Chuck Norris.

Taekwondo focuses more on kicks than punches, starting with controlled basic movements and eventually becoming spectacular, Hollywood style kicks. As I was in the beginner class, we did some pad work and “patterns” which are routines of basic moves.

There are multiple health benefits of Taekwondo: it get’s your heart rate up, increased flexibility, more controlled body movement and speed. There’s also the added benefit of being able to kick through a block of wood… which we can all agree is an essential skill.

The equipment is normally supplied by the club, and membership is reasonable; the club I visited cost £4.50 a week and there are 3 classes in a week, which are all open to attend. If you do get up to a standard where you want to compete in Olympic style sparring competitions (which is normally the standard) then this site has a great range of high quality equipment.

I really enjoyed my first Taekwondo session, and besides some guy accidentally slapping me in the balls in the warm up (at least I think he was part of the class?) it was a really welcoming environment and the instructors really knew what they were doing. ITF England to find your local club!

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