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Deconstructing Taekwon-Do

Taekwon-Do’s Parallel Ready Stance

Taekwon-Do’s Parallel Ready Stance

The parallel ready stance is used to begin most patterns as well as many other exercises in Taekwon-Do. The outsides of your feet should be one shoulder width apart and your toes should point straight forward. Bring your fists in…
McDojangs: They’re Not All Bad

McDojangs: They’re Not All Bad

Have you ever heard the term “McDojang”? Or “McDojo,” as it’s often called? (“McDojang” is used for Korean martial arts, so that’s the term I’ll use here.) Have you ever been to one? Don’t you just hate them?
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 1: Intro

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 1: Intro

Don’t you love Taekwon-Do tournaments? All that sitting around and waiting. Then warming up and waiting. Trying to figure out when your division will be called to compete. And sitting around and waiting some more…
The Origin of Taekwon-Do’s Student Oath?

The Origin of Taekwon-Do’s Student Oath?

I have a theory on where the Taekwon-Do student oath came from. You see, Shotokan Karate has this thing called the dojo kun.  Charlie No, that’s Domo-kun.  Harkonnen2 That’s more like it. “Dojo kun” literally means “training hall rules.” Many…
Do Taekwon-Do Patterns Have Any Practical Value?

Do Taekwon-Do Patterns Have Any Practical Value?

What good are patterns? That’s a question that an awful lot of Taekwon-Do students ask themselves at some point. We spend all this time learning patterns, but we can never really apply the techniques in sparring. Patterns and sparring are…
Your Taekwon-Do Belt is Meaningless

Your Taekwon-Do Belt is Meaningless

In Taekwon-Do, belt rank is an immensely important part of the entire experience. When someone finds out that you practice martial arts, I’m willing to bet that one of the first questions they ask is, “What belt are you?” If…
A Black Belt: 1 in 10,000

A Black Belt: 1 in 10,000

A while back, I saw this motivational poster online. I believe it’s meant to do a couple of things: to motivate students to get their black belts and to congratulate existing black belts for accomplishing a rare and monumental achievement.…
How to Bow in Taekwon-Do

How to Bow in Taekwon-Do

Bowing is a simple thing, really. It’s one of the first things that a Taekwon-Do student learns—often the very first thing, because it’s how we start class. But I’ve seen a surprising number of students get it wrong. So let’s…