Taekwondo is an increasingly popular choice of martial arts discipline for children and adults alike. A great way of keeping fit both physically and mentally, Taekwondo classes have been springing up all over the place and are accessible to most, nowadays.
If you’re interested in giving Taekwondo a try but aren’t too certain of what it requires and what you can expect from a class, here are a few pointers, tips and guidelines that may help you:
- Be respectful to both the instructor and your fellow students
Martial arts focus on showing courtesy and respect at all times, and Taekwondo is no different. Those with black belts should be referred to as ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ and bowing to your partner or group participants after a class or exercise, as well as and thanking them, is really important.
- Try to approach each class with a positive attitude
Just as with learning any new sport or activity, you are bound to suffer setbacks and make the occasional mistake, but letting these deter you and put you off from continuing, is as good as admitting defeat and wasting what you have learnt so far. A positive ‘can do’ attitude will undoubtedly help you to pick yourself up after a setback, and to see every mistake as a potential lesson that you can learn many things from.
- Stick at it
Depending on your level of fitness and your aptitude for learning, you may find some of the exercises very demanding, but perseverance will reward you in the long run. Some exercises may be tougher than others, but regular practice and confidence in your ability, will see you achieving your goals and finishing each class feeling proud of yourself.
- Train as often as your schedule permits
Practicing Taekwondo at least 3 times a week, is said to be the best way to pick it up and to get the most out of classes. Practicing any less than this, could result in you easily forgetting exercises and methods between classes, and struggling to keep up physically, with your fellow students. Keeping fit and taking exercise between classes, can also be helpful in building stamina, flexibility and increasing your overall fitness levels.
- On the other hand, don’t over train
It can be tempting to push ourselves to the limit when we begin a new sport or training regime, but overdoing things can easily result in injury and could see you not being able to continue for some time. If your body tells you that it’s struggling, then listen to it and rest, rather than risking injury and a long term setback. Should you happen to injure yourself during a class, or at any other time, wait until your body has healed fully before returning to regular classes.
- Practice between classes
Go over the patterns that you’ve been taught so far when you’re at home, or even during your lunchbreak at school, college or the workplace, and you’ll find it much easier to stay on track with each class.
- Keep up with each grading, and take part in tournaments
Try not to miss a grading and ensure that you get prepared for it, both physically and mentally. Tournaments are a great way of testing out your range of skills on others, and you will undoubtedly pick up new skills and tips there, too.
- Warm up, stretch and cool down
It’s so easy to forget these 3 simple points, but believe me, they can be the difference between you feeling stiff and sore during and after classes, and feeling energised and supple. Warm up before a class or tournament, stretch your muscles fully and cool down at the end of each session.