1 - The Glasgow Dojang - A Tae Kwon Do Training School
1.1 - What is Tae Kwon Do?
Tae Kwon Do is a martial art and structured method of combat. It has been developing as Tae Kwon Do within the the Korean culture since about the 1950's, and it has since gained many practicioners worldwide. Beyond strong roots in Korea existing for centuries under other names and traditions, Tae Kwon Do also takes many of its techniques from Okinowan Karate-Do and Chinese fighting arts. These are natural occurrences, as Korea is on the border with China, and very near Okinowa as well.
Tae Kwon Do is a "hard style", by which we mean that both attack and defense techniques generally meet the opponent's use of force directly with counter-force. It is also a linear style, where most movement is along lines, rather than circular paths, although there are some exceptions to this.
Literally, the Korean terms that comprise the name Tae Kwon Do translate as:
Taken all together, these terms take on a more homogenous meaning:
Although the various aspects of formal combat are of course the basic focus of Tae Kwon Do, as with any strongly structured physical and mental discipline there are other benefits which are readily apparent to the consistent student of the method. An individual's ability to concentrate, or focus, upon one idea or task to the exclusion of all others is significantly enhanced. Physical conditioning is improved on a constant basis, in areas of stamina, strength, flexibility and peak exertion.
Studies of full-contact combat methods improve the areas just mentioned faster than any other physical discipline. The threat, or the perceived threat, of physical damage or simply pain are the most powerful motivators known to exist for instantaneous concentration. Supervised combat (known as "free sparring", or Kyoluki in a Tae Kwon Do training environment) develops these characteristics extremely well and in such a manner as to extend the individual's abilities to other portions of the method. This includes such facets as stylized forms (Poomse or Hyung), hand weapons skills and others. Importantly, Tae Kwon Do also encompasses a heavy emphasis on defensive skills.
The practice of Tae Kwon Do builds confidence, improves physical conditioning, encourages humility and develops a number of other generally useful personal assets. When taken seriously, it is one of the most enjoyable studies a person can undertake. In a culture such as that of the United States, Tae Kwon Do offers a unique opportunity to explore new areas of one's life in depth - an especially rewarding experience for many of us.
Tae Kwon Do has been characterized as a sport, and indeed it has many physical facets we have come to associate with activities as diverse as football and some forms of dance. As a result of its popularity world wide, Tae Kwon Do has been chosen as an official sport at the Olympics; only Boxing and the Japanese art of Ju do had been showcased as olympic level sports previously. Friendship, team spirit, competitive training, and formal levels of advancement also form significant portions of a student's training experience. These are very useful "side-effects" of the training.
Tae Kwon Do is truly a serious pursuit, with serious benefits for the student; and that is how training is approached at this school.
1.2 - School Details
The school is open for training during weekday evenings from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm. A formal, one and one half hour adult class is taught each weekday evening. This class begins promptly at 8:00 pm. Students are expected to arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the beginning of the class in order to perform requisite stretching and "warmup" techniques designed to prevent injury and promote advancement of physical skills. Note: Failure to stretch properly is grounds for not being allowed to participate in that evening's class.
The instructor is generally available to the students immediately before and after class during the school's training hours for additional instruction or questions.
1.2.1 - Prior to Black Belt ranking, students learn...
1.2.2 - Elective Studies
1.2.3 - What are the Physical Requirements?
When taught well, learning Tae Kwon Do is feasible for almost anyone who is in good health and is willing to learn. By "good health", we mean only that they have strong bones, the use of all their natural limbs, and suffer from no general illness or joint weakness that prevents their body from improving under the physical pressures brought on by the training.
To successfully begin training, it is not neccessary to be strong, quick, slim, or even particularly well co-ordinated. The study of Tae Kwon Do develops these areas according to the needs of the individual. One of the special joys of this study is discovering that in the course of learning something truly useful, the body renews itself to an amazing degree. Younger people will develop physically in areas they may not have been aware even existed.
Younger students do particularly well because of the flexibility that is one of the hallmarks of a youthful body. Older students tend to advance more slowly with regard to the physical requirements - they are generally less flexible and while they may have considerable physical strength, they are usually slower, initially, than a younger person will be. On the other hand, they learn the fine points of the training quite a bit faster than most younger students; life has taught them how to learn and they have had more practice at concentration.
One of the issues that has in many schools stopped older students early in the course of training is the pain and stiffness that can result from over extension of the limbs, or from shocks and the resulting bruises sustained during training. It is specifically not necessary that this occur; the training methods used in this school are especially designed to help prevent such early minor injuries and so to assist older students to stay with the course while their bodies adjust to the new demands being made by the training. The body does adjust; in a relatively short time the older student achieves a true renewal of youthful energy, stamina and the general ability to recover from injury that is most often associated with a younger person. It has been well established that any normally healthy body will rise to meet the needs of the training, if given a chance.
1.2.4 - Becoming a Student
This school is a private facility where training is open only to individuals who have been formally accepted for membership. Acceptance is based on various items such as age, physical condititioning, and the prospective student's ability to grasp the regulations and philosophical basis for the school's curriculum. An understanding of the nature of the training must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the instructor. This is so that the prospective student understands the risks of the training as well as the responsibilities to the other students and to the school itself. A legal disclaimer within which these and other issues are set forth must be read, understood, and signed by the student, and also signed by a witness. If the student has not reached the age of majority, then a parent or legal guardian must read and sign for the student and be witnessed.
Once a prospective student has been accepted, monthly tuition is payable in advance. Only students who are current with this fee may attend classes; other arrangements must be made with the instructor. For the current fee schedule, see the instructor.
A few other costs must be borne by the student, and should be considered ahead of time when contemplating membership. Initial expenses usually include a uniform. These additional expenses (for the first month only) can be expected to run about fifty dollars. The school can provide the required uniform, which are stocked in all available sizes. We will also assist in estimating size and fit. Uniforms and equipment purchased by, or for, the student are the property of the purchaser. If the student has a uniform from another school, it will be up to the instructor to decide whether that uniform is acceptable for use in this school. Uniforms are absolutely required. For students who elect to participate in full contact sparring, protective gear is also absolutely required. Protective gear such as gloves, headgear, chest protectors and more are also stocked and available for sale at a discount to the school's students, if the student wishes to own their own equipment. Otherwise, the school has gear that can be used in class at no charge.
Rank earned at another Tae Kwon Do training facility may be accepted as a valid ranking at this school at the discretion of the instructor after evaluation of the student's skills in a formal testing environment. The beginning rank of a student with previous rank will be set at the discretion of the instructor, and may or may not reflect the level attained at another Tae Kwon Do facility. It must be understood that different instructors have widely varying training methods and so not all ranks from various schools may be considered equal.
Our Dojang's training sequence to black belt contains more distinct techniques than most other Tae Kwon Do schools. For this reason, if rank from another school is accepted, further advancement will only be possible when all appropriate techniques have been learned by the new student.
Ranks are indicated by belt color; This school uses the following rankings:
Additional rankings beyond the first Black rank are possible to ten degrees. The fifth black rank and beyond is considered the rank of a master instructor, or kwan jang nim.
In the case of a serious student who consistantly attends class three to four days a week, they can expect to reach the first black belt ranking in approximately two to four years. This, of course, depends on the level of aptitude of that particular student. At the Glasgow Dojang, advancement in rank will not be awarded except in the case of consistant, verifiable accomplishment. Under no condition will rank be awarded based on anything other than performance. Individuals looking for an "easy" school are strongly encouraged to look elsewhere.
1.2.5 - Attendance
In order to earn the next rank, students have to meet several major goals. They must receive credit for a minimum number of classes. They must also demonstrate that they have understood the techniques learned to the current rank before advancing to the next rank. Other criteria, such as power, balance, control, precision, speed, attitude, and attention to detail will be considered at various points in the training.
Credit for classes is awarded as follows:
Credits required for advancement are as follows:
1.2.6 - Expulsion
Students may be expelled from the school on a permanent or temporary basis at any time at the sole discretion of the instructor. Fees paid for tuition are refundable for the portion of the month which remains in that event.
1.2.7 - Your Instructor
You will refer to your instructor as "Sa bum nim" or "Master Williams."
Your instructor's black belt ranking was awarded by a panel of masters convened by Master Sang Woong "Tiger" Lim, a Tae Kwon Do stylist affilliated with the Korean Tae Kwon Do Ji Do Kwan organization.
At various points in the training, Sabumnim also provides additional instruction in Chin Na, a Chinese art specializing in joint locks and control; Judo, a Japanese art specializing in grappling; and Hapkido, a Korean art derived from the Japanese art of Aikido, which involves using the other combatant's motion against them. He has a great deal of teaching experience as well as many years time spent as a student of various martial arts. He has studied sports training, and is well informed with regard to the current developments in stretching and flexibility research. Within Tae Kwon Do, he has particular expertise in the many aspects of free sparring, form execution and breaking techniques.
1.2.8 - Black Belts
You will refer to Black Belts by saying "Em" for the letter M, a formal designator, and their last name.
For instance, Miss Jeanine Yutani is a ranked black belt; you will refer to her verbally and in writing as "M. Yutani." Mr. Michael Gregory is also a ranked black belt; he is to be referred to as "M. Gregory" in the same fashion.
1.2.9 - Fellow students not of black belt rank
In this case, you will use the student's first name, even when the student holds a higher rank than you do.
Outside the school you will use normal forms of address as accepted in the community. Formal address is only called for within the context of our martial arts activities (within the school itself, at tournaments, during telephone conversations with your instructors and fellow students.