Personal Reflections on Taekwondo

I recently had an interesting conversation with a long-time associate of my school. The guy has been reflecting on his personal and social circumstances and was interested in finding out more about my practice of Taekwondo. It's his intention to continue his own training despite increasing social and personal time commitments, so wanted to know how I kept up with my own training.

Frankly, the several times a week I exercise, the twice formal trainings we do, and maybe one or two short private drilling sessions are a nominal effort on my part to keep my hand in the game. When I was in college, I was exercising 6 days a week and training officially 6 times a week - twice of those were pure 'fight' training.

What tips the scale in my favour as a taekwondo practitioner is the amount of visualisation training I do. I spend time visualising all aspects of our training. Some times to improve on the flow of techniques, but most often to understand the sequences within taekwondo patterns, and then to understand the physics behind the techniques.

This has been one of the main ways in which I have been able to improve as a practitioner and instructor, whilst leading a full and demanding social and private life. Without the sheer amount of mental discipline, I would not have been able to produce the quality of seminars or teaching material that I share freely with any other practitioner, regardless of style or school. Of course I am the first to admint not all of my material is original. Or at least it did not start off as original - I read extensively about martial history, research other authors, seek to understand the physics behind our techniques in order to build up insight and my own material pertinent to our style.

It is a running joke, but I often think of 'Traditional Taekwondo' as 'Progressive Taekwondo.' The patterns are the syllabus that need not change, it's just the material and the training methodology that needs to be addressed. Meaning if I wanted to train like the young black belt I was - happy only to spar hard and fast or throw some fancy kicks, sure ... there need not be any change. But if I was interested in surviving an attack that is more menacing, then perhaps I should make each technique manifest power in a more fearsome way. Or I should train myself to ensure I always fight tactically, as opposed to sportively.

Keep training, folks! But train ... inventively.


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