Why Taekwon-Do?

If you live in West Auckland and you are interested in self defence, Hart Taekwon-Do is a sound choice. We have an holistic approach to self defence, teaching both psychological and physical aspects.

“… Taekwon-Do is a version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self-defence. It is more than just that, however. “It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defence; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training. “It is a martial art that has no equal in either power or technique. Though it is a martial art, its discipline, technique and mental training are the mortar for building a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility and resolve. It is this mental conditioning that separates the true practitioner from the sensationalist, content with mastering only the fighting aspects of the art.”

written by the founder, General Choi Hong Hi

The quote opposite highlights two important features of International Taekwon-Do. First, how it differs from other martial arts, and secondly, the importance of moral development in International Taekwon-Do.

It is its scientific foundation that separates International Taekwon-Do from other martial arts. Its techniques are founded in an understanding of human anatomy and Newtonian physics. Power is generated by relaxing muscles during movements to maximise acceleration, and tensed suddenly at the conclusion of movements to maximise the concentration of force.

It’s not about fighting

General Choi emphasised the importance of mental conditioning, and he defined a moral code for Taekwon-Do students with the Tenets of Taekwon-Do and the Student Oath.

The Tenets of Taekwon-Do

The Student Oath

Improve Fitness

Here is how International Taekwon-Do can improve your fitness. Current theory defines ten elements of fitness. Most forms of physical activity develop some or most of the items on the list. International Taekwon-Do is a rare fitness activity that requires all ten elements of fitness:

Because you need all ten elements of fitness to perform well in International Taekwon-Do, our classes are designed to improve all ten elements. 

Varied Classes

Classes are extremely varied because the art of International Taekwon-Do has so much to learn and keep you interested. There are a number of activities that you will do regularly to improve fitness and develop your skills.

Classes usually begin with a light warm up to loosen the joints, followed by a physical warm up designed to work your cardio-vascular system, and improve your strength, power and speed.

After a short drinks break, class progresses into skill development. Often this will involve performing techniques to pads to develop power, accuracy, co-ordination, agility and balance. We may perform fundamental movements and patterns, which help improve stamina, balance and power. Other activities include various sparring drills, self defence training, and exercises with partners.

Classes conclude with stretching to improve flexibility and warm down the body. Stretches work through the body particularly from the lower back and right through the legs.

Learn Self Defence

Learn self defence in Henderson

If you live in Henderson and you are interested in self defence, Hart TKD is a sound choice. We have an holistic approach to self defence, teaching both psychological and physical aspects. We are Accredited Protect Self Defence Trainers (Level 1), to teach their method of reality-based self defence, and we believe self defence starts (and hopefully ends) well before physical confrontation occurs.

If events do become physical, respond quickly and effectively – and be prepared for what may come afterwards. Yes, you were defending yourself. Is that what the police will believe? What happens if you meet the attacker’s friends a week later, how will they react to you? Consider these self defence issues in advance, and you will be better equipped to deal with them.

Self defence for children

We teach self defence that is appropriate for the different age groups of our classes, including safely diffusing and dealing with bullying for children.

Our number one self defence tip: trust your intuition. If you ever get the feeling that something is wrong, listen to yourself. Do not let your ego override your gut with, “I’ll be fine, I’m being silly.” If you feel that something is wrong, it may be that you noticed something sub-consciously that you haven’t notice consciously. React accordingly – if you are right, it may save your life. If you are wrong and you reacted sensibly, you can move on safely anyway.

Self defence and New Zealand law

We have a very effective law of self defence in New Zealand. If you honestly believe you are in trouble, and your response is reasonable in the circumstances, the law will be on your side. The best thing about our law is you don’t have to know it or understand it for it to work for you. You don’t have to warn your attacker before you react. You don’t have to retreat before you attack. And if you hold a black belt in a martial art, you do not have to register yourself as a weapon with the police. Isn’t it funny how these urban myths spread!

Learn a Martial Art

Broadly, martial arts can be categorised as weapon styles or unarmed styles. Weapon styles are very cool, but we can’t carry weapons around for self defence. We have laws against that in New Zealand.

Unarmed styles of martial arts can be further classified into striking styles and grappling styles. Here it comes down to preference. International Taekwon-Do is a striking style of martial art – we kick and punch (and strike and thrust and block and cross-cut). We also practise releasing from grabs and breakfalls; we don’t spend a lot of time grappling.

The “art” of martial arts

Of course, martial arts are more than just self defence. They are an art form, and the art of International Taekwon-Do is beautiful to watch. We have a set of 24 patterns, or tul (kata in Karate, or forms in some martial arts), which together are called the Chang-Hon style. It takes years to learn and master all 24 patterns – we learn the final pattern at 6th degree black belt. 

International Taekwon-Do comes from Korea

Martial arts may also be classified by origin. Taekwon-Do comes from Korea. It is a new martial art, named in 1955, and it is heavily based on scientific principles: we develop power by understanding how the human body works, and understanding the physics of what power is.

Play Sport

A dynamic and challenging sport

International Taekwon-Do is a martial art with a dynamic and challenging sport aspect – both as a competitor and as a spectator. The sport includes four individual events, a team event, and a sixth event for pairs. We enjoy regular tournaments to give you the opportunity to play sport competitively or socially.

In New Zealand, we punch far above our weight on the international circuit. We hosted the 2011 World Championships in Wellington, and we won best overall country. We placed second overall at the last World Championships in Germany, 2019. In fact, our rank steadily climbed since we appeared to come out of nowhere to place third in Poland in 2003. Our performance is testament to the endless dedication of our pioneers and masters, our coaches and athletes, and our instructors and students.

Free sparring and patterns

When most people think of the sport aspect of martial arts, they think of free sparring. When we free spar, we wear safety equipment (gloves and feet, mouth guard, head gear, and groin guard for males), and score points against an opponent by punching or kicking their head or torso. A point is scored if an umpire sees an excellent Taekwon-Do technique hit the opponent’s scoring area at the correct distance and angle, with power, focussed to connect with a controlled touch. We do not spar full contact, because full contact Taekwon-Do techniques are created to damage an opponent, and we aim to maintain a safe environment in our tournaments.

Patterns are sometimes considered the Art of martial arts. You may hear them called tul (Korean), forms, or kata (in Japanese martial arts such as Karate). Patterns are pre-arranged sequences of Taekwon-Do movements against one or more imaginary opponents. Good patterns are beautiful to watch. They are dynamic, powerful, and graceful. There are 24 patterns in International Taekwon-Do, and competitors up to sixth degree black belt will perform many of the first 21 of them.

Special technique and power BREAKING

In the special technique event, our athletes perform five flying kicks against targets high in the air. They must hit the target with accuracy and power to score points, and the person with the most points over all five techniques wins the event.

Power breaking works in the same way. Our athletes smash their way through boards in two hand and three foot techniques. The winner is the person who breaks the most boards overall.

In team event, a group of athletes from each region compete in all four individual events in groups of five. Patterns are choreographed so the five athletes add to the beauty of the sequence. In sparring, each athlete in turn spars a member of the other team, and the team who wins the most bouts wins the round. In power and special technique, one athlete performs each of the five techniques.

Prearranged sparring involves two athletes choreographing a pre-arranged fighting sequence. It’s a relatively new event, and it’s amazing to watch.