When many people think of participating in martial arts, they think it mostly involves beating up an opponent. In Taekwon-Do, many aspects of the art involve no opponents. These include patterns and linework.
Line work is like the alphabet, the individual movements are like the building blocks. Patterns however can be considered to be like poetry, with all the movements comprised to form a greater meaning (pattern meaning/theme).
Therefore patterns is considered by many to be the ‘art’ of our martial art.
Why do we practice in this fashion? In Korea, they believed in ‘an eye for an eye’. In other words, you couldn’t harm others without expecting some form of punishment (possibly due to the yin yang philosophy). This is why we practice against imaginary opponents.
In Taekwon-Do we are always striving for excellence, even for the unobtainable perfection. Therefore when practicing basic movements, we must get as much as we can out of it.
You must train as well as you can at every session, or be content with mediocrity. YOU are the only one capable of making yourself better.
I have some quick tips for you to wrap this post up:
-Think of martial arts movies, you may have seen them train performing the movements slowly. There is good reason for this. You are practicing control, while also breaking down the movement into its simple elements (e.g. trajectory). Making adjustments to this will improve your techniques. This is why we often do slow turning kicks and side kicks. Make sure you do these at home as well because it builds good leg strength.
- Lastly see if you can get yourself filmed while training or performing patterns. You might be surprised at how you really look, what we imagine we look like in our heads can be very different to reality. Hopefully this exercise will raise your expectations of yourself.
If you train this way you will learn much more about Taekwon-Do and yourself.
Hamish Robson-Wright: 1st Dan