At first the Korean terms used by your Instructor may seem very strange, and perhaps even a little overwhelming (‘I don’t understand what he’s saying’). Don’t worry, this is perfectly natural. You are not expected to know any Korean terms as a white or yellow belt, but I’m sure you will pick up many over time without even realising it.
The easiest way to learn terminology is to understand the meaning of some basic words so that you can put them together to form the name of techniques. When you begin to learn terminology start with general terms such as sections of the body (eg face, low), techniques (eg kick, block, punch), and counting. The more specific terms will come with time.
For those of you who are Blue III or above, terminology forms an important part of your grading syllabus. Be sure to allow yourself sufficient time at home to practice.
Why do we learn Korean terminology?
We study study the terminology and history of Taekwondo for many reasons. Taekwondo is a martial art that originated in Korea and by learning some Korean terminology and history, we show respect to the country and the founders of Taekwondo. It is important that when someone asks you about Taekwondo that you are able to speak about more than just kicking or punching. In order to become a complete martial artist, we must appreciate not only our new physical skills, but also the country and the people that gave them to us.
Taekwondo is now in over 150 countries around the world. The international languange of Taekwondo is Korean, and knowing a few simple Korean terms allows us to easily communicate, train, and compete with people from all over the world. Another important reason that we learn terminology is as an exercise in self discipline. Almost everything you learn is taught to you by the instructors during class, and while we all should practice our self discipline and practice at home, this isn’t always the case, however terminology requires home practice to master, ie you must use your self discipline to make sure you do the practice and pass this aspect of your grading (Blue III and above only).
Another reason for our study is not just about strengthening our body, but our mind and spirit as well. An important lesson we learn throughout Taekwondo is how to respect ourselves and other people. By studying what lies behind the physical movements and applications of Taekwondo, we show our willingness to accept and respect another culture.
There are ample resources available on the website including a list of the terms including a player so you can hear how to pronunce them, mp3′s you can download to your iPod/iPhone/MP3 player, and wav files you can burn to CD. Of course if there is anything you are unsure of please ask your instructor, we’re here to help!