Taekwondo schools are becoming increasingly popular in the US. Parents enroll their children in regular courses and summer camps offered by these institutions. Many of them double as after-care centers for kids. Even teenagers and adults are opting for self-defense classes in Taekwondo schools.
What are Taekwondo Schools?
Taekwondo schools are like martial arts schools, but Taekwondo is their primary specialization. Taekwondo is a form of martial arts with Korean roots. It focuses on teaching self-defense and not fighting, unlike popular belief. Pupils also learn meditation, stretching, philosophy, and leadership skills in addition to gaining knowledge about Taekwondo. However, not all schools teach the complete curriculum of Taekwondo. Some of them may adjust it according to the age, skill, and objectives of the participants. Everyone can enroll in a Taekwondo school, irrespective of their age. However, beginning at a young age, like in pre-teen or teen years, will ensure that you master the skills more efficiently.
It builds the confidence of the practitioners. They learn the art of self-defense, which makes them feel more secure about themselves. Children and adults can protect themselves and others in adversity.
Taekwondo teaches students discipline and respect. They have to perform the same movements every day for months or even years. It establishes a routine and improves the mental fortitude of students. These lessons can be helpful in the long run.
Like all other martial arts, Taekwondo training focuses on mental training and physical fitness in addition to combat. Meditation is an important part of Taekwondo and makes participants mentally strong.
Choosing A Taekwondo School
Many Taekwondo schools are running in cities across the nation. They teach different Taekwondo styles and have varying progression requirements. Whether you are choosing Taekwondo classes for your children or considering taking it up as a hobby yourself, these important considerations can help select the right Taekwondo school.
Certified Instructor and School
An important thing to look for when choosing a Taekwondo school is certification. USA Taekwondo is the governing body in the US for the sport. Any school or club that is certified by the body will teach Olympic-style Taekwondo. Its curriculum will be in accordance with the recommendations of USA Taekwondo. The coaches and instructors will have the required certification, and their backgrounds will be properly evaluated. It will ensure that the enrollees in the Taekwondo school or club will receive bonafide training and education. Students who want to pursue the sport professionally are assured of proper guidance. Therefore, search for Taekwondo schools with certification from a governing body, ideally USA Taekwondo. American Taekwondo Association Martial Arts is another recognized body in the USA for the sport.
Schedule and Duration
You must consider the schedule and duration of courses offered by Taekwondo schools. The length of the program may vary from one school to another. Select a course that is suitable for you and fits your schedule. Some Taekwondo schools may hold classes daily, while others may also offer weekend classes. Children or adults who are busy during the weekdays can enroll in weekend classes. A few schools or clubs may organize summer camps imparting Taekwondo lessons. They provide a great way of keeping your children busy while allowing them to have fun and learn new skills.
Whether you are enrolling your children or taking Taekwondo up yourself, you will have to check if you meet the Taekwondo school’s minimum skill level requirements. Generally, the belt levels denote the skill required. They are broadly classified into two ranks – the junior rank and the senior rank.
Junior ranks are denoted by colored belts and are therefore referred to as the color belt ranks or the Korean word gup. The number of belts ranges from eight to twelve, depending on the style of Taekwondo practiced. Beginners generally start from a white belt and advance through different colored belts as their skill progresses. The last Junior Rank may award a black striped belt. Junior rank progression is in descending order, i.e., the pupils begin from the highest-numbered rank and end at 1st gup rank. Practitioners generally progress from one junior rank to another in months. Once a student has progressed through the junior ranks, they can move on to the Senior Ranks.
Senior ranks for Taekwondo are known as Black Belts. Typically, Taekwondo schools follow a nine-rank system. Each senior rank is called a dan or degree. Unlike Junior ranks, practitioners start from the 1st dan or degree and end at the 9th dan or degree. The degree or rank may be indicated using stripes or Roman numerals on the belt. Progression in senior ranks is a lot slower, sometimes requiring students to practice for years. A student may have to practice at the 5th dan level for five years before they can appear in a promotion test for the next rank, 6th dan level. Some Taekwondo styles, such as Kukkiwon or WT-style, may not award senior ranks to pupils below 15 years of age.
Some classes are catered towards beginners while others are for experienced individuals. Choose a Taekwondo school that conducts classes for your skill level.
Recreational vs. Professional Training
Taekwondo schools offer courses for recreational and professional training. Recreational classes are suitable for participants who want to take up a new hobby. The emphasis is on offering a fun-filled environment that enables children and adults to learn Taekwondo. Professional Taekwondo classes are for experienced students who want to compete in the sport at the community, national, or international level. Different classes may be held for participants with varying skill levels.
Out of these two, the right Taekwondo training will depend on the pupil’s experience and objectives. If the aim is to take up a new hobby, consider a recreational or casual Taekwondo school. However, if you want to pursue the sport professionally, then a facility specializing in the same will be the better option.
Many apps and websites can assist with your search for Taekwondo schools. They allow you to search for clubs or facilities in your area that conduct Taekwondo classes. There may be user reviews for the schools, which can help in narrowing down the options. You may download one such app on your smartphone or tablet and search for Taekwondo schools. It will allow you to shortlist schools, following which you may give them a call and inquire about their Taekwondo programs or courses. The decision-making process will become easier, and you will be able to choose the right school for pursuing your hobby or enrolling your children.