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Taekwondo Wikia Online Training (WTF)

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Taekwondo Axe Kick Tutorial (Kwonkicker)11:13

Taekwondo Axe Kick Tutorial (Kwonkicker)

There are many excellent taekwondo instructional videos on YouTube essentially providing free online taekwondo classes. There's no good reason to pay for online taekwondo training.

Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee - WTF Taegeuk Il Jang-003:06

Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee - WTF Taegeuk Il Jang-0

In fact, there are so many excellent taekwondo videos available for free on YouTube that perhaps the biggest problem is knowing which ones to watch. On this wiki site we've tried to select the the most popular videos from the most authoritative sources.

This wiki page lays out free online taekwondo training program for people who would like to study Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo, online, at home.

Safetyfirst

Note: Safety First! You should always check with your doctor before starting any new workout routine, especially one that's as potentially strenuous as martial arts training. Also, keep in mind, this is a martial art: even training alone, there's plenty of opportunity for sprains, bruises, pulls, etc. Be careful, don't overdo it, make sure you have a safe area in which to work out, and keep your equipment in good shape.

Why This Wiki Page Edit

TKDwikia

There are many websites that offer online martial arts training, usually costing many hundreds of dollars. The way these online courses usually work is:

  • You watch some videos and practice what the videos teach.
  • You video yourself (for example, with your cellphone) and send those videos to the online school in order to get promoted to your next belt level.

What's the point of paying hundreds of dollars to watch videos, when YouTube has even better videos that you can watch for free? The problem is, if you don't already know taekwondo, how do you know which YouTube videos to watch? The point of this wiki page is to lay out a free online training program for you.

"But wait, does that mean I won't be awarded any belts?"

Yes, it means you won't be awarded any belts. But martial arts isn't about belts:
Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Mr. Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
Daniel: No, I meant...
Mr. Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants.
- The Karate Kid (1984)

Martial arts is about exercise, stretching, aerobics, techniques and training. You don't need a belt to be a good martial artist.

Why would anybody study taekwondo online?

NorthDakota

For some parts of the world, it's a long way between martial arts schools

There are lots of good reasons why somebody may need to study taekwondo online:

  • Maybe you live someplace remote, like...really really remote. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Supai, Arizona!) And maybe there are no taekwondo schools anywhere near you. But you'd still like to study taekwondo. Well, this wiki page isn't nearly as good as a real taekwondo school, but at least it's free!
  • Maybe you don't have the money to pay to join a club or school just yet, but you'd like to get started now anyway.
  • Maybe you're shy for some reason about working-out in public, but you'd feel better about it with a little online practice first.

Make no mistake about it, a real taekwondo club or school is far superior to online training. The point of this wiki page is this: if you're committed to doing online martial arts training anyway, we might as well save you hundreds of dollars and outline a free curriculum for you - this wiki already has all the forms and techniques documented, so adding a "how to train at home" page is easy to do.

What Will You Miss?

Proteccionestkd

Official WTF trunk protector (hogu), forearm guards and shin guards

What do you miss-out on by studying taekwondo online at home?

  • Of course, you don't have an instructor correcting your techniques, so you may pick up some bad habits. The best way to prevent this is by videoing yourself and comparing your videos to the techniques you see online.
  • Taekwondo instructors are also great motivators, especially when it comes to getting into great physical shape.
  • In the curriculum below, we haven't included any board breaking (it's hard to practice breaking without a partner to hold the boards). You could add board breaking though if you wanted to. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show you how to use the strikes and kicks below for breaking, and you can buy online the kind of (relatively soft) breaking boards used in taekwondo schools. The point of breaking is to show that you can put speed/power/snap into your techniques.
  • Sparring - this is maybe the biggest gap. Sparring is fun, and it's how you learn to apply the techniques you learn. If you are able to complete this online curriculum with a partner, maybe somewhere along the line you two can take up sparring together. Make sure you wear WTF-style sparring gear when you spar though (that can be purchased online as well, such as at Amazon.com) - hogu, helmet, shin and forearm guards, cup, and mouth guard.
  • Friends - taekwondo schools are a great place to meet new people and make new friends. 

Setting Up Your Home DojangEdit

HomeDojang

This person's "home dojang" is fairly elaborate. Especially to start, you can begin with something much simpler: an open space in which to work out, with a good screen for showing YouTube videos, and some type of bag for kicking drills

Home Gym Layout01:38

Home Gym Layout

ITF 9th dan Earl Weiss provides a quick tour of his home gym.

You're going to need someplace in your home to study taekwondo: your bedroom, living room, garage, etc. Here are some suggestions for setting up your personal dojang:

  • Internet and a Screen - You're going to need good access to the Internet to play these videos, and if possible you're going to want a nice big screen to watch these videos on while you mimic the techniques, with audio loud enough to listen to easily from several feet away while you work out. For example, if you have a good laptop, put the laptop on your living room coffee table, and clear as much of the surrounding floor as possible so that you have room to work out. Or maybe hook your laptop up to your TV for an even bigger screen. On a day-to-day basis you don't want to spend too much of your workout time futzing-around with the laptop, so invest a few minutes in creating for yourself a good ergonomic environment: an easy to see the screen, no sunlight falling on the screen, easy to work the laptop controls, the audio sounds good, etc.
  • Tunes / Audio - Let's double-down on what we just said about audio. Not only will you want to be able to hear your YouTube lessons easily, but when you're doing your warmup exercises you're probably going to want some nice loud audio with good heart-pumping workout music. Build yourself a good workout playlist and make sure it sounds good when you turn up the volume.
  • Flooring - Dojang floors are usually soft, to absorb the shock of all those jumps and falls. If you're working-out in your garage, consider investing in some gym mats (not too squishy though; the floor needs to be firm enough for you to balance easily on one foot). If you're working-out inside the house, on carpeting, you're probably good to go, though a thick, plush shag could be a bit problematic (it's hard to slide your feet on thick shag). If you have to, in a pinch, you can work-out on hardwood floors, but we wouldn't recommend working-out on anything harder than that: for example concrete flooring  would you'll kill your feet, ankles, and knees!
  • Temperature - This space is your new home gym, so look for a location that's not freezing in the winter, nor unbearably hot in the summer.
  • Uniform (dobok) - Look, you're working out in your home, so you can wear boxers and a tee to work-out in if you want. Traditionally though, taekwondo is practiced while wearing a dobok. Is there any practical benefit to wearing a dobok? Actually, yes, a little bit: if you're doing many of these techniques correctly, eventually you'll learn to put enough "snap" into your moves that you can actually hear the snap of the fabric from your sleeves. That's a sign that you're on the right track. You can order a dobok from Amazon.com or other websites, or if you'd rather just wear other long-sleeve workout clothes. Or boxers and a tee if you'd rather; it's not that important.
    • If you do want to order a dobok, see the wiki page dobok for sizing information.
    • Hey, if you took the trouble to go onto Amazon and invest in an actual dobok, make sure you buy a belt while you're at it. There's nobody to impress in your personal school but yourself, so pick whatever color you like. Just remember what Mr. Miyagi said; the belt is just there to hold your uniform-top closed.
  • Freestanding bag

    Free-standing kicking bags are a good option for home gyms - the base is filled with sand or water to give it weight

    Equipment: Kicking Bag - If you're working-out by yourself, that means there's going to be nobody to hold targets for you. You're going to need to practice kicking though. Lots and lots of kicking. That means you'll need a kicking bag of some sort. If you're working-out in the garage or in your workshop, consider hanging a heavy bag from the ceiling. Otherwise, get a free-standing kicking bag or a "bob." (See Taekwondo Schools for details about these items.) Yes, if you're working out in your living room, that means your new friend bob is now a permanent part of your living room. That's why it's important to find a space in your home that's going to be permanently workout-friendly. The living room might not be the best choice, unless it's all you have.
  • Equipment: Agility Gear - Since you're working out solo, you'll want something to help with your agilty training as well. Either a jump rope, agility ladder, a low step, etc.
  • Existing Equipment: If you already have a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical machine, or other workout equipment in your home, plan on using those as part of your workout. Half of martial arts training is just fitness training. 
  • Mirror - If you can set up a big mirror in your personal dojang, so much the better. Especially since you're working out by yourself, you're going to need to be your own critic, which means you'll need to see yourself practicing.
  • Video - Even if you have a mirror though, also set up a way to shoot video as well. You can use your cellphone, a tablet, or the webcam in your laptop. Just make sure you have an easy, ergonomic way to record and play-back video, so you can go back later and evaluate your own forms and techniques.
  • Can you find a partner? For the most part this wiki page assumes you're studying taekwondo alone, but if you can find a partner to work out with, that will be much better. For one thing, you can take turns holding targets for each other. Also, you can critique each other's techniques, help each other stretch, and keep each other encouraged.
    • If you can find a partner, there's more gear you should buy too, if you can afford it. Get a pair of kicking paddles and a kicking shield, so that you and your partner can take turns holding for each other during kicking drills. (See Taekwondo Schools for details.)
  • Decorations - This is your new home gym, a few inspirational posters couldn't hurt. Hanging a calendar on the wall with a pen is a good way to keep track of your workouts. 
  • Board Breaking - Board breaking is a normal part of taekwondo training, but it's difficult to do outside of a regular taekwondo school, especially if you don't have a partner to help you. For this online training course, consider skipping this part of the normal taekwondo curriculum. But if you really do want to practice breaking, you can buy rebreakable martial arts boards from Amazon or other websites, and you can either buy or build a rig to hold the boards while you practice breaking them. This may be more trouble and expense than it's worth (and you could hurt yourself if you don't do it properly), so be careful if you go this route.

Training ScheduleEdit

BeltColors

Different taekwondo schools use different schemes for belt colors - but at the end of the day, these are just motivational tools to help students "see" their progress. Other than that, as Mr. Miyagi says, the only purpose of a belt is to hold up your pants.

Kick Progress

The key to any exercise regimen is to make a schedule and stick to it. It's probably fairly typical for most taekwondo students to study three times a week, for one hour at a time. Skip the workout if you're sick or injured, but otherwise, make a schedule and try to stick with it.

In Kukkiwon-style taekwondo, if you work out 3-4 times a week for 2-3 months, you're usually ready then to progress to the next belt level (gup). So here's one plan that can help keep you motivated:

  • There are 10 gups, so pick out 10 belt colors from Amazon. Whatever colors or patterns you like: white, light yellow, gold, orange, green, purple, light blue, dark blue, brown, red...this is your school, so you're allowed to make up your own color scheme.
  • Every 2 months, assign yourself a belt promotion test, video yourself, evaluate your technique, and award yourself a new belt if you're happy with your progress.

Do you need to do this? No. It's just a motivational gimmick. If gimmicks didn't actually work though, they wouldn't be gimmicks, right? Don't promote yourself without at least a good 20 hours of so of training though! Figure 20-30 hours of training per belt.

Here's another motivational trick: keep a journal, calendar, or blog of your progress: pounds of weight lost, number of pushups you can do now, etc. The key is to find mental tricks that'll keep you motivated and working-out. There are workout websites where you can even track your workouts as well as your diet at the same time.

Ten gup times 2-3 months equals 20-30 months. In about two years, if you stick with this 3-times-per-week schedule -- that's about 300 hours of practice -- you'll have earned yourself your personal dojang's black belt. Yes, no other school on the planet is going to recognize your black belt, but you know what? That doesn't matter, if you feel great, had fun, and learned a lot. (If you train hard, by yourself, for 300 hours...you may not have a "real" black belt in taekwondo, but you definitely have a real black belt in motivation, focus, and self-discipline!)

Typical class: If each of your workouts is 60 minutes long, aim for about 30 minutes of that to be general physical training (warmups, stretching, calisthenics, etc.) and 30 minutes of that to be actual taekwondo practice (forms practice and kicking drills). Yes, that's right: only half your taekwondo training time is actually spent on taekwondo. That's common at many schools. Martial arts training is as much about physical conditioning as it is technique.

Eating right: When most people start exercising, they tend to naturally want to eat better as well. ("I just spent 60 minutes sweating off some fat...I don't want to put it al back on again by over-indulging in chips and cookies!") There are whole websites devoted to better nutrition, but here's a good rule-of-thumb: buy your groceries around the just the outside aisles of the grocery store: that's where they usually keep the vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, eggs, milk, and fresh bread. Have you ever noticed that all the processed foods, sodas, and junk food is in the middle aisles of the store?

To Do List:Edit

20 min Martial Arts Workout22:52

20 min Martial Arts Workout

Bookmark 5 or 6 short workout videos that you can use for your warmups; there are many on YouTube to choose from. Or, develop your own workout routine to some heart-pumping music, or even use a workout DVD if you'd rather - just as long as the warmup involves plenty of stretching and leg work

Whole Body Fitness Workout (No Equipment Needed) GNT02:48

Whole Body Fitness Workout (No Equipment Needed) GNT

The Ginger Ninja Trickster's workout

  • Prepare and equip your home dojang
  • Assign yourself a workout schedule, write the schedule down
  • Buy a journal or calendar, or start a blog, or create an account on a fitness-tracking website, or download a fitness-tracking app to your smartphone, to track your workouts
  • Make a good workout playlist: some good heart-pumping music
  • Check out YouTube to find some good warmup and stretching videos; find at least 4 or 5 different videos (about 5-10 minutes long) that you like. Here are some examples: (link). Find some that you like, and bookmark these.
  • Or find some good workout videos (20-30 minutes) that include plenty of stretching, and bookmark those: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=workout+videos

10th Gup (White Belt) Edit

Kibon1-16

16-step version of Kibon Hana

ExampleKickingCombinations

While poomsae are standardized, kicking drills are not. Different schools drill on different kicking-combinations at different belt levels.

Your first two gup levels - 10th gup and 9th gup - are arguably the most important belt levels you'll ever study. These are the basic techniques that you'll keep coming back to over and over again throughout the rest of your training. For example, no matter how many new blocks you learn, almost every form you learn (even as a Black Belt) still has a Low Block or a Middle Punch somewhere in the form. So don't feel like you have to rush through these belts. Take your time, get them right.

Techniques:

Use this wiki and YouTube to study and practice the following techniques: Front Stance, Horse-Riding Stance, Middle Punch, Low Block, Front Kick, Axe Kick. If you don't like the explanations provided on this wiki, there are plenty of additional explanations on YouTube for each of these.

Focus on making each of these techniques as perfect as you can:

  • Make sure your foot positions are just-right for the stances.
    • If you can see your front toes while in the Front Stance, you haven't bent your front knee enough. Keep that back leg straight.
    • The Horse-Riding Stance isn't just about technique: it's also a form of leg exercise -- staying in the Horse-Riding Stance for 5-10 minutes while you practice punches and blocks is a great way to strengthen leg muscles. It's okay to step out of the stance and shake your legs out if they start to cramp up.
  • Make sure you rotate your fist during the blocks and punches. 
  • Keep your wrists straight for the blocks and punches.
  • Relax between movements, and tense only during the movement. Sometimes it helps to practice "wet noodle style" - stay super-relaxed throughout the movement and exagerate the relaxed movements. The point of this isn't to learn how to be sloppy, the point is to learn how to relax between movements.
  • Make sure you point your knee first before you Front Kick.

Focus on all these subtle little nuances. It's the little nuances that make for good taekwondo. Also, be careful not to kick too hard and too high on the Axe Kick: you don't want to pull a muscle. 

Form:

White Belts practice a beginner form. There are several beginner forms to choose from, but if you'd like a recommendation, study this one: Kibon Hana. On that wiki page you'll find a video, a diagram, and written instructions for how to perform that beginner form.

Kicking Drills:

Practice your Front Kick and Axe Kick. If you don't have a partner, you'll just have to kick in the air. Your kicking bag won't be much good to you for these kicks. If you do have a workout partner though, take turns holding your kicking paddles for each other.

  • Make sure you pratice both kicks on both legs. If one leg is worse than the other, practice more on that leg: you want both legs to be good.
  • Once you have the basics of each kick down, practice some combinations:

Taekwondo Culture:

It's commonplace when studying taekwondo in a school to also be taught a little bit about Korean and taekwondo culture. Here at 10th Gup, here is your cultural assignment for this online course: read and study the page Taekwondo History.

A Typical Workout Session at 10th Gup:

For the next couple months, this should be your hour-long workout routine:

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes. Turn on some loud workout music, or watch a warmup video on YouTube. Do some light jogging, running in place, jumping jacks, jumping rope...anything to get your muscles warmed up. The point here is not to work up a sweat, it's to get warm and loose. If you have a treadmill, elliptical, or other workout equipment in your home, this is a good use for it.
  • Stretch for 5-10 minutes. Start with neck stretches, then shoulder stretches, and keep working your way down to your legs and ankles.
  • Calisthenics for 10 minutes: Push ups, sit-ups, crunches, planking, squats, etc. Try to exercise all your muscle groups: biceps, triceps, core, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, etc...but especially make sure you focus on strengthening your legs. Either make up your own workout routine, or find one on youtube that you like. Don't use the same routine every session! Find 4 or 5 different routines and mix them up from session to session. Again, if you already have weights and a bench at home, or other resistance equipment, feel free to use them here. Half of martial arts training is just fitness training.
    • See: Taekwondo Exercises for some ideas.
    • Again there are tons of good workout videos on YouTube. Here are some: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=workout+videos
    • For taekwondo, your most important muscles are going to be the muscles you jump with, so make sure you work your legs hard. Protect your joints though: be careful not to do things that will hurt your ankles, knees or hips -- you're gonna need those later on.
  • Practice blocks and punches for 5-10 minutes. Go into either a Right or Left Front Stance, or a Horse-Riding Stance and practice either Middle Punches or Low Blocks.
    • For the Punches and Blocks, switch arms halfway through: first practicing with the right arm, then practicing with the left arm.
    • For each session, pick one combination to practice: a Front Stance with Middle Punches, or a Horse-Riding Stance with Low Blocks. The idea is that during each session you want to focus on one combination and just keep repeating, repeating, repeating it until your muscle-memory is making the movement feel completely natural.
  • Practice your form (Kibon Hana) for 10 minutes. 
  • Practice your kicking drills (see above) for 10-15 minutes. Practice each kick individually for a few minutes, on each leg, and then make up some combinations and practice them too. Remember, for these kicks you're just kicking in the air; your kicking bag won't be a lot of use yet.
  • Cool-down for 5-10 minutes: this is a good time to stretch again; warm muscles stretch best.

That's a great hour-long workout. Try to mix-it-up a little from one session to the next: different warmups, different kicking combinations, etc. Repeat that 30-40 times and you'll be ready for 2nd Gup.

Test:

Video yourself performing Kibon Hana and watch your performance. Video yourself performing a kicking combination composed of Front Kicks and Axe Kicks. Don't promote yourself until you're happy with how these look. They should be sharp, graceful, balanced, and have plenty of snap.

9th Gup Edit

Kibon2-16

16-step version of Kibon Dool

After a couples months at 10th Gup, you're ready to start 9th Gup.

Arguably, the four most important kicks in taekwondo are Front Kick, Axe Kick, Roundhouse Kick, and Side Kick. You've already practiced the first two. Now that you're at 9th Gup, it's time to start work on the Roundhouse Kick...the one kick that's used more than any other in taekwondo sparring. That should really be the focus of the next month or two of training: getting a great Roundhouse Kick.

Techniques: Continue to practice the techniques you've already learned: Front Stance, Horse-Riding Stance, Middle Punch, Low Block, Front Kick, Axe Kick. But now add the following: High Punch, High Block, Roundhouse Kick.

  • Really get that Roundhouse Kick as good as you can make it, on both legs. The bottom foot should be turned mostly away from the target at the moment of impact. The hip should be turned over as you kick. The kicking-side arm should rotate backward as the leg kicks forward. 
  • For Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo, the Roundhouse Kick strikes with the top of the foot. You don't need to work up a thick callous here, but if you're doing this training right, by the time you finish 9th Gup you'll have a bit of a callous on the top of your foot.

Form: Study and practice Kibon Dool. You can practice this form for the the entire 9th Gup, but if you get bored doing just Kibon Dool, you can also opt to learn Kibon Set as well. That's optional though, just if you get bored.

Kicking Drills: Continue to practice your Front Kicks and Axe Kicks, but now also practice your Roundhouse Kicks. Finally! You have a good use for that kicking bag. Work the Roundhouse Kick into your kicking combinations. For example, continue to step forward while performing the following combination of kicks: Right Front Kick, Left Roundhouse Kick, Right Roundhouse Kick, Left Front Kick.

Taekwondo Culture: It's commonplace when studying taekwondo in a school to also be taught a little bit about Korean and taekwondo culture. At 9th Gup your cultural assignment for this online course is to read and study Taekwondo Vocabulary.

Workout Session:

  • Warm-up for 5 minutes.
  • Stretch for 5 minutes.
  • Calisthenics for 10 minutes.
  • For 5 minutes, go into either a Front Stance or a Horse-Riding Stance and practice either Middle Punches, High Punches, Low Blocks, or High Blocks.
    • For the Front Stance, pick either a Left Front Stance or a Right Front Stance
    • Practice the Punch or Block for 2.5 minutes on each side: right arm and then left arm
    • The idea is that during each workout session you'll pick some combination of a stance with some blocks or punches, and practice those on each side (left and right side) so that you develop muscle-memory and the movements start to feel natural. Several minutes of each each technique performed in each stance.
  • For 10 minutes, practice Kibon Dool (of if after a few sessions you find Kibon Dool too easy, switch to practicing Kibon Set)
  • For 5-10 minutes, practice kicking combinations, as described above.
  • For 10 minutes, practice Roundhouse Kicks against your kicking bag. Finally! A use for your kicking bag! Remember: 5 minutes on each side, right leg and then left leg.
  • For 5 minutes, stretch and cool down

Test: As before, after 30-40 sessions (and before as well, when you feel like it's time for some self-evaluation), video yourself and make sure you're happy with your performance: sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap. Once you're happy, you're ready for 8th Gup.

8th Gup Edit

Taegeuk1

Taegeuk Il Jang - which means "Chapter 1 of the Taegeuk" - is symbolized by the sky, meaning that since you're just starting, the possibilities are as wide open as the sky

Finally, after 4-5 months! Here at 8th Gup you finally start to learn the Taegeuk series of forms. You're done with beginner forms.

Techniques: Here are the new techniques that you want to study at this level:

  • The Walking Stance. This one is easy though, you'll learn it in no time.
  • Back Stance. This is more difficult, but also more important. Make sure most of your weight is on that back leg; this stance is about being able to kick with your front leg. From any position you should be able to just hop into a Back Stance swiftly and smoothly. Practice jumping up into the air or spinning around and landing swiftly into a good Back Stance.
  • Double Roundhouse Kick. It's not as important to kick high in this kick as it is to make sure that your hip turns over as completely as possible in each kick. Kick low if necessary, just make sure your hips are turning over. The first kick in the double doesn't need to be powerful, it's considered a feint anyway.

Form: Study, practice, and memorize Taegeuk Il Jang.

Kicking Drills: Work the Double Roundhouse into your kicking combinations. For example: Right Roundhouse, Double Roundhouse (left foot, then right foot), Left Roundhouse.

Taekwondo Culture: Read and study Taekwondo Symbolism and Taekwondo Philosophy.

Workout Session:

  • 5 minutes - warmup
  • 5 minutes - stretch
  • 10 minutes - calisthenics
  • 5 minutes - each session, pick a different combination to practice:
  • 10 minutes - practice Taegeuk Il Jang
  • 5-10 minutes - practice kicking combinations in the air
  • 10 minutes - practice Roundhouse Kicks against your kicking bag. If your Double Roundhouse Kicks are high enough (which would be impressive at this level) you can practice those on the bag instead, but don't feel bad if at this point the most you can manage is single Roundhouse Kicks against a target. If you're practicing Roundhouse Kicks, focus now on trying to increase your power -- really hit that target hard now, turn that hip over with a nice snap.
  • 5 minutes - cooldown and stretch

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

7th Gup Edit

At 7th Gup you get a big of a break. You don't learn a whole lot of new techniques here. At this level, you're more focused on putting-together things you've already learned.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels, but now add just two new kicks - Skip Roundhouse Kick and Side Kick.

  • The idea of the Skip Roundhouse is that it's a way to close distance quickly. Instead of kicking with your rear leg, you kick with your front leg, while pushing off with the rear leg to skip forward. It's not as powerful as a normal roundhouse, but it's faster.
  • If you're like most practitioners, you'll spend the rest of your taekwondo career trying to perfect a good Side Kick. It's a devilishly tricky kick to get 100% right. Again, turn that hip over. The bottom foot should be facing 180 away from the target at the moment of impact.

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Yi Jang.

Kicking Drills: Both of your new kicks are good kicks to practice with your kicking bag. As usual though, work them into some combinations as well. For example: Skip Roundhouse Kick with the left leg kicking, then Right Roundhouse Kick, then Right Side Kick. Or: Left Side Kick, Right Side Kick, Left Roundhouse Kick, Right Skip Roundhouse Kick. Make up any combinations you like, just make sure you practice each combination over and over again. Why? The point of combinations is to train your muscle-memory in how to transition smoothly from one kick to the next.

Taekwondo Culture: This online training is teaching you Kukkiwon-style taekwondo. Your assignment now is to read about the many different styles of taekwondo and read about the forms / patterns used in other styles of taekwondo.

Workout Session:

  • 5 minutes - warmup
  • 5 minutes - stretch
  • 10 minutes - calisthenics 
  • 5 minutes - each session, pick a different combination to practice:
  • 10 minutes - practice Taegeuk Yi Jang. Note: if you get bored with Taegeuk Yi Jang after a few practice sessions, you can always go back and practice Taegeuk Il Jang some more too. It nevery hurts to revisit prior forms, as a refresher.
  • 5-10 minutes - practice kicking combinations in the air
  • 10 minutes - Pick two of the following kicks and practice them each for 5 minutes against your kicking target. Remember to practice on both legs. Roundhouse KickSkip Roundhouse Kick and Side Kick
  • 5 minutes - cooldown and stretch

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

6th Gup Edit

Taekwondo is know for its jumping and spinning kick. Time to learn some jumping and spinning kicks! 

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

  • Outward Knifehand Block. This one is important; it's taekwondo bread and butter. Make sure the blocking hand comes up in a good arc, and that the hand twists as it blocks. The knifehand shouldn't be flat-flat-flat, but slightly curved like the head of a cobra.
  • Inward Knifehand Strike
  • Jump Side Kick - take a short running start, jump off one leg, kick with the other leg; for many people the hardest part here is turning your body to the side as you rise into the air. I.e., make sure that hip turns over during the Side Kick.
  • Back Kick - face the target, pivot to face away from the target on one leg, bend down, then Back Kick like a mule with the other leg. The more you bend down, the higher you can kick.

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Sam Jang.

Kicking Drills: Both of your new kicks are good kicks to practice with your kicking target. As you make up new combinations and practice them, you're probably going to want to mostly use one of the two new kicks as the final kick in a combination. For example: Double Roundhouse, Roundhouse, Back Kick. Or: Axe Kick, Front Kick, Jump Side Kick.

Taekwondo Culture: Read about the Nine Kwans.

Workout Session:

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

5th Gup Edit

Let's learn two new jump kicks at this level: Jump Front Kick and Jump Back Kick.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

  • Double Knifehand Outward Block - this one is important, it's more bread-and-butter when it comes to taekwondo forms
  • Vertical Fingertip Thrust (aka Spearhand Thrust)
  • Swallowform Knifehand Strike (aka Knifehand Strike with Knifehand High Block)
  • Backfist Strike
  • Jump Front Kick - Remember the Jump Side Kick? That one is straightforward: if you're going to kick with the right leg, you have to jump off with the left leg. Simple. This kick is trickier: you kick with the same leg you jump with. For example, to kick with the right leg: take a few steps forward and then hike the left knee way up into the air to give your body some upward momentum, at the same moment jump into the air off the right leg, then bring the right leg up to kick, and land back down first on the left leg. It's tricky, but with a little practice it starts to feel natural.
  • Jump Back Kick - This kick is more like the Jump Side Kick: if you kick with the right leg, you're going to jump with the left leg. So for example, facing your target with the right leg in the rear, turn to the right until your right leg is able to horse-kick backwards, just as you're coming up to that moment jump into the air with your left leg so that you can kick while in the air. It helps a lot to bend down at the waist before the jump. Try to get that right leg to kick high into the kicking bag; bending down more helps you kick higher. You want all of this to become one smooth, continuous movement: bend and turn, jump, kick. Be careful though - this is a kick you can hurt yourself on: twisting your ankle when you land, for instance.

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Sa Jang.

Kicking Drills:  There's really no good way to use a kicking bag to practice a Jump Front Kick, so unless you have a workout partner to hold a kicking paddle for you, this is a kick you'll just have to practice in the air. As usual though, try to work it into some combinations. Each workout session make up a new combination and practice it. For example: Left Front Kick, Right Jump Front Kick, Right Roundhouse Kick. Your other new kick, the Jump Back Kick, that can be practiced on your kicking bag. If you work the Jump Back Kick into a combination, you probably want it to be the final kick of the combination. During each workout session, make up a combination, and keep practicing it.

Taekwondo Culture: Read the Timeline of Taekwondo.

Workout Session:

You should be fit and skilled enough now that we can shorten the calisthenics a bit, and lengthen the kicking drills to give you more of a leg workout.

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

4th Gup Edit

Just one new kick to practice at this level, but it's a doozy: the 360 Tornado Kick. By the time you finish 4th Gup you probably won't have a good Tornado Kick yet, it's that difficult to master, so you're going to want to keep practicing it at future levels too. We'll also finally start to add some Elbow Strikes into the mix.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

  • Hammerfist Strike
  • Inward Elbow Strike
  • Elbow Target Strike
  • 360 Tornado Kick - when you first start to practice this, make each movement discrete so that you can practice getting each movement right. Then, as it starts to feel more natural, speed it up and turn it into one smooth, continuous movement. Again, be careful, this a kick you can really twist an ankle or knee on.

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Oh Jang.

Kicking Drills:  The Tornado Kick is a good kick to practice against your kicking bag. Also, work it into some combinations, usually as the last kick in the combination. For example: Right Jump Front Kick, Left Skip Roundhouse, Right Tornado Kick. All this jumping and spinning...now it's starting to look like taekwondo!

Workout Session:

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

3rd Gup Edit

There's another new, important spinning kick to focus on at this level: the Back Hook Kick.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

  • There are some new movements you're going to learn in your form: Twist Block, High Outward Block, and Low Opening Block, but these are mostly forms techniques and you don't need to spend a lot of time outside of forms practice focusing on these
  • Palmheel Block - this is a technique worth spending some time on, it's more bread-and-butter when it comes to taekwondo forms
  • Back Hook Kick - this should be the focus of your training at this level. The start is similar to the Back Kick that you already learned: face the target, pivot away from the target, bend down, and as your kicking leg is coming in line with the target, hook the target with the back of the heel of your foot. Be careful, this too is a real easy kick to sprain an ankle on.
  • Skip Axe Kick - this one is pretty easy. Like the Skip Roundhouse, you simply do an Axe Kick with the leading leg while pushing off with the rear leg to skip forward.

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Yook Jang

Kicking Drills:  The Back Hook Kick is a really powerful kick if done properly, so you'll have a lot of fun practicing this against your kicking bag. Also of course, work it into some combinations, usually as the last kick in the combination. For example: Left Skip Axe Kick, Right Roundhouse Kick, Left Skip Roundhouse Kick, Right Back Hook Kick.

Workout Session:

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

2nd Gup Edit

Last level you learned the Back Hook Kick, now we'll turn it into a Jump Back Hook Kick. There's a lot of new hand techniques to learn at this level as well.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Chil Jang

Kicking Drills:  The Jump Back Hook Kick is again a really powerful kick if done properly, so you'll have a lot of fun practicing this against your kicking bag. Also of course, work it into some combinations, usually as the last kick in the combination. For example: Right Roundhouse Kick, Left Tornado Kick, Right Axe Kick, Right Jump Back Hook Kick.

Workout Session:

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

1st Gup Edit

This is the last of the "color belt" levels. At this point, focus less on learning new things, and focus more on solidifying everything you've learned up until now.

Techniques: As usual, keep practicing the techniques you've already learned at previously levels. In addition, add these new techniques:

Form: Study, practice and memorize Taegeuk Pal Jang. Also, go back and revisit all of your old forms. Being a Black Belt doesn't just mean you know how to do each form, it means you have all the prior forms completely memorized as well. So here at 1st Gup, just before your Black Belt level, this is a good time to go back and revisit all of your old forms. 

Kicking Drills:  Of course there are tons more kicks to learn in taekwondo, but rather than learn any new kicks now, at this level just keep practicing and solidifying the kicks you've already learned.

Workout Session:

Test: As usual, video yourself once in a while, and promote yourself when you're happy with your form and your kicking combinations. You want your technique to be sharp, graceful, balanced, with plenty of snap.

1st Dan (Black Belt) Edit

Honestly, if you spent the last 2-3 years diligently practicing all of the above at home, you're probably not too shabby at taekwondo, despite the fact that you did all this at home instead of in a school or club. Hopefully somewhere in the last 2-3 years you found a local school or club you could join, but if not, well...you made it anyway!

We're not going to continue this in-home curriculum beyond this point except to say, it's time to reward yourself:

  • Go out to Amazon and buy yourself that home-schooled black belt, you earned it
  • Start studying the most-practiced form in taekwondo, Koryo, the first black belt form for Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo.

With all the money you saved by not paying for an expensive online taekwondo course, treat yourself to something fun. How about a vacation in Seoul to visit the Kukkiwon?

ReferencesEdit

Here are some pay-to-study online taekwondo schools. The cost appears to be in the ballpark of $30-50 per month, but it's not clear what other additional fees might apply (for example testing fees) if any. By comparison, a typical in-the-real-world martial arts school will often charge in the ballpark of $100 per month for lessons. Some online schools:

The online taekwondo school appears to be free (just like Taekwondo Wikia) but it's not very comprehensive (unlike Taekwondo Wikia):

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