Combat and Set Sparring Techniqies
As part of the Tae Kwon Do syllabus the student is expected to learn various set-sparring techniques for each belt level, which consist of hand and foot techniques, set out in sequence, in either one-step or two-step sparring drills.
This enables the student to develop coordination, timing, control, speed, concentration and explosive techniques.
These sequences were created by the UTI in Holland and are quite demanding for coloured belts and even more demanding for black belts, in comparison with set-sparring practiced by many organisations. The black belt series is based on technical sequences, chain techniques and focuses on defence from various directions and angles, so is useful from this point of view as one is rarely attacked face on. Semi-free sparring is also practiced as a preliminary exercise in preparation for free sparring or combat at the coloured belt range.
Combat sparring is also conducted with control and light contact, with a big emphasis on applying good technique and not street fighting, which again takes time and patience and a lot of sparring preparation between student and coach. It also requires a high level of fitness and endurance with technique, which the student can acquire if he stays with the training regularly. The sliding in kicks in particular the side kick is famous for its scoring technique if executed fast and jammed in to the opponent’s kick, thereafter delivering a return side-kick and front hooking kick. The back hooking kick is also a surprise kick and very useful if again executed fast enough with another Tae Kwon Do fighter. Tae Kwon Do also involves jumping techniques which count for higher scores in competition. Good defence and timing is also paramount to being a good sparrer. Coaches with competitors are also extremely popular today at tournaments and indeed necessary to help competitors.
Students should also practice other sports for fitness purposes. Preferably gym work and not running long distances, as this can put extra strain on the back and knees. Swimming is also a nice compliment in taking the stress off the muscles that have been practicing the somewhat explosive techniques contained in Tae Kwon Do practice.
Self-defence is also taught in relation to hand and foot techniques and take-downs. In today’s violent society in which we live, it isn’t enough to just learn Tae Kwon Do but it is necessary to know what to use when close in to someone who is attacking and to be able to get out of a lock or grab and also to know what areas of the body, at close quarters, one can target for self defence purposes and it is also necessary to be able to take your opponent to the floor. If one has been training in Tae Kwon Do for most of one’s life one has a big advantage in being able to use efficient hand techniques and low explosive kicks, whilst others might not. High kicks are not really very useful in a fight situation.
Chi development and breathing techniques are very important when executing techniques as they allow them to flow and become more effective.
Learning to relax and meditate is also important.