About Taekwondo

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a diverse traditional Martial Art and Olympic & Paralympic combat sport, offering a range of contact and non-contact participation and competition opportunities.

Taekwondo originated in South Korea and is now popular in over 200 countries with over 60 million people practicing worldwide. The majority of people new to Taekwondo will find a Martial Art based club that will offer a range of fun and family orientated physical activities that will include general fitness, confidence building and self-defence for example.

Some Taekwondo clubs will specialise in the combat sport.

Many clubs will also offer specialised training in Poomsae, which are non-contact forms consisting of a set of movements.

The 5 Tenets of Taekwondo

The 5 Tenets of Taekwondo are:

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-control
  • Indomitable spirit

Martial Art

The traditional Martial Art takes place in a family friendly club environment, teaching all age groups basic martial art and self defence skills, as well as promoting confidence building and discipline.


Poomsae, or Patterns, are a set sequence of movements that consists of the various fundamental stances, blocks, punches and kicks logically arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants.

Combat Sport

The Combat Sport of Taekwondo is a full contact sport for those that like high energy combat training and competition. Events take place at all levels from grass roots to elite.

About the Martial Art

The foundations of Taekwondo are built from the Martial Art. Martial Art training includes basic techniques, step sparring, self defence, and breaking, as well as Poomsae and Sparring. These disciplines are tested in Kup (coloured belts) and Dan (black belts) Martial Art gradings.

Basic techniques are the blocks, strikes, kicks and stances often demonstrated as combinations of the techniques in a flowing movement. Step sparring is pre-arranged defence to a punch using blocks, strikes and kicks, with advanced defence defending against low and high punches and executing takedowns. Self defence is the defence to an attack, e.g. bear hugs, wrist grabs, hair grabs. Advanced self defence includes locks and takedowns. Breaking is the destruction of an object using a basic technique. Commonly breaking is using a wood board or a re-breakable board.

Poomsae and Sparring are discussed in further detail below.

Martial Arts Seminar at the National Taekwondo Centre in November 2021
National Poomsae Championships 2021 e1657795001476

About Poomsae

Poomsae (patterns) are a pre-arranged set of defence and attacking movements gradually becoming more complex as you progress your development in Taekwondo. In most clubs there will be one new Poomsae to learn and master for each grade. There are eight Poomsae learnt by Kup grades (coloured belts) and a further nine for Dan grades (black belts).

As well as being a required technical element to both dan and kup gradings, Poomsae is also a competitive discipline of Taekwondo. Poomsae competition are separated by grade and a wide range of age divisions. This provides a fair competitive opportunity for British Taekwondo members of all ages and levels of experience. There are also rapidly developing competition divisions for Para competitors, which in keeping with other Sports, are separated into a range of Sport Classes.

For those with the talent, and creative ability, there are also Freestyle divisions where competitors combine Taekwondo skills and techniques with music in a choreographed and often dramatic performance.

About the Combat Sport

Sport Taekwondo is a dynamic and exciting sport, which has been a full medal sport at the Olympics since 2000. Some of our clubs concentrate on Sport Taekwondo (Kyorugi). The training experience at a Sport Taekwondo club will focus on the techniques, skills, tactics and fitness requirement for success in this specialist area.

For those who want to progress in Sport Taekwondo, competition opportunities exist at all levels. These are separated by age, gender and experience to ensure fair, safe but challenging opportunities. For those with the talent and dedication there are pathway to support development to compete at elite level. The beauty of Sport Taekwondo is that there is no ceiling to what you can achieve. Whether you dream of becoming a National Champion, a World Champion or an Olympic Champion the opportunity is there for you. There is an amazing history of success in Taekwondo in the UK for you to follow.

Sport Taekwondo Selection Competition Series Event 1. Photo courtesy of All Sports Photography 290522 2