Taekwondo competition can open up a new aspect of taekwondo training. It can allow you to satisfy your competitive spirit in a safe environment, while improving your taekwondo skills and strategies.
When I first started my taekwondo training it was with an association that trained purely in the realm of traditional tkd. The focus of the tkd classes was completely centered around the "art" of taekwondo, foregoing the more modern aspect of taekwondo competition.
But the grounding was great - the techniques, the patterns, the sparring, the history and philosophy, right down to the mental state you should be achieving during each taekwondo class. It was brilliant...through this training the foundation I achieved in martial arts taekwondo was probably more complete than I could have expected from just about any other tkd school. However when you're a teenager, achieved your black belt, and are full of youthful energy and competitive spirit, it's almost inevitable that you'll be attracted to the competition side of taekwondo...at least that's the way it was with me.
I moved on (with some regret) to an an association affiliated with the WTF, and I didn't look back. Luckily I can say that I achieved some small success, having competed at an international level.
Of course training in tradition taekwondo was still a fundamental part of of this tkd school, but there was a whole other level of training that I embraced...taekwondo competition. The training regime of these competition taekwondo classes was completely different. The emphasis was (is) on fitness, speed and power, movement, strategy, modified extensions and rotations of the hips to throw faster kicks with more depth, counter attacking...and drills, drills, drills...and more drills. And naturally you learn the rules of taekwondo competition, so that it becomes second nature. This type of training is what is known as being sport specific, and is essentially designed to make the taekwondo player more efficient at scoring points against an opponent in a taekwondo competition.
At the modern day, elite level of taekwondo competition training, science also plays a part in the structuring of sport training. Nowadays there may be several coaches to work on different parts of your "game", dietitians, physiotherapists, weight training specialists, and even sports psychologists. Being an Olympic sport, many countries even have a specialized program at their national Institutes of Sport.
You can train and compete at many different levels of taekwondo competition, from club competition, through to inter-club, through to state and national titles, and through to the international level of competition such as World Championships and the Olympic Games. There are 2 major sporting Taekwondo associations, with a different set of rules and strategies, that offer competitions though all levels (WTF rules being the rules of Olympic Taekwondo).
Most belt levels are able to compete in local taekwondo competition and safety is always paramount with competitor experience levels and weight being matched, protective equipment required, a set of rules to compete within, and with a number of expert "officials" being on hand to referee, judge, and officiate the taekwondo competition.
The Benefits of Taekwondo Competition
- Improve your taekwondo specific fitness, speed, strength, and flexibility.
- Improve your basic taekwondo technique.
- Provide a competitive outlet in a relatively safe environment.
- Improve your timing, reflexes and reaction.
- Most belt levels and age groups can participate.
- You can network with other like-minded people.
- It's an avenue to test your skills against an opponent of equal experience and weight.
- As your competition experience and expertise grows, the opportunity for high level competition is available.
- It's great FUN!
The taekwondo competition side of tkd training opened up a whole new world to me. If you are at all attracted to this side of taekwondo training I urge you to give it a go.