As Taekwondo is a Korean martial art you will find that it is common for classes to be taught in both Korean and English.
You will especially find these words in the opening and closing ceremonies of each class.
Below are some of the words that you will hear and what they mean.
- Do-jang – The training area.
- Chung-neol – To lineup by rank. Senior members will be at the front of the class.
- Cha-ryeot – Attention – This stance is done by putting your heels together and having your feet at a 45 degree angle. Your hands will be in fists and at the side of your body with elbows slightly bent.
- Baro – At ease or return to previous position.
- An-jeo – Kneeling position, used when meditation.
- Hae-san – Class dismissed. You cannot leave the Do-jang without permission.
You are not expected to know all of these commands as soon as you start. You will be able to just follow along at the start and learn the terms over time.
A great way to remember them is repetition at home. You will find other helpful phrases at the end of this article.
Typically in a class the instructor will perform the action and then the most senior student will give the orders as it is disrespectful to issue commands to one’s senior.
The usual structure of a closing ceremony will go as follows:
- Students will be asked to line up facing the front of the Do-jang, the more senior students will be to your right. Meaning that if you are new to Taekwondo you will be lined up at the back left of the class.
- The instructor will get into An-jeo to begin mediation.
- After a appropriate amount of time the instructor will end meditation by clapping twice
- The senior student will then call Baro.
- The senior student will call the class to face the instructor and then bow.
- The second most senior student will call the class to face the senior student and bow.
- The second most senior student will then tell the rest of the class that training is over
- It is customary to clap when class is over.
Start Of A Taekwondo Class
The usual structure of a opening ceremony will go as follows:
- Students will be asked to form lines (Chung-neol).
- The class will be called to attention (Cha-ryeot).
- You will be asked to bow to the flags or the ceremony wall. The flags are typically of the country you are in, the Olympic flag, and the South Korean flag. This is to show respect to your country and the history of Taekwondo.
- Some classes may ask you to say the tenets of taekwondo or ask the senior students to recite the student oath of Taekwondo. You can find both of these below.
- The senior student will then instruct the class to bow to the instructor.
- You will then be called to Baro and class will start.
In some classes you may meditate at the beginning of a lesson in order to get into the right mindset for Taekwondo.
Tenets Of Taekwondo
Sometimes you will be asked to recite the tenets of Taekwondo. They are based on the principles of the ancient Korean warriors the Hwarang who are responsible for the spread of Taekkyeon (the ancient form of Taekwondo). The tenets are:
- Self control
- Indomitable spirit
Student Oath Of Taekwondo
The student oath may be recited in class. This will be said by the senior members reciting one line each.
Everyone in class will either hold a hand over their heart or raise their right hand. The student oath of Taekwondo is below.
- I shall observe tenets of Taekwondo
- I shall respect instructor and seniors
- I shall never misuse Taekwondo
- I shall be a champion of freedom and justice
- I shall build a more peaceful world
Bowing is a pivotal part of both Taekwondo and Korean culture, it will be referred to in class as ‘Kyong ye’.
You are expected to bow to all the fellow students in your Do-jang when greeting them, even when you see each other out in public.
It is also customary to say ‘Taekwon’ when bowing, typically at a 15 degree angle and with eye contact.
As a student you are expected to bow to your instructor and any senior members on command.
A junior will bow before a senior member and typically lower than them to show respect.
This etiquette follows across other actions such as sitting down and standing up after a senior member to show respect.
Bowing is not just to show respect but also to humble yourself and show a willingness to learn from instructors and fellow students. Bowing will typically be done in silence, or saying “yes sir or ma’am”.
It is tradition to bow when entering a training area to show you are in the proper mindset and leaving the outside world behind.
You will also bow when leaving a training area to show you are exiting that mindset.
Sparring matches begin and end with a bow. This is to show respect and to remind yourself that your partner is a human and not a training dummy.
As well as bowing it is customary to give training equipment to fellow students with both hands.
You will also receive the training equipment with both hands. Remember to bow to say thank you.
Other Useful Phrases
- Hello – Annyeonghaseyo
- Goodbye – Annyeong (This is an informal way of saying goodbye)
- Thank you – Kamsahamnida
- Taekwondo school – Kwan
- Uniform – Dobok
- The sound you make when you yell – Ki-yahp
- Sparring – Gyoroggi
- Round of competition – Jeon
- Point scored in competition – Jeum
- Referee – Joo Sim
- Begin – Sijak
- End – Geuman
- One – Hana
- Two – Dul
- Three – Set
- Four – Net
- Five – Dasot
- Six – Yasot
- Seven – Ilgup
- Eight – Yosol
- Nine – Ahop
- Ten – Yeol
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