The underpinning philosophy and etiquette of TaeKwon-do, allied with its huge and proven ability to develop self-confidence, courtesy and humility, align perfectly with the Royal School’s goal to develop the whole person. Such a cultural match makes this martial art an ‘absolute must have’ on the Royal School co-curriculum. Those involved in teaching and grading it embody quintessentially the aims and goals of this ancient art and are superb role-models for our pupils. We must remember that in addition to the delivery of a skill set: “what the teacher is, the teacher imparts”. Master Iqbal and Mr Taylor, through their significant demeanours, as well as their formidable skill and experience, make the understanding of this well-known teaching aphorism so easy.
Paul Crute, Headmaster
Ancient Korea was divided into three kingdoms, of which Silla was the smallest and so faced constant invasion. A group known as the Hwa-Rang-Do practised Taek-Kyon and unifed the three kingdoms. The teaching of Taek-Kyon spread throughout Korea and was practised under its ancient name for over 1300 years. On 11th April 1955 the name of TaeKwon-Do was introduced and it is now practised in over sixty countries around the world.
TaeKwon-Do is a martial art that is famous for its highly skilled leg techniques and its speed and power. It is an effective form of self-defence as well as having a competitive sport element. As students’ progress in TaeKwon-Do, their level of development is signified by the colour of their belt:
White – The origin (beginner)
Yellow – The earth (soil)
Green – The growth (grass)
Blue – Reaching for the sky
Red – The flow of blood
Black – Impervious to darkness
The belt system allows students to learn that through their own efforts they can progress, and the new belt makes a very tangible goal. Discipline and good behaviour is actively encouraged and forms part of the criteria for gaining each belt. Etiquette is an important part of traditional TaeKwon-Do training.
TaeKwon-Do classes cover a variety of elements including self-defence, body conditioning, sparring, pad work, patterns, and cardiovascular fitness. Korean terminology is used from the start and is built upon as students move up the ranks. The positive effects of training are varied and numerous and as time progresses students will improve their coordination, concentration, spatial awareness, speed, reactions, strength and flexibility. Classes are conducted in strict measure with sound basic training.
In training, students are encouraged to think about and develop the tenets of TaeKwon-Do:
Courtesy (Ye Ui)
Integrity (Yom Chi)
Perseverance (In Nae)
Self-Control (Guk Gi)
Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)
This aspect is important as it helps students to develop more than just the physical skills.
TaeKwon-Do training engages students on many different levels. From the start of training it becomes evident that the body will become honed to facilitate the physical requirements needed both inside and maybe outside the dojang (training hall). Students are softly encouraged to reflect on how one can help not just themselves but also others. The idea is nurtured that our interactions with fellow human beings can be profound and our respectful and kind behaviour and actions can leave lasting positive impressions. As physical and mental strength is gained, one becomes quietly confident. Managing emotions in training is transferred to everyday life. Arrogance is shunned but being humble is encouraged.
The classes at The Royal School adhere to all aspects of traditional TaeKwon-Do. As children grow they go through not only physical change but also emotional and intellectual change. This is the normal development of children and from the outset, pupils will benefit from the structure and guidance within TaeKwon-Do. Instructors are selected and trained over many years to adhere to the traditions of TaeKwon-Do and to be positive role models not just in class but also in society as a whole. The Instructor at the Royal School is Mr Taylor III Degree (Dan) Black Belt who has been training for nineteen years and has experience as an Instructor in England and Northern Ireland. He is a fully qualified National Instructor and has taught children and adults of all ages. As a university graduate and schoolteacher, Mr Taylor is aware of the academic calendar and the commitments of pupils. Mr Taylor is a direct student of Master Iqbal VII Degree. Master Iqbal visits the Royal School club to conduct gradings (tests) and seminars. Master Iqbal has many years experience instructing TaeKwon-Do in schools, universities and the community.