You walk over the practice mat. Your white belt on. You’re persevering. The majority of individuals NEVER even attempt to “step on the mat”, so give yourself a high five! You have made the decision to take on a challenging and fantastic journey.
But as you already know, it’s likely to be a steep climb. Taekwondo can be difficult. As your more mature peers deftly dance about with sophisticated footwork executing jumping and spinning kicks with ease, you may feel small stumbling around trying to replicate these outrageous maneuvers. Perhaps you may feel lost or overwhelmed. It’s OK, everyone does at one time or another.
Probably on your mind is the question, “Is there a simpler method to become proficient in Taekwondo?”
Or perhaps a better question would be, “Can I improve at Taekwondo more quickly?”
The simple answer is YES.
Keep in mind, the following tips merely make learning taekwondo easier, not simpler. Small steps move use along much more quickly than trying to attack everything head-on, so try to keep the following points in mind while you exercise:
5 Ways to Improve Quickly in Taekwondo
GOOD LUCK! But in all seriousness, stiff muscles will not work in your favor. Tension weakens and slows down punches and kicks, and it causes you to tire more quickly while working out. So, literally relax, it is necessary for executing effective technique. Practice punching and kicking with limbs that are entirely relaxed, tensing only before making contact with your target. Shadowbox with an emphasis on slack shoulders and limbs. It will become more automatic the more you do it.
Practice consistently (at home)
Attend class every week, that should be obvious, but whenever you have the time, you must also exercise at home. In my experience as both a pupil and an instructor, people that practice Taekwondo at home tend to improve far more quickly than their classmates. This is especially true of their flexibility and cardio.
Whether shadow boxing or sparring one on one, technique is built by repetition. You must practice a motor skill (such as kicking) in situations where you will really use it if you intend to become proficient at executing and using it. For competition or self-defense, you require repetition to grow. What’s the best thing you can do to train for a fight in the real world? Lots and lots of sparring. (Just a heads-up: you might need to wait until you reach a certain belt level before your instructor allows you to spar; don’t worry, just practice tips 1 and 2 in the interim.)
Stretching and flexibility are an important part of martial arts. Improving flexibility will increase the height of your kicks and allow you to perform more challenging movements. Always remember its best practice to make sure your muscles are warm before stretching. This will allow muscles to be more pliable, lead to safe stretching, and provide you with the most benefits. Therefore, if you plan to undertake a stretching workout at home make sure add in 5-10 minutes of active movements such as a jog, some jumping jack, squats and push-ups before beginning your stretching routine.
Know the fundamentalsI am aware how flashy the spin hook kick is. How cool it is to see a perfectly executed jump spin back kick. But remember, for now, you must focus on the fundamentals. Those techniques are for a later time. If you don’t master the fundamental kicks and punches, you won’t be very good at the more complex variations. Additionally, the fundamentals are what win the majority of karate fights. Fundamentals are most useful for self-defense. If you hope to earn a black belt in the future, you would be wise to adhere to these tips. (Extra pro tip: Pay attention to your sidekick. Good sidekicks are practical as well as impressive.)