No! The idea of self-defense, ( hoshinsool in Korean ), is pretty much described in the phrase itself. The defense of one’s self. At no point do we concentrate of becoming a killing machine or anything to that affect. Learning to defend yourself is all about avoiding conflict, being aware of your surroundings, de-escalating violent confrontations and when necessary using force to protect your life if it’s in danger. We train so that if combat is thrust upon us, instinct will take over and help us to overcome the battle and survive.
Basic self-defense is part of this taekwondo program because the art is more than just learning how to kick or punch; it’s also about building our spirit and confidence, forcing us to study ourselves in a way that reveals our strengths and our weaknesses. Physical fitness and perfect technique can only get us so far if we do not balance it all with thoughtful action.
Throughout the process of learning taekwondo in this program you will perform prearranged self-defense drills designed to help you think about what can be done if a situation to defend yourself arises. The techniques you will be practicing are samples of “what if” scenarios. What if someone tried to choke you this way? What if someone tried to tackle you to the ground? What if someone grabbed your arm to pull you into a car? The list goes on and on.
To work on self-defense drills two students will be partnered up and each will take turns playing the role of an attacker while the other concentrates on defending against an assault. Let’s use my mirror twin to show an example. Two students partner up and one reaches out and grabs the wrist of the other emulating an aggressor’s intention to pull them away. The defending student must then learn to calmly but aggressively take action to free their hand, disable the assailant if need be, and get away.
Giving students examples of situations, and a method of defending themselves against various ways someone might attack, can help build a background of experience to draw upon and apply to similar but different situations that may occur. No amount of drills can ever prepare a person for all situations that could happen. You could probably train thousands of them and still get taken off guard by someone doing something you hadn’t thought of. The best we could ever hope is that the action we do take, keeps us alive and that our attitude and spirit pushes us beyond the will of our attacker, so in the end, we come out on top.
Training traditional self-defense drills over and over helps to build that bank of experience, but it’s up to the student to adapt on the fly while applying those experiences.to similar situations. As you train with fellow students and work on self-defense, do so with great respect for your partners and with a serious and thoughtful attitude. Each belt rank will bring more self-defense examples for you to learn and perfect. Do not neglect the self-defense aspect of taekwondo simply because other aspects may be easier, more fun, or lend themselves to your strengths. A true Taekwondoist will be well rounded in all aspects of the art which includes self-defense..