Tae Kwon-Do

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Tae Kwon-Do Founder, General Choi Hong Hi, trains 2 students

Tae Kwon-Do is a version of an ancient form of unarmed combat practised for many centuries in the Orient. Tae Kwon-Do became perfected in its present form in Korea.

Translated from Korean, ‘Tae’ literally means to jump, kick or smash with the foot. ‘Kwon’ means a fist chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. ‘Do’ means art, way or method. Tae Kwon-Do indicates the technique of unarmed combat for self-defence, involving the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks, dodges and interception with the hand, arms and feet to the rapid destruction of the opponent.

To the Korean people Tae Kwon-Do is more than a mere use of skilled movements. It also implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling a concept and spirit of strict self-imposed discipline and an ideal of noble moral re-armament.

In these days of violence and intimidation, which seem to plague our modern societies, Tae Kwon-Do enables the weak to possess a fine weapon to defend himself or herself and defeat the opponent as well. When wrongly applied it can be a lethal weapon

What is a Pattern?

A pattern in a set of fundamental movements, mainly defence and attack, set in a logical sequence to deal with one or more imaginary opponent's. Patterns are an indication of a students progress, a barometer in evaluating an individuals technique.

Why do we perform Patterns?

We practice patterns to improve our Tae Kwon-Do techniques, to develop sparring techniques, to improve flexibility of movement, master body shifting, develop muscles, balance and breath control. They also enable us to acquire techniques which cannot be obtained from other forms of training.

Why are there 24 Patterns?

The reason for 24 patterns in Tae Kwon-Do is because the founder, Major General Choi Hong Hi, compared the life of a man with a day in the life of the earth and believed that some people should strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy to forthcoming generations and in doing so gain immortality.

Therefore, if we can leave something behind for the welfare of mankind, maybe it will be the most important thing to happen in our lives.

As the Founder said:
“Here I leave Tae Kwon-Do for mankind.
As a trace of a moan of the late 20th Century.
The 24 patterns represent 24 hours,
One day or all my life.”

The following Points Should be Considered when performing Patterns.

  1. Patterns should begin and end on the same spot. This will indicate the performers accuracy.
  2. Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
  3. Muscles of the body should be tensed and relaxed at the proper critical moments in the pattern.
  4. Each movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to instruction.
  5. Students should perform each movement with realism.
  6. Students should know the purpose of each movement.
  7. A pattern should be performed in a rhythmic movement with the absence of stiffness.
  8. Each pattern should be perfected before moving onto the next.

Three Step Sparring (8th Kup)

Correct facing, forearm conditioning, correct blocks, correct stances, counter attacks and timing. All attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block. All defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block.
Attack = Three middle section obverse punches in walking stance to the opponent's solar plexus.
Defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Basic Level
  • No 1. Right leg back walking stance, middle inner forearm block to the inside three times
    Counter attack = Reverse punch
  • No 2. Left leg back L-stance, middle inner forearm block to the outside three times.
    Counter attack = Move the left leg forward 45 degrees, move the right leg behind the opponent's front leg into a left L-stance, execute a right knife hand strike to the neck.
  • No 3. Left leg back L-stance, middle inward outer forearm block to the inside three times.
    Counter attack = Slide forward in a left L stance and execute a right front backfist strike to the opponent's nose.
  • No 4. Left leg back L-stance, middle inward forearm block to the outside three times.
    Counter attack = move the left leg into a sitting stance, focus with left hand, execute a double punch to the opponent's kidney area.

Three Step Sparring (7th Kup)

Correct facing, forearm conditioning, correct blocks, correct stances, counter attacks and timing. All attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block. All defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block.
Attack = Three middle section obverse punches in walking stance to the opponent's solar plexus.
Defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Intermediate Level
  • No 5. Right leg back L stance, middle outer forearm block to the inside two times. Counter attack= Move to the right into sitting stance parallel to opponent. Execute a left outer forearm block and a high section punch to opponent's jaw.
  • No 6. Right leg back L-stance, middle knife hand block to the inside two times. Counter attack= Move to the right form a sitting stance parallel to opponent, execute left outer knife hand block and a high inward knife hand strike to the side of the opponent's neck.
  • No 7. Right leg back L-stance, middle outer forearm block to the inside two times. Counter attack= Slide back at a 30° angle into a right L stance with a forearm guarding block execute a right front kick landing in a right walking stance and follow with a double punch to solar plexus.

Three Step Sparring (6th Kup)

Correct facing, forearm conditioning, correct blocks, correct stances, counter attacks and timing. All attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block. All defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Attackers start in left walking stance, obverse low section outer forearm block.
Attack = Three middle section obverse punches in walking stance to the opponent's solar plexus.
Defenders start in parallel ready stance.

Advanced Level
  • No 8. Right leg back L stance, middle knifehand block to the inside two times.
    Counter attack = Slide back at a 45° angle into a right L stance whilst performing a knifehand guarding block. Execute a right side-kick landing in left L stance, right knifehand strike to the neck.
  • No 9. Right leg back into right L stance, middle palm pushing block to the outside three times.
    Counter attack = Slide back at a 45° angle to the outside of your opponent into a right L stance with a knifehand guarding block. Execute a right mid-section turning kick to the opponent's solar plexus, put the kicking foot behind the opponent's front foot, landing in vertical stance whilst executing a knifehand strike to the back of the neck
  • No 10. Right leg back L stance, middle knifehand block to the inside two times.
    Counter attack = Slide back at a 45° angle into a right L stance with a knifehand guarding block. Execute a reverse side-kick with right leg, land in a right walking stance whilst executing a left hand reverse knifehand strike to the opponent's side of the neck.

Two Step Sparring (basic)

Two step sparring enables the student to confirm all he/she has learnt in 3 step sparring, against more varied attacks and develop combinations.

Attackers start right leg back in L-stance, forearm guarding block.
Defenders start in parallel ready stance.

  • No 1. Attack = Right leg forward, right walking stance, obverse punch, left low front snap kick.
    Defence = Left leg back, right walking stance, rising block; right leg back, left walking stance, X fist pressing block.
    Counter = Slide forward in walking stance, twin vertical punch to opponent's face.
  • No 2. Attack = Right side punch, fixed stance, middle turning kick left leg.
    Defence = Right leg back, ‘L’ stance, upward palm block; left leg back, left L stance, waist block with right outer forearm.
    Counter = Slide forward into right L stance, right side elbow strike to opponent's abdomen.
  • No 3. Attack = Right leg front kick, step forward into left walking stance, high twin vertical punch.
    Defence = Right leg back, left walking stance, low X fist pressing block. Left Leg back, right walking stance, high outer forearm wedging block.
    Counter = Knee kick to solar plexus, at the same time pull opponent's shoulders forward and downwards.
  • No 4. Attack = Right flat fingertip thrust in right walking stance, middle side-kick with left leg.
    Defence = Right leg back left walking stance, knifehand rising block, left leg back L stance, inward palm block.
    Counter = Front snap kick to coccyx, twin upset punch to kidney area.

Two Step Sparring (advanced)

Two step sparring enables the student to confirm all he/she has learnt in 3 step sparring, against more varied attacks and develop combinations.

Attackers start right leg back in L-stance, forearm guarding block.
Defenders start in parallel ready stance.

  • No 5. Attack = Right leg reverse side-kick, step forward into a left walking stance, high obverse palm strike.
    Defence = Right L stance, palm waist block; left leg back left L stance, inward outer forearm block.
    Counter = form a right walking stance, middle left reverse knifehand inward strike (slipping right foot)
  • No 6. Attack = Right high turning kick, step forward into a left walking stance, arc-hand strike to throat.
    Defence = Move left diagonally forming a sitting stance, twin straight forearm block, right leg back. right L stance palm hooking block (grabbing the arm)
    Counter = Left side-kick (still holding grabbed arm.)
  • No 7. Attack = Right fixed stance, side fist side strike, left middle reverse turning kick.
    Defence = Left L stance, twin forearm block, right leg back right L stance, middle knifehand guarding block ( sliding away using block as guard only ).
    Counter = Right high reverse turning kick.
  • No 8. Attack = Right middle side-kick, spinning high knifehand strike into right L stance, (turning anti-clockwise).
    Defence = Right L stance, inward inner forearm waist block, step left foot to right, step back into right L stance, knifehand guarding block.
    Counter = Left X stance, high backfist strike to temple or back of neck.

One Step Sparring:

One step sparring is the most realistic form of sparring there is, simply because the defender cannot foresee the attack coming. Therefore, the defender must have very fast reflexes, in order to defend and defeat the opponent. No locks restraints or takedowns

Basic one step sparring (Optional Examples)

Both attacker and defender start in parallel ready position, attacker steps forward with right leg into walking stance and punches with right hand. On the second occasion, the same attacker steps forward but with left leg, and left-hand punching.

  • No 1. Move the left leg forward 45°, move the right leg behind the opponent's front leg into a left L stance, execute a right knifehand strike to the neck, followed by side-kick with right foot and step away.
  • No 2. Step forward into left L stance and execute a right front backfist strike to the philtrum, follow by an upset punch (left hand) crescent punch (right hand). This can be alternated.
  • No 3. Move the left leg into a sitting stance, execute double punch, followed by turning kick with right leg followed by reverse side-kick with the leg.
  • No 4. Move to the right into sitting stance, parallel to opponent. Execute a left outer forearm block and a high section punch to jaw, simultaneously, grab head with both hands and pull down whilst performing a left knee strike.
  • No 5. Move to the right, from a sitting stance parallel to opponent, execute left outer knifehand guard and a high inward knifehand strike to the neck, followed by upper elbow strike with left elbow
  • No 6. Move right foot to left foot, pushing off left foot slide at back at a 45° angle into a right L stance with a knifehand guarding block. Execute a right side-kick landing in left L stance, right knifehand strike to the neck, grab their punching hand with your left hand, pull in and elbow strike to their head with your right arm whilst sliding into a vertical stance.
  • No 7. Move right foot to left foot pushing off left foot, slide back at a 45° angle into a right L stance with knifehand guarding block. Execute a reverse side-kick, land in a right walking stance whilst executing a left hand reverse knifehand strike to the philtrum, step out and perform turning kick with your left leg, step down reverse turning kick with your right leg, (attacker performs checking block).

Three Step semi-free Sparring:

This form of sparring is designed as a step forward from basic three step sparring. It involves three consecutive attacks (hand or feet) and three blocks or evasions, plus a counter attack. Three step semi-free sparring should not be hurried, the secret is reaction force and quick, intelligent movements. This is where the true art of sparring is learnt.

Basic Level
Attackers start in right L stance whilst performing middle forearm guarding block.
Defenders start in parallel stance.

Attack = Kicking with back lag first, front kick, side-kick, turning kick (alternating legs)
Defence = Any block suitable for each individual kick.
Counter = Reverse punch only.

Intermediate Level
Attackers start in right L stance whilst performing middle forearm guarding block.
Defenders start in parallel stance.

Attack = Kicking with back leg each time, ant three kicks performed in any order from the following: Front kick, Side-Kick, Turning kick, Reverse side-kick.
Defence = Any block suitable for each individual kick.
Counter = any hand attack.

Advanced Level 
Attackers start in right L stance (right or left) whilst performing middle forearm guarding block.
Defenders start in parallel stance.

Attack = Stepping forward, execute any three techniques using the rear hand or foot.
Defence = Any block suitable for each individual technique.
Counter = Any hand or foot technique.

One for One Sparring:

This is mainly used for stamina training between intermediate and advanced students. Both students start in fighting position and when the command is given, one student will start with one technique, as soon as his technique is over, the other student attacks immediately, and so on. Because this is a stamina exercise, it does not mean that techniques should be sloppy, they should be crisp and well executed.

Free Sparring:

Free sparring is basically putting what has been learnt so far into practice, with no prewarning of attack. Therefore, not as many defending techniques can be practised as in the other forms of sparring. Free sparring can be practised with no pads and should be strictly non-contact. Semi contact sparring is allowed only with adequate protection (i.e. safety boots and gloves etc.). This type of sparring must only be carried out under strict supervision of a qualified instructor.

Tae Kwon-Do was inaugurated in South Korea on April 11th, 1955 following extensive research and development by the founder Major General Choi Hong Hi, 9th Degree Black Belt

Tae Kwon-Do was introduced into the United Kingdom In 1967

The Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain (T.A.G.B.) was formed in August 1983.

The TAGB is a member of Tae Kwon-Do International. Tae Kwon-Do International is a worldwide body with representation in every continent of the globe. Tae Kwon-Do International was inaugurated in England on 13th November 1993.

On the 21st of April 1988 a new governing body for Tae Kwon-Do was formed, called the British Tae Kwon-Do Council (B.T.C.) This now incorporates 15 different organisations and has a membership of over 44,000. It is the only body recognised by the United Kingdom Sports Council. The TAGB is a founder member of the B.T.C. It is also the largest organisation in the B.T.C. Current membership of TAGB is over 25,000.

Tae Kwon-Do is a martial art developed over 20 centuries ago in Korea. The earliest records of its practice date back to 50BC where tomb paintings show men in fighting stances practising forms known as Taek Kyon.

It is believed that the origins of Taek Kyon date even further back and originated as self-defence against wild animals whose defensive and offensive movements were also the subject of much analysis. Taek Kyon, at the time was only one style of fighting. Others had names such as Subak, Tak Kyon and so on.

By 57 BC Korea had three kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla) and, with a certain degree of inevitability, a strong rivalry amongst them led to the focus on the development of very effective fighting techniques. History, repeatedly, has shown that it is the victor who writes the script and this case was no exception. Silla won its wars against its two rivals and in 668 AD it unified the three kingdoms. Instrumental in its victory were the Hwa Rang Do, an elite group of young men who were devoted to cultivating their bodies and minds and serving the kingdom. Hwa Rang Do, quite literally, means flowering youth (Hwa=flower, Rang=young man) and the young noblemen of the Hwa Rang Do practised various forms of martial arts. The Hwa Rang Do also developed an honour code and it is this which today forms the philosophical background of Tae Kwon-Do.

In 936AD the Silla dynasty came to an end and with it the kingdom. In its place, Wang Kon founded the Koryo dynasty. Koryo is an abbreviation of Koguryo which Wang Kon sought to revive. The modern name Korea is derived directly from the word Koryo. It was during the Koryo that a new sport was given form. It was called Soo Bakh Do and it was used, principally, as a military training method. Drawing from the many different forms of martial arts which had preceded it Soo Bakh Do used bare hands and feet as a weapon and its intensity was such that it was seen as a very good way of maintaining one's strength and overall fitness. As a result, its popularity spread throughout the kingdom of Koryo.

This was the precursor to modern day Tae Kwon-Do. Despite its effectiveness as a means of training for warfare however and its popularity with the peasants in the fields by 1492 it had almost disappeared. What happened was that King Taejo, founder of the Yi dynasty, replaced Buddhism with Confucianism as the state religion. The teachings of Confucius, imported from the refined, rarefied culture of China, dictated that the higher class of man should read poetry and music and the practice of martial arts should be something left to the less refined, even inferior, man. The Yi dynasty lasted from 1392 to 1910 and during that time the practice of martial arts and the code of honour of the Hwa Rang remained alive in isolated, stubbornly traditional cultural backwaters of Korea.

In 1910 however, Korea was invaded by Japan who dominated it until the end of World War II. The Japanese tried to erase all of the Korean culture including its martial arts. As is usual with such situations this brought a stubborn resurgence in the practice of martial arts which now, once more, had a very practical role to play against an invader who strictly controlled the supply of weapons.

Along with occupation, the Japanese also brought karate with them and indeed the quick, straight-line movements which characterise many Tae Kwon Do moves today are a direct result of the legacy left behind by the Japanese army of occupation. After the end of World War II, when Korea became independent, several Kwans, or fighting styles, arose. These were: Chung Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Chi Do Kwan and Song Moo Kwan. All these Kwans were united in 1955 under the name of Tae Soo Do.

Korea’s struggle to re-discover its identity and many traditions was, with some degree of inevitability, reflected in the subsequent development of its martial arts movement and by the beginning of 1957 several Korean martial arts masters had adopted the name Tae Kwon Do for their form of martial arts, because of its similarity to Tae Kyon. The very first Tae Kwon Do students were soldiers because General Choi Hong-Hi, who is credited as the father of modern Tae Kwon Do, required his soldiers to train in it.

The police and air force had to train in Tae Kwon Do as well. At the time Tae Kwon Do was still very heavily under the influence of Japanese karate and, indeed, many of its moves and style bore a very close resemblance to Shotokan Karate. In 1961, however, the Korean Tae Kwon Do Union arose from the Soo Bakh Do Association and the Tae Soo Do Association. In 1962 the Korean Amateur Sports Association acknowledged the Korean Tae Kwon Do Union and in 1965 the name was set to Korean Tae Kwon Do Association (KTA).

General Choi Hong-Hi was president of the KTA at the time and he was asked to start the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) as the international branch of the KTA. What follows next is best described as the rise of the acronyms. In 1961, following the overthrow of the southern government of Korea general Choi left for the United States where he established the ITF as a separate entity, in 1963. Tae Kwon Do was introduced in the UK in 1967, just four years after the foundation of ITF. Six years later the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) was founded and in 1980 it was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which made it a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games.

The Korea Tae Kwon Do Association (KTA) is the National Governing Body (NGB) for Tae Kwon Do in the Republic of Korea, just like the United States Tae Kwon Do Union (USTU) is the NGB for Tae Kwon Do in the United States. The World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) is made up of Tae Kwon Do NGBs. These NGBs are member organisations of the WTF. Individuals can be affiliated to the WTF through their NGBs but cannot join the WTF directly! As the popularity of Tae Kwon Do increased in the west several attempts were made to unite the two Tae Kwon Do organisations, but these were unsuccessful. It was largely because of all this that in August 1983 it was decided to form, in the UK, an organisation that would be run on principals far more democratic than were permitted by the two governing bodies of the time (the ITF and WTF). This became the basis of the Tae Kwon Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB).

Five years later, in April 1988, the TAGB became a founding member of the British Tae Kwon Do Council (BTC). The BTC is the only body recognised by the United Kingdom Sports Council and it incorporates 11 different organisations. The birth of the TAGB and the formation of the BTC represent a happy chapter in the tumultuous history of Tae Kwon Do. With the power of hindsight, it is easy to make light of the differences of organisations which have more in common than not. It would, however, be also proper to reflect that the birth of Tae Kwon Do, its development and its propagation are as much a mirror of its troubled origin and the practical needs which made it possible as they are a telling remark on the apparent inability of its many governing bodies to cast aside their differences and find some common ground.

The TAGB, with over 25,000 members represents the next stage in the development of Tae Kwon Do. With its grounding in the ethos and tenets which were first espoused by the Hwa Rang over 2,000 years ago and its open acceptance and constant development of forms, training techniques and ideas, it stands poised to take an ancient fighting form into the 21st century, successfully linking the distant past with an equally distant, and certainly no less wondrous, future.

In view of this, in 1993, a new world body was formed called Tae Kwon Do International. The new body encompasses both ITF and WTF stylists, it is entirely non-political in orientation and its sole aim is to promote the benefits of Tae Kwon Do as a sport and as a martial art, worldwide. The TAGB is a founding member of this new body.

Courtesy - To be polite to everyone. You must always be courteous to your Instructors, seniors and fellow students.

Integrity - To be honest with yourself. You must be able to define the difference between right and wrong.

Perseverance - To achieve a goal. Whether a higher grade or a new technique, you should never stop trying.

Self-Control - To always be in control of your actions. You must be able to live, work and train within your capabilities.

Indomitable Spirit - To show courage when you and your principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. You should do your utmost to never give up.

As a student of Tae Kwon-Do, I do solemnly pledge to abide by the rules and regulations of the Tae Kwon-Do Association, to strive always to be modest, courteous and respectful to all members, in particular my seniors, to put the art into use only for self-defence or defence of the weak and never to abuse my knowledge of the art.

Every student must observe the following conduct in the Dojang in order to maintain an orderly and effective training hall.

  1. Bow upon entering
  2. Bow to the Instructor at a proper distance
  3. Exchange greetings between students
  4. Bow to Instructor upon forming a line prior to training
  5. Bow to the Instructor upon forming a line prior to dismissal
  6. Bow before leaving the Dojang.
  1. Never tire of learning; a student must always be eager to learn and ask questions. A good student can learn anywhere anytime. This is the secret of knowledge.
  2. A good student must be willing to sacrifice for his art and his Instructor. Many students feel that their training is a commodity bought with monthly fees, and are unwilling to take part in any demonstrations, teaching, or work around the Dojang. An instructor can afford to lose this type of student.
  3. Always set a good example to lower ranking students. It is only natural that they attempt to emulate their seniors.
  4. Always be loyal and never criticise the Instructor, Tae Kwon-do, or the teaching methods.
  5. If an Instructor teaches a technique, practise it and attempt to utilise it.
  6. Remember that a student’s conduct outside the Dojang reflects on the Art and on their Instructor.
  7. If a student adopts a technique from another Dojang and the Instructor disapproves of it, the student must discard it immediately, or train in the Dojang where it was learnt.
  8. Never be disrespectful to the Instructor, although a student’ s allowed to disagree with the Instructor, he must first follow the Instruction, then discuss the matter later.
  9. Always arrive before training is due to start and ensure that you have a good attendance record.
  10. Never break a trust.
  1. All students must complete and sign the relevant application forms prior to commencing training.
  2. All students must be in possession of a T.A.G.B. membership and record card after their first four weeks training.
  3. Subscriptions to be paid in the first week of every month. Failure to do so will incur a penalty fee.
  4. The build-up of arrears is NOT ACCEPTED.
  5. One month's prior notice must be given for adjustment of fees owing to holidays etc.
  6. Any student not attending lessons and not paying fees for a continuous period of 2 months or more, shall pay a re-enrolment fee before being allowed to re commence training.
  7. No smoking, eating, drinking or wearing of jewellery, rings etc. in the dojang is permitted.
  8. Whilst wearing a Dobok NO SMOKING is permitted regardless of the place. (dojang, tournament, demonstration etc.)
  9. When eating or drinking whilst wearing a Dobok your belt must be removed.
  10. After the first grading a Dobok must be worn during training in the dojang, wearing tracksuits or outside clothes is not permitted, unless prior permission has been obtained from the Instructor.
  11. The most senior member present will commence training sessions promptly until the Instructor arrives.
  12. Misuse of the Art will result in disciplinary action.

Grading will depend on attendance and the Instructors discretion as well as technical ability.

  1. No student may officially change schools without completing a transfer form and obtaining prior permission from both Instructors concerned.
  2. All students should be in possession of a Students Handbook after their first grading.

The Tae Kwon Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB) is a nationally recognised Tae Kwon Do organisation in this country. It was formed in 1983 and has since become the founding member of the British Tae Kwon Do Council (BTC) which is recognised by the United Kingdom Sports Council.

TAGB instructors are highly qualified, accredited individuals with many years’ experience in teaching mixed classes which often include young children and disability groups. Training in Tae Kwon Do can start at any age. TAGB members start as young as five and recently one of our members gained his fifth dan black belt on his 70th birthday!

Because of its high-kicking, fast-paced style Tae Kwon Do is a thoroughly modern way of getting fit. The TAGB is a great advocate of fun and fitness at an early age and TAGB instructors often work with local schools to teach self-defence. As the largest martial arts organisation in the world the TAGB has 20,000 accredited, members and organises seminars, demonstrations, competitions and national and international championships every month of the year. It also publishes a bi-monthly, glossy, subscription magazine called TAGB Times which carries club news, contact addresses, modern training techniques and events.

Tae Kwon Do training is about learning to discipline your mind as well as your body and TAGB instructors always include elements in their teaching which help their students to develop mentally as well as physically.

With clubs throughout the country the TAGB is the ideal organisation for learning a martial art that has evolved through a 3000-year history to become the newest Olympic sport.