Adult Handbook

Taekwondo for Adults

Here are a few things to know about
joining Calgary Taekwondo Academy

So what is Taekwondo?

Traditionally, taekwondo is a martial art that emphasizes the ancient and honored values of respect and loyalty for one’s country, parents, elders, teachers, friends, and fellow classmates. Now, taekwondo is rapidly becoming a popular Olympic sport that is practiced by people all over the world. From children to adults, taekwondo has many great things to offer.

The Benefits of Taekwondo

Taekwondo students benefit in many ways from training. We benefit from improved physical fitness and prowess, to becoming more alert and focused, as well as a healthy self-image.

Physical Benefits

  • Improved physical fitness
  • Increased muscle and strength
  • Increased flexiblity
  • Improved coordination
  • Weight loss

Mental Benefits

  • Improved focus
  • Improved concentration
  • Improved memory
  • Stress relief

Personal Growth

  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-acceptance

The Dobok and Dojang

What is the meaning of the Dobok?

  • Everyone regardless of age, gender, or race wears the same uniform. This symbolizes the equality of everyone while training.
  • The collar on the dobok distinguishes the black belt holders from the colored belt holders.
  • Around the dobok a dti (belt) is worn showing the rank of the student. Gup holders wear colored belts while Dan/Poom holders wear black or poom belts.

What is the Dojang?

  • The dojang is the area where we train, learn and become educated in martial arts.
  • The dojang is a place that must be respected by all students. It is not a playground.
  • Students are expected to act appropriately even when class is not in session.
  • All students must bow to the flags as we enter the dojang, and as we leave. This is remind us of our love and loyalty to Canada; our respect of South Korea, the place of origin of Taekwondo; and the World Taekwondo Federation flag which is the organization to which we belong.

Note to Beginners

Neither fear nor expect too much. Many have a feeling of inadequacy with regard to movements to be performed; which is common and shown lived. You are not an expert yet, but a beginner and learning. It’s okay to make mistakes for that is how you learn and the reason you have an instructor. Expecting too much at the beginning is like eating more than your stomach can hold; you can’t digest it all and it leaves you feeling poorly. As a beginner, with some hard work and patience you will achieve what you want from Taekwondo. Remember even your instructors started just as you are starting now.

The Basics are a beginner’s foundation upon which they build. If it is rushed and not broad enough, without strong understanding, everything that follows will crumble. It is important for the practicing student to always remember to keep a beginner’s mind by looking and reviewing things we know with a fresh and unaffected attitude; to hold up and view again those things we already know, and to know it well and finally understand it. Even the foundation needs attentions once in a while.

Training is a journey that never ends, always with more obstacles to overcome and more goals to attain. Realize your own limitations and by using discipline wipe them away. Dare to challenge the limits set before you, expect the unexpected, and meet all trials without hesitation.

Making Mistakes

Beginner students are often self-conscious of making mistakes. None of us like to be wrong. However, always being correct is a habit. Before anyone does anything perfectly, dedicated training is required.

Anyone who attempts anything will always make mistakes. It means that you are actively trying and doing. It is how we learn and strive to be perfect.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. All of us who have trained in Taekwondo over the years have made hundreds, maybe thousands of mistakes before we learned how to do things properly. The black belts and instructors have made more mistakes than you have as a beginner. As you continue to train, the number of mistakes you make will decrease. Think of the total number of mistakes that you make in Taekwondo as time and experience. When you stop making the same mistakes you will have learned how to do techniques correctly.

Pre Practice Rules

  • Be Hydrated: drink plenty of water throughout the day. Excessive amounts of liquid just before class may not be comfortable and you make need to disrupt your practice to relieve yourself.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal within two hours of practice. If you do need to eat, choose easily digestable food.
  • Mentally dedicate your practice to yourself and to your fellow classmates.

The basics are a puzzle

Once you know them, You never need to think of them.
If you don’t know them, You can never get past them.
If you know them, They are nothing.
If you don’t know them, They are everything.
Take the time to make them nothing, For they are all.


Attitude is the most important learning tool that we have. Having a proper attitude towards learning makes a difference in how much we learn and how well we can perfect what we’ve learned.

The Poor Student

Lazy and expects results without sweat. They feel that their skill level is good enough. As a result, these students stop trying to improve their skill set and abilities.

The Good Student

Has the desire to learn and achieve. They want to learn more and improve their abilities but have difficulty understanding that hard work provides results. These students often convince themselves that they can’t do certain things without realizing this type of attitude causes themselves to under perform.

The Excellent Student

The excellent student learns techniques. They have a good understanding about their abilities and potential. They often accept hard work without question, understanding that with practice, determination, and perseverance they can achieve great results.

Black Belt Attitude

Attitude is often the main difference between a colored belt and a black belt. Black belts have a firm understanding that each technique or skill can always be better improved. The attitude of a black belt is simple:
“I am strong, I am skilled, I can do it, and I will practice to be perfect.”

Practice, Practice, Practice

We encourage all students to practice at home and in the dojang. The more practice you put into Taekwondo the better you will become at poomse, techniques, movements and stretching. Practicing often helps you improve your memory and focus as well.

Beginner and intermediate students often think, “I already know it. Why do I have to practice it? I’m good enough at it!”

This attitude will ruin your ability to learn and improve.

The Black Belt Attitude applies to everyone. When you see any of the black belts, or instructors practicing in from of the mirror, ask yourself “Why would they do that? Why do the instructors keep
practicing low section block and middle section punch?” To improve them, of course. Even black belts and instructors must practice.

If you plan to practice at home remember:

  1. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Focus and concentration are key.
  2. Warm up and stretch before you begin any kind of training. Failure to warm up and stretch properly can lead to injuries.
  3. Keep in mind that if you have limited space to practice, poomse and many techniques can be done on the spot.
  4. Stay hydrated for peak physcial and mental performance.
  5. For ideas on how to practice better at home, please talk to Master Kim or your instructor.


What is the code of honor or the Kyo Hoon?

The Kyo Hoon or the code of honor is an ancient creed that we often refer to as “the way of the warrior”. This applies to the way that we train at the dojang, the way that we perform at promotion tests, and the way that we conduct ourselves in Taekwondo competitions. It is the proper mindset or attitude that we should have towards ourselves, each other, and the instructor(s).


Respect for the natural order of the universe. This respect is shown through loyalty to family, parents, country, master, dojang, fellow classmates, and one’s self.


Modesty often expressed in a quiet confidence and self awareness which never permits arrogance or conceit.


Integrity is to deal honorably and with high principles towards other and self.


Endurance to overcome mental and physical hardships to achieve personal goals. Ultimately, learning to control the body with the mind.

Indomitable Spirit

Indomitable spirit is inner strength of character, which is essential for the highest development as a human being and as a practitioner of taekwondo.

Calgary Taekwondo Academy Member Oath

Now that you are a student at Calgary Taekwondo Academy, please remember that in joining our academy you have agreed to train according to the Membership Oath. The membership oath stated below is to remind you about the attitudes that are present towards ourselves and to others whether we are at the dojang or outside of the dojang.

We as members train our minds, bodies and spirits according to the Code of Honor or Kyo Hoon.
We as members are united in mutual friendship.
We as members will comply with regulations and obey instructions.

Tenents of Taekwondo


An excellent definition of courtesy is the golden rule. Simply: “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This seems like a simple concept but in our everyday lives, we often forget it. In the dojang, courtesy is developed in several ways. One way is by having students and instructors show their mutual respect by bowing to each other. Another way is by having students address the instructors and senior black belts as “sir” or “ma’am”. Students are also required to not “talk back” to the Master, instructors, and senior black belts even if the student thinks his/her superior is wrong. By practicing courtesy in the dojang, students learn to be polite and respectful of others regardless of their station in life.


To have integrity one must be able to know the difference between right and wrong. One must also feel shame and guilt when consciously doing something wrong and be able to learn from his or her mistakes. It is sometimes easiest to define people of integrity by what they don’t do. If you have integrity you DO NOT: lie, cheat, steal, willfully hurt others, or slander others. The instructor and student should also be proud of their accomplishments and of treating others honestly and fairly; however, they should never behave in a boastful manner.


Perseverance it the ability to pursue a goal and never give up until it is achieved. It is necessary that each individual develop perseverance in order to achieve difficult, long-term objectives. Happiness and prosperity are most likely to be brought to the individual who will not quit until his goal is achieved. Taekwondo students learn perseverance through out their slow progress and attainment of rank. When people first start class their expectations are often very high. Some think a black belt can be easily obtained within a few months or that they will be able to defend themselves against any assailant. These individuals are often disillusioned after a few classes, often realizing that practicing Taekwondo is much harder than it looks and in fact takes years to develop good strong techniques. This is one reason why Taekwondo has such a high drop out rate. People who make it to the black belt will often show much dedication to the goal.

Self Control

Self-control is as the name implies, control over aspects of oneself. The major areas over which control must be achieved are the mind or thoughts, the body or physical and the emotions or character. To say that self control is very important both in and out of the dojang would be a gross understatement. A loss of control during free sparring for example, could prove disastrous by trauma, permanent injury or death.

Indomitable Spirit

An individual with an indomitable spirit will, without fear, stand up for what he believes in regardless of consequences or number of opponents. An example of this that would apply outside of Taekwondo is the idea of defense of the weak in the dance of superior odds.

A student can be shown to develop an indomitable spirit through things like board breaking or sparring. With
board breaking, a student is aware of the possibility of a painful broken hand or foot if the boards are not struck with proper speed, technique and power. Yet the student often overcomes this fear and strikes through the board. During sparring a novice student regularly competes and succumb to more advanced students, with this, the inexperienced student learns not to fear loss and to realize that diligent practice is needed to prevail.

CTA’S Rules and Regulations

How do these rules apply to me?

These rules are for the benefit of all students and must be followed in order to maintain one’s standing in the school. Some of the rules are set in place to help ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

  1. Outdoor foot wear must be removed before entering the school. This applies to students and visitors.
  2. All jewelry must be removed for your safety and the safety of others.
  3. Long hair must be tied back.
  4. Hand and feet must be clean. Finger nails and toe nails must be trimmed short.
  5. Do not chew gum while in class.
  6. Absolutely no alcohol, drugs, and smoking within the school and during classes.
  7. Refrain from climbing or leaning against equipment, walls, windows, and mirrors.
  8. Do not lie down or sit down during a class unless you have been told to.
  9. Profanity, horseplay, loud laughing, loud talking or any lack of self discipline and control will not be tolerated. Please maintain a quiet, respectful attitude before, during and after class.
  10. Treat the dojang and equipment with respect. Any damage suffered to school property is the sole responsibility of the student. Any damages must be repaired and paid for within seven days of the occurrence by the student responsible for the damage.

When a class is in progress

  1. Walk around the class never through it.
  2. If you need to be excused from the class, let the Master or instructor know.
  3. If you are unavoidably late for class: change quickly and wait until the class leader signals you to join the class. Do not walk into a class in progress.
  4. Keep your voices down while classes are in progress.

Taekwondo Etiquette

When you are in the dojang:

  1. Students should address the Master, instructors and black belts as “Sir” or “Ma’am”. Be sure to respond with a “Yes Sir!” or “Yes Ma’am!” when asked.
  2. When entering or leaving the dojang, salute the flags.
  3. Greet the Master, instructors, and classmates with a bow.
  4. Always begin and end with a bow when you are practicing with a partner.
  5. Practice techniques appropriate to you and your partner’s ability. Showing cooperation with a partner during training is necessary to achieve the maximum benefit of training.
  6. Uniforms should be kept clean, wrinkle free, hemmed and complete with a properly tied belt.
  7. Always end the class with “Gam Sa Ham Ni Da”. It means “Thank You” for the class.
  8. Shake hands with both hands grasping or with left hand supporting the right arm while shaking with the right hand and bow slightly.

Promotion Tests

Why do I get tested? Testing is a very important part of Taekwondo. When you test for the next belt, it signifies you are ready to move on to the next level and that you have a good understanding of the material. Once you have tested, you are taught the next set of material relative to your belt rank which brings you one step closer the attaining the goal of black belt.

Rules & Things to Know

  1. Arrive 15 minutes prior to testing and be dressed before the test begins.
  2. Show proper behavior and conduct during a test.
  3. Be quiet and respectful during the test.
  4. Do not talk or laugh during a test. Show other the courtesy and respect you would like to be shown while you are being tested.
  5. Sit properly during a test. Cross legged with hands or fi sts on your knees or in your lap. Do not lay down or lounge around.
  6. If you need to be excused, discreetly ask a black belt by putting your hand up. Walk behind the testing candidates or around the back of the room so that you do not disturb others.
  7. If you are unavoidably late, dress quickly and quietly. Wait in the viewing area until Master Kim or one of the black belts waives you in.

Rules for Spectators

  1. Remember to turn off the ringer on mobile phones. If you see some one with a mobile phone, kindly remind them to turn it to silent mode.
  2. Keep your voices down so that testing candidates can concentrate.
  3. Remind small children to be absolutely quiet.
  4. If you need to take a call on your mobile phone, please go the hallway to talk.
  5. Do not laugh at students who are testing.

Basic Requirements for Testing

Depending on what level you are currently at, you will be asked to show the following during your test:

  • Poomse / Patterns
  • Basic Movements (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • One Step / Controlled Self Defense
  • Kyurugi / Sparring
  • Kyukpa / Board Breaking

Testing Etiquette

  1. When your name is called, respond with a loud “Yes Sir!” or “Yes Ma’am!” and RUN, don’t walk, to your position.
  2. If you need to adjust your uniform or belt bow first then turn away from the flags, master and black belts. When you are ready, face forward.
  3. If you forget a step or move during a pattern, try to finish to the end despite the mistake. In the event you freeze and forget the poomse, stop and go back to Joonbe and wait for further instructions.
  4. Begin with a bow to your partner before and after One Step / Controlled Self Defense and Kyrogi.
  5. Applaud and show support to other testing candidates when they are finished.
  6. Try your best to listen to the black belt calling of the commands.

Korean Taekwondo Terms

Why do we use these terms?

Korean terms are used daily at CTA. We use the following Korean terms during stretching, basics, patterns, sparring, and board breaking. In keeping with traditional TKD, korean terms are a valuable tool to be learned and used during classes at the dojang. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce some of the word listed below, please ask Master Kim, instructor or black belt for help.

  • Charyot: Attention
  • Kyung Neh: Bow
  • Joon Bee: Ready
  • Shi Jak: Start/Begin
  • Dwiro Dora: About Turn
  • Paro: Reset to Beginning
  • Keuman: End/Finish
  • Gam Sa Ham Ni Da: Thank You
  • Kalyeo: Break
  • Gaesok: Continue
  • Dobok: Uniform
  • Dojang: Studio /Gym
  • Poomse: Form/Pattern
  • Taegeuk: Name of Poomse
  • Jang: Section
  • Kyurugi: Sparring
  • Kyukpa: Breaking
  • Sa Bum Nim: Master
  • Sa Bum Nim Ggae Kyung Neh: Bow to the Master
  • Sa Bum Nim Gam Sa Ham Ni Da: Master, Thank You

Counting in Korean

Counting is used mainly during warmups, stretching, basics and poomse. Please have a thorough understanding of how to count in Korean you may be asked to count during class.

  1. Hana: One
  2. Dool: Two
  3. Set: Three
  4. Net: Four
  5. Tah Sut: Five
  6. Yah Sut: Six
  7. Eel Gope: Seven
  8. Yuh Dul: Eight
  9. Ahope: Nine
  10. Yul: Ten

Generally in Taekwondo, this set of number is used to refer to pattern numbers. For example, first pattern and second pattern would be pronounced as Taegeuk Il Jang and Taeguk Ee Jang.

  1. Eel: First
  2. Ee: Second
  3. Sam: Third
  4. Sa: Fourth
  5. Oh: Fifth
  6. Yook: Sixth
  7. Chil: Seventh
  8. Pal: Eighth
  9. Koo: Nineth
  10. Ship: Tenth