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The Importance of Form Training in Tae Kwon Do

It has been said that there are only two types of people. There are those that enjoy form training and those that are not fans of the training. A more apt description of these individuals would be there are those that understand the purpose of forms and those that don't. When you understand the purpose of forms training, their value begins to make much more sense. More importantly, the practice of forms becomes much more enjoyable.

The forms in Tae Kwon Do clearly define the basic foundation of the system. (Yes, the WTF and the ITF have different forms but they promote the same martial concepts that make TKD what it is and not Tang Soo Do or another art) While a complete and comprehensive explanation of all the forms would prove space prohibitive, a closer look at the first form of traditional TKD, Cheon-Ji, will reveal a great deal about the purpose of forms training in the art.

Foundation for Advancement

Cheon-Ji stresses several basic movements: reverse punches, low blocks, and mid-line inward to outward blocks. It also stressed wiping motions with the hands during transitions from punches to blocks as well as solid, grounded stances. Grounded turns in four directions are promoted as well as moving forward and backwards. In short, several basic techniques and concepts are developed at the very outset of learning the art. This creates the foundation in which the more advanced concepts of the art will be built upon.

Body Awareness

This form (as well as all forms in all martial arts) stresses precision and body awareness. Without precision, most techniques have little value. Practicing the moves in a form allow one to concentrate of the precision aspect of the movements to ensure they are performed properly.

Breath Control

Breath control is another component of basic forms training that is helpful. Through proper breathing one can develop enhanced lung capacity and better overall health. Forms training allow one to regulate breathing via a controlled exercise program.

Relax and Reduce Stress

As with all forms, Cheon-Ji also provides a means of moving meditation and contemplation. This allows for the mind to relax and reduce the stress and anxiety that may plague it. Also, the ability to contemplate on the form allows one to look for the various meanings and interpretations of the form. There are many hidden technique in Cheon-Ji. Carefully meditating on the various movements of the form will open a window that explains what they are.

And, of course, with the right approach forms training can be fun whether you are performing Cheon-Ji or any one of the other forms under the ITF or WTF banner. That is why it is always recommended to take forms training as serious as possible throughout one's entire training career and not always focus on the sparring aspects of Taekwondo.