What is Tae Kwon Do?
Benefits of Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do at RPI
TKD characters



You may be interested to know what the RPI Tae Kwon Do club has to offer that sets it apart from other clubs, and what you can expect to find if you practice with us. Below you will find what sets us apart from most other Tae Kwon Do schools, as well as the exercises that you can expect to find if you come to practice with us.

Chung Do Kwan vs World Tae Kwon Do Federation

Chances are that if you have ever practiced Tae Kwon Do, you have practiced the more prevalant World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) style. WTF is centered around a fighting style that is very effective within the bounds of the rules of Olympic Sparring. As a result, a WTF fighter is very good at delivering quick kicks to the head and chest of an opponent.

At RPI, we practice the slightly more traditional form of Tae Kwon Do known as Chung Do Kwan. Chung Do Kwan puts more of an emphasis on self defense than olympic style sparring, so we tend to practice techniques that would be illegal in competition sparring. Conversely, we also practice guarding against techniques that would not typically be used against a WTF fighter, such as punches to the head. We put an emphasis on techniques that will be useful in a serious fight against somebody who wants to hurt us.

In addition to these differences between WTF and CDK, the RPI Masters will teach effective techniques from many fighting disciplines. Punching drills from boxing, Jiu-Jitsu style grappling, and Judo throws are all techniques that are introduced in practices.

Warm up and Drills

Classes typically start with 15 or 20 minutes of blocking, punching, and kicking drills. These exercises serve to improve flexibility, increase stamina, and ingrain the techniques of Tae Kwon Do into instinct through repetition. During this part of practice, you will work to improve the techniques that you will later use in forms and sparring.


A cornerstone of Tae Kwon Do is the forms that are used to practice elements of fighting. Most days, the class will take 15 5o 20 minutes for this. Difficult to understand until experienced, forms are memorized series of moves that a student will perform that link together into a cohesive exercise. Forms of increasing complexity and difficulty are introduced at each new level of achievement. While practicing forms, we get a chance to study the style of the other students in the club, fine tune our own technique, and improve focus and balance.

One Steps

One Steps are a way of practicing the type of attacks we might use in a serious fight outside the club. We take turns responding to a single punch or kick with a series of blocks, strikes, kicks, throws, or joint locks. As in sparring and conditioning, strikes to the body will be solid, in order to get students used to being hit.


One of the most effective ways to improve as a fighter is to engage in sparring against a partner. At the RPI Tae Kwon Do club, we frequently will take class time to pair off (or sometimes fight 2-on-1, or 3-on-2) to spar. Mouth guards and athletic supports are the only required protective gear, and depending on whether or not padded gloves are being used, punches to the head may be allowed. Strikes to the head are understood to be light, and body shots to be somewhat heavier.

The objective with sparring is not hurt your opponent, but to get used to seeing attacks coming and to anticipate them with blocking or moving, and responding with effective attacks of your own. A high emphasis is placed on the speed, timing, and aim of attacks used. Sparring will also give you experience with how much force it takes to hurt somebody to varying degrees, and it feels to be hit in a fight.


Occasionally, we will practice a techinque called "Conditioning". The idea with conditioning is that by practicing getting hit, the body will get used to the feeling, and take less damage in a fight. It also gives us a chance to practice hitting another person while precisely controling the force of the strike and the location of the shot.

During conditioning, we will take turns kicking and punching to the solar plexus, floating rib, and the meat of the chest. Alternatively, we may practice blocking punches and kicks with our forearms, which strengthens the bones in the forearms.

Another exercise that we frequently use to strengthen our bodies is practice knuckle pushups. Knuckle pushups are pushups where the hands form fists as if punching, and pushups are done by pushing the punching knuckles into the ground. This will harden the bone, thicken the skin, and lower the sensativity to pain in the knuckles, allowing us to punch harder and more often in a fight.

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