The Five Pillars of Taekwon-Do

Fundamental Techniques

Pillar One – Fundamental TechniquesOlympus0092

These are the basic blocking, punching, striking and kicking techniques which form the basis of Taekwon-Do. You will learn these in the hall with your fellow students and practice them up and down the hall in drill exercises. These techniques comprise those demonstrated in your pattern (Tul)

Patterns (Tul)

Pillar Two – Patterns (Tul)

Patterns are “a series of offensive and defensive techniques against an imaginary opponent or opponents”. These are designed for your grade, and feature the range of techniques you must practice for your grading exam

Sparring (Matsogi)

Pillar Three – Sparring (Matsogi)Olympus0133

Set Sparring (Matsogi) is when Taekwon-Do techniques are performed against other students, in a controlled manner, allowing you to practice their use in a semi-real situation. There are three levels to set sparring – three-step; two-step; and one-step sparring

Free Sparring (Jayu Matsogi) is when two (or later on, three) opponents face one another, and perform Taekwon-Do techniques in a continuous, controlled manner. Free sparring is semi (touch) contact, and is designed to allow the student to practice the dynamic use of Taekwon-Do against an opponent

Competition Sparring is when two opponents ‘fight’ in a controlled manner, with various rules regarding safety and the scoring of points, with a view to determining a winner. Competition sparring requires the use of head, hand, foot and mouth protection (plus shin and groin protection if appropriate), and is often conducted in a ring or similar venue

Self Defence

Pillar Four – Self-DefenceOlympus0111
At Olympus Taekwon-Do you will learn self-defence in four key areas:


At Olympus Taekwon-Do, you will learn how to be aware of the risks to your safety posed by others. We will role-play to practice awareness skills


Should prevention fail, you will learn how to avoid conflict situations in the event you find yourself in or near one. This is another area where role-play is used


Having identified the risks, at Olympus Taekwon-Do you will learn how to prevent becoming a victim


At Olympus Taekwon-Do you will learn conflict management techniques through role-play, to diffuse conflict situations and assure your safety (and that of others) in the face of potential threats


Should a threat to your safety from another be realised, you will learn how to respond to such a threat in a manner which will enable you to use the techniques you have learned to your advantage. Consideration is given to whether the assailant may be armed, how many of them there are, and what your options you may have in different circumstances. Threat response involves releasing techniques, close-quarters techniques, ground work and methods for using cover


Breaking is part of training in Taekwon-Do and is often a spectacular way to demonstrate different learnt techniques and Breaking Breakingbwpersonal athleticism. The goal of breaking is to allow the student to develop self-confidence. Breaking demonstrates that the student has mastered the techniques that allow him or her to produce maximum power.

Power breaking demonstrates technical efficiency, precision, aim and power. Special techniques in breaking combine athletic performance with perfect execution of techniques. These techniques include flying techniques and can be spectacular. Height and length of movements are emphasized.

It is very important to practice breaking without hurting oneself. Therefore, thorough preparation is essential.

In Taekwon-do Wooden Boards are often broken but also Plastic reusable Boards are used with different breaking strengths.

Breaking BoardsMost boards are broken using a wooden or metal holder where the boards are secured at a set height but many demonstrations are done with other students holding the boards at different heights.

Breaking Plasticboards



Check out some of these film clips to see breaking and other aspects of Taekwon-Do at its most exciting. (To view the film clips you will need to have Windows Media Player installed on your computer.)

Breaking Break 1

Breaking Break 2

Breaking Break 3

Breaking Break 4

Breaking Break 5