Breaking boards and bricks are the most spectacular aspect of Tae Kwon Do. A student with precise focus control will be able to demonstrate his/her power to utilize the bare hands and feet to break the target. Breaking techniques are not about a person with strength and muscle mass, but about generating energy to the mind and body to create a personal inner-strength. This inner-strength is accomplished by allowing the body to relax before the blow is struck. When this process is done properly, a student not only break a target cleanly but also with no pain.
Why is breaking important to the development of a student's Tae Kwon Do training? Breaking helps a student to be self aware of his/her surrounding by developing strong listening skills and concentrating what lays before them. A strong focus will execute a sound judgment. It takes many years of practice and key meditation for a student to understand his/her mind and body capabilities to challenge the level stack of boards and bricks.
It is as important to break a target as well as holding a target. Proper holding techniques do take extreme focus for the holder to be unified with the breaker. The holder must hold a target with precision so that the breaker will break on target. It is also important for the holder to concentrate his/her energy to avoid injuries from the breaker's power. Some advance breaking techniques do not required a holder which take a student years to understand this level of focus.
Breaking techniques are performed in belt tests and Elite Demonstration Team events.
Forms are one of the most important elements in the development of Tae Kwon Do. They range from beginner through master level where students learn to develop their proper Tae Kwon Do techniques. The forms' steps are quite easy to learn, but they are very difficult to perfect when the students have to perform correctly. This difficulty comes from the refinement of coordination, balance, timing, breath control and rhythm, all of which take time to master. Forms can be practiced anywhere and at any time which is beneficial for many students when they have to practice by themselves.
Many students come to realize that stances play a key role of how a form should be executed. It is difficult to execute a form without proper stances. The reason is that students lose their balance and the quality of the form does not look impressive is due to awkward stances. The stances all range differently according to the level of a form. Most forms require more than one type of stance. To finish a poomse system students must come to distinguish the differences among basic types of stances. Here are some of the basic stances: Walking stance, Forward stance, Back stance, Tiger stance, Horse stance and Cross stance.
Basically, forms are a series of defending and attacking movements performed against imaginary opponents in a set pattern. The movements include 90, 180, and 360 degree turns and motions of up, down, left, and right in order to deal with a wide array of attacks from all possible directions. It is essential in Tae Kwon Do for students to become equally proficient in defending or attacking from both the left and right side of the body as the situation demands. This is similar to the Sa Bang Chuk methods, but the difference is that Sa Bang Chuk contains only offensive moves for attacking opponents from all sides (see Sa Bang Chuk). Forms contain both defensive and offensive movements. To perfect a poomse series, practice repetitively until it is deeply ingrained so that all movements are instinctive.
Part of a student's Tae Kwon Do training is the challenge and excitement of sparring. It is the best way for a student to test his or her practical fighting ability. Master Kim encourages the students to participate in a non-contact or light contact sparring. The idea is to provide as realistic a fighting situation as possible for the student to develop his or her skills more effectively. There are three methods of sparring we practice at the Dojang; offensive attack, defensive counter attack, and free sparring. Each week, the methods of sparring are rotated so they can be emphasized more in depth. All students who participate in sparring must wear protective gear to reduce body injuries.
Most students enjoy the excitement of sparring when they are participating or watching a tournament. A competition in a tournament has its own set of rules of proper respect for your opponent and restrictions in certain areas of attack. Before students are allowed to begin sparring, certain basic fundamental techniques must be mastered. These techniques allow students to make a smooth transition from the more rigid movements of simple drills to fluid motions of a competitive fighter. Students will come to understand their basic skills that must be learned in order to become effective competitors. The skills are developed by understanding three concepts of accuracy, speed, and power. One cannot workout with the other. A student who learns to have accurate balance, footwork, hand and foot techniques will produce speed and speed will generate power. All three concepts take time in order to understand the science of sparring.