The Theory of Power

The emphasis on speed and agility is a defining characteristic of taekwondo and has its origins in analyses undertaken by  . The results of that analysis are known by ITF practitioners as Choi’s Theory of Power. Choi based his understanding of power on biomechanics and Newtonian physics as well as Chinese martial arts. For example, Choi observed that the power of a strike increases quadratically with the speed of the strike, but increases only linearly with the mass of the striking object. In other words, speed is more important than size in terms of generating power. This principle was incorporated into the early design of taekwondo and is still used.

Choi also advocated a relax/strike principle for taekwondo; in other words, between blocks, kicks, and strikes the practitioner should relax the body, then tense the muscles only while performing the technique. It is believed that the relax/strike principle increases the power of the technique, by conserving the body’s energy. He expanded on this principle with his advocacy of the sine wave technique. This involves raising one’s centre of gravity between techniques, then lowering it as the technique is performed, producing the up-and-down movement from which the term “sine wave” is derived. The sine wave is generally practiced, however, only in schools that follow ITF-style taekwondo. Kukkiwon-style taekwondo, for example, does not employ the sine wave and advocates a more uniform height during movements, drawing power mainly from the rotation of the hip.

The components of the Theory of Power include:

  • Reaction Force – the principle that as the striking limb is brought forward, other parts of the body should be brought backwards in order to provide more power to the striking limb. As an example, if the right leg is brought forward in a roundhouse kick, the right arm is brought backwards to provide the reaction force.
  • Concentration – the principle of bringing as many muscles as possible to bear on a strike, concentrating the area of impact into as small an area as possible.
  • Equilibrium – maintaining a correct centre-of-balance throughout a technique.
  • Breath Control – the idea that during a strike one should exhale, with the exhalation concluding at the moment of impact.
  • Mass – the principle of bringing as much of the body to bear on a strike as possible; again using the turning kick as an example, the idea would be to rotate the hip as well as the leg during the kick in order to take advantage of the hip’s additional mass in terms of providing power to the kick.
  • Speed – as previously noted, the speed of execution of a technique in taekwondo is deemed to be even more important than mass in terms of providing power.

What is Tae Kwon Do?

The name Tae Kwon Do is derived from the Korean word “Tae” meaning foot, “Kwon” meaning fist and “Do” meaning way of. So, literally Tae Kwon Do means “the way of the foot and fist”. The name Tae Kwon Do, however, has only been used since 1955 while the arts’ roots began 2,300 years ago in Korea.

Tae Kwon Do is primarily concerned with self-defence.

Rhee Tae Kwon Do teaches the complete art of Tae Kwon Do. The philosophy and spirit that is embodied in the ancient art as well as modern up to date sports science practices are combined to provide you with a balanced and complete martial art.

What can Tae Kwon Do teach me?
Enhance self-esteem by heightening your physical and mental powers. Build confidence by encouraging you to succeed and to take control of your life. Develop discipline by thoroughly training your body and mind in the tenets and techniques of Tae Kwon Do.

The 5 tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.