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Tae Kwon Do

What is Taekwondo?

Tae means to kick or smash with the Foot. Kwon means to punch or smash with the Fist. Do means art or way of life.

Taekwondo is the ‘Art of Hand & Foot fighting’ or the ‘Way of the Hand & Foot’.

It is a Korean martial art synonymous with spectacular kicking techniques. Although there appears to be an emphasis on the legs this is mainly because they require intensive training to bring them up to the same level as the arms but when achieved this will give the Taekwondo practitioner an advantage in self-defence.

Taekwondo can be tracked back more than 2000 years and is practiced all over the world today. WTF Taekwondo (as practiced in the TTA) is also an Olympic sport.



Your first lesson

Martial arts can seem strange and intimidating for the beginner and many people feel nervous about what to expect when they attend a class for the first time. This section of the website is designed to give you a feel for what to expect and how to prepare for that 1st class.


How To Prepare

  • Aim to arrive 10 mins before the start of the class to allow yourself time to prepare.
  • Have a light snack approximately 1 hr before training to give you sufficient energy to complete the class. Do not train on an empty stomach or too soon after eating a large meal
  • For your first lessons wear loose fitting clothes that are comfortable for exercise (tracksuit bottoms & T-Shirt are ideal, jeans are not). Later on, you can purchase a Taekwondo Uniform, which is called a “dobok”.
  • Taekwondo is practiced bare foot.
  • For safety purposes you should remove ALL jewellery & valuables (watches etc) before training.
  • There are a variety of class rules designed to ensure safety and make classes as rewarding as possible. You will be advised of these by your instructor.
  • After the lesson there will be the opportunity to ask the instructor any questions you may have.
  • After the class you may well experience some aches and pains as you might with any new form of exercise. This will pass as you become fitter & stronger and more accustomed to this type of physical movement.
  • Also remember – ALL students, even the black belts had to start somewhere. Do not be put off if you have difficulties with fitness, flexibility co-ordination or any other aspect WE EXPECT THIS WHEN YOU FIRST START! Also be aware – as a Taekwondoist you must train to the 5 tenets of Taekwondo – the first of which is Perseverance!



Lasting 15 – 20 mins the warm up is an essential part of each lesson. It will start with cardiovascular exercise to increase heart rate and warm up the muscles ready for stretching.

A head to toe routine of movements will be followed to mobilise the muscles & joints required in Taekwondo practice. Following this mobilisation the muscles will be stretched to enhance flexibility – vital for good practice.

The warm up increases fitness and flexibility and minimises the risk of injury during training.


Each lesson will involve learning and practicing different techniques, these will include stances, hand attacks and blocks as well as kicks. There are a wide variety of ways to practice techniques and to emphasise various aspects.


Patterns or forms are called Poomse in Korean. Poomse are designed to perfect basic techniques and learn to apply them. Each belt colour requires the student to learn new poomse which advance in difficulty.


There are many aspects to sparring, from self-defense style practice of 1 step sparring to competition free sparring. Sparring encourages students to apply the techniques they have learnt as well as introducing principles of good movement, timing and targeting of attacks. Students are able to test themselves by entering free sparring competitions.


After each lesson students will warm down to relax and stretch the muscles after hard work, this will minimise aches and pains in the following days.

About TTA

The Traditional Taekwondo Association


The Traditional Taekwondo Association (TTA) is an international group of Taekwondo schools training to the traditional system of Grandmaster TK Loh (9th Dan).

Grandmaster Loh conducts each and every grading in the TTA personally at the local club. This ensures that all students are graded to the very highest standard, that of the chief instructor, and no standards can slip under the regime of more junior examiners.

To complement the weekly training schedule students are encouraged to further develop their skills by attending many of the training courses offered by Grandmaster Loh throughout the year.



Since the introduction of Taekwondo as an Olympic ‘sport’ there is a growing phenomenon of sports Taekwondo with a vast array of local, national and international competitions. So as the Traditional Taekwondo Association do we steer clear of ‘Sport’ Taekwondo? Far from it, the TTA expects it’s members to obtain the highest standards in all aspects of Taekwondo including competition Sparring. The TTA are a past world Chungdokwan champions following their competition victories in Singapore in 2004. The Top TTA players compete and have medaled both nationally and internationally and the TTA hosts both an Individual & Team Championship each year. The TTA regularly medal at the BSTF and BUSA (University level Taekwondo) championships. TTA players have competed at European, World and Olympic games.

For further information, both about Grandmaster Loh and the history of the TTA, please visit the official TTA website at www.tta-taekwondo.co.uk


Taekwondo is much more than kicking and punching. It is action philosophy designed as a complete non-violent discipline of entire body training and character building. Taekwondo practiced properly will promote long-term good health and develop student’s discipline and inner strength to produce a healthy mind in a healthy body.

By practicing Taekwondo, one will benefit in these ways:


Good co-ordination, toning, reduction of weight, improved flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, increased strength, general fitness.


Self-confidence, self-discipline, better judgment, self-control, stress reduction, better self-image, and positive attitude.


Taekwondo stands for and promotes the principal of honesty, courtesy, humility, respect, courage, generosity, loyalty and perseverance.

Integrating these three aspects into one’s daily life will result in harmony, health and happiness for the individual and will build freedom, justice and peace in our society


The Tenets (beliefs) of Taekwondo are:


The Tenets of Taekwondo are the guiding principles, which should be applied to all aspects of training. Over time these tenets will become important to all aspects of the Taekwondo students life and provide a framework for the student to be a good member of society.

The Taekwondo Oath

I shall observe the Tenets of Taekwondo

I shall respect its instructors & seniors

I shall never misuse Taekwondo

I shall be a champion of freedom and justice

I shall build a more peaceful world

The Taekwondo oath emphasises respect, not just within the Dojang (training hall) but also in the way the students use their Taekwondo skills in the wider world ensuring there is no misuse of knowledge.



Students must adhere to the organisation rules in order to maintain a high standard of etiquette and discipline.

Entering and leaving the Dojang (training area)

Upon Entering

a) Face the training area and stand to attention
b) Bow
c) Face the instructor (or the position the instructor usually stands)
d) Bow

Leaving During Practice

e) Ask the instructors permission to leave
f) Upon leaving the Dojang bow to the instructor and the training area
g) On re-entry to the Dojang bow to the training area and the instructor
h) Ask the instructors permission to rejoin the class

Leaving At the End of Practice

i) Follow the same procedure as entering the Dojang 

When Practicing With A Partner

a) Before commencing practice face each other, stand to attention and bow
b) Repeat when practice has finished

Respect to the Instructor

When speaking to the Instructor (Sa bumnim) you should first bring your feet together (attention stance) and raise your hand. After you have spoken to your instructor you should stand to attention and bow. Instructors have equal respect for students (they were Kup grades themselves once).

Rules of Do Jang (School)

It should be understood by members that the purpose of these rules is primarily to ensure maximum benefit for the study of Taekwondo. These rules have been part of Taekwondo from its inception.

  1. Bow to your instructor when entering and leaving the school. This is to show respect and your modesty.
  2. Do not enter or leave the class without permission from your instructor.
  3. Students must always bow before speaking to the instructor and use words of consideration such as yes or no Sir, pardon me, etc.
  4. All students are expected to be courteous and understanding. Advanced students are to set an example to new students and to assist such students whenever necessary.
  5. Loud conversation, laughing in excess, smoking and chewing gum have no place in a Taekwondo school.
  6. Your uniform should be clean and pressed at all times
  7. Exchange greetings between students to create a friendlier atmosphere.
  8. Any substitute teacher shall be treated as would your regular instructor.
  9. When standing in line, stand to the left or behind a student of a higher grade.
  10. Do not engage in any activity that might degrade the code of Taekwondo ethics or the reputation of the school
  11. Do not talk to other students while your instructor is teaching or speaking.
  12. Ask questions to your instructor to clear up any difficulties.
  13. When returning after a period of absence, the student must seek the permission of the instructor before commencing training. Students who cannot attend class for one week or more should notify their instructor.
  14. When seated on the floor, knees should be tucked and hands should be on the knees.
  15. Students must remove all jewelry from their person before entering the Dojang to begin practice.
  16. Fingernails and toenails should be clipped short to prevent any injury. All students must observe a high degree of personal hygiene.
  17. Tuition, grading fees and license fees must be paid on time.

Grandmaster Loh


Chief Instructor and Chairman of the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Association. Grandmaster T K Loh practiced under a variety of top Tae Kwon Do grandmasters and masters. Coming from a strong martial arts family background, Grandmaster Loh has acquired considerable knowledge and skills in a variety of martial arts ranging from karate to kung fu as well as lesser-known arts like silat and pulculan.

Currently Grandmaster T.K. Loh is a Specialist Orthopedic Physiotherapist. He has a vast amount of experience in sports medicine as well as an acupuncturist (both body and auricular).

Grandmaster Loh started Tae Kwon Do in his childhood years at the time when Tae Kwon Do was first spread from Korea. During his early days his fame spread as a fighter as he would test his skills against all the other martial arts. He was also a great innovator, one of the first in Malaysia to do the double front kick as well as fourth in the world to do the split kick

By the time he left Malaysia, as a 2nd DAN, he had learnt all the patterns required in the whole of the Tae Kwon Do syllabus as well as being recommended for the post of International Instructor. He had been the founder and instructor of the TengKu Abdul Rahman (Prime Minister) College Tae Kwon Do Club. He has been the instructor to the armed forces as well as the special branch.

In the UK, he had trained the R.A.F. in the West Country as well as establishing Tae Kwon Do clubs. In 1977, he was the English Champion, followed by the European Champion in 1979 and 1980. He was appointed Academy instructor by Grandmaster Ki Ha Rhee 9th DAN (then 7th DAN). Master Loh was then appointed as Chief Instructor and Chief Examiner for the World Tae Kwon Do Federation in Britain. He was also in executive committee for the B.T.C.B. (1982 – 1990).

Grandmaster Loh was Head Coach for the 2nd World Games Demonstration Team as well as coach for the 2nd World Games and the 7th World Tae Kwon Do Championships in Seoul, Korea. He was the first person in the world to perform a five target aerial break. Grandmaster Loh was the first in both the UK and Ireland to test for 5th DAN on the floor instead of gratuitous promotions.

He subsequently tested for his 6th Dan and 7th Dan in Seoul, Korea under Grandmaster Park Hae Man 9th Dan. Grandmaster Loh is also the first in the UK and Ireland to have reached the 7th Dan. He is the only person in Europe to perform a Jumping Back Kick through 6″ of Pine as well as the first in the UK to perform the Aerial Triple Front Kick.

Grandmaster Loh was promoted to 8th Dan in July 2000 by Grandmaster Park Hae Man, see July 2000 issue of Taekwondo magazine. In July 2000 on a trip to Korea he was conferred Grandmaster status by Great Grandmaster Um Un Kyu, Vice president of Kukkiwon.

Grandmaster Loh, with his experience and knowledge, has maintained the true way of Tae Kwon Do in the form of the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Association. He has never devalued the journey a student has to make, the hardships, the joy as well as the steadfast attitude the student has to cultivate in favour of commercialism and sport. Coupled with his medical knowledge and Tae Kwon Do expertise, training in the Traditional Tae Kwon Do has been most effective in producing the highest quality of Tae Kwon Do student.

In April 2004 Grandmaster Loh coached the T.T.A to win the Overall Champions Trophy in the 8th World Chung Do Kwan Championship, which was held in Singapore. The team took a total of 6 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronzes. The team members also set the record for the highest jumping front kick at 9.5feet and the longest flying sidekick at 12 feet. These are feats which will be extremely difficult to beat.

The standards of the Traditional Tae Kwon Do Association are high and many have fallen by the wayside and only the best will reach the top.

Grandmaster Loh TTA Main Website



The belts in Taekwondo represent a students growing knowledge of the art and provide targets for students to reach and a benchmark of performance ensuring the correct quality of practice is maintained. Belts are earned at regular gradings that test a student’s physical ability to perform and apply the techniques relevant to each grade but as importantly the grading also tests a students ability to perform under pressure.

WHITE: Represents the INNOCENCE of the beginner who does not yet have any knowledge of Taekwondo

YELLOW: Represents the EARTH, in which the seed of Taekwondo is planted, symbolising a student’s latent abilities.

GREEN: Represents a GROWING SHOOT, symbolising the student’s abilities as they start to develop.

BLUE: Represents the HEAVENS or SKY towards which the shoot is reaching, as the student attempts to reach beyond competence to excellence.

RED: Represents DANGER, a warning to the student to exercise self-control and for opponents to beware.

BLACK: Represents MATURITY, the opposite of the innocence of the White Belt

The student now realises how little they truly know and can begin the Taekwondo journey properly.



Minimum Age:  Time Period:  Class:
1st dan 16 yrs 3-4 yrs Novices
2nd dan 18 yrs 2 yrs Novices
3rd dan 21 yrs 3 yrs Novices
4th dan 25 yrs 4 yrs Expert
5th dan 30 yrs 5 yrs Expert
6th dan 36 yrs 6 yrs Master
7th dan 43 yrs 7 yrs Master
8th dan 51 yrs 8 yrs Master
9th dan 60 yrs 9 yrs Grandmaster

In addition to the above age and time requirements, the individual practitioner has to satisfy the technical excellence as well as mental maturity, tempered with good Taekwondo spirit before being invited by Grandmaster Loh for upgrading.


Patterns are prearranged sequences of attack and defence moves against imaginary opponents. They are designed to improve power, accuracy and speed and to make techniques reflex actions rather than the result of (Slow) conscious thought. The names of the patterns for the coloured belt grade (kup) students is from the TAE GEUK (Tal Chi, in Chinese), the ultimate principle in oriental philosophy. TAE means “great” and GEUK means “ultimate” or “eternal”. Each pattern represents one of the Eight Trigrams (Pal Gwe) of the I Chin- (The book of Changes).

Colour Belt Patterns


Four-directional punching; 14 movements, for 9th kup


Basic pattern; 20 movements; for 8th kup


Represents HEAVEN and LIGHT (Keon); 18 movements; for 7th kup; perform clearly and methodologically, but fluently


Represents JOYFULLNESS (Tae); 18 movements; for 6th kup; perform gently but forcefully


Represents FIRE and SUN (Ri); 20 movements; for 5th kup; perform with vitality and passion


Represents THUNDER (Jin); 20 movements; for 4th kup; perform with strength and power


Represents WIND (Seon); 20 movements; for 3rd kup; perform alternately as slow/graceful and strong/fast


Represents WATER (Gam); 23 movements; for 2nd kup


Represents MOUNTAIN (Gan); 25 movements; for 1st kup; perform with stability but free movement


Represents EARTH (Gon); 24 movements; for 1st Dan; perform with strength and unbending force

Black Belt Patterns


Name of a Korean dynasty (918 – I392 AD); 27 movements


“Diamond”, suggesting great strength; 27 movements


Old name of Baek Doo, highest mountain in Korea and site of mythical founding of Korea by Dan Gun; 26 movements


“Plain”; 31 movements


“Decimal”; 31 movements


“Sky”; 27 movements


“Water”; 27 movements


“Oneness”; 27 movements

Glossary of Terms