A lot of people don’t give very much thought to karate and taekwondo, because it’s such a normal part of our lives. No, that’s not to say that every other person you meet is a black belt — in fact, the majority of Americans have no experience in martial arts. Nonetheless, every town has at least one or two martial arts dojos, and some have countless studios that cover a wide variety of different disciplines. It wasn’t uncommon to know other kids growing up who took karate, and overall, it’s something that we’re pretty used to having in our society.

For that reason, it’s easy to just kind of forget that it’s there. But in reality, there are a lot of cool things to be learned about karate and Taekwondo! The more you know about something, the easier it is to appreciate it. If you have a child in our martial arts programs or you’re a student yourself, you’ll love learning some cool new tidbits about these fighting styles.

Here are some fun facts about karate and Taekwondo:

There Are Nine Black Belt Degrees in Taekwondo

Did you think the Taekwondo journey ends at black belt? Think again! Black belt, while a tremendous achievement, only takes a few years to reach, sometimes even less depending on the diligence of the student. If that’s where it ended, it’d be a little anticlimactic.

Fortunately, for those who are truly invested in the ways of martial arts, there are nine degrees of advancement in black belt, each one harder to obtain than the last. In fact, the minimum time you need to spend training is correlational with the degree of the belt you’re aiming for. So, for example, second-degree black belt requires two years, third-degree takes three years, and so on. For obvious reasons the number of people who have reached the very top is extremely low — it takes a lifetime of dedication!

Taekwondo Is One of Two Martial Arts Included in the Olympics

While we all have our favorite Olympic sports such as track and field, gymnastics, and so on, there is a huge variety of unique sports that are included in this international jamboree of athletic champions. Among the many Olympic sports are two forms of martial arts — and Taekwondo is one of them!

Taekwondo is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world, and especially in America, despite being Korean in origin. If you like participating in our classes or seeing your child spar in our dojo, wait until you see what the Olympic champions are capable of!

Taekwondo Means “The Way of the Hand and Foot”

Taekwondo isn’t just some random word. It actually translates into “The Way of the Hand and Foot,” which is a fitting name for it, all things considered. One thing that makes Taekwondo unique is its particular emphasis on the “foot” part of that statement. Taekwondo makes judicious use out of one’s legs, employing a wide variety of kicks into its forms. Every martial art has somewhat of a focus, and using well-placed kicks along with effective hand strikes is Taekwondo’s defining characteristic.

A Lot of Celebrities Are Fellow Taekwondo Students

Did you know that there are many celebrities who have completed the journey to black belt? Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, and Jean Claude Van Damme are classic examples, but there are many more. Some of your favorite celebrities achieved black belt and then stopped their training, while others are still active participants in the ways of martial arts. Want to know more celebrities who are martial arts masters? Be sure to check out our blog post about famous Taekwondo practitioners — you might just be surprised!

Taekwondo Is Karate… But Not Really

There’s a lot of confusion between the terms “karate” and “Taekwondo,” so much that we’ve also written a separate blog post about it. In a nutshell, karate and Taekwondo are, in fact, different martial arts disciplines. They have their own unique styles, forms, and organization. If one were to take a deep dive into both of them, they would appear similar on a superficial level, but extensive training would reveal that they are quite different in a number of ways.

So, why do people seem to use the terms interchangeably? The answer is that it’s a cultural misunderstanding for the most part. Consider the term “Indian.” For many years, Native Americans were referred to as Indians or American Indians. This had nothing to do with actual ancestry in the country of India — it was simply a mistake made by Columbus and his contemporaries who mistakenly identified the American continent as being part of the Indies region. Ultimately, the term was a misconception stemming back countless years, and the name just stuck.

Similarly, many Americans confuse Taekwondo and karate because they’re so similar in so many ways. They have a similar aesthetic, belt progression system, and even similar moves despite their differing focuses. A lot of people use the word “karate” to generalize any martial art, and that’s just the way things are. It’s been like this for so long that even martial arts dojos do the same. We often use the word “karate” to describe our program, because it’s less confusing to people who don’t know what Taekwondo is.

It’s Not Just About Punching and Kicking

When one thinks of self-defense, it’s natural to conjure up images of flying sidekicks, whirling punches, and karate chops. But in reality, there’s a lot more to Taekwondo than learning how to punch, kick, and block.

First off, Taekwondo puts a lot of emphasis on physical fitness in general. To truly use one’s body to its maximum potential, it needs to be healthy and regularly exercised. So, in the classes that we hold in our Fort Collins and Windsor dojos, we’ll often have students perform conditioning exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, and more.

But Taekwondo is about the mind as much as it is about the body. Most martial arts originate in eastern countries and they go back decades or even centuries — and during those times, martial arts was an entire lifestyle that focused on self-betterment in every way. Self-discipline, honor, and respect are all core aspects of Taekwondo.

Kids Taekwondo in Fort Collins and Windsor

Now that you’ve learned some cool facts about Taekwondo, it’s about high time you give it a try! Whether you’re looking to enroll yourself or your child, we have programs for everyone. We offer teen and adult programs, classes for children, and even a training program for tiny youngsters. If you’re in Fort Collins or Windsor, Thrive Martial Arts is the place to be for quality martial arts training. Want to demo our program without committing to the cost of a full membership? Consider our trial program today, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions.