Notes on Training

Training and Taekwondo

The training for Taekwondo is a mutli-faceted exercise. The components of performing the martial art at an optimal level are (in my order of importance)

  1. Anaerobic fitness (action alone)
  2. Power (defined as energy delivered in the shortest time possible)
  3. Flexibility (if can’t reach the target, you can’t score on the target)
  4. Motivation (Your state of mind)
  5. Dedication (Did you make ALL the sessions?)
  6. Nutrition (You are what you eat)
  7. Preparation outside the Dojang (What you did for the last 12 weeks)

The WTF Olympic style taekwondo matches are changing. No longer is there the 7 point differential or the 12 point ceiling. The removal of these two limits has seen matches normally going the full 3 rounds. If you are 3 matches to the final, your day is about to get very long. Fitness has become part of the success equation.

There are two main energy systems we as Taekwondo players-trainers-coaches need to focus our training on- the Aerobic and the Anaerobic. During a match, you should forget about the aerobic system- too slow. So your training needs to be broken into three areas.

  1. Base training- Aerobic in nature. Base training gets the body fit, flexible and helps get in shape and weight. 6 to 4 months out
  2. Intensity training- Mixing in more and more intense parts during a session. Begin mixing at 12 weeks out, with a 50% mix by 3 weeks out.
  3. Match training- 2 weeks out and up to 2 days before the event.

Remember- Resting is part of training. Your body must be allowed to rest. Get your sleep, get it regularly. No attending parties-night clubs past 12midnight, or 11pm.

“How do you expect to keep up with the Hawks during the day if you have been flying with the Owls at night.”

Base training

  1. Aerobic work outs (1 to 2 hours in duration)

These work out are where the power development occurs. Don’t fret too much if you get “bulky”. At this point, dieting has begun, but with the introduction of long aerobic work outs, your body will get muscular (stronger). As muscle weighs more than fat, expect your clothes to fit better, while your weight climbs a little.

  1. Jogging on days where you are not training (30 minutes to 1 hour in duration)

Get out there and go running- not skipping, not cycling- running. The loading on the oxygen apparatus of the body needs to be “jiggly”. This teaches the respiratory muscles, diaphragm and chest areas of the body to work under exercise conditions.

This is also a weight loss activity.

Intensity training

  1. Expect localized muscle PAIN (Pain is our friend). The BURN (that’s lactic acid build up). You need to teach your body to handle and neutralize lactic acid for up to 120 seconds of intense exercise, and do it within a 30 second rest period. The only way to do this is through producing those chemicals in your body. A good measure is- IF you are HEAVY breathing, and sweating HUGE amounts- then you are almost there.

Match training

  1. Nothing beats ring-time. Get in there. Something I have always said is “look at the professionals- they do it for a living. They must train to win”. So look at how professional boxers train going into a major World championship event.
  2. Do not slacken off. You can NEVER go into an event OVER prepared. You can go in shattered. But if you are shattered, then your build up was poor and you tried to do too much at the end.


Training for an event is a full 12 week process. Again look at the preparation of the professionals. They do not decide to fight tomorrow- they plan 12 weeks ahead.