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The Process of Learning

We were honored to have special guest Grandmaster Ahn to instruct us in poomsae this weekend. Grandmaster Ahn’s deep knowledge of taekwondo opened my eyes as to how little I know.

Poomsae (forms) are often an overlooked aspect to the martial arts. If Sparring and Poomsae were children, sparring is the outgoing child and Poomsae is the quiet one.

Most new students gravitate toward sparring because it is fast paced and widely known for self defense. When I started taekwondo, I loved being able to kick and punch things, whether it be paddles, heavy bags or people (lol). The physical high energy drills were perfect for me. I always got an amazing workout, coming out of class drenched in sweat. I also was always challenged, learning different skills and trying to perfect them.

In poomsae training, you are memorizing a form with predetermined movements. As a color belt I saw it as just punching or kicking the air practicing my punches, blocks and kicks. There isn’t the instant gratification you get from kicking a paddle. It isn’t fast paced or high energy.

But as I moved up the belts and became a black belt I realized how little I knew. I was imitating the movements without understanding the “why”. This is where Poomsae comes in. Many of our students don’t see the purpose of learning forms. They find it boring. This is the mind set of the color belt and the process of learning. In the beginning, we can only imitate. The knowledge of why is too deep for a color belt to comprehend. This is why it is called “ART”.

This weekend was an amazing opportunity to learn from a true martial artist. He showed the true meaning of Taekwondo is in poomsae. All sparring techniques, self defense, breaking etc all are born from poomsae. Once you understand this concept, the learning can begin.

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