The ultimate purpose of traditional training is perfection of mind and body. In the last line of Taekwondo Oath, student pledge, to build a more confident and peaceful world that sounds like a lot to ask from a martial art that teaches devastating strikes and kicks and originate as self defense for every day.
A traditional martial art is not simply about fighting. Nor is it merely a sport. The underlying premise of a sound martial art is that by practicing rigorous physical exercises, not only is one's body improved, but also one's mind and spirit.
There are many styles of Taekwondo and some are totally different from what is practiced at traditional Taekwondo around the world. But Taekwondo also is an art a highly physical art. The central element of our Taekwondo curriculum is the practice of forms patterns of movements that depict one person defending against the attacks of invisible assailants from all directions. Each move in the pattern must be powerful and the transition between moves must be graceful. It challenge both main and body. And forms get ever more difficult as one rises in belt rank.
There also is artistry in the flow of free sparring, the ingenuity of joint locks and throws and the creative force of board breaking. It is part of makes Taekwondo fun. Perfection is never possible, but the constant striving for the perfection via Taekwondo is rewarding in itself. Many students begin Taekwondo marveling at the ease at which advanced students perform complicated skills, thinking they will never be able to do those moves. And then in a few years, other new students are marveling at them.