HighlyStructured.com is a blog website run by Mike D'Agostino about search engine positioning, online marketing, php/MySQL, tae kwon do, and various other topics.

Tae Kwon Do Theory: Plateaus

February 08, 2006

Tae kwon do training starts out as a very physical process. You learn new techniques, the basics of blocking, kicking, and punching, and must delve into the tough physical workouts. After progressing through the belt levels, and especially after finally achieving a black belt, one is left to start reflecting on the training and accomplishments that have accompanied one's tae kwon do training. I belive that tae kwon do training, much like many other "subjects" in life outside of tae kwon do training, can be related to a series of plateaus.

This theory isn't something I thought up on my own. Indeed from one of the first classes I took I was presented with the plateau theory and how it relates to tae kwon do. In simple terms, the inclines from one plateau to another can be seen as the intense physical workouts, learning new techniques and forms, and pushing yourself to do more pushups, situps, or exercises. The plateaus, the relatively flat areas, are times when you reflect on what you've just learned during your "incline" to that level.

We could use each belt level as an example. Once a belt is attained, the road to the next belt level is an incline. New techniques are learned and the capacity to accomplish more exercises is expected. Once the trainee is ready for the next belt test, a leveling off of the incline happens as the trainee must reflect on his/her training and finally put it all together for the belt test.

In my opinion each plateau level gets longer and longer, with fewer extreme inclines. When I first started tae kwon do I learned so much so quickly that it was a very severe incline to the first plateau. Immediately after receiving my first belt it was on to another severe incline to learn more, and so on and so on. But with each belt level comes fewer new techniques, and once a black belt is achieved, the time between each belt level increases dramatically. And so the the inclines between each plateau become less severe, and the amount of time on each plateau increases with each belt level.

So when does one reach the "next plateau" in tae kwon do training? I think it is very personal and depends largely on each individual. Some people train and train and train without ever really reaching another plateau simply because they are just going through the motions, not really reflecting on the techniques they perform and how they can do better. One could argue that once a trainee reaches an epiphany, a moment of enlightenment and clarification about what they are doing, they have reached a plateau. At that moment it becomes clear why it's important to always start at inside block at the opposite shoulder, or why the calf and quadricept of your front leg should be bent at a 90 angle in a front stance. Once this realization occurs, it is time to move on to the next incline.

And of course, just like everything in tae kwon do, the plateau theory can be related to real life. Just about everything outside of tae kwon do can fit this model. School, jobs, relationships, just about anything can be seen as having inclines (learning and hardships) and plateaus (reflection and understanding).

Technorati Tags:               

Recent Articles



Other Blogs of Interest