Taekwondo in Ireland: A Phenomenon by Aoibhín Copeland
So exercise is important, right? It is an essential component in our everyday lives. But did you know that one of the most popular sports in Ireland is a martial art? Taekwon-Do is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. Founded in 1955 by a Major General in the South Korean Army, Grandmaster Choi Hong Hi, Taekwondo has since grown into a world-wide phenomenon. This martial art includes a combination of sparring, patterns and special technique.
Image: Sparring at a competition, imac.ie
Image: Patterns at a competition, imac.ie/taekwon-do
There are over 90 Taekwondo clubs all across the country that are part of the ITA (Irish Taekwondo Association). Without doubt, the number of places available for training has increased the popularity of this martial art. The Irish competitions themselves involve gatherings of thousands of people, within the span of two days. These mostly take place in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Waterford. Those who are selected for the Irish Taekwondo Team to compete in the European championships, train on a regular basis together and in their own individual clubs. Due to the current circumstances, training has been postponed meaning that team members must take it upon themselves to develop and progress.
Image: Irish Taekwondo Team, taekwondo.ie/national-team
Image: My senior class (teens and adults) of my Taekwondo club, Instagram (@tkdquin) November 2019
I began Taekwondo at the young age of eight years old. Quickly, I became accustomed to wearing my white dobok twice a week. I greatly benefited from participating in a range of tournaments, gradings and camps. It became a quick realisation to my close friends of my obvious passion for Taekwondo. I love to share my experiences of training, travelling and the new people I meet. Taekwondo helped me to grow as a person through the strength and support of my club. This sport has allowed me to gain confidence, assertiveness and self-esteem. This gave me the motivation I needed to get my black belt, which I achieved last year in the summer.
Image: My sparring category at the Leinster Open in Dublin March 2019
Image: My sparring match (red gear) at the Irish National Championships in Limerick November 2019
Image: My sparring category at the Munster Open in Waterford February 2020
To conclude, Taekwondo lets you improve your physical and mental wellbeing through conditioning exercises. This is vital to living a long, healthy life. Why not join your local Taekwondo club to benefit your own wellbeing?
Below is a link detailing a complete list of all the Taekwondo clubs part of the Irish Taekwondo Association.