The Uniform

The traditional Taekwondo uniform is white.  That color has remained the same from the start.  The one challenge everyone has with washing the uniform is trying to make sure it doesn’t shrink and making sure it doesn’t get discolored.  This post shall give you pointers to help make sure your uniform doesn’t go to waste as a result of one bad washing.

First of all, your belt is part of your uniform.  Do not wash your belt.  This is the only part of your uniform you should leave alone.  The reason for this is tradition.  When you train, you put your blood, sweat, and tears into it.  Some of this is absorbed by your belt.  Over time, your belt will get dark.  In the olden days, this is how people got their black belt.

Of course if you used your white belt and waited for it to turn black, I would imagine a strong odor would be emanating from it.  Fortunately, in modern times, we periodically replace belts with the appropriate color soon after passing a promotion test.  Bottom line, don’t wash your belt.

Your uniform is another matter.  It is white, and normally you would wash whites in hot water, and introduce from bleach at the same time to help keep it white.  Unfortunately, uniforms made of 100% or even those with 50% cotton, tend to shrink when washed in hot water.  Here are some suggestions on dealing with Taekwondo’s white uniforms:

  • Anything with 50% or higher cotton content should be washed in cold or warm water.  Add bleach if there is no other color that would bleed from the bleach.  This means you probably have to wash them separately from your normal white clothes.
  • Uniforms with a small amount of cotton can be washed in hot water.  They don’t tend to shrink.  Add bleach if necessary to keep it looking white.
If you aren’t sure about the cotton content of your uniforms, just wash them in warm or cold water and add bleach to help turn it white and to help kill germs and bacteria that normal hot washing would clear.
How do you wash your white Taekwondo uniform?  Do you have any tips to share?  If so, please comment below.

forms or poomsae competition

Forms (or poomsae) Competition

Taekwondo forms (or Poomsae) competition can easily be won if you keep these key things in mind:

  1. Know your Taekwondo Forms inside and out; there should be no chance that you forget parts of your form.
  2. Maintain a good pace for executing the form; this way, you can showcase your skill and balance.
  3. Keep your balance; at no point in time should you show imbalance during your Taekwondo forms performance.
  4. Keep your movement precise, quick, and snappy.
  5. Make your kihop (shout) stand out from the rest.
If you heed these five key things, you should be on your way to placing in the top three.  These 5 key things I’ve learned over the course of time teaching and judging forms.
What is your opinion about this?

Board breaking requires skill.  In order to attain that skill, it requires practice.  To properly practice, you will need many boards to break.

There lies the challenge.  Where can you find or buy wooden boards to break?  Home Depot?  Lowes?  You probably could, but it could cost you.  Fortunately , there is such a thing called “re-breakable boards.”  And guess what?  You can buy them here at the school!

In this article, I will discuss two type of re-breakable boards and their differences.  The first type is what I would call the “hook in” type (see blue board below).  The second is what I would call the “dovetail” type (see orange board further down below).

Note that all re-breakable boards come in different colors.  The colors typically represent the skill level necessary to break such a board.  As such, the darker the color, the harder it is to break.

Hook-in Type Re-breakable Boards

Let’s start with the hook-in (blue ones below) re-breakable boards.

Blue Re-breakable Board (front)

Blue Re-breakable Board (top)

Blue Re-breakable Board (top)

I’m not really sure how they measure the strength of these boards, but this type of board  has many different board thickness.  As the level required to break it increases so does the color and the thickness.  Thus, a yellow (around 1/4 of an inch in thickness, at least) board is relatively easy to break compared to a black one which is around 5/8 of an inch think, at least.

The good thing about these boards is that they tend to properly represent the difficulty in breaking the boards since their thickness varies–the thinner the easier to break.  However, over time they get real easy to break that even a little toddler can break a real thick black board.  This is because as the board gets used, the parts that hook into each other develop cracks which make it easy to break the board.

These boards may be good for 50 to 150 breaks.  After that, you can break them with minimal effort.

Dovetail-type Re-breakable Boards

From my own experience, these boards are tough to break and the board thickness doesn’t really vary as the breaking difficulty increases.  So if you took one of these boards–say an orange one–you may have to be a an adult at the green or blue belt level to break it.  So from my experience, the level of difficulty in breaking these type of board do not properly match up with their color.

orange re-breakable board

Orange Re-breakable
Board (front)
re-breakable board (back side)

Orange Re-brakeable
Board (back)

The good thing about these boards is that they tend to last.  They last significantly much longer than the “hook-in” type.  My estimate is anywhere from 250 to 500 breaks.  It may even be longer.  The orange board illustrated above have seen many breaks.  It has outlasted 2 or 3 equivalent “hook-in” re-breakable boards.


Depending on what your goal is, you may acquire the “hook-in”  or the “dovetail” type re-breakable boards.

If you want realistic board breaking feel, get the former.  But if you want something that lasts, get the latter.

In either case, practicing board breaking can help improve your breaking skill especially since you need to hit the center of the board to break it, and it can potentially save you money compared to buying real boards to break.

All Out 8 Drill

All Out 8 Drill

Since starting this drill to help me get faster, I’ve pulled back on some of my running.  Although this might work well for younger folks, I think it doesn’t work well for me, and probably others who are in my age group (50 plus).  Read on if you want to know more and how I’ve modified it to help reduce strains and injuries during training.

When I started this, I was following this training regimen:

  • Monday:  Rest day
  • Tuesday:  Ride stationary bike for 30 minutes.  The first 10 minutes is at an easy warm up phase.  The next 2o minutes is where I apply the all out 8 drill; by 30 minutes my legs are tired, and sometimes I would have difficulty standing for the first few seconds immediately after finishing.
  • Thursday or Friday:  Run for about 30 minutes.  Use the same time and work out pattern as the stationary bike work out.
  • Sunday:  Do long run (anywhere from 6 to 20 miles); apply the all out drill on the last 30 minutes of the run.
  • During weeknights I cross train  by doing Taekwondo (a Korean Martial Art)

On my second week of doing this, I felt my plantar fasciitis flaring up as well as some right hip pain.  Note that I’ve been training in my minimalist shoes (the Five Finger Bikila LS).  This is probably the root cause of this.  The hip pain, which I haven’t felt since 2 years ago when training for my first marathon, is back.  I think the heavy impact of intense running did my hip in.

To modify my training regimen, I’m only going to apply the all out 8 drill to my stationary bike workout.  I will not do it for the short 30 minute run.  For the long run, I will do 4 repetitions of  gradual accelerations at the end of the run to help my end of run kick.

I will keep you posted on my progress on this, and post my race times to see if this truly helps with getting faster.