Faster than the eye can see

Breaking boards and twisting flips in the name of self-defense! Read-on about the most exciting show at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

The World Taekwondo Federation Demonstration Team knows how to thrill the crowds.

They performed at the intermission during the taekwondo competition, and I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

Thirty-seven men and women make up the WTF team.

They’re based in Korea. And travel the world putting on shows like this one here.

Most members are in their early 20’s, and were recruited while in University. Only the best make it – those who combine exceptional athletic ability, with artistic flare.

The idea behind the touring show is to spread the philosophy of taekwondo – which is to make a more peaceful world.

The discipline is believed to have started more than two thousand years ago.

At its foundation, the goal is to form a more complete individual, fostering a range of qualities, from respect to a sense of responsibility to care for others.

Control and power are fundamental. In the demonstration, they manifest that through artistic expression, simulated combat  (which is the perfection of  self-defense against sudden attacks), and demanding acrobatic feats, involving the breaking of boards.

Here are a couple of videos shot with my CoolPix 100 camera (from the vantage point of my play-by-play broadcast table).

The speed at which they are able to break boards, especially in consecutive fashion is impressive. They are able to kick three boards in less than a second, it’s so fast the eye has trouble picking it up.

It’s a fine a reminder of how deep the roots of this sport run.

There are just five basic kicks use in Taekwondo competitions like the one at YOG, but there are more than 50 in the demonstration event.


One response to “Faster than the eye can see

  1. I’m reminded of a board-breaking ceremony I participated in this summer at a goddess boot camp workshop at the Kripalu Center. Did so with deep-seated fear of injuring myself or others, and without any of the abovementioned athletic ability or artistic flare. Yet there was a tremendous sense of being a more completed individual, as described above. Overcoming those fears and splitting the board – feeling the crack of wood beneath one’s feet is exhilarating and empowering. Leader Sierra Bender called it “breaking through.” It would be fascinating to explore the minds of these young athletes and see how such a grounding philosophy affects their training and development over time. Maybe it could be valuable for other athletes to borrow from these principles……..

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