Terminology and Etiquette

Everything you need to know for training in the dojang

Kit and Dress

For your first sessions, just wear comfortable clothing and don’t worry about kit. Eventually you’ll want a dobok and/or club t-shirt to train, grade, and compete in.

You’ll also likely want to progress to hand and foot pads quite quickly. They make sparring much more safe, comfortable and fun! And remember, when sparring, no pads = no contact.

Club shirts are available from our Union page, and other kit is available from Phantom Dragon.


For many people, sparring is one of the most fun and exciting parts of taekwondo. It might seem daunting at first, but it’s genuinely awesome to push you forward in your confidence, fitness, and skill!

  • Look after your partner! It’s important to show control as well as power.
  • Be a good sport: Before and after a bout, bow and touch gloves with your partner.
  • For contact sparring you must wear hand and foot pads. No pads = no contact.


Bowing is a traditional way of showing respect, thanks, trust, and good sportsmanship in martial arts, much like a handshake. This a simple bow from the waist with your hands by your side. It becomes second nature by the end of your first class!

  • Bow when entering and before leaving the dojang
  • Bow to your partner before and after sparring or working together
  • Bow to your instructor or senior after receiving tuition
  • If someone bows to you, bow back!

Scoring in Competition

Competing is optional, but if you want to get involved you should probably know:

  • Kick to the head: 3pts
  • Kick to the body: 2pts
  • Punch: 1pt

During training we typically practice light-contact free-sparring, drills, and some competition training. If you want to really focus on improving your fighting skill, look out for special seminars and come along to Saturday’s sessions.

Address & Etiquette

When doing formal linework, line up in descending belt order with the highest belt at the front.

Taekwondo instructors are formally addressed as ‘sabom’ (teacher), their surname (Mr/Ms Smith), or a polite term such as ‘Ma’am/Sir. Any of these is fine, but as training in our dojang is fairly informal we typically address our instructors by their first names (Simon, Kat, and Stuart).

It’s important to learn the names of your instructors! Thankfully, our club shirts have our names embroidered!

Mastering the Belt

Each student progresses at their own pace, but many students enjoy seeing their progression via the belt system.

We offer two grading sessions a year at the end of each semester, and it is up the the student to decide to attempt the grading (or not). If you intend to grade, let our head instructor know. The entire syllabus is available here.

If you’re just not sure how to tie the thing, check out our quick video guide here.

Korean Terminology










Attention (feet together, arms by your side)


Ready (feet shoulder width apart, arms just in front, hands in soft fists)



Return (return to ready stance at the end of a pattern)

Turn around

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, so it’s traditional to use Korean terminology. You won’t be expected to learn to speak Korean, but we do use some traditional terms in our training.

You’ll become familiar with these words really quickly just by hearing them, you don’t need to try to learn them all by heart!

1: Hana (하나)

2: Dul (둘)

3: Set (셋)

4: Net (넷)

5: Daseot (다섯)

6: Yaseot (여섯)

7: Ilgop (일곱)

8: Yeodol (여덟)

9:  Ahop (아홉)

10: Yeol (열)


As well as learning the Tenets of Taekwondo and the Taekwondo oath (in English), you should be able to count (verbally) in Korean.

Practice by counting your techniques out loud in class.