9 Songahm Way Sarver, PA 16055

Makowski's Martial Arts & Fitness Student Area & FAQs

Student Area | Frequently Asked Questions - Makowski's Martial Arts & Fitness

The Makowski's Martial Arts & Fitness Student Area is your reference and guide to some of the commonly asked questions around the Do Jang.

  • "How do you do that rear stance again?"
  • "How do you choose a martial arts school?"
  • "What do all those Taekwondo terms actually mean?"

The answers to these questions are here along with other helpful slides and information.

There is also some information for the parents too!!

Said at the beginning and end of every class.

These statements are said at the beginning and at the end of class. They serve as general sayings to live by, and to show respect for our martial art. They list the basic life skills that are inherent in Songahm Taekwondo.

Opening Statement:

Sir, I shall practice in the spirit of Taekwondo,

...with courtesy for fellow students,

...loyalty for my instructors,

...and respect for my juniors and seniors


Closing Statement:

Sir, I shall live with perseverance in the spirit of Taekwondo,

...having honor with others,

...integrity within myself,

...and self-control in my actions


Tiny Tigers

Tiny Tigers recite the Songahm Spirit, repeating after their instructor while motioning with their hands.

To be a good person (right hand raised);

...knowledge in the mind (point to head);

...honesty in the heart (right hand placed over the heart);

...strength in the body (make a muscle with the right arm and point to it);

...to make good friends (extend the right hand to shake hands);

...to do my best (both hands at the sides),


Commonly used terms that can be heard around the Do Jang.
BARO [ba-ro]
Return to ready stance
CHARYEOT [cha-ryut]
DIRO DORA [dee-roe-doe-ra]
About face
DO JANG [Do-Jang]
Training hall or studio
DO BALK [Do-Balk]
JOONBE [june-bee]
JWA WOO HYANG WOO [jaow-oo-young-oo]
Face to the right and left respectively
KAESOK [kay-soek]
KIHAP [key-hop]
KU KI E [koo-key-ay]
Face to flags
KUMAHN [koo-man]
KYEONG YE [kee-young-e]
SHIJAK [she-jak]
Look here for tips on Do Jang etiquette and why we do the things we do.
  • Students and instructors will bow to the flags each time they enter or leave the classroom area to demonstrate respect to the instructors and fellow students.
  • If students are late for class, they should ask permission to enter class. Permission must be obtained to leave the classroom for any reason.
  • Students will respond "Yes/No, Sir or Ma'am" in conversation with instructors, stand respectfully and address them by their last name and proper title.
  • Students will turn away from instructor or opponent when adjusting uniform or belt.
  • Students are encouraged to participate in class enthusiastically, however, they are to avoid unnecessary conversation.
  • No student, regardless of rank, may instruct or correct another student without permission from the supervising instructor.
  • A clean uniform is imperative in each class as a reflection of the student's pride.
  • Female students must wear a white t-shirt under their uniform.
  • Students will not wear shoes on the workout floor.
  • No jewelry shall be worn in class except for a wedding ring.
  • All belts should be tied to hang evenly, as one side represents the mind and the other side represents the body.
  • Students may not engage in free-sparring without all proper gear and direct supervision of an instructor.
  • There will be no use of profanity on the school premises at any time.
  • Permission of the student's instructor is required before a student may attend another ATA school or martial arts function.
  • High ranking visitors to the class should be greeted with appropriate respect; if class is in session, all members should immediately stop and bow.
  • Students, parents, and guest will not converse with any person involved in a class session without permission from the instructor.
Here we have some of the basic stances of Songahm Taekwondo.

Basic Standing Positions (Stances)

Belt Colors and Descriptions

White Belt: This is where it all starts."Pure and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong roots."

Orange Belt: "The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning's dawn, only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense power." The beginner student sees the beauty of Taekwondo but has not yet experienced the power in the technique.

Yellow Belt: "The seed is beginning to see the sunlight." The student begins to see the basics of Taekwondo.

Camo Belt: "The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upward." The student begins to see his/her place in the world's largest martial art. The student must now begin to spar in order to promote in rank.

Green Belt: "The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength." The student's technique is developing power. The compoents of the basic techniques are beginning to work in unison.

Purple Belt: "Coming to the mountain. The tree is in the mid-growth and now the path becomes steep." The student has crossed over into a higher level of Sogahm Taekwondo. The techniques, forms, and level of sparring become more difficult, creating a "mountain" that must be overcome.

Blue Belt: "The tree reaches for the sky toward new heights." Having passed the mid-way point, the student focuses his/her energy upwards toward black belt.

Brown Belt: "The tree is firmly rooted in the earth." At this point the student has mastered the basics and developed deep roots in Taekwondo.

Red Belt: "The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished." The first day (the period of time from White to Red belt) of growth is coming to an end. The physical skill has been developed, but lacks control. Therefore, physical and mental discipline must now be achieved.

Red/Black Belt: "The dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness."

Black Belt: "The tree has reached maturity and has overcome the darkness... it must now 'plant seeds for the future.'"

Steps you can follow to help get you on the way
  1. Focus on the first step

    What is important is that you focus on getting over the first hurdle. You must really work hard on the basics and build a solid foundation on which to grow. Therefore spend time on the simple techniques that you are shown first - having solid basics is the core for achieving a black belt.

  2. Listen to your body

    If you are not feeling 100% in training and your energy levels feel low, take a look at your daily lifestyle.

    School and work challenges, diet, emotional stress, and activity schedule can each cause a drain on performance. Avoid burnout by knowing your limits and scheduling activity responsibly. Two taekwondo classes a week will get you to your goal at a steady rate. Sure you can attend more often but that all depends on what other responsibilities you have.

  3. Do what you enjoy

    Being in the right class environment that you will enjoy is very important in keeping motivated for black belt training. If you enjoy a particular aspect of training, suggest to your instructor that you would like to do more of it (make sure you are respectful and your instructor will welcome your feedback).

  4. Visualize achievement

    To get through a particular hard training session visualize how you will feel at the end of it. Be positive and imagine how you will feel during the cool down, knowing that you have maintained maximum effort throughout. Looking long term, visualize how it will feel to put your black belt on and the respect you will get from fellow students.

  5. Resist the temptation to be lazy

    The one simple fact you should remember is that a black belt is only achieved through hard work and commitment. Students who regularly attend classes, demonstrate good ability, attitude, and behavior will be the students who achieve their black belt.

  6. Set yourself achievable goals

    It is important to set goals that can be reached. Start with goals that are easy and that are stepping stones toward your bigger goal. Examples are:

    • Do all of your basics to the best of your ability
    • Be a leader in class
    • Answer up loud and show respect in class
    • Train an extra session a week
    • Eat a more balanced diet.
    • Earn your next knowledge stripe by a target date
  7. Shake down that old routine

    Training doesn’t always need to be the same. A good black belt knows kicks, strikes, blocks, board breaks, sparring, ground fighting, self-defense, physical fitness, speed training, and much more. Your training should be a little different in each class that you attend.

  8. Monitor your Progression

    You need to do and learn. That means you must focus your attention so that you are able to do the techniques and tasks that are presented in class. You should practice them in your mind and with your body so that you can do them well even when you aren’t in class.

  9. Plan your training time on a weekly basis

    If you really want to achieve your black belt you should plan to participate in class at least twice a week. If you know that for a particular week you may not be able to make the class time, ask your instructor for other ways to make it up. Perhaps you can attend additional classes before you leave or the following week when you return. You can also practice your techniques or forms independently before you go to school or work.

  10. Reinforce the reasons why you train

    What is the main reason why you train? The attitude you need to have is that you want to stay committed and dedicated not because you have to, but because you want to. To get to the black belt you have to train hard and set goals that you can achieve, so it's important to reinforce the values of your training.

    It’s the journey that is important. Gaining the black belt rank is only the beginning of black belt training. Practicing the proper attitude by setting high goals and achieving greater black belt experience is a lifelong model for success.

    Celebrate your success! Take time to enjoy your progress and remember that you are successful and a winner.

    Training for a black belt is no easy task. It requires dedication and a lot of hard work. To achieve the first degree blackk belt rank will take about three years. Here are ten pointers to help keep you stay focused and motivated to achieve that black belt.

A Q&A that will tell you what to expect before you go and when you get there..


Q: Who can participate in a tournament?
A: Any active ATA student. Competition is divided for all ages and skill levels.
Q: What does a student do at the tournament?
A: Students will compete with their form. White, orange, and yellow belts also compete with one-steps #1 and #2. Camo belts and above compete in point sparring with gear. Hand gear, foot gear, head gear, mouth guard, and athletic cup (for males) is mandatory.
Q: What is weapons competition?
A: All students (White through 5th Degree Black Belt) can perform their own creative form. Their free-style form is not to be longer than twenty seconds. Colored belts may compete with the Single & Double Ssahng Jeol Bong, Single & Double Bahng Mahng EE or the Jahng Bong. Black belt competitors must perform the weapon form that is required for their rank.
  • All 1st through 5th Degrees must compete with the ATA Protech weapons forms. All ties will be decided by performing the form one more time, and an additional creative free-style.
  • 1st Degree Black Belts may compete with the Single Ssahng Jeol Bong, or Single Bahng Mahng EE.
  • 2nd Degree Black belts may compete with the Single/Double SJB, or Single/Double BME.
  • 3rd Degree Black Belts may compete with Single? Double SJB, or Single/Double BME or the Jahng Bong.
  • 4th & 5th Degree Black Belts may compete with the Single/Double SJB, or Single/Double BME or the Jahng Bong or Sam Dan Bong.
Q: How are competitions scored?

A: Forms - there will be three judges rating forms on a scale of 9.0-9.9. The three highest scores will win first, second and third place trophies.

One-steps (white belt/orange belt/yellow belt)- the judges will raise a red or white flag indicating which one-step was performed most accurately. When a student has earned two points they will move on to compete against another competitor.

Point sparring (camouflage belt through black belt)- the judges will raise a red or white flag indicating which competitor scored the point. Points are determined by certain techniques being directed to specific areas. When a student has earned five points or whoever has the most points at the end of two minutes, will continue on to another competitor. Four trophies are also awarded, the same as in one-step sparring.

Q: Why should a student compete in a tournament?


  • It is fun!
  • Competition teaches sportsmanship
  • Self-confidence is developed
  • It provides children and opportunity to compete successfully in their sport and to meet other students and instructors.
  • A team and winning attitude connects the students with their classmates.
  • Mental self-control is demonstrated competition situation.

Everyone is a winner for participating in a tournament. Children not placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd will receive a 4th place VICTORY trophy and students will receive a red star for their victory patch.

Tournament Requirements

All students are invited to sign up for in-school, regional, national and world ATA Tournaments. Tournament competition events include forms, sparring and weapon competition.
In order to compete at an ATA tournament in form competition, students must have their instructors permission and know at least one form, either their current belt form or the last belt form they tested with. For example, a newly promoted orange belt who does not yet know his whole form, is permitted to do his white belt form with no detriment to his score. The student must know ALL of at least one form to compete, partial forms, however nicely done, are not acceptable.

Sparring competition is traditionally held immediately following forms competition within the same ring. Students not competing in sparring for any reason must stay in their ring until their judges dismiss them. White, orange and yellow belts will do one-step sparring with a partner, while camo belts and above will free spar for points. White, orange and yellow belts will compete only with one-steps number 1 and 2, so knowledge of one-step 3 is not needed to compete. Even if a new camo belt plans to compete with his yellow belt form, he/she MUST compete in a camo belt ring. Camo belts and above are not permitted to compete with one-steps for any reason. Camo belts and above are required to bring all necessary sparring gear including hand and foot pads, head gear, mouth piece and groin cup for males. Students without proper gear will not be permitted to spar. Shin pads and other additional protective gear are optional. Students should not wear gear into their competition ring, as they will be given time to put on their gear following forms competition. Weapons competition is optional and may require an additional registration card and fee. Students competing in weapons are required to bring their own weapons.

All competitors are invited to arrive early to avoid missing their competition. Students should arrive either in uniform, or in dress attire with their uniform present to change into before competition.

Stretching exercises that supplement Martial Arts training.

Daily Dozen Stretches

The following stretching exercises are supplements to Martial Arts training. Stretching should not be done with cold muscles, so do something before beginning to warm up. Light exercise, like jumping jacks or running in place, is a good way to begin. When stretching, reach and extend--do not bounce. Muscles need oxygen to stretch. Breathe normally while in the extended position. As with all exercises, if there is any question as to the suitability of the exercise for you, consult a physician before attempting to do any physical workout.

Benefits of Martial Arts

  1. Balance your martial arts goals among physical, intellectual and value-oriented goals. Obviously, if you're a beginner, this can be a difficult task but the school that you choose should support your goals and make it easier for you to succeed.
  2. Start by identifying basic goals, such as learning common commands in Japanese or Korean (depending on the martial art you practice), showing courtesy to another student, showing respect for the instructors and school. You will be able to identify advanced goals as you develop experience in the style. Your instructors should provide you with help in setting goals.
  3. Keep your goals specific, measurable, and realistically able to be achieved within a period of time.
  4. Track your progress toward achieving goals. Keep a notebook or journal to record instances of your performance boh during and outside of classes..
  5. Share your goals with instructors and other students. Encourage others to share their goals with you.
  6. Encourage students, friends and family members to provide you with both positive and negative feedback.
  7. Recognize short-term and long-term progress and celebrate your successes.

    "I've lost 14 pounds..." (after taking classes for 4 weeks)

How do you choose a martial arts school that meets your needs and is one about which you can feel proud?

Steps to choosing a martial arts school:

  1. Check your telephone directory to see what kinds of schools are listed within a reasonable distance.
  2. Phone the schools and ask whether they're affiliated with a larger organization, such as the American Tae Kwon Do Association (ATA) or World Karate Association (WKA). If not, standards and methods for advancement, competition, and training requirements may be inconsistent.
  3. Determine your martial arts goals. Are you interested in self-defense, exercise, a family activity, becoming a black belt, etc.?
  4. Make an appointment to take a class. Many schools have an observation area, so you can watch during class. Ask permission first.
  5. If it isn’t offered to you by the staff, ask for permission to talk with students and instructors. Find out how students' experiences have been with the school and whether the instructors' styles will support your goals.
  6. Assess the quality of teaching and the facility. What is your impression of the instructors? Do instructors expect and show respect and courtesy? What is their experience?
  7. Determine the school's emphasis. Is it purely self-defense? Does it advocate development of the whole person physically and mentally? What level of contact is permitted? Are tournaments available, who can compete, and what is the level of competition that can be expected? Is tournament competition required? How formal or informal are the classes?
  8. Ask friends and work associates whether they've heard anything about the martial arts school you're interested in joining. Also check with the Better Business Bureau and your local chamber of commerce. Is the school involved in the community?

Taekwondo can be traced back to ancient Korea. The only documented history begins around the middle of the 1900's. The exact start is unknown but it is believed that it originates from a Korean martial art known as t'aekyon practiced around 1,300 years ago.

Near the beginning the 1900's the art transformed with the introduction of Japanese and Chinese techniques. This bothered some because the influences didn't carry on the traditional values, philosophy, and the kicking power associated with the old ways.

On April 11th, 1955, Taekwondo became official!! General Hong Hi Choi organized the various Korean martial arts styles and presented the name Taekwondo to a committee that was made up to decide on this title. From then on, Taekwondo was recognized as the new, officially recognized Korean martial art.

Tae = kick or jump
Kwon = fist or hand
Do = "the way"

Taekwondo = "The Way of the Hand and Foot."

Towards the 1960's, Taekwondo started spreading internationally and evolved into primarily a combat sport with self-defense, fitness, and the philosophy still remaining at critical elements of Songham Taekwondo, the style developed and supported by the ATA.

Taekwondo is currently the most popular martial art in Korea, and stands among the worlds most popular martial arts!

The Songahm Star
The Songahm Star

Songahm Taekwondo

The "Songahm Star" is the pattern that is formed on the ground if all 18 forms of the Songahm system are completed. In a perfect Songahm Star, the distance from the center point of the star to the top point is nine feet ("feet" being the student's foot length). The total distance from the top point to the bottom point equals 18 feet, representing the number of forms in the Songahm system.

"Martial Art" is a broad term encompassing the many styles of physical discipline (fighting) arts that have been developed over the centuries. To say that the style of Songahm Taekwondo is just another "martial art" would be an oversimplified explanation of the world's largest centrally administered martial art. This system of teaching and training is unequaled in the martial arts community.

During its early years, the ATA used the Chahng-hun style of forms (also used by the International Taekwondo Federation). But although this style was widely accepted in the Taekwondo community, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee felt that its forms did not accurately reflect Taekwondo -- particularly the strength and beauty of Taekwondo kicking techniques. As a result, he believed the forms contributed little to the Taekwondo curriculum. For example, white belts were expected to know front kicks and side kicks, but no front kick appeared until the third (yellow belt) form, and there was no side kick until the form after that!

From 1983 to 1990, Eternal Grand Master introduced the eighteen Songahm forms. These forms are part of a fully-integrated curriculum, in which everything a student learns reinforces everything else. The forms contain all or nearly all of the techniques that students are expected to know at each rank, the one-step sparring segments complement the forms, and all of these patterns lead logically to the movements required for each succeeding rank.

The Songahm curriculum facilitates a smooth progression from one rank to the next, so that students who begin Taekwondo feeling they'll never be able to do a simple block (for example) suddenly find themselves a few years later doing 360-degree jumping kicks with ease.

Songahm Taekwondo also focuses on personal development of the mind and body. To say it is just self-defense would be to lose most of the valuable ideas and philosophy behind this ancient art.

The heightened capacity for self-defense resulting from our Taekwondo is really a fringe benefit that is gained by dedicating one's self to the values, philosophy and training of Songahm Taekwondo. When learning, a student is in a true, traditional Taekwondo class, focusing not just on the physical but also on discipline, honor, self-control, respect, courtesy, perseverance and loyalty.

A beginner does not focus on being a skilled martial artist within a month or two, as a strong foundation in Taekwondo must be built first. Trying to advance beyond your level without proper guidance is like building a house on concrete that has not dried. Though the house may still stand, the foundation would not be as strong and the appearance of the house may not be as presentable.

The ATA and its affiliated organizations help build a strong foundation of Songahm Taekwondo in each of its members, a foundation from which advancement in both the martial art (mind and body) and in self defense can be built and added on to in perpetuity.

Source = www.ataonline.com