How long will it take me to become proficient in Tang Soo Do?

The time it takes to become proficient varies with each individual depending on the effort they put forth. We have found that students are very often amazed by their own ability and accomplishment in as little as three to six months. This training will give you the confidence that comes with knowing you can defend yourself in most situations. Your real goal, however, should be to attain the rank of Black Belt. This level of proficiency typically takes about three to four years, though for some, it can be attained sooner. This too, though, will vary depending on your level of effort and commitment.

Will there be other beginners in my class?

Yes. With LifeTrek being a new studio, you can be sure of that! Our staff has worked with many beginners over the years, and you can rest assured you will be in a supportive environment to help you become the best martial artist you can be.

How many classes should I attend?

It is recommended that you participate in all classes offered, plus a little extra practice time on your own between classes, in order to maintain a certain level of understanding. This allows time to work on material between classes and become proficient before new concepts are introduced.

Will my classes be safe?

In short, yes, our classes are safe. You certainly assume all risks associated with practicing martial arts, but we foster an environment of safety here. Please advise your instructor of any restrictions or limitations you may have prior to training.

What physical aspects of martial arts does Tang Soo Do focus on?

Tang Soo Do focuses primarily on the “stand-up” aspects of martial arts (kicks, punches, and blocks). In the self-defense training, you will also find heavy usage of joint-locks and counter-strikes.

While we do teach some throws and grappling techniques in the self-defense curriculum, the majority of our “ground work” is focused on getting off the ground and to a vertical base as quickly as possible.

That is not to say we don’t see great value in ground work. Rather, the WTSDA curriculum is simply more focused on the stand-up aspects of martial arts, vs. grappling or wrestling with an opponent. At LifeTrek, we certainly hope to have the opportunity to include, from time-to time, special classes to give our students some basic understanding of ground work.

What about sparring?

As we hold the safety of our students in the highest regard, all free sparring in preparation for tournaments is a “light-to-no-contact” activity. All students interested in sparring are required to wear protective equipment (head, foot, and hand gear, mouth-guard, and protective cup (for males). Although not required, you are also welcome to invest in chest protectors, face shields, and shin guards. Sparring is allowed ONLY under the direct supervision of an instructor. Please see LTMA staff for sparring gear packages we have available at a discount.

A secondary question we have received on this is related to the question of the value of light-to-no-contact sparring, in terms of learning useful self-defense. Our response is very simple: WTSDA tournament sparring is simply not designed to emulate a real-life self-defense situation. Neither are most full-contact point sparring events. Our association made the decision years ago to go this route in the interest of participant safety.

That being said, WTSDA free sparring does still teach students about timing, distance, body-control, and awareness of where you are in space. In a real life situation, these are valuable assets. But again, we would never teach our students that they should expect a real-life self defense situation to look anything like a controlled environment. We have separate curriculum for such matters.

Keep in mind, our goal is not to promote violence in the first place. Rather, it is to develop the student as a person, while teaching useful self-defense techniques as a part of our broader art form.

Note: From time to time, we may offer sparring classes with a heavier level of contact (still not full-contact), but participation in this is never mandatory, and is completely voluntary. Participants assume all risks associated with any type of sparring.

Are there any age limits?

Classes are available to anyone age 7 or older. We very much encourage families to participate together in our classes!

Will the martial arts make my child overly aggressive?

Children are taught that the martial arts are not to be used as an offensive weapon, but rather only to defend oneself, or the defenseless, in certain situations. Aggressive behavior is channeled into assertiveness to increase the child’s self esteem, increase self-discipline, and build character. Our program also helps the shy child to develop self-confidence and become more assertive. Studies have shown that, on average, children who study martial arts are actually less likely to get into fights.

Will I learn useful self-defense?

Absolutely! Practical self-defense is an important part of training in Tang Soo Do. How to roll, fall, break out of a hold, use joint locks and manipulation, and defend against weapons are some of the aspects of self-defense taught for real life situations. Students will learn techniques that will help them defend against larger, stronger attackers, and advanced students learn techniques to defend against multiple attackers.

Do I have to be an athlete to train?

No. Everyone trains at his or her own level. If you are not used to hard physical training, that’s fine. You will find that your strength, endurance, and flexibility increase steadily as you work out. If you are a conditioned athlete however, don’t worry; you will get a good workout. We welcome students of all backgrounds and abilities. People who are physically challenged are encouraged to join. Tang Soo Do is very much a personal art.

Do I need any experience?

No previous experience in the martial arts is required. All you need is the desire to learn. However, we welcome students of any martial arts background.

Do I have to buy a uniform?

Not right away. If you enjoy the class and continue to train, you will be required to purchase a martial arts uniform through Mr. Burkett, as we offer them with the proper patches and printing, at prices comparable to what you could find elsewhere.

Speaking of uniforms, how much does it cost to be a student of LifeTrek?

Great question! There are a couple of categories you should prepare to budget for:

  • Tuition: This is handled directly with the YMCA, not Mr. Burkett, LifeTrek, or the WTSDA. They have rate structures for both Y members AND non-members. Also, while we don’t publish rates on the LifeTrek website, you may contact the front desk at either location for more info. Our rates are very competitive to our local market, even if you are not a Y member!
  • If you would like to try a class before enrolling, please see the front desk at the Downtown YMCA, and they will be happy to provide you with a one-time pass. We think you’ll have a great time, but we want you to feel free to try us on for size before investing in our program.
  • Everything else: is handled through Mr.Burkett. He will be happy to provide you with a budget guide, but some items you would pay in addition to tuition include: WTSDA dues, testing fees, uniforms, sparring equipment, tournament fees, and lodging/meals/transportation to events outside of class.While we can’t give you a hard number that guarantees covering everything, we can at least provide you with a very good idea of what to expect. It is our goal to make this accessible to everyone possible.
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