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Taekwondo is a martial art that was developed in Korea in the very distant past – in the 1940s and 1950s. It was developed during and after the Second World War in a spirit of national pride to provide an alternative to Karate, a martial art of the Japanese who had conquered Korea. There are various Taekwondo organizations. The main organizations are the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation), the ITF (international Taekwondo Federation), and the ATA (American Taekwondo Federation). The Albuquerque Taekwondo and Self Defense Club is certified by the ATA, which, even though it has “American” in its name is and international organization with schools around the world.

Albuquerque Taekwondo and Self Defense Club

This club officially began classes for kids from the age of three through adults of all ages on January 2, 2018. Songham taekwondo, the specific “flavor” of ATA Taekwondo. Forms (known it Karate as “katas), sparring, board breaking, and self-defense are taught. Our Taekwondo club will emphasize self-defense and will emphasize one of the weapons taught in ATA schools, the Bahng Mahng Ee, commonly known as the “Stick.” Students will be able to compete in sparring with the padded stick in most all ATA competitions. Other weapon forms and techniques are also taught including the Ssahng Jeol Bong, commonly known as “nunchucks,” broadsword, bo staff and others. Our club partners with Mr. Horton Newsom’s club at the McLeod YMCA, enabling student to take classes for five days a week without extra charge.


  • Tigers are kids of age 3 through 6. Basic techniques and forms are taught. The only difference between the Tigers and the older kids’ classes is the teaching approach which is more appropriate for their age. When the Tigers reach the age between six and seven, they can transfer directly into the classes with the older kids without starting over. They will transfer in laterally at their then current belt rank.
  • Kids classes are more structured and, in addition to the forms, board breaks, sparring, and self-defense, they acquire “Black Belt Attitudes” to help them in their daily lives. When they finally transfer into the adult classes as teenagers, they will be respected by all for their positive and helpful attitudes. The self-defense the kids learn is age appropriate. There are two basic self-defense scenarios. First, how to handle the schoolyard bully without getting into trouble and second, how to handle being attacked or abducted by an older kid or adult.
  • Adult classes are more focused. Adults follow the same basic curriculum but there is a greater emphasis on serious self-defense, including knife and gun defense. They learn stick techniques that are immediately translated into knife and empty hands (traditional Filipino Martial Arts). Krav Maga and other methods are taught.

A benefit of becoming a student of ATA Taekwondo is that ATA has been evolving and has merged aspects of other martial arts into their own curriculum. Of note is the Bahng Mahng Ee, or stick. The combat weapon sparring done in the ATA is with the stick. The techniques are borrowed from the largo mano methods of Kali as well as the jabs from Escrima that were borrowed from French fencing. Also, at higher belt levels, techniques from Kung Fu and other martial arts can be found. Some of the warmup drills borrow from boxing and from Krav Maga.

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