In honor of my upcoming tournament trip, I’ve decided to explain my taekwondo tournament life in pictures.  You’re welcome.  (None of the pictures are me.  I just googled).

Whenever I tell people I compete in taekwondo, I make sure to emphasize that I compete in forms.  Forms are a set of choreographed movements that depict a series of defenses and offensive counters.  Forms competitors are judged on their accuracy (4 points in WTF scored events) and performance (6 points in WTF scored events).  Forms are the “art” part of “martial art.”

What I actually do:

Poomsae (forms); this is from the form I will do in my next tournament.

Despite explaining what I do, people are generally convinced that I am totally badass fighting all the time.  Even family members have expressed interest in how I fight in tournaments (even though I do NOT fight in tournaments).  To be fair, I’ve had family members think I do “karate” and “judo,” so I’m excited these days when they remember my sport is called “taekwondo.”

Regardless, having now fielded these questions for the better part of the year, here’s what I’ve realized:

What people think I do:

(This is MMA, not taekwondo; most of these movements aren’t even LEGAL in taekwondo)

What people who know MMA and taekwondo are different think I do:

Getting warmer …..but still, no.

What people who have seen the Olympics think I do:

This IS taekwondo, it’s just a different event (sparring)

And once again, what I ACTUALLY DO in tournaments:

This is from a form called Koryo. This sequence is one of the most wicked hard things to do EVER. I literally spent six months face planting on the mat trying until I learned how to do it.