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Authentic Martial Arts Training for Adults
Why We Focus on Adults

We’re not against martial arts for kids, but almost every martial arts school offers lots of options for young people. We are different. Our focus on adult classes gives our dojang (martial arts training hall) a different atmosphere. We’re serious and traditional, our space is beautiful and serene, and our authentic goals and training methods embrace the martial art’s East Asian roots and culture.

Covering the Basics
Benefits of Taekwondo Training

Like many traditional martial arts schools, we offer rigorous workouts that make people strong and flexible, build endurance, and empower people with self-confidence and self-discipline. Serious students will learn effective self-defense skills, although there are no shortcuts to proficiency, and as in all martial arts, real competence takes years to develop. Most good martial arts schools do these things, and cultivating these traits is a core principle at River Valley Taekwondo as well.

"Graduate Level" Martial Arts
Training Beyond the Physical

Our school is unique because we offer a broad program of self-study that helps our students understand the cultural context of their martial arts training. We use the word “unique” intentionally and precisely: we don’t know of any other martial arts school anywhere that offers this depth of cultural curriculum.

This program allows curious and motivated students to become true experts in our Korean martial art and to understand its place in the wide world of martial Ways.

None of these extracurricular activities are required to be a member of our school or to advance in rank and skills, but those who pursue them will find great satisfaction in studying: Korean language, history, and culture; martial arts traditions and evolution; meditation practices; advanced physical fitness and conditioning; leadership in the community; and poomsae (forms or patterns, similar to the Japanese term “kata”) that are of historical interest to the development of the Korean martial arts.

In addition to the promotion exams that most martial arts schools offer several times a year, our extracurricular study community meets periodically to share experiences and support everyone’s efforts beyond our daily training in the dojang.

Learn WHY, not just WHAT
Information for New Martial Arts Students
Commit to the Right School

Here’s the most important advice anyone can give you when you’re new to martial arts training: don’t choose a martial arts school because it happens to be closest to your house or workplace, because it comes up first in search results, or for any reason other than this: the idea of studying there excites and motivates you. If you decide to make Taekwondo part of your life, you’ll probably practice for years, and it’s important to be sure you’re making a commitment you can believe in.

A recommendation from a friend might be useful, but only if they’re looking for the same thing you are. If your friend loves MMA classes but you’re looking for a martial art that embraces East Asian cultural roots, you won’t be happy in their school and they won’t be happy in ours. Don’t be afraid to try a few classes at several schools before you decide. Make sure the technical approach, the teaching style of the instructor(s), the atmosphere, and the group of fellow practitioners is what you want, and don’t be influenced by what fits someone else’s values and needs.

How to know you've found a good place to train

Trying or watching several classes is the best way to decide if a martial arts school is for you, but we know the Five College Area of Western Massachusetts has a bewildering variety of schools, styles, and locations. If you’re doing the research that will help you identify the right place, you’re already on the right track! Here are some articles to help you understand what our dojang stands for:

  • Student Manual
    This gives a great sense of our school’s values and approach, and it helps you understand what to expect for your first class.
  • FAQs
    After meeting many hundreds of new students over the years, these are the most common questions that come up.
  • History of Taekwondo
    Taekwondo is the empty handed striking art of Korea and the most popular martial art in the world. This is how it evolved.
  • About the Jidokwan style of Taekwondo
    We practice an old-school interpretation of this Korean form, and this article explains our roots.
  • Our Unique Cultural Self-Study Program
    No other martial arts school in our region (anywhere?) offers the depth and breadth of extracurricular knowledge as you’ll find at River Valley Taekwondo.
For Students at River Valley Taekwondo
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Seniors and Juniors in Martial Arts Training

The Senpai(先輩) Kohai (後輩) Relationship by Andrew Benioff Ee Dan, Jidokwan Taekwondo; San Dan, Aikido [ed: the Korean translation for "senpai" is 선배 (seonbae) and "kohai" is 후배 (hubae).] In Japan, the senpai-kohai system underlies…

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable, Part II

A post called "Comfortable Being Uncomfortable" from May 2016 is probably one of the top five in terms of generating feedback from students of all levels. In early July 2022, while we were all training…

Attacking the 10-Minute Conditioning Challenge

I'm loving RVTKD Instructor Luke Ryan's new ten minute fitness challenge, and if you're a member of our dojang, I encourage to do so. For me, part of the fun of this exercise is the…

Dojang News

2024 Hangeul Challenge

Our 2023 summer conditioning series culminated in a benefit for the Center for New Americans, and the recently completed 2024 Hangeul Crash Course gives members of the dojang the chance…

Benefit for Center for New Americans

As the culmination of our summer 2023 conditioning series, we held a benefit for the Center for New Americans. An anonymous donor pledged to contribute $0.20 per repetition performed by…

Dojang Reopens Sunday, April 3

The dojang leadership has set a reopening date of Sunday, April 3. We've been closed longer than we'd hoped when we moved classes to an outdoor model in January, but…

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