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For the rest of 2021, River Valley Taekwondo will give free classes to essential workers who have kept our community safe and strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is how we choose to show our gratitude and give back, and it springs from the core values of our martial arts school.

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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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Improve Your Korean: Dojang, Tti

While doing research for another project, I stumbled upon a term that I thought I knew well, but which I recently realized I've been mispronouncing for decades. The word 도복, which is usually Romanized as…

Looking Back on Pandemic Taekwondo Practice

Thinking back on my Taekwondo practice since March 2020, I see the effect of training all around me. Not only in the day-to-day workouts that are the heart of Taekwondo experience, but in the way…

Practice Justice: Considering the Issue of Vaccine Privilege

This guest post was contributed by River Valley Taekwondo instructor and partner, Carin Zinter. After nearly 16 months, we are finally on the verge of reopening the dojang and once again offering classes. As someone…

Dojang News

Taekwondo Terminology Flash Card Decks

In support of our effort to use Korean terminology for techniques and routine commands in class, these flash card decks are now available for our instructors and students. Be aware…

New RVTKD Rules for COVID-Era Practice

We are excited to welcome RVTKD students back into the dojang for classes. You may have noticed that a lot has changed since we last trained together in March 2020.…

Free Program: Legal Observer Training

Note the July 31st deadline below if you want to take part in this event. At the beginning of June, our school released a Statement on Nationwide Protests Against Police Brutality.…

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