New Self-Defence Syllabus for New Zealand

Taekwon-Do has been taught in New Zealand since the early 70s.  Despite this longevity, self defence has only been an integral part of our grading/examination system since the early 90s – perhaps one reason for this is that Taekwon-Do is usually described as a “system of Self Defence’, and as such there was no need for a separate component that required examination.  ITKD’s current examination system now includes a well developed self defence curriculum, one that has evolved in the intervening 25 years.  A new approach to the curriculum, written by Master Paul McPhail and Mr Mark Banicevich with the assistance of several ITKD members experienced in self defence , has recently been published.  If anyone wishes to purchase the book go to

The latest issue of TKD-Talk (published by ITKD, New Zealand) that also contains 3 articles on the new syllabus and is available for downloading at

Self defence is not just about blocks, punches and kicks.  Whereas this may have been the approach in years past, it is now recognised that self defence, or self protection, also needs a very healthy dose of ‘de-escalation’.  The majority of situations where an individual is faced with aggression can be resolved without resorting to some kind of physical response. Instead, students can be taught that an understanding of basic behavioural or psychological factors is at least as important, if not more so, than leaping at your aggressor with a reverse turning kick.  This begins with awareness – being aware of your environment such that awkward situations are avoided.  However, if confrontation does occur, then having learned to read body language, knowing where to stand or how to move without appearing aggressive, and particularly knowing how to respond with non-aggressive language (shouting probably won’t work), will give our students a real advantage in the self defence stakes.

All of these skills have been incorporated into the new ITKD coloured belt syllabus. Our students will now learn de-escalation and physical self defence.  And our Instructors will have the flexibility to use techniques that best suit each student – techniques that have been proven to work in the real world.

A big thanks also must go to Mr Phil Thompson and Protect Self Defence" for sharing their material and expertise in making this self defence syllabus possible. 

Author: S Ryan
Date: 2014-08-12 10:39:00
Times it has been read:: 2393
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