D is for Dojang

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During April, I’m writing 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I’m combining my skills as a writer, a life coach, and a martial artist (2nd degree black belt in ITF Taekwondo) to create a series of posts about applying aspects of TKD to life outside of martial arts. Whenever possible, I’ll include a little Taekwondoodle to illustrate what I’m talking about. I’m still learning how to draw these kind of figures but this is good practice.

In ITF Taekwondo, our training space is called a dojang. Many schools have their own building so their space is always dedicated to TKD* but our dojangs are rented space in a church hall and a community centre and I think there are real advantages to using a multi-purpose space.

While we *call* the space a dojang, it is the training that takes place there that gives it purpose. The  instructor leading the students through the rituals of coming to attention, of bowing in, of practicing – the activities create the dojang.A black ink drawing on white paper, depicting a stick figure martial arts class in white uniforms. They are in a gymnasium and there are double doors behind them with the word ‘exit’ written above them.

The practice can take place in any space – indoors or out – and it will be transformed into a dojang.

There is power in that.

With our classes taking place in multi-purpose space, we are regularly reminded that the building itself isn’t some sort of magic. Our instructors create the space for us to learn and we sustain that space through our attention and our commitment.

We don’t need a specific building – we need that mental space – that frame of mind.

It’s the same for anything you want to practice regularly. Sure, a dedicated space for writing/drawing/lego/meditation/board games is cool but you don’t *need* a specific physical space in order to do those things. You can do those things in almost any space (as long as there is room for the activity).

What you need is the mental energy that transforms the space you have into a space for doing that activity.

In TKD, we bow when we enter the dojang and that is a signal that we are in our training space, that we are here to do that specific thing.

If you are trying to fit something into your life and you find that the lack of a dedicated space feels like an obstacle, perhaps you need something that lets you mentally transform the space you already have. A shawl that you put on for writing. A piece of cardboard that your puzzle fits on so you can slide it under the couch (and back out when it is time to fit pieces together). A ritual for turning on the music that you use for exercising.

With repetition, you can turn any of those things into a signal to yourself that you are entering the time and space for your chosen activity.

What activities are you trying to fit into your life?

Do you have a way of marking space for them?



*I know there are advantages to a dedicated space as well – being able to drop in at non-class times, having more control over the contents and design of the space, and so on. However, it is still the instructor and the students that make it a dojang.


2 thoughts on “D is for Dojang

  1. Christine Post author

    Thanks for reading. I find it really helpful (obviously) and I am all about getting into the right headspace.

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