There are two primary ways to perform a Taekwondo technique: incorrectly and correctly. There are four ways to perform a technique correctly:
- For Perfection. This is the way you perform techniques in patterns. Techniques are performed precisely and technically perfect as possible. This requires precise control of all body movements and intense mental concentration. The goal is perfection of movement. Techniques are performed with high, tight chamber, power is focused at imaginary opponent, and full range of movement is used.
- For Points. This is the way you perform techniques to score points in sparring matches. Techniques are performed as quickly as possible with control. This requires speed, precise control, and mental quickness. The goal is to score the most points. Techniques are performed with very little chamber, to the head if possible for more points, power is focused for points, and range of movement is minimal.
- For Effectiveness. This is the way you perform techniques in a fight (ritual mutual combat). You choose to fight; you may walk away from a fight. Techniques are performed as in sparring except you are trying to injure or knockout the other person or cause the person to admit defeat. This requires maximum power. The goal is to prevent injury to oneself and stop the opponent while staying within accepted rules or guidelines. For example, maiming, such eye gouges, are not acceptable in a mutual fight. This way is also used for breaking. Techniques are performed with full chamber, usually to the head for hand attacks and to the body for kicks and, power is focused for damage, and range of movement is minimal.
- For Devastation. This is the way you perform techniques in self-defense situations. Self-defense is not when you enter into a mutual fight with another person where you are basically sparring except with the intention of hurting the other person, it is when you are defending yourself against an attack. A self-defense situation is an unwanted attack—you do not choose to fight, you cannot leave, you are attacked and you must defend yourself. Techniques are used for maximum devastation; anything goes, up to and including deadly techniques. Techniques are performed with as much chamber as possible under the circumstances, usually to the head for hand attacks and to the body for kicks and, power is focused for devastation, and range of movement is minimal.
Taekwondo training requires all four ways. Some think that one or more of the ways are useless, such as for points or for perfection. Some do not enjoy one or more of the ways, such as the boredom of perfection or the competition involved in sparring. However, if you are to excel in Taekwondo, you must be proficient in all four ways.