The reason for the Taekwon-Do demonstration is to show the dynamic power, skill and graceful techniques shown by the demonstrator/s. It also shows that anyone regardless of sex or age, size or weight can learn and develop such demanding techniques.
Demonstrations are a necessary and practical means of showing off the skills of the art to the public, and to encourage them to consider taking up a means of self defence, physical fitness and the social aspect that our organisation can offer.
There are normally two ways that a demonstration evolves.
First, there are the organisations that will approach you and request your services for a specific function that they have planned. The second is the demonstration that you request of an organisation for a specific reason. For example, it may be a school, where you are targeting a new membership drive, or a business where you are trying to encourage self defence courses.
Whichever is the case, both need to be planned well in advance. This will mean selecting the appropriate members for the media you are demonstrating to. That is, if the crowd happens to be the general public, then a higher proportion of adult members would give a better impression than a group of younger members. However, some children should always be included.
The general public can quite quickly be "turned off" if you do not capture their attention and hold it. This will mean a high action, very professional presentation, for which you will have to practice.
If on the other hand you are demonstrating to a school, then a higher proportion of children will obtain far better results. Children would far rather watch their peers and liken themselves to them, than watch adults whom they feel they could not emulate because of their physical size and strength.
Consider the venue you will be demonstrating at. If the demonstration is to take place on a stage for instance, consider how many students will fit on it. A large stage with too few people will give the impression of a small unimpressive team. On the other hand, too small a stage for a large number of students will look congested and impede the natural flow of the demonstration.
If the venue is outdoors, consider the terrain. A smooth surface is obviously better than a rough one and will enable the student to perform better. Consider also, the weather conditions. Few people will stand in a cold and windy environment unless they are keenly interested in what is taking place. Direct your group into the sun so that the crowd is in the comfortable position and not continually squinting or shielding their eyes.
Of great importance to any and all demonstrations is the compere. This person can be the making or breaking of a good demonstration. A person who does not have a natural ability to talk to a crowd (including good voice control) and hold the crowds attention will turn the crowd off as surely as the demonstrators will if their content and technique is not up to scratch.
The length of the demonstration is very important. It is obvious that too long or too short a demo will detract from what you are trying to achieve. Review carefully the content of what you are putting across. For instance, with patterns, people will become bored if these go on too long. Vary as much as possible the content, so that this does not happen. Try to read the crowd. If their attention is suddenly focused on breaks, then maybe a couple of extras that have not been planned will capture your aims. For best results, try to aim for a 20-30 minute demo. Remember, excitement is the name of the game.
This person plays a key role in controlling the flow of the demonstration. It is important that they have the next person ready to go on so that there is no delay in the programme. This person should also be capable of changing the programme at a moments notice if the need arises due to crowd boredom.
Stretching and Flexibility:
It is important to show your audience the degree of flexibility that one can attain in Taekwon-Do. This can be shown during the brief warm-up at the start of the demonstration. It is important to note to the audience however, that this flexibility comes with time and constant practise, and that it is not a prerequisite to starting the art. Have a variety of students with differing skills in this area perform this aspect.
As stated earlier, the content needs to be dynamic and exciting to hold the crowds attention. Do not attempt to show Chon-Ji through to Choong-Moo. Select two or three patterns only, according to the grades you have present. Possibly, show a beginning pattern - ie Chon-Ji, an intermediate pattern - Yul-Gok, and a senior pattern. And do not necessarily shows these one after the other. Again, variety. These can be interspersed with one-step or breaks, so that the crowds attention is focused on something different every few minutes.
Whatever you do, make sure that your student/s can show the power aspect in patterns. A technically good but weak pattern is often worse than its opposite. Remember that the crowd has no appreciation of the technical aspects of the art. Their concept of martial arts in general is of power and the "Bruce Lee" glamour. If this is what is needed to increase your club membership, then use it to its fullest potential.
There is nothing worse than having students perform one-step who have to think on their feet so to speak. Have this well "choreographed" before hand. Select students who can show power, focus and in the case of seniors, good aerial techniques.
A wise man once said, "It is better to attempt and succeed in breaking one board, than to attempt two and fail". This is true when demonstrating to an audience. They want to see boards break. Make sure your student is capable of the technique in question before putting him up.
As Taekwon-Do is the art of self defence, it is important to show not only the breaking and kicking side of the art, but also the close quarter aspect where the above is not appropriate. Some samples of controlled wrist locks and holds should also be shown. This would show that Taekwon-Do has a defence for any situation that may occur.
This demonstrates the control obtained by the practitioner in the fact of stopping 1cm from the target, and that if the practitioner is in a real situation, he need only adjust accordingly to disable his opponent.
Again, it is important to have accomplished students perform this aspect, otherwise it can look uncontrolled and amateurish. Good focus, technique and flow of movements is very important in maintaining the viewers interest. Both touch and non-contact sparring can be employed. If touch contact is going to be demonstrated, then you may need to consider protective gear.
Have some Foundation pamphlets and club directories available for people to take away with them. Also, be prepared to answer any questions from the public in relation to the art. Hopefully, as a result of the demonstration, your membership will increase.