I am a brown belt at an independent Taekwondo academy. I am now finished learning my brown belt form I just need to know how to make my form look better?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each organization, school, and has a particular way that want forms to be performed; while one may think a certain way of moving is beneficial, another may think the same way of moving is detrimental. However, there are some things that are common to any type of forms performance.
Always perform a form in manner you want to perform it in competition, do not just “go through the motions” when practicing. You are trying to develop muscle memory for the movements; you do this by repeatedly performing a movement in the proper manner until you body can perform the movement without conscious input from you. Tiger Woods does not think about swinging a golf club. He thinks about range, wind, terrain, etc. and then swings. His rigorous practice swings have made his swinging movement automatic.
In a form, you are fighting one or more imaginary opponents. Practice the form as if you were fighting real opponents. Each movement should be made with power, speed, and precision. You would not use a short, half-ass block in a real fight so do not do it in a form. Behave as if you were fighting real opponents. In a real fight, you would not be expressionless and quiet. You would look fierce, glare, exhale loudly, and emit blood-curdling kiais.
Perform each movement and technique perfectly. Pretend that the judges are judging each stance and technique separately. View the form as a series of perfectly performed individual movements.
Relax! Stiff movement looks unnatural and it saps energy.
Perform each movement smoothly, but end it with power and focus. The sequence should be: relax, move smoothly, and end with speed, tension, focus, and power; and then relax and begin the next movement.
Judges cannot watch everything a once. Each one usually has some favorite thing they like to look for. Stances are always one of the things all judges will look at. Low, stable stances with perfect width, depth, and foot position will always impress judges.
Chambering depends on what the organization, school, or instructor wants to see. Some use short a chamber while some use a maximum chamber. For forms, I teach a maximum chamber. Basically, this means reaching in the opposite direction in a mirror image to the desired ending position. For example, if the ending position is a double fist middle guarding block to the left with the left fist held palm outward and the right fist held palm upward, you would reach to the right with the right arm fully extended with palm held downward and left arm across the chest with palm held upward.
Hesitate for a second at the end of each technique. Pretend you are posing for a photograph at the end of a technique. Do not move so quickly that judges cannot see your technique. For example, for a side thrust kick, fully extend the kick with perfect foot shape and hold it there for a second (just a second) before re-chambering the kick and going to the next movement
Maintain an even pace. When under stress, people tend to speed up, especially after making a minor mistake. Set a rhythm for the form and maintain that rhythm, except when certain movements are supposed to be performed slowly or quickly.
When you finish a form, you should be exhausted; you gave it your all. If asked a question, you will have to catch your breath to be able to speak. If you are not exhausted, you just performed the movements, there was no fire, no determination, no power.
All competitors are performing the same pattern to the best of their abilities. To win, you must make your pattern standout from the crowd. Good stances, smooth, powerful, focused, perfect techniques, and a great acting performance that makes the spectators look in your direction will make you a winner.
Remember pattern movements will probably be useless in a real fight. Patterns are training devices. They teach you to control your emotions and perform perfectly under stress. You are teaching your muscles how to perform each technique perfectly while moving in different ways. When you spar, if you always try to perform perfect techniques, you will find your sparring will also improve. For example, a perfect side thrust kick will score more often than a sloppy one, and it will hurt the opponent more in a real fight