What is a Taekwondo student called in Korean?

In Korean, a Taekwondo student is called 제자 jeja.

This is pronounced jey-jah, and not jee-jah or jee-jay.

Taekwondo practitioners in general can also be called 태권도인 Taekwondo-in (pronounced teh-gwon-doh-een).

What is a senior student called in Korean?

A student who is senior to you in Taekwondo is called 선배 sonbae (pronounced son-beh).

If you wanted to get the attention of a senior student, you would add the honorific suffix 님 nim (pronounced neem) after 선배 sonbae, for example: ‘Sonbaenim, can you teach me the form Wonhyo?’

What should you not say?

Do not call a Taekwondo student deshi. This is a Japanese term that’s used in Karate.

Similarly do not call a Taekwondo student who is senior to you sempai. This is also a Japanese term.

Taekwondo students are generally not referred to as Taekwondo-ga. This borrows the -ka suffix that’s used to refer to students of Japanese martial arts, such as Karateka, Judoka, and so on. While this suffix does exist in Korean, it’s not commonly used in the Korean language, and Taekwondo-in is preferred.

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Want to learn more?

If you'd like to learn more about the Korean terminology used in Taekwondo, consider buying this book: Taekwondo Terminology. It contains an extensive dictionary of terms used in Taekwondo, as well as explanations on how to pronounce Korean words, and aspects of Korean grammar.

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