Packing a Punch
Why Your Kids Should Be in Martial Arts?
When you turn on the television or head to the movie theater with your family, you may notice a kickin’ new trend- martial arts are gaining in popularity! Though there are many different styles around the world, one of the most attractive for kids and adults is Taekwondo. This Korean martial art dates back to the early 1950s and is most recognized by flashy kicks and the smooth style of its techniques.
So why is Taekwondo taking over the martial arts and pop culture scene? It appeals to both kids and parents! Kids love to learn “ninja moves” and parents love the life and character-building skills found through the art.
ATA Martial Arts is the singled largest martial arts organization in North America dedicated to the discipline of Taekwondo. ATA has been teaching Taekwondo to youth since the early 1980’s and recently re-launched their curriculum geared toward students age 6 to 12. When watching a Taekwondo class or a local tournament competition, it’s easy to see why this is a sport that’s packing a punch.
Fitness. Let’s be honest, this generation is more inclined to watch athletes on their smartphones than they are to actually get up and get moving. With Taekwondo, kids think they are just learning how to masterfully break a board, when they are really exercising. Grand Master In Ho Lee, 9th Degree Black Belt instructor in ATA Martial Arts explains, “The principles of Taekwondo techniques are based on the design of your body. Your muscles become more agile, building more power. Plus, you are always active with your upper and lower body.” By working up a sweat and staying more physically fit, students will feel more energized and learn healthier habits.
Self-Confidence. This does not come naturally for many people, but self-confidence can be developed over a period of time. Through Taekwondo, as you accomplish new goals, your confidence level increases. Taekwondo instills a sense of discipline and self-confidence that can carry over to all aspects of your life. Lee says, “Kids are encouraged to reach new belt levels, try new moves and challenge themselves in each and every class. This builds a sense of courage and determination that they can use at school and other activities.”
Self-Defense. When the speed and power developed through Taekwondo is used in a self-defense situation against the vulnerable parts of an attacker's body, the results can certainly be effective. “The hand and foot techniques that are the basic foundation of Taekwondo, applied properly, can be used to escape or evade a dangerous situation,” Lee said. He also said, this is where self-confidence ties in once again. “Knowing you can defend yourself, your confidence will grow. And confidence alone is usually enough to deter potential attackers.”
Focus. In many Taekwondo classrooms, students are asked to perform a task and move on the next quickly. Paying attention and following direction is imperative, so kids begin learning to focus on what is being performed and listen to the instructor. This type of clear-headed attentiveness carries over into schoolwork and even daily chores at home- another things parents love!
Fun! One of the best things about Taekwondo training is that students have FUN! The individuality of the sport means students are always included and never “sitting the bench.” Lee believes this establishes a sense of camaraderie in ATA Martial Art students. “They love coming to class and being with their peers because they are always participating. Though the environment is interactive, each child moves at his or her own pace.” Also, if students travel to competitions or participate in other events, they can meet fellow Taekwondo practitioners and make friends from outside of their own martial art academy. This creates an environment everyone can enjoy!
When you are thinking about enrolling your child in a new activity, consider Taekwondo as an option. Yes, they are going to learn some really cool punches and kicks. But, they will also learn respect, courtesy and honor in a martial art that continues evolving.
Oh, and parents, you can do Taekwondo, too! This is a sport designed for students of all ages and abilities. Instead of standing on the sidelines, you can get in your workout and relieve a little stress as well. As Grand Master Lee says, “The family that kicks together, sticks together!”
Author: Jenny O’Connor