Taekwondo originated in Korea, and as a child I watched my brother compete in many matches and eventually earn his black belt. I saw the many positive effects it had on him, and knew that I wanted to enroll my children one day too. When we moved to the island capital, we were lucky enough to join a newly opened taekwondo studio run by the only Korean master on the island. It’s been six months now and the kids are just as enamored with taekwondo today as they were the first day. The past couple weeks they’ve been taking 2 consecutive classes, so they’re at the studio for 2 1/2 hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! And they’re still not tired of it!
What’s so great about taekwondo or other martial arts for kids?
1) It’s great for kids of all different strength and athletic abilities. Neither of my kids are particularly athletic and Olive has always been physically delayed. Olive has very little strength — she even says the toothpaste tube is too hard for her to squeeze! Olive’s friend in the class is on the spectrum, and only walks on his tiptoes. But all of them are able to excel in taekwondo!
2) It teaches respect. I don’t think there is any other sport that places such an importance on respect as martial arts — respect for your teacher, your opponents and yourself. The kids in the class have the utmost respect for their teacher, and always bow to him when entering and leaving the studio. You must also show respect to your opponent, and bow to them before and after a sparring match as well. Taekwondo really embodies respect and humility.
3) It teaches self-discipline and concentration. Taekwondo is all about self-discipline when it comes to the uniform, customs and techniques. It’s particularly great for kids with ADHD like Charlie. The master always makes sure that the kids have their uniforms and belts on correctly. There are customs they must perform in every class. They must pay attention and listen to learn new techniques and follow along with class. They must stand still and wait for the next command. Since starting taekwondo, Charlie and Olive’s behavior and self-discipline at home has greatly improved too!