Taekwondo is (and other martial arts are) something that i know, when taught well, benefits people beyond belief – I am yet to come accross a martial artist that says “I wish i had got into football or athletics instead.” Added to that, the majority of non-martial artists that I meet say “I wish I could do that!” or “I wish i had started that when i was younger”
So it seems, from my encounters, that martial arts training is an undisputed possitive addition to people’s lives. In fact most parents would like their children to be involved in some kind of martial arts training.
This is what i’m going to write about. (I’ll keep it short-ish.)
Why is taekwondo good for children? – As well as building them physically and mentally, it allows them to self-actualise.
Taekwondo is not just an activity (i guess it can start off as one), it is a way of life. Cheesy and cliched as this may sound it is the truth. It is so much more than just a way of becoming faster, more flexible or stronger. It builds confidence, focus and builds children on an indivual level. Taekwondo is a form of self expression.
So as well as becoming stronger, more flexible, faster, more confident and more focussed a child will become more ‘themselves’. They will have the opportunity to learn more about who they are and what they enjoy doing. This is one of the biggest ways that learning taekwondo differs from learning academics – academics does develop and mould children, but taekwondo allows a child to develop and mould themselves. Many times I have seen a child that has grown up with taekwondo confident and happy in themselves which, in turn, feeds through to the other activities and studies they are engaging in.
What children are best suited for taekwondo? – A child that enjoys expressing themselves. If a child loves their life, then taekwondo is perfect for them!
If you are wondering whether taekwondo is ‘right’ for a particular child (maybe the child doesnt like sports, maybe they aren’t focussed, or maybe they don’t follow instructions well) then, as long as the child enjoys being themselves, they will love, and thrive at, taekwondo! – I am yet to meet a child that doesn’t just want to be themselves and have fun.
What can/can’t children learn in taekwondo? – They can learn everything, some things might be picked up faster or slower but there is nothing that a child will have to miss out on because they are ‘too young’.
I know that many martial arts schools have different programs for adults and for children which i am sure works brilliantly, although my philosophy differs from theirs here. At Titan Academy (my taekwondo school) we teach all students the same things and expect the same level of practice, respect and focus from all ages.
Children thrive in this type of environment – being treated with the same respect and expectations as the adults. Plus, having to work hard to achieve makes their achievements real. I have been teaching (adults and children) since i was a young age because i wasn’t taught a ‘child version of taekwondo’.
There are physical difference between children and adults that will always be taken into account such as bone rigidity and so breaking lumps of wood and bricks would (I hope) be adapted. (But bare in mind, this is not because of age – if an adult had weak bones the same adaptions to training would be taken.)
How to help your child’s training? – Join in with them.
As mentioned before – children love to be reated as equals to adults (and quite rightly). So if you are looking for a way to bring your child on in their taekwondo training the greatest recommendation that will come from me is: Get involved yourself.
All children want to do is immitate their parents, to be just like them. No matter how much somebody wants their little boy to be an athlete – if the role models in their life just sit down infront of the TV stuffing oreos and custard creams down their throat, that is what they will end up doing.
So start training with your child. (You’ll love it too)
Benefits I gained from training as a child? – Travelling, being put out of my comfort zone, meeting people, controlling nerves, being able to build on my passion, and many more.
The typical, and well known, benefits of training in taekwondo are becoming stronger, more confident and making friends. These things all happen, but some of the benefits that don’t get mentioned so much that i have experienced from training as a child (you can read about my training as a child in my first blog) are as follows:
I was, quite regularly, put outside of my comfort zone. Something i wouldn’t likely have done to myself.
Getting used to the feeling of nerves (mainly from competing). It hasn’t led to me ‘getting over’ feeling nerves, i still do, but I am better at dealing with them – I understand that they aren’t a bad thing and that it’s not a reason to be put off doing something.
I have been able to travel the country, continet, and even the world without feeling foreign as there is the underlying culture of taekwondo. As a result I have felt more able to get involved in the local cultures.
Meeting tonnes of unique, fulfilled, happy and passionate people. There is such a strong community in the taekwondo world and everyone is more than happy to stretch out a helping and supportive hand in your direction.
Having the chance to add and add and add to something over a long period of time, building up knowledge and experience and relating it back (and applying it to) my passion.
To conclude, children love taekwondo. It is something that will help them grow and learn. On top of all the different benefits that there are – it is FUN!
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