Taekwondo helps students thrive in tough times. When we are happy and healthy, it is easy to be on our best behavior: kind, generous, motivated, disciplined, and productive. But during tough times, stress, anxiety, and disappointments can wear us down. When martial artists tap into the inner resources they develop through Taekwondo training, they make the best of difficult situations.
Throughout 2020, due to the COVID-19 situation, plans were disrupted and favorite activities cancelled for kids and adults. With ever-changing information and timelines, many experienced a spectrum of emotions–while confined to their homes. Taekwondo classes and training provided an excellent outlet for frustrations and energy, and kept students active and focused.
How Practicing Taekwondo Helps Students Thrive in Tough Times
Intense Exercise Keeps Bodies Healthy
During isolation, the movement typical in day-to-day life has been replaced by hours of Zoom meetings and independent desk work. But the human body needs to move to stay healthy!
Taekwondo is a great, multi-faceted total-body workout. Taekwondo practitioners build stamina and strength through punching and kicking drills, core-strengthening exercises, stretching, and fitness training. Learning and practicing poomsae (specific patterns of defense and attack movements) leads to improved motor skills, coordination, and body control.
As a result of regular training, Taekwondo athletes demonstrate high levels of cardio-respiratory fitness, excellent flexibility, outstanding dynamic upper and lower body strength, and good core endurance. They are also able to generate and sustain power.
How Exercise Benefits the Immune System
According to Cora Malott, MD, physical exercise specifically benefits the immune system through the following mechanisms:
- Improves sleep
- Reduces blood pressure
- Leads to appropriate weight loss
- Increases muscle mass
- Reduces risk of diabetes
Physical Activity is Good for Mental and Emotional Health
During the 2020 coronavirus situation, we are constantly adapting to ever-changing circumstances. Physical exercise may trigger neuroplasticity, thereby enhancing an individual’s capacity to respond to new demands with behavioral alterations. Further, intense physical activity is a scientifically documented mood-booster and esteem-booster.
People generally feel more clear-headed and energetic after a hard workout, such as a Taekwondo session. This is because exercise increases production and function of mitochondria, often called the powerhouses of cells. More mitochondria means more energy and a greater ability to work harder and faster.
One study found that children with a higher level of physical fitness had larger dorsal striatum. The dorsal striatum is the area of the brain important for making decisions and balancing rewards. Theoretically, an individual with a better developed dorsal striatum would be more willing to practice a skill to gain mastery, versus the instant gratification of scrolling through social media or playing a video game.
Another study found that even one bout of aerobic exercise improved scores on a test of memory, reasoning, and planning. Then, this study found that aerobic exercise was associated with a higher GPA among college students, and this one found that increased physical activity was associated with higher academic performance in school children grades 5 and 9.
On a more basic level, kicking, punching, and screaming are a great stress release for all ages.
Social Benefits of Taekwondo Training
While taking classes via Zoom or Facebook is not the same as practicing at the studio, even online interactions offer social benefits. Since March, we have been frequently adapting our training options by offering group video classes, outdoor classes, and individual Taekwondo sessions. In this way, students have continued to enjoy the benefits of martial arts training in Novi, MI.
The Five Tenets of Taekwondo Guide Behavior
In addition to the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of practicing Taekwondo in stressful times, Taekwondo’s martial artists can rely on the Five Tenets of Taekwondo to guide their behavior.
The intense togetherness and disappointments that are a hallmark of isolation can be stressful, heart-breaking, and anxiety-producing. The Five Tenets act as a constant reminder that the martial artist’s character is built up with the practice of Taekwondo, which includes our actions in all situations and all interaction with others.
The Five Tenets of Taekwondo
- Indomitable Spirit
Martial Arts in Novi, Michigan
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Published: May 2, 2020
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