Training man relaxing after Taekwondo

Published on April 12th, 2014 | by Joe Starks


Exercise Spotlight: Taekwondo

The roots of Taekwondo can be traced back in 2300 year old Korean martial arts. The name of this sport on the other hand is quite new, given in 1955. In Korean “tae” means foot, “kwon” means fist and do is “the way of”. So, Taekwondo literally means “the way of the foot and fist”. This is quite reasonable since it is a martial art where both kicks and punches are allowed.

Taekwondo is popular all over the world and is featured in the Olympic Games. In this article we’ll look at the basics of taekwondo and the benefits of training in this sport.

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, which focuses on clean hits above the waistline and quick grips. It is an excellent self defense sport and many people, men and women, learn taekwondo to increase their self esteem and strength.

Like most martial arts there is a system of levels, called Dan. The better you get, the higher Dan you are.

Training for Taekwondo is quite straightforward. It is a sport that trains the whole body and no muscle should be left untrained. Whole body exercises like running and typical exercises like squats and weight lifting are just great to increase stamina and power.

Since you kick a lot in taekwondo, you spend a lot of time on one foot during matches. At that point your opponent might hit you too, which means that you need to have extreme balance and strength. Simple balance training is the best way to start out. Kicking sand bags or the air is actually a great way to learn balance and also get better at taekwondo.

For the punches and grips, you need strength in shoulders, arms and core. Resistance training is excellent to make your upper body powerful enough for taekwondo.

As you can tell, taekwondo exercises you thoroughly. Yet, you don’t only train your body, as any sparring sport makes your mind work out as well. Predicting your opponent’s next move and being ready to counteract and win, needs a lot of focus and brainpower. Like chess, taekwondo needs strategy and forethought. The sport can help you hone your mind just as much as you do with your muscles.

When looking to join a dojo, you should have a long talk with the trainer/trainers and see if their philosophy suits you. Some dojos are more competition oriented than others, while some only accept children and teenagers. If you have any previous injuries you should always let your trainer know beforehand.

It takes a lot of time for your body to adopt taekwondo movements, so you should be very patient and train often. A minimum of two sessions per week plus a little gym work should be ideal to reach your goals.

Benefits of Taekwondo

It is obvious that taekwondo has plenty of benefits for all. It is a sport that all ages can do. The elderly should only attempt it if they have excellent health, because taekwondo is a medium to high impact sport. Generally, people with poor health should probably get their GP’s permission before starting such a high impact exercising regime.

Taekwondo is excellent for children. Studies have shown that martial arts, under the guidance of a trained professional, are great to teach kids cooperation, self-esteem and responsibility.

People with short attention spans and learning difficulties can see an improvement when they do martial arts. This happens because taekwondo trains the mind while keeping the body busy and active. This way, people with short attention spans can have long lines of thoughts while their body does various movements. It takes a lot of time to see a great improvement, but studies have been positive so far.

Taekwondo is above an all adult sport. Adults benefit greatly from the whole body exercise and the competitive edge. People who know to cooperate in groups and compete with grace have skills that can help them improve their work performance and academics.

Taekwondo isn’t just a sport, it is a lifestyle choice. It will demand time and offer you plenty of skills and fun in return. You should always try sports like these out before committing fully. Chances are you’ll be hooker for life!


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