Taekwondo Academy
Why consider Taekwondo for your kids?
by Natalia Shatalova on April 18th, 2014

There is no doubt that encouraging kids to exercise from an early age is a good thing. Any form of activity is a great idea for growing kids. There are numerous sports and fitness classes at the community recreation center or a club or you can simply play with your kids and be active at home. So, why enroll in a Taekwondo program?

In a Taekwondo school your child is a martial arts student and is a part of a small community of martial artists. One Master and a few instructors invest in the child's success and get to know the child personally over time, just like a teacher would in a good classroom, as the child's strengths and his/her social/emotional management skills develop. It is a safe and constant environment where the Master and the instructors collaborate to reinforce the same principles and values that you hold at home and work together with families in the child's best interest. Typical sports classes are organized and target a large traffic of kids coming in and dropping out, constantly changing. With Taekwondo, it is an individualized approach where children come to stay and set certain goals for themselves and work on their own personal success at their own pace!

The system of color belt levels teaches kids how to self motivate, achieve and persevere on their own and it's a place where the positive reinforcement does not come in a form of a Red 40 and Blue 10 sugar coated candy! In a Taekwondo school we truly see the kids grow physically, socially, and mentally. The child has the flexibility to set his/her personal goals and take the depth of training to any level of intensity desired.

The art of Taekwondo is marked by the achieved levels of proficiency that can develop into opportunities for competitions on a state, national and international levels. The sky is the limit.

Taekwondo students start each session by coming to class dressed in the uniform, which cultivates self-discipline and empowers kids with an immediate sense of being part of something bigger. They become part of a 3,000 year-old culture of discipline, respect, hard work, perseverance and success.

There is consistency to the art of Taekwondo but things change continuously at the same time, which keep the student engaged without stagnation. With consistency and perseverance, a student would realistically achieve a Black Belt within 2-3 years, which is recognition of the mastered skills and hard work put into training. Even though the Black Belt is not the end goal nor is it a rite of passage, it is commonly considered a highly honorable achievement.

Apart from the obvious physical health benefits, Taekwondo is also known as a brain exercise. You may have already heard of the co,br/nfidence building, physical fitness, and healthy moral values associated with Taekwondo. However, there is another very important aspect of Taekwondo training, which is possibly more valuable than any Black Belt - exercising the EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS in the BRAIN! A great short article in the Huffington Post talks about the importance of helping kids develop their executive functions in the brain for their future success in life. (

If you look at what predicts how well children will do later in school, more and more evidence is showing that executive functions 
- working memory and inhibitory control - actually predict success better than IQ tests.

"Philip David Zelazo of the University of Minnesota, a leading expert in executive functions, defines them as "the deliberate, goal-directedcontrol of behavior." All of these executive functions take place in the prefrontal cortex of the brain in concert with other parts of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is the last part of our brain to develop and is responsible for our ability to exchange information across thehigh-level areas of the brain so that our behavior can be guided by our accumulated knowledge. That's the beauty and the purpose of executive functions: they enable us to control ourselves, to reflect deeply, and to consider things from multiple points of view. As such, they involve paying attention, remembering what we need to remember to pursue our goals, thinking flexibly and not going on automatic, exercising inhibition."

The subject of the "success formula" has been researched over and over again - what exactly predicts our kids' success in school and how do we prepare our kids to be successful in life? TAEKWONDO! Why? Because it helps your child's brain development by strengthening the executive functions. It's a "no brainer"!

All the games integrated into the Taekwondo program - the stop and go action, freeze and focus repetitive movements, are integral to training the brain. The repetition of the exercise and challenging children to make immediate decisions on the spot - that's training for the executive functions of the brain. The repetitive nature of forms challenges not only the visual spatial areas of the brain but also the intellectual capacity - that's brain training. As with strategy games, Taekwondo drills and sparring can be compared to a chess match, all help develop the brain. When kids have to listen and follow 3 step or more instructions - this exercises the executive functions in the brain, especially for the youngest students! When kids learn Taekwondo forms (on average 20 moves each) - they are being super stars training their executive functions and all done in a fun and positive way that instills self-confidence under the watchful eye and guidance of a caring and understanding Master and instructors!

Adele Diamond, the researcher from the article mentioned above advises:

"I think that we should be focusing on helping children get better at these skills early. I'm hesitant to use the word teach, because when you say teach, people have this image of children sitting like little college students in their seats with somebody lecturing at them. Promoting these skills should involve weaving them naturally into everyday activities in school and at home in playful and fun ways!"

So jump into TAEKWONDO! It's a form of artistry and wellness - a healthy combination of the physical and brain fitness for our children's growing mind, body, and brain!

If you would like to read another article on the subject, please look here:

KAMSA HAM-NI DA! That's Thank you! in Korean :-)

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