TaeKwon-Do for Children :
This essay is based on the aspects and effects of Tae kwon-do on children. For example, the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, as well as an endless supply of action movies, have made martial arts highly popular among children of all ages. Yet many parents wonder if such activity is appropriate for their kids. There is an old Korean adage, “parents may procreate children but not their purpose in life.” The greatest challenge and reward for a parent is being able to provide the guidance that will make the child a useful and respected member of the society.
Obviously, it is a parent’s responsibility to provide the proper education which will broaden the child’s knowledge and make them better people. It is often impossible for the parents themselves, however, to provide the correct education the child needs. This is because the parent hesitates to force discipline on their children in an objective manner. There is a subconscious fear that it will create a breach in their relationship. Confucius advised, “Children should be exchanged and taught by concerned parents.”
To teach another’s child to become a person of good character according to the wishes of his/her own parents is a great responsibility. In the eyes of the student, his/her teacher will occupy an equal position with his/her own parents. The answer may lie in finding a school and martial art that promotes the values and attitudes you consider important. In Tae kwon-do–do meaning art. Let me put the emphasis on art in martial arts. I view Tae kwon-do as a way to improve one’s body mind and character, and not just a form of physical competition. Still kids think it is fun to do.
By choosing Tae kwon-do, you will be taking the first and most important step in your child’s development in the martial arts training.
Tae kwon-do originated by combining movements of Japanese Karate and traditional, but crude Korean martial arts of Soo bak Gi and Tae kyon. Through extensive research and testing, Tae kwon-do has evolved into one the most beautiful and effective martial arts in the world. Today, it has become one of the most popular martial arts in the world because anyone regardless of age, sex, and size can benefit from its training. As mentioned previously, Tae kwon-do offers a wide array of physical and mental benefits for children. It is also an activity that parents can participate in with their children and use to strengthen family bonds. Lastly, Tae kwon-do promotes peace. Unfortunately, many people today believe that the martial arts spawn violence. This is not true. The Tae kwon-do student is trained to avoid conflict if possible and to use their skills when all other measures have been exhausted. The philosophy of Taekwon-do can be summed up by the following tenets:
5. INDOMITALBLE SPIRIT
The goal of all children is to incorporate these tenets into their daily lives’. Another example of the ideals Tae kwon-do aims to achieve is evident in its oath:
1. I SHALL OBSERVE THE TENENTS OF TAEKWON-DO
2. I SHALL RESPECT MY INSTRUCTER AND SENIORS.
3. I SHALL NEVER MISUSE TAEKWON-DO
4. I SHALL BE A CHAMPION OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE
5. I SHALL BUILD A MORE PEACEFUL WORLD
Perhaps you have wondered why such fighting systems, karate and Tae kwon-do for example, are referred to as “Martial Arts.” “Martial means military and, of course, this refers to the self defense fighting skills and physical training aspects of these systems. Referring to something as an “art” simply means that it is a way of doing something. When someone practices an art very well, we then refer to that person a great or excellent artist; and if his/her achievements are very great, we call that person a master.
But the oriental martial arts go beyond this simple definition. For when the sincere and devoted student begins to gain understanding of the true nature and purpose of his/her art, it becomes a way-a way of living, a way of being.
For this reason, a child’s training will not be just physically devoted to the improvement of their body, but it will include lessons in the philosophy of the martial arts, which will aim at the improvement of the child’s spirit and mind, thus bettering your child as a whole individual. It is enough to say that, like the physical aspects of your child’s art which reflect natural movements and natural laws, the philosophy calls for harmony within the individual child and the harmony of the individual child and his/her world.
I realize that the ability of a child to defend himself/herself is very important. But far more important are the tools the child will need to develop into a well rounded adult. Therefore, children learn respect, courtesy, and self-control while participating in a good martial arts program. As children of the martial arts, they build confidence and self-esteem while they progress through the art. Each of these characteristics improves attitudes and grades. Tae kwon-do has an objective for all children which are to improve in all aspects of their lives.
As children successfully accomplish and reach for new goals their confidence level grows, their self-esteem is enhanced, and the need to be self- disciplined becomes an accepted standard as part of the art. Tae kwon-do includes visible as well as intangible rewards for children. The visible rewards include different colored belts that are symbols of ever increasing levels of expertise in the martial arts, patches for their accomplishment of specific projects such as the honor roll, different titles for the achievement of greater levels, the encouragement to continue when they seem difficult, and the verbal acknowledgment of goals reached and awards earned. Each of these enhances the child’s character and contributes to his/her self worth.
The aspects of Tae kwon-do for a child:
This is performed at the beginning and the end of each session. The purpose of meditation at the begging of each class is to allow the child to focus on the upcoming task. The mind must be cleared of outside thoughts, concerns, and responsibilities. This is essential for preparing for a class which will be both physical and mentally draining. Meditation is also performed at the end of each class in order to allow children to visualize them selves executing the techniques they just learned. This visualization process is very helpful for the perfection of techniques of all levels of training.
These are a series of pre-arranged blocks and strikes executed in succession against a variety of imaginary opponents. The purpose of patterns is to develop balance, breath control, coordination, power, and technique. In these patterns lies the true beauty of Tae kwon-do combining power and grace. There are 24 patterns in Tae kwon-do and these patterns range from 19 to 68 movements each. The novice learns one pattern at each belt rank while black belts learn up to three at each degree (DAN).
Tae kwon-do provides students with an excellent method of self defense. It enables them to defend them selves against an attacker from a distance as well as up close. By utilizing the many kicking techniques available, the Tae kwon-do practitioner can prevent an attacker from grabbing or striking them. If the attacker is able to grab them, then there are a variety of self defense techniques, which include pressure points, wrist locks, joint locks, and takedowns that the student could utilize. Therefore, a well trained and condition student will feel confident and prepared to defend them selves in any situation.
The purpose of breaking is to enable the child to develop focus, power, concentration, and distance while performing the proper execution of a strike. Breaking also allows the child to see the amount of power that they are capable of developing through the training. Pine wood, ten inches in diameter and one inch thick, is used for power breaking. Black belts are required to break a minimum of 4-5 boards with a single kick or punch. It is not uncommon to see advanced black belt break up to nine boards with a single kick. For some of the more difficult aerial breaks, which require two, three, and four kicks before landing, half inch pine wood is used. These breaks demonstrate the beauty and difficulty of the jumping and kicking techniques that separate Tae kwon-do from all other martial arts.
This aspect of Tae kwon-do places one or more students against one another with the purpose of improving distance, timing, balance, speed, and strategy. The children are allowed to execute a variety of kicking, and hand strikes and blocks against one another. The goal is to overcome their opponent with well executed techniques stopped just short of the body.
Obviously, children participating in Tae kwon-do become extremely physically fit. But more importantly, children gain inner qualities not available elsewhere. Children learn meditation, patterns, self defense, breaking, and free sparring through these things they gain a better awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. As they continue their training and their confidence grows, they are about to confront and over come there weaknesses. A child will also obtain self respect and respect of others. This inner training extends well beyond the training hall but into everyday life which is why, I believe, children are more focused and can concentrate better in the classroom and in sports.
Additionally, I teach children to assist in and lead classes, helping to build leadership, patience and humility. As the time passes and the child becomes more serious about their training, Tae kwon-do can become a way of life.
If you would ask me what is my favorite thing about Tae kwon-do I would have to say teaching children is my favorite. There is a certain kind of rush I get when I see a new white belt perform four direction punch correctly for the first time or a green belt just hit his/her first reverse turning kick in sparring and to know I had something to do with that.
In conclusion, my research was based on real life experiences in the do-jang as well as my references to the Tae kwon-do Encyclopedia.