Does Taekwondo Benefit Mental Fitness?
Taekwondo is an amazing and popular martial art. It can improve your agility, strength and overall fitness when practised regularly.
But can it make a difference to your mental toughness?
As with most martial arts, there’s more to Taekwondo than simply learning the moves and taking part in competitions.
Here we take a closer look at how it helps develop a strong mental platform that will benefit you in all aspects of life.
High-level athletes regularly visualise to improve performance, especially when they want to reach a peak at just the right time.
It’s a practice that can have huge benefits and involves essentially dreaming that you have successfully met a goal. In Taekwondo that could mean visualising how you are going to complete a grading successfully or something as simple as learning a new pattern to perfection.
It’s a good mental skill to learn and can help you in other areas of your life. Visualising an interview for a job, for example, may dampen performance nerves and help you answer all those tricky questions with supreme confidence.
Focusing on the Moment
Most of us either think about the past or worry about the future as we go through the day. We spend little or no time in the present. Taekwondo, and other martial arts and practices such as meditation require an immediate focus on what is happening ‘in’ the moment.
Being more present not only boosts skills like Taekwondo, but it also allows us to be more creative, thrive in social situations and appreciate the world more. Practise being in the moment during your Taekwondo sessions and then practise it in other aspects of your life.
Self-Affirmations Boost Confidence
Like focusing on the moment, we can get distracted by things that are happening around us or we worry that we are failing in some way. Affirmations are a way of telling yourself that you are doing well.
Martial arts like Taekwondo utilise a process of affirmations both during training, when things get tough and even during a grading examination.
The key here is self-belief. It can be a tricky thing to develop. Introduce it into your Taekwondo practice, however, and you may find your skill and your confidence growing.
Set Positive Goals
Like any martial art, you need to set goals when you decide to learn Taekwondo. You continue to set targets as you improve whether it’s learning patterns or improving your defence, simply turning up for a training session or getting through your first belt test.
Goals don’t just give us something to aim for. Once we achieve them, they also provide us with a lot of confidence. We know that we can achieve what we want and that’s beneficial for mental health.
Focus on Eye Contact
It may seem like a small thing but eye contact is important. If you can maintain it with your opponent in a Taekwondo bout, you not only notice more and can anticipate their moves, you also show your strength and have a psychological effect on the person you are fighting.
If you practise regular eye contact, you should find your self-confidence improving in many different areas, including when you’re talking to the boss or undertaking a difficult negotiation. You may be surprised at how powerful it makes you feel.
Introducing these elements into your Taekwondo practice is relatively simple. It’s a part of the process you go through in becoming proficient at this martial art rather than a beginner. To improve your mental strength, however, it’s important to bring those elements you develop in your practise to other aspects of our life.