Concerned parents desire to impart, develop and enhance the physical, psychological and social competencies of their children, so that their children grow up to be successful adults. For this, parents need to know which activity or activities would lead to this physio-psycho-social developmental goal. It is well-known how Taekwondo benefits kids, teens, and adults, besides providing several other unique advantages that lead to an overall improvement of an individual. Due to these numerous benefits, people from different walks of life undergo positive reinvention by learning Taekwondo.
Generally, it is assumed that because Taekwondo is a martial art; hence, it only aims at physical fitness, but this conception is misleading. The true nature of Taekwondo is to offer a holistic approach that embraces all aspects of personal development. Physical development takes place due to the various physical exercises done by the student, while mental development takes place by the student’s firm resolve to master the numerous techniques. The respectful and joyful atmosphere of the training hall fosters a camaraderie between the students and the instructors, where learning and discipline become not only instructive but also enjoyable, and this collective training experience enhances the social development of the students.
Physiological development exhibits itself by improved homeostasis. The human body has several internal organs and they need to operate in a steady and balanced condition. Homeostasis (a term coined by physician Walter Cannon in 1930) is the state of balanced and steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions in the body, which is maintained by regulation of steady body temperature, glucose levels, toxins, blood pressure, and fluid balance in the body. Taekwondo improves physical fitness, mental alertness, and social interactions, which all together help in maintaining the homeostasis of the body. Only after six months of Taekwondo training, a student experiences improved homeostasis that directly provides the happy possession of a more fit, a more responsive and a more healthy body.
Psychological development is evident in the student’s ability to face life’s vicissitudes. Taekwondo teaches self-defence techniques, which are useful for everyone and particularly for women. When one knows that one can defend oneself in any given situation, then the confidence level is tremendously increased. This improved confidence reflects in every work that the student may undertake. The emotional health of the student escalates manifold times. In all circumstances, the student exhibits a confident personality who is able to face any difficulty of life with courage, fortitude and strength. Such mental toughness is a result of knowing that strength is more than just muscle. Due to rigorous mental discipline, Taekwondo students can overcome any and all difficulties presented by life, in a calm, confident and balanced manner.
Social development is displayed by increased sociability. The training environment teaches the student etiquette, discipline, and respect in a way that is filled with happiness, laughter and friendly banter. The student understands how to interact with instructors, senior students, fellow students and junior students, in a respectful yet joyful manner. In such a happy atmosphere, students learn Taekwondo techniques. Of all the Taekwondo techniques, students love free sparring the most, because it teaches them self-control, accuracy, speed and timing besides increasing their peripheral vision, alertness and confidence. Practising different patterns in groups increases coordination, unity and a sense of belonging in a student. Group activities make the students more sociable, which directly reflects in their behaviour outside the training hall. The students willingly participate in different social functions, school and college team sports, group academic discussions, and other group activities with enthusiasm and vigour. Ultimately, the students grow up to become prominent and influential members of the society as well as being law-abiding and respectable citizens of the country.
Advanced students also experience spiritual development when they sincerely follow the tenets, philosophy, moral culture of Taekwondo, and understand them more fully with meditation. Advanced students learn how to calm the mind and make it absolutely still like tranquil water, so that everything is clearly reflected on it. This is the secret by which grandmasters can fight even blindfolded, because the mind is perfectly still and it distinctly reflects any movement coming from any direction. Maintaining such meditative non-violent calmness of the mind, while the body is involved in an intense violent fight, can come only after years of self-discipline and mental strength. Such fusion of opposites is possible by grandmasters.
Wishing to become a grandmaster is certainly desirable but trying to become a grandmaster is more important than becoming one. As grandmaster Trevor Dicks in ” Follow ‘The Way’ ” states, “Self- discipline is the prime factor in reaching success in any field. You want to be a Black Belt? Practice self discipline. Most people consider self-discipline a chore, but in fact it’s your very best friend… If you master it, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish. It’s not being able to jump and kick 8 feet in the air or to punch through boards and bricks or to spar twenty different black belts without a break that’s important. It isn’t your ability to actually be able to do all those things that’s important; it’s the constant trying to do it that counts. What’s important is the journey, not the destination.”