UNIQUE ADVANTAGES OF TAEKWON-DO
“The study of Taekwon-Do offers several unique advantages…” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.69)
– Taekwon-Do training promotes good health. Nothing can be compared to good health. The entire body is trained in a holistic manner, which enhances good health.
– Taekwon-Do can be practised individually or in groups. Individual practice increases focus, while group practice increases skill.
– The training can be self-paced. The physical condition of every student is different and thus, the body sets its own limits. Due to this, the student body’s automatically paces the training; thereby, strains or injuries are avoided.
– It develops every muscle. The training of Taekwon-Do develops flexible, longer and leaner muscles. This results in enhanced endurance and improves the overall musculature.
– Builds a well-muscled and firm abdomen. When executing the kicks, the trunk is twisted which is counter balanced with the hands. This develops a strong, healthy abdomen.
– Builds inner thigh muscles and the side of the trunk. Most kicks are preceded with a high leg raise, which firms the side of the trunk and inner thigh muscles.
– Gives a more youthful figure for women. Taekwon-Do tones the lower abdomen, hips and inner thighs, which help in maintaining a youthful figure for women of all ages. Especially after childbirth, Taekwon-Do training helps in the restoration of muscle tone and overall appearance.
– Aerobic conditioning of the heart and lungs. The training is aerobic and this increases the efficiency of the heart and lungs. The blood vessels become pliable, which increases blood flow and oxygen level. Aerobic exercise also promotes sound sleep and better waste elimination.
– Acts to normalise body weight. For the underweight, a gain in solid tissue and for the obese, a loss of body fat is a direct result of training.
– Increases performance in other sports. The training imparts muscular strength and vigorous energy, which helps in increased performance in other sports.
– Develops agility. Ligaments, muscles and joints become more flexible. Combinations of patterns and fundamental movements develop the ability to change directions quickly and effectively, which makes the body more agile.
– Peripheral vision, concentration and focus is developed. Sparring develops concentration and peripheral vision. “‘Focus’ requires that we have muscular strength, balance and the exertion of dynamic energy when we concentrate all the power of the body at one point in space.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.71)
– Promotes systematic warming-up and warming-down exercises. The training is organised so that a systematic warm-up of the body is done by preliminary exercises, which increases flexibility of ligaments, tendons and joints. After training, warming-down exercises are done so that the body does not experience stiffness or discomfort.
– Understanding of physiology is gained. The attacking “Yell” besides demoralising the opponent, also tightens the lower abdominal muscles, thereby preventing any injury if an unexpected counter attack takes place. The “Yell” also exhales the air out of the lungs, which increases the breathing capacity of the lungs. The thoracic grunt equalises the pressure increase in the thorax, thereby any injury to the vital organs is prevented. Knowledge of the vital points of the body improves the understanding of the human body.
– Teaches patience and resolve. Constant repetition of movements teaches patience and makes the student gain a resolve to overcome difficulties.
– Develops self-confidence. The student develops self-confidence, when the tremendous power generated by one’s own body is experienced during breaking exercises.
– Increases overall awareness. Sparring increases courage, adaptability, accuracy, alertness, peripheral vision, self-control, and humility. Overall awareness is increased manifold times.
– Develops a desire to excel. The fundamental exercises teach purpose, principles, imagination, methods and precision. The fundamentals develop a desire to master advanced techniques.
– A sense of balance and grace is gained. Patterns teach posture, balance, coordination, along with flexibility and grace. This helps the student to do every conscious and subconscious action with balance and grace.
– Increases discipline. The way of behaving with instructors and fellow students, instils a sense of discipline, as well as a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.
– Provides acceptability. Every student who trains conscientiously is accepted easily by superiors and fellow students.
– Provides leadership. The instructors and seniors act as role models of leadership. They also enhance the intelligence, understanding, confidence, politeness, and etiquette of the student.
– No discrimination of any kind at all. All kinds of barriers due to gender, age, body structure, colour, creed, or race, are totally eliminated in the camaraderie of the training atmosphere, which is absolutely non-discriminatory and helpful for everybody.
– Helps in academics. Besides increasing concentration and tenacity, the training also relieves all the pressures of long tedious hours of academic study. A training session can refresh a student by calming the nerves and clearing the mind. This helps the student to focus with renewed vigour to pursue academic study.
– Responsibility is gained. The respect, potentiality and the seriousness of the art that the student gains in the training, stimulates perception and sensitivity, which makes the student more mature and responsible.
– Anyone including handicapped persons can learn. “Young and old, male and female, and in some cases even handicapped persons are able to practice Taekwon-Do. Physical strength, weight and body build are of no consequences. A 60 year old, 85 pound, one armed woman can derive as much personal satisfaction, along with marked improvement in her mental and physical state of health, as an 18 year old Olympic decathlon champion.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.76)
– It can be practised anywhere. Taekwon-Do can be practised in an open space, a public park, or a training hall. A student can even practice individually in any room that is convenient and suitable.
– No expensive clothing is required. “Although a practice suit is a prerequisite in classroom training as an aid for mental and spiritual conditioning, one can just as easily train in shirts, track suit, or even street clothes.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.77)
– A training aid can be easily made. If no regular training aid is available, then the student can make a training aid. A bag filled with sand, or a straw rope wound around a piece of wood, or a piece of paper or cloth suspended by a string can help a student to train a blocking or an attacking tool.
– Improves tenacity by avoiding boredom. A student, generally between the third and sixth month of training becomes bored of repeating the same techniques over and over again. This physical and psychological fatigue is caused by impatience, inability to perceive improvement, and lack of self-confidence. However, after the seventh month, the student develops physically and interest is regained. “The best way to combat boredom is to attend classes regularly and develop resolve to attain a specified goal.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.77)
– Improves tenacity by avoiding lack of thoroughness. A student may be impatient to learn the next technique before mastering the previous one. Any technique should be learnt thoroughly before progressing to the next one. “The secret of becoming a black belt is a simple one; learn thoroughly each technique, especially patterns, step by step, not only developing a physical reflexive action, but developing mental concentration as well.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.78)
“It can be seen that the study of Taekwon-Do is recommended for men, women and children. It may provide benefits in perceptual-motor organization, concentration, vision, body development, aerobic conditioning of the heart and lungs and provides training in body control which is valuable in the pursuit of any other sport or physical activity. Coupled with the obvious benefits in self-defense and the satisfaction of mastering ancient art form, it would appear that Taekwon-Do should be part of the life of all people for all their life.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.1, p.72)
Choi, H. H. (1985). Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do (Vols. 1–15). Vienna: International Taekwon-Do Federation.