If you're a parent of a Junior TaeKwon-Do Student or Tiny TKD'er at Banstead TaeKwon-Do, and you keep bringing your child or children back to class then you clearly know that the kids enjoy it, have fun and/or there is some real benefit to the classes.
I'm aiming this post at parents who don't bring their children to any Martial Arts activity and why, perhaps, it's a good idea to get them involved.
Really, there are so many benefits to taking your child to a Martial Arts class and at Banstead TaeKwon-Do Martial Arts, I as the instructor and a parent, can honestly say the benefits are real and can have positive knock-on effects in other areas of someone's life. Here are a few ideas that are positive take-aways from training in our classes:
It certainly true that children (and Adults!) are not exposed to as much activity and physical exertion as they might have been in previous generations. The lure of exciting computer console games of the last generation has been made more intense by the extreme ease of access to well produced and easily engaging handheld games on phones or ipads and tablets, it's just so easy to lose an hour playing some mind numbing and frustrating game on your phone (or parents phone). Years ago, that "hour before dinner" would have been spent outside with other children in the street either riding bikes, playing football, running about, playing 'it'. Nowadays, literally almost noone plays outside. It's not uncommon for my children to be the only ones in the street (maybe causing some form of audible disruption to the other children's important TV time) playing on their bikes, scooters, with a ball or just being out there.
There is research that suggests children much have at least 30 mins of exercise each and every day, they need to get their heart rates up, huff and puff, exert themselves to achieve goals otherwise that correlation between ACTUAL EFFORT and REWARD won't be embedded. *Actual Effort being work done by your mind and body, not effort looking at a screen.
There is research that suggests children need hard weight bearing exercise many times a week, which along with a good diet, will help build strong resilient bones to help them in adult hood.
TaeKwon-Do is perfect for this level of physical exertion; regular exercise; weight bearing training with bare feet on wooden sprung floors; high intensity exercises along with longer periods of lower intensity exercise; bodyweight governed strength training; It really does 'tick all the boxes' - and it's exceptionally effective if classes are attended regularly and often.
TaeKwon-Do is taught from a structured learning syllabus where exercises performed by beginners lay important foundations for exercises and movements in subsequent levels of the Art. Within the syllabus, ethos and philosophy of TaeKwon-Do is a heavy emphasis on rewarding effort. The more effort and enthusiasm a student puts in the more rewards they see. A previous instructor of mine repeatedly said, "If you put nothing in, you get nothing out", and that is very true.
Students, at each level of development, will experience very hard obstacles, which could be any number of things and would be different for each person but common ones would be, say, 'fear of sparring / conflict', 'lack of fitness', 'no flexibility', 'poor coordination', 'lack of strength', 'struggling with learning theory' - all of these problems can be overcome with Perseverance.
The TaeKwon-Do student is encouraged to try hard, put effort in, persevere through their effort, be patient and trust the training and to reap the rewards later. This is an important quality that will help with all goals in life.
Learn what success feels like
Once the student has understood the importance of trying hard at something they then get to experience success or see results of their training. It's good to feel successful, encouraging and motivating, and we reward success in Martial Arts at every step of the learning process. Students will feel proud of their successes, and each one is as important as another, for example it may have taken as much of a huge effort and consistent training for one student to be able to 'touch their toes' as another for them to achieve 'The Splits' - each students achievements are rewarded.
Learn what disappointment feels like
Not everyone is a winner, not everyone gets a medal - it's good to experience this when developing and growing up, it's good to experience this even when we're adults. A student might not be selected for grading examination, might not be developing flexibility like their peers, might not be developing kicking skills like others, might get eliminated in the first round of a competition or, perhaps worse, might not get a Bronze when they were expecting a Gold in a sparring competition.
All of this can lead to a feeling of disappointment, and that's ok. It's 'OK' to feel disappointed, it's 'OK' to reflect on the situation and see if there are any lessons to be learned.
TaeKwon-Do and Martial Arts training will expose you to disappointment, not all the time of course, but it will be there and with an experienced instructor and Perseverance students will learn to feel this disappointment and turn it in to some positive action.
Toughen up - literally (and mentally)
Bumping in to someone, holding the focus mitts, grappling, sparring all involve taking some knocks and bangs, and this is good for people. While we don't want to cause any unnecessary harm to our children, or even ourselves, we can't be over-protective or helicoptering around them. If we are over-protective then they're not going to be exposed to things that will help make them stronger, physically and mentally.
TaeKwon-Do and Martial Arts training will expose everyone, from the youngest members to the adults, to bangs, knocks, hits, bumps and bruises, all in graded exposure of course. There is no point in 'shocking' someone as it will most likely have the opposite of the desired effect and no skills will be learned. The graded exposure to sparring (pad work drills and combinations, step sparring, semi-free sparring and then free sparring) is designed to teach the students essential skills and build the students automatic responses, speed their reactions and build their confidence, and all of this takes time. This certainly gives students confidence in school sports, even social situations.
Students will toughen up mentally too: for example, when you're sparring pal progresses at a grading and you don't, when you don't pass a grading that you expected too; that's hard to experience and our students get used to that. It goes hand in hand with experiencing disappointment too.
Understand Their Body
The youngest members learn that their heart beats faster and their breathing quickens when they exercise.
The older ones learn they have control over heart rate and breathing by either forcing an adaption through harder training or learning that Self Control can help them deal with it, we teach them that controlled breathing can have positive effects on their outcome.
Older students, they learn what muscles to stretch when they feel tight, or what exercises they can do rehabilitate an injury. They learn the powerful feeling of being still and mindful when exercising or stretching, the importance of each moment and being in the moment rather than distracted by things around them.
The Martial Arts student at Banstead TaeKwon-Do will learn and understand feelings like fear, excitement, confidence, apprehension, nerves and find ways strategies for dealing with the negative ones and allow themselves to feel good about the positive ones.
You or your children can get involved with Banstead TaeKwon-Do Martial Arts at any level to experience the benefits of Martial Arts training with Banstead Martial Arts. We have classes for all ages groups, check out the flyer below and go see:
www.BansteadMartialArts.co.uk and www.BansteadTKD.co.uk
come down for a class and ask the students all about it