13 Physical and Mental Benefits of Taekwondo (for All Ages!)
It is no secret that learning a martial art can offer a lot of value to a person. Regardless of the martial art you decide to learn and practice, you are going to experience a number of different benefits, both physical and unseen. These range from being able to defend yourself to building up your mental strength and endurance.
Although most martial arts share similar benefits overall, these benefits may vary because of the different approaches, techniques, and philosophies between them. This isn’t to say that one martial art is better than another, nor is there an “ultimate best” martial art out there. Each one has a unique set of characteristics, and making the most of any specific martial art comes down to which one best suits the student.
In this article, we are going to discuss what benefits Taekwondo can provide you, and what makes the benefits of this Korean martial art unique when compared to other martial arts.
1. IMPROVED MUSCLE TONING
Starting with one of the most obvious observations you’ll likely experience, Taekwondo focuses a lot on performing different sets of kicks and strikes. After drills have been repeated over and over to get a good understanding of how to perform a move, you’ll likely notice that you will have lost some weight and maybe even put on some muscle mass. Awesome, keep going!
2. INCREASED STAMINA
Going along with muscular changes, rigorous training in Taekwondo can help improve your stamina as well. When practicing Taekwondo, it’s important to consider how long you will be able to perform different kicks, blocks, strikes, and other moves. At first, you might find yourself trying to catch your breath after just a few moves or a few minutes of sparring practice, but this feeling will reduce with enough practice over time.
3. MORE CONFIDENCE
They say that part of getting what you want comes from having a positive attitude, and a positive outlook about yourself. When it comes to Taekwondo, this also holds true. Being able to perform some of the most advanced kicks, for example, requires having enough confidence in yourself so that you remain balanced and don’t fall over. Let’s also say that your self-esteem will also become enhanced over time as well, meaning that you will be more committed to continue practicing Taekwondo – even if it gets hard sometimes.
4. GREATER FLEXIBILITY
You’ve probably noticed that kicks have been mentioned several times already. Yes, they are a big part of Taekwondo (we even wrote a whole article about it here), and performing these moves frequently and properly builds flexibility. Greater flexibility is somewhat unique to Taekwondo, as some martial arts are more focused on strength or endurance. In Taekwondo though, flexibility is just as important.
5. INCREDIBLE CONCENTRATION
Martial arts, including Taekwondo, is first and foremost a practice of building discipline. Whether you are learning a move for the first time, sparring with a classmate, or even in a self-defence situation, a high degree of concentration is going to be required to get through. A lot of people who go through numerous years of Taekwondo are often surprised when they reflect on the amount of focus they can quickly reach when compared to when they first started learning.
6. REFLEXES YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD IN YOU
Have you ever experienced that feeling where time almost feels slower around you? That feeling where you are able to quickly handle something that would normally be too fast for you to handle is something you can actually train yourself to control and use. This is common in many martial arts and competitive sports, but Taekwondo provides another method to reach that level of reflexes.
7. MORE PREPARED TO HANDLE STRESS
Being able to react and overcome different opponents when sparring, for example, is an excellent case of proper stress management taking place. Practicing Taekwondo helps the student overcome the different mental stresses that are created and observed in both everyday life and during training sessions. Stress management and stress reduction results from the student overcoming and directly challenging fears, from practiced mental focus, and from understanding the sources of stress and how they impact us.
8. ENHANCED COGNITIVE ABILITIES
In recent years, science has discovered the relation between physical activity and cognitive functionality. Essentially, staying physically active and working towards a dedicated discipline often carries a positive impact on our cognitive abilities as well. If you have a child who enrolls in Taekwondo, for instance, don’t be surprised to see that they will be performing better in school later on!
Taekwondo is built on a set of traditions and philosophies that are still practiced to this very day. Starting from the very first class, the student is being trained to show respect to their peers, their instructors, and with anyone else they encounter outside of their classes too.
10. BETTER SOCIALIZATION SKILLS
This one is not mentioned often enough in martial arts, but it deserves attention. This topic is multi-faceted, as there are different variables to consider, but here are a couple. Firstly, Taekwondo is not a solo activity. You will be dealing with other people, be it with your fellow classmates and your instructors. Each member of the class is working towards a common goal, but the road to reaching that goal requires a certain amount of communication with your peers. Secondly, as you interact with more people, both in your Taekwondo classes and outside of class, it isn’t uncommon to develop a better understanding of how other people behave and act in certain situations. These abilities and others can greatly help those who might find it hard to socialize with others.
11. LEADERSHIP ABILITIES
All of the characteristics of a discipline like Taekwondo help form good leadership abilities. From communication, to mental endurance, to integrity, and many other things, you will have a better capability of working with others and leading them towards a common goal.
12. ACCEPTING AND RECOVERING FROM FAILURE
Being the best at Taekwondo, or any martial art for that matter, isn’t about always winning. In many philosophies behind martial arts, it’s imperative to understand that sometimes you will experience failure. The real lesson is in how to recover when you experience failure, and to understand that humility and a sense of humbleness is not only a tool, but an essential component for overcoming that failure.
13. IMPROVED ABILITY TO PLAN AND FOLLOW-THROUGH
Taekwondo is a discipline that takes time to learn and become proficient at. As a new student enters a class for their first time, they are also entering into a long-term plan that they have knowingly or unknowingly envisioned for themselves. That plan is on attaining new skills and devoting time to practicing a discipline. Each step of the way has specific goals, is measurable, is achievable and realistic, and can be looked at over time. You may have heard of SMART goals before, and you’ll notice that Taekwondo not only has SMART goals, but it also teaches you how to create and follow through on any SMART goal you set out to do.
As with many martial arts, Taekwondo is a fantastic method for improving yourself in many ways. Whether you are trying to before more fit, or learn how to be a good leader, or how to socialize, Taekwondo gives you the opportunity to improve on these aspects and many more. If you’re someone who’s serious about improving themselves for any number of reasons, then why not consider Taekwondo? Here’s an article on the many different kicks you would learn and see in Taekwondo. Soon enough, you too can be performing these moves!