Here are the top 5 benefits that I have derived from studying a martial art.
Flexibility and Coordination
- 2 years ago if you had asked me to kick higher then my waist I would have laughed at you. Now, not only can I get my leg up that high to kick, I can do it with enough force to break a board.
- I have learned 5 patterns so far, with the highest level one having 21 movements. When I started I could never get my lefts and my rights sorted out for the simplest pattern. Now I have the coordination to move somewhat gracefully through 21 distinct (and complicated) movements.
- An hour of TKD burns nearly 1000 calories!
- We warm up each class by running laps around the gym. 2 years ago I couldn't do 2 laps without having to take a break and walk. Now I can easily do 10 and could keep going.
- I never would have thought that I was capable of throwing a punch at someone’s head before. Now I know that I can! It’s an odd feeling to actually hit another person, but once you get over the initial strangeness you soon recognize the power that you have. I truly believe that if I was ever in a situation where I needed to use self defense, my TKD training would be second nature now and I would be able to defend myself.
- We spend at least one class a month focusing on self defense overall, not just TKD. I know how to escape a chock hold, get out of someone’s grip and am okay with yelling and screaming like a fool to attract attention. In our society we always seem to feel the need to be quiet and polite, to not make a fuss. Practicing situations where it’s okay to fight back and make a fuss is very freeing.
- I wear white pants and a white t-shirt and drag my butt along the gym floor while we do a “Crab-Walk” warm up. I don’t have the arm strength to get my butt up off the floor, but I keep going. In a class full of kids (who could crab-walk all day long and never get tired) while all their parents watch and laugh.
- I can stand alone in the gym, in front of my instructors, while a room full of people watch and do all of my patterns during a test for my next level. In high school I couldn't stand up in class to ask to go to the washroom.
- Any physical activity works well as stress relief. Add in punching and kicking things with all your might and you can work out the kinks of a bad day in no time.
- TKD has turned out to be a great parenting tool as well. Since Liam and I both train together, we both have sparring gear. That means that anytime we are having a rough day with each other, I can just say "go get your gear on" and we can duke it out. All in the name of sport, so there is no need to call Children's Aid!