Those who practice martial arts understand that their training is much more than the technique behind a kick or a punch. Martial arts is not so dissimilar from other sports in that it requires dedication, discipline, hard work, and integrity to succeed. In addition to these virtues, training in martial arts also helps build a foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.
We’ve discussed how practicing martial arts as a child can impact an individual as an adult, but one of the most valuable things that can come out of one’s training is character development. Patience, humility, persistence, respect, confidence, and self-discipline are frequently revisited in martial arts. Through training, students can build a commendable character.
Techniques are important to every style of martial arts and repetition is key to mastering technique. Many martial arts schools require students to practice and perfect certain techniques before advancing to the next level of training. It may take some students longer than others to get there, and it is vital for both instructors and students to realize this. Practicing martial arts can teach students how to be more patient not only with learning and mastering forms and techniques but also with themselves and other parts of their lives outside of the dojo.
From sparring in class to competing in tournaments, students of martial arts learn quickly that there are many better, more seasoned martial artists out there. These can be great learning opportunities, acting as humbling reminders for students that there is always room for improvement. An unexpected loss can also help students realize their weak points, allowing them to improve their own training.
It is only through persistence that a martial arts student can truly succeed in his or her practice. Training is a life-long endeavour and some form of failure is inevitable. This is where persistence is crucial; when a student persists, only then can he or she succeed in learning and performing techniques. No martial artist begins with perfect forms and flawless technique; it is the persistence of spirit and determination to push forward that makes a martial artist great.
Respect is one of the main tenets of martial arts. Each martial art emphasizes the importance of respect in all aspects of training: towards the traditions of martial arts and for one another. As students must co-operate with authority figures throughout their training, they must practice respect during every class and are encouraged to apply this outside of their training as well.
Self-discipline is another important principle in the world of martial arts. When students must train and master a specific technique, he or she must have a strong work ethic to succeed. A lack of self-discipline can manifest in missed classes and misbehaviour, both of which can be detrimental to a martial arts student’s practice. By requiring students to commit to regimented self-discipline, martial arts help set up children and young adults for success.
By demonstrating patience, humility, persistence, and self-discipline, martial arts students learn to master techniques as taught by their instructors. These are accomplishments achieved through hard work and dedication, which increase students’ confidence as a result. Beyond a sense of accomplishment, students also learn to defend themselves and can feel more capable if they are confronted with a threatening situation. Whether it’s in the classroom or the boardroom, confidence helps young adults positively impact those around them with greater autonomy and will.
These qualities, which are necessary for success in any martial art, can help a student build strong character. The benefits of martial arts training evidently reach far beyond self-defence and physical fitness.
For more information contact Master Seo’s Dynamic Taekwondo at 905-277-5425 / INFO@CANADATKD.COM
Mental health is just as important as physical health, but it often gets overlooked. Fortunately, martial arts are one activity that can benefit both your body and mind. Physical activity is generally great for people’s emotional states, but martial arts, in particular, encourage the kind of introspection and emotional control that can dramatically improve mental health. Practicing could have a marked effect on your mood and stress levels, as well as give you the tools to maintain a healthy mental perspective going forward. Here are just a few of the ways martial arts can benefit mental health:
Improves physical health
Though mental health affects how your brain thinks and feels, it can often have roots in how your body is functioning. Poor physical health can have an awful impact on your mental health. This can be direct – for example, if you experience chronic pain or illness, the symptoms of that condition can wear on your mental state. However, it can also be more subtle and insidious. Physical activity causes the brain to produce chemicals that reduce stress and increase happiness. Without activity, these chemicals aren’t released, and your mood drops.
The great thing about physical activity as a risk factor for mental health is that you can change it. Many people find that exercising more often has a significant effect on their emotional state. Picking up a physical hobby like martial arts gives you a regular source of physical activity, as well as guidance to ramp up the difficulty level at the appropriate rate. This means you don’t have to worry about potential injury from overexertion, which can discourage you from continuing. Instead, you can make healthy habits that will last.
Most physical activities increase confidence in one way or another, but martial arts are built on a foundation of encouraging self-trust and self-awareness. Trusting one’s own judgment and skill is a pillar of all martial arts practices. When you study, you learn how to hone your instincts and abilities, and gain a stronger understanding of what both your mind and body can do. Through practice, martial artists develop a deep and unshakable form of confidence they carry with them through all aspects of their lives.
Provides an outlet
Mental health issues can cause and be exacerbated by excess energy. For example, anxiety disorders often trigger a malfunction of the fight or flight response, which releases adrenaline. Since there’s no genuine threat, there’s nowhere for that energy to go, and as a result, the sufferer can crash, and the leftover adrenaline can manifest as stress, as well as physical symptoms. Any exercise can provide an outlet for this, but because martial arts is so explosive, many find it an ideal choice. Practice makes for a great way to work through any kind of powerful emotion, be it stress, sadness, anger or fear.
Encourages emotional awareness
The most important and unique thing martial arts offer to one’s mental health is emotional awareness and control. Unlike many other sports, martial arts actively calls for introspection. Practitioners are asked to consider their emotional state and motivations repeatedly throughout each class. This practice of actively checking in with one’s mental state, when done regularly, carries well beyond class time. Eventually, it becomes a habit martial artists bring with them at all times. Emotional awareness is a powerful tool, and martial artists learn to hone that tool and use it to their advantage. This is useful for anyone, but it can make a world of difference for someone dealing with mental illness.
For more information call Master Seo’s Dynamic Taekwondo at 905-277-5425WWW.CANADATKD.COM
MARTIAL ARTS OFFERS BRAIN-BOOSTING BENEFITS FOR ALL AGES, RESEARCH FINDS
As well as increasing physical fitness and mental health, martial arts can boost brain cognition too
We are all aware that exercise generally has many benefits, such as improving physical fitness and strength. But what do we know about the effects of specific types of exercise? Researchers have already shown that jogging can increase life expectancy, for example, while yoga makes us happy.
However, there is one activity that goes beyond enhancing physical and mental health – martial arts can boost your brain’s cognition too.
Researchers say that there are two ways to improve attention, through attention training (AT), and attention state training (AST). AT is based on practicing a specific skill and getting better at that skill, but not others – using a brain training video game, for example.
AST on the other hand is about getting into a specific state of mind that allows a stronger focus. This can be done by using exercise, meditation or yoga, among other things.
It has been suggested that martial arts is a form of AST, and supporting this, recent research has shown a link between practice and improved alertness. Backing this idea up further, another study showed that martial arts practice is linked with better performance on a divided attention task.
This is an assignment in which the person has to keep two rules in mind and respond to signals based on whether they are auditory or visual.
In a US study, children aged between eight and 11 years old were tasked with traditional martial arts training that focused on respecting other people and defending themselves as part of an anti-bullying program. The children were also taught how to maintain a level of self-control in heated situations.
The researchers found that the martial arts training reduced the level of aggressive behavior in boys, and found that they were more likely to step in and help someone who was being bullied than before they took part in the training.
Significant changes were not found in the girls’ behavior, potentially because they showed much lower levels of physical aggression before the training than the boys did.
Interestingly, this anti-aggression effect is not limited to young children. A different piece of research found reduced physical and verbal aggression, as well as hostility, in adolescents who practiced martial arts too.
Research shows that taking part in karate can improve a person’s working memory
Some forms of martial arts, such as tai chi, place great emphasis on controlled breathing and meditation. These were strongly linked in one study with reduced feelings of stress, as well as being better able to manage stress when it is present in young to middle-aged adults.
This effect has also been found in older adults – the 330 participants in this research had a mean age of 73 – too. And the softer, flowing movements make it an ideal, low-impact exercise for older people.
As several scientists are now looking into the links between emotional well-being and physical health, it’s vital to note that martial arts has been show to improve a person’s emotional welling too.
In the study linked above, 45 older adults (aged 67-93) were asked to take part in karate training, cognitive training, or non-martial arts physical training for three to six months.
The older adults in the karate training showed lower levels of depression after the training period than both other groups, perhaps due to its meditative aspect. It was also reported that these adults showed a greater level of self-esteem after the training too.
After comparing a sedentary control group with a group of people doing karate, Italian researchers found that taking part in karate can improve a person’s working memory. They used a test that involved recalling and repeating a series of numbers, both in the correct order and backwards, which increased in difficulty until the participant was unable to continue.
The karate group were much better at this task than the control group, meaning they could recall longer series of numbers. Another project found similar results while comparing tai chi practice with “Western exercise” – strength, endurance and resistance training.
Evidently, there is far more to martial arts than its traditional roles. Though they have been practiced for self-defense and spiritual development for many hundreds of years, only relatively recently have researchers had the methods to assess the true extent of how this practice affects the brain.
Ashleigh Johnstone is a PhD researcher in cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University. This article was originally published on The Conversation
1. GOAL SETTING
Most of us know how important goal setting is for not only fitness but personal life and finance also, Martial Arts is a powerful tool for strengthening your mind and character which will soak into other areas of your life.
2. REDUCED AGGRESSION
A US study on children aged 8-11 was focused on the children training in traditional martial arts focused on respecting other people and defending themselves as part of an anti-bullying course. The children were also taught how to maintain a level of self-control in heated situations.
The research found that the martial arts training reduced the level of aggression in boys, and found that they were more likely to step in and help someone who was being bullied than before they took part in training.
This anti-aggression effect is not limited to children. Another study found reduced physical and verbal aggression, as well as hostility, in teenagers who practiced martial arts also.
3. GREATER STRESS MANAGEMENT
Some forms of martial arts, such as Taekwondo force you to focus on your breathing as the practice is reliant on full body movements and core. This martial art was linked in many studies that concluded reduced feelings of stress in participants, as well as being better able to manage stress when it is present in young to middle-aged adults.4. ENHANCED EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
Many scientists are now looking into links between emotional well-being and health in relation to Martial Arts. It’s vital to note that martial arts has been shown to emotional well being in participants.
In a previous study, 45 older adults (aged 67-93) were asked to take part in Martial Arts training, cognitive training, or non-martial arts physical training for three to six months. The older adults in the martial arts training showed lower levels of depression post training period than both the other groups, perhaps due to its meditative aspect. It was also reported that these adults showed an improved level of self-esteem post training too.
5. IMPROVED MEMORY
Researchers in a previous study found that taking part in martial arts can improve a person’s working memory. Tests were used that involved recalling and repeating numbers, both in the correct order and backwards, which grew in difficulty until the participant was unable to continue. The martial arts group were better at this task than the control group. They could recall longer series of numbers.
Evidently, there is far more to martial arts than meets the eye. Though it has been practiced for self-defense and spiritual development for many hundreds of years, only recently have researchers had the methods to assess the true extent of how this practice has effected the brain.
For more information call Master Seo’s Dynamic Taekwondo at 905-277-5425WWW.CANADATKD.COM
If you’re the parent of a child enrolled in martial arts lessons, you definitely want your child to succeed on their training journey. However, some parents don’t realize just how important their encouragement is to a child’s success. They may also not know how they can show support in ways that will be genuinely helpful. Encouragement can come in the form of simply watching your child’s training, or even participating in parent-and-child martial arts classes.
If you have a young martial artist in your house, here are some tips to ensure you are providing a good support system:
Know the Etiquette
Etiquette is hugely important in martial arts, and parents should know what is expected of them and of students. One of the most important you can do is familiarize yourself with dojang etiquette. In Korean arts, instructors are generally addressed as “Sabumnim(Instructor/Master).” This title may be placed after the instructor’s name or, more commonly, before the name.
The dojang is seen as a sacred practice area, and students are required to show their respect. Shoes need to be removed prior to entering the area. It is also customary to bow upon entering or exiting the dojang area and greeting others, particularly one’s seniors.
Generally, spectators are welcome to watch their children in class, as long as they do so quietly. Some instructors may welcome verbal encouragement from the sidelines. However, it is better to err on the side of quiet respect if you are unfamiliar with the dojang’s culture. When in doubt, ask the Masters before or after class. Both the Master and your child are sure to appreciate your consideration for the class.
Know the Benefits
Familiarizing yourself with the many benefits of martial arts for kids can help you feel great about having your child pursue it, and in turn will make your encouragements to them more sincere. A few benefits include:
Self-defense. Although there is more to martial arts than the physical aspects, it’s still an excellent asset to be able to defend oneself. This can give both parents and children some peace of mind.
Self-confidence. Sports are a great way to teach your child the value and satisfaction of hard work. Working toward and ultimately achieving a goal can foster a sense of self-esteem and independence.
Respect. The practice of martial arts etiquette can teach children to be respectful in other aspects of life, and open-minded toward new customs and cultures they may encounter in the future.
Know Best Practices
Sitting in on classes is one great way to show your child that you are invested in him or her. Many children are eager to show mom or dad what they’ve been learning. Asking the child questions outside of class about techniques, etiquette or anything else you observed can be a great way to help him or her review what has been taught. It can also help a child feel good to teach an adult something new.
Try It Yourself
If you’re looking to take your support to another level, the best thing you can do is to take a parent-and-child martial arts class! You don’t need to commit to becoming a black belt, but it is a hands-on way to further your understanding of the sport and what your child is learning. You may choose to take only a few lessons for a basic introduction, or you may find that you desire to pursue it yourself! It would be a great way to create shared experiences together and help your child practice at home.
Show Your Child That You Care
Sensing disinterest from a parent can result in poor self-esteem and low motivation, or even giving up on training altogether. Every parent wants their child to achieve success, so applying these tips and understanding your child’s individual needs can help you provide a support system that will help your child accomplish their goals.
One Big Thing NOT to Do
Even well-meaning parents can make mistakes. One of the biggest no-no’s is calling out to correct your child’s performance during class. Not only is this disrespectful and distracting to the Master and other students, but it can also be embarrassing to your child and cause him or her to become self-conscious and distracted. You’re paying to have your child trained by an expert, so let the Master do just that. Technical criticisms should be left to the instructor. As the parent, you should focus on positives. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them privately with the Master outside of class time.
Back to school should be an exciting time — new teachers, new clothes, new school supplies and new friends. But for a child who is the victim of a bully, the excitement of a new school year is filled more with anxiety than anticipation.
As a martial arts instructor, I’m often asked by parents about the best ways to help their children to deal with bullies. While there are many approaches to the problem, I think one of the best ways is to instill self-confidence in your children. And martial arts is just one way to instill self-confidence.
No matter which tactics you try, you want to start by creating an open line of communication with your child. You want your child to feel comfortable to discuss any bullying incident with you. You can do that by simply listening to what they have to say. Then, you can continue to ask questions until you understand the whole story.
You can also share your own personal experiences with bullies. This will help them to understand that you know how they feel. Then you can try some ways to help counter the situation. Here are a few of my favorites based on martial arts:
Role play. For the same reasons you role-play to anticipate tough questions during a job interview, role-playing a few bullying scenarios with your child will teach him how to respond to a stressful confrontation. Martial arts form is not much different. When practicing martial arts, we are basically role-playing various self-defense scenarios. When practiced enough, the student can recall and instinctively respond if he finds himself in a dangerous situation. At home, you can simply role-play some bullying scenarios to help your child practice for any confrontation. When he finds himself in a difficult situation, he will have more self-confidence since he’s better prepared to handle it.
Teach body language and communication skills. Martial arts stances exude confidence. In traditional martial arts training, the posture of the attention stance is body straight, eyes focused and feet firmly on the ground. Also, instruct your child to breathe properly (calm breath equals calm composure) and speak in a confident tone to help deflect any immediate threat from a bully. Any action taken on the part of your child should not be done in a manner that might be perceived as trying to challenge the bully. While standing one’s ground with an air of composure — despite the actual feeling of fear — should be learned, and practiced, children should also learn how to communicate and create rapport with others. Using words to defuse a situation can help prevent it from becoming physical.
Take to the mat. Consider enrolling your child in a traditional martial arts program, such as Karate, KungFu, or Tae Kwon Do. The training at most self-defense academies does not promote the use of violence, however, having that knowledge will help your child feel more self-assured. And if your child does need to defend himself, his practice on the mat will provide a level of safety by allowing him to perform the moves instinctively when threatened. Besides learning self-defense skills — and understanding when it would be appropriate to employ them — he will take away life skills and leadership lessons that will bolster confidence throughout his life.
Bullying should never be taken lightly. While we’ve made great strides against bullying — bullying policies have been implemented by schools, the workplace and the government — we need to, as a community, prepare and educate our children on how to deal with this serious issue. I believe, only through education can we truly make a difference.
Written by Karl Romain
For more information call Master Seo’s Dynamic Taekwondo at 905-277-5425
5 Benefits of Training in Martial Arts Over the Summer
Today, we are faced with challenges in getting our kids to be active and away from TV, mobile devices and video games. Not only that, but sometimes its hard to find the energy to get to the gym to workout for ourselves. If we have a hard time getting ourselves to the gym, imagine what it’s like to get our kids to stay active. We know that if we like what we are doing we will do it for longer periods of time and are more likely to stay engaged with it.
Enter the solution: martial arts. Martial arts is a great way to stay active, learn to protect yourself and also learn things like discipline, good work ethic, and respect. Martial arts not only challenges us with physical work, but also encourages us to improve all areas of our lives. We have had one of our instructors train with us since they first started martial arts four years ago and now he’s a hard working employee.
Here are 5 benefits of training in martial arts over the summer:
It helps development students in all areas of their life by challenging them mentally & physically. Martial arts is great at challenging us both physically and mentally. It challenges physically by allowing us to try new things, kick higher, punch harder. It challenges us mentally, but realizing that with hard work and practice we can accomplish so much more than we thought.
By training twice per week it helps students learn structure. Structure is such an important lesson today. Structure exists everywhere we go. With structure we have consistency. Structure and consistency are two attributes that helps us function as adults. With structure, we know what we are to do, what to expect and how it’s going to happen. With consistency, we see the progress we make. We can look back and see the value in what we are doing based on what we have accomplished by keeping at the task.
For kids, they don’t have school work through the summer to take a toll on them mentally and can focus on their physical skills and take their bodies to whole new level. Through active training, kids can get stronger. They can help their bodies to develop into strong kids which leads to stronger, healthier adults. Setting kids up with the idea of physical work ethic and a sense of physical exercise early on will help them keep the same habits into adulthood.
Teaching them self-defense moves in a martial arts class will help them to be safer while out playing. Not every confrontation needs to end with punches and kicks being thrown, however, if a kid is out and gets into trouble, they will have the ability to defend themselves. Through martial arts classes they will learn to avoid the confrontation, get out of tricky confrontations and also protect themselves if they need to.
Training in martial arts through the summer helps boost their confidence. When kids go back to school at the end of summer, why not have them go back with boosted confidence. Then they will be more ready to take on new challenges at school, because they more firmly believe in who they are and in their abilities.
We are changing our community one student at a time. Our mission is to equip our students to be leaders in their communities, in which they can make a true impact. We want to see all of our students attain their black belt. We love to see how martial arts changes lives and how people grow because of what they learn in our classes.