We can all agree that these are crucial years for child development. You are a loving parent and want what's best for your child. Nowadays, parents are inundated with countless activities that are marketed toward them and their children on several platforms (like this one). So how is it that parents can decide what activity is best suited for their child? The answer is to research the activity, its leaders and their core values. But how do you find the time?
Surprisingly, parents rarely ask me questions about Taekwon-do, my background, or the long term benefits for their child. The most common questions are about class times, prices and if they can try a class before they join. This leads me to believe that most parents have a vague or stereotypical understanding of what Taekwon-do is. I understand that parents are busy and they may not have sufficient time to do in-depth research into the art, school and instructor, so this article is a starting point for the busy yet involved parent. Although there are many advantages to practicing Taekwon-do, here are FIVE important benefits that may be appealing to parents.
From the moment they step into the Dojang (training hall) children are taught to bow as a physical sign of respect for the education they are about to receive. Respect is encouraged by bowing to and addressing the instructor as Sir or Ma'am. A respectful instructor will always return the bow. Students also bow to one another as a sign of mutual respect. The act of bowing teaches children respect in and outside the dojang.
2. Physical Fitness
Taekwon-do in known for its aerobic, acrobatic and aerial kicking techniques. Children love to jump, spin and kick things. The dynamic kicking and punching techniques of Taekwon-do will help children with balance and coordination, strength and conditioning while providing an outlet for stress.
3. Self Defence
Students of Taekwon-do are encouraged to talk their way out of a confrontation first. Unfortunately, we can't predict that this will always work. Taekwon-do provides children with the confidence to not only speak up for themselves and/or others, but to also have the skills necessary to defend themselves against a would-be attacker.
4. Winning & Losing
'Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing'. - Vince Lombardi.
Through Taekwon-do competitions, children will experience winning and losing. Of course we want to see our children win as it builds their self esteem and reinforces their hard work but losing is always a risk. Taekwon-do teaches that losing opens the door to self improvement. Through proper instruction, perseverance and positive encouragement from involved parents, a student will learn from their losses, be accountable and ultimately be guided to success.
Taekwon-do cultivates long lasting friendships in a fun, respectful and safe environment. The relationships and bonds don't just stop at the dojang. Tournaments encourage respectful competition with children their own age and belt rank on a provincial, national and international level. It's not uncommon for meaningful friendships to form across borders.
In conclusion, extra curricular activities should not just be something that fills your child's calendar. Whatever activity you choose, assess the benefits and be sure they meet the expectations for both you and your child.