Sports are always associated as a positive influence for kids. From a young age, kids are accustomed to sport participation from primary school through to high school. All manner of sports are played, soccer, rugby, tennis, cricket, baseball, volleyball, netball. The list goes on.
All sports in general have similar benefits for kids and even adults who join in. Cardiovascular health, muscle strength, flexibility, coordination and teamwork are all improved with the sports mentioned above and all those that haven’t been.
Power With Purpose Taekwondo however, has it’s own very unique benefits for kids and even adults.
Taekwondo has a straight forward hierarchy and respect system. The higher the belt level, the more unconditional respect they are to be given from a junior or lower belt. At the same time, senior and higher belts are taught and encouraged that, unless respect is shown towards lower belts, you can not expect it in return.
The other variation that other sports don’t often have is that age plays a large factor in the hierarchy. The oldest student amongst a group of belts who are all the same level is considered the highest. This often results in adults and teenagers standing above children, this emphasises the old saying “respect your elders”.
The last possible outcome is, again, unique. Age is not a factor if the younger student has been on that belt level longer than someone who just received it. Example, if a 14 year old is a red belt for 6 months, and then recently a 20 year old achieves their red belt, the 14 year old is still considered the senior student as they have been at that level longer than the 20 year old new comer.
This unique mixture of ranks and hierarchical positions allows kids of all ages to practice and experience positions of power and control, while also teaching them to be humble and respectful, not just to elders, but to those people who have more experience than them in Taekwondo.
Lastly, but certainly not least, gender has no factor. Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. What matters is age and experience. Age we can not control, but experience is something that boys and girls can obtain equally through hard work and dedication.
Adults mixed with Kids
Our classes at Power With Purpose are all mixed ages. There are no age restrictions on participants. This allows us to occasionally have adults and children of all ages to work together for sparring, pattern and self defence work. While competitively it is not fair to pair up combatants of different age and size, for learning self defence, nothing is more important than learning to deal with an attacker/bully who is bigger and stronger than yourself.
This gives smaller children greater confidence when dealing with bullies as they are accustomed to sparring adults and teenagers much bigger than themselves. They learn not to back down, to deal with the disadvantages of an opponent who has more reach with their moves, more power in their attacks and more confidence despite the age and height difference.
Many other forms of martial arts will strictly keep students of the same age and height together, but sadly, people are rarely ever picked on or bullied by someone their own size.
The other benefit this has is for our adults, some find a new passion in coaching and helping children learn the art of Taekwondo and enjoy teaching much more than sparring other adults their own size. Coaching can be a gentler approach to lessons for adults who have very draining days or who carry a couple of injuries. By having the potential to mix and work with children, adults can still participate and practice their techniques without having concerns over pushing too hard and possibly worsening an injury.
What better way to stay young than to try and keep up with children!
It’s a lifestyle, not just a sport
Taekwondo has become much more than just a weekly physical activity for many of our black belts and students, it has become the standard by which they live their lives. Families who train together coincide better at home. Parents report students behaving better at school, concentrating harder on their homework and even being more respectful at home.
Children learn through training and discipline the value of their own personal achievements. It is taught in Taekwondo that the next belt level needs to be earned and that progression and rewards are not always a guaranteed part of life. There are times that students fail at a task. At times, there are tears. But students are also taught what it is like to deal these set backs, how to rebound from them and how progress forward in life to the next task.
We tell our students as they near the level of black belt that once they achieve that esteemed rank, that it is not the end of their journey, but actually their very first step with a new level of responsibility to themselves and their club. That when they become a black belt they don’t just represent themselves in the way they act in the world, but that they represent Power With Purpose and Taekwondo itself. Once someone is a black belt they are set on a never ending path of self improvement, self discipline and self respect; as well as respecting all other people they may meet through life.
Taekwondo, great for kids!