Taekwondo: The art of punching and kicking. Is that all there is to it? Is it all about self-defense? Well, I don’t think so, I think there is more to that. As an almost black belt, I’ve learned a lot more than I imagined in our tiny Taekwondo training studio. Skills that have tremendously helped me in school.
Being a teen girl means that your parents are frightened for your safety. My mom always wanted me to learn martial arts and get some basic self-defense, but I’ve never had the interest to join martial arts. Furthermore, I thought it was something offered for boys and not for a tiny, fragile girl like me. It was not until my mom took me to our local Tae Kwon Do center for a trial and my whole perspective changed. It also exposed me to a whole new culture, not only does Taekwondo teach you self-defense but, it also teaches you about the Korean culture, the language, and the history behind it.
Likewise, Taekwondo has had a great effect on my life. I’m a very timid girl who does not like to talk at all. You might even think I was mute, I was too agitated to make new friends. I was never able to greet someone I’ve never met before. Through Taekwondo I’ve gained enough confidence to make new friends in school. I wasn’t scared to say hello to someone I didn’t know before. Now, whenever we do group projects I can communicate without hesitation.
According to Mrs.Pittman, who holds a Taekwondo triple Guinness world record, says that “It's important for children, girls especially, from a young age to learn what is right and wrong. What's to say a two-year-old can't defend themselves and speak out?" Moreover, It educates young children on the importance of speaking up for yourself and having a voice for yourself.
Dr.Lutie who is a Taekwondo guru believes that “[Martial Arts] is a way of life that encourages the building of one's character, etiquette, confidence, and self-control”. It teaches the mind to focus on the present and to take a few minutes to observe the little things around us. We all live in a society that is caught up in work and doesn’t have time to live in the present. We are too busy worrying about the future or beating up ourselves for mistakes we did in the past, but Taekwondo makes you focus on what you are doing at the moment. Through this practice, you eventually build focus and can center things in life.
You learn numerous different Black Belt skills along the way and you can build a better life from these skills and lead a life filled with ecstasy. Our tiny training studio is a place for me to relieve stress and to get away from the overwhelming world of homework and grades.
Overall, this art has taught many things that textbooks can’t even teach. It’s just the environment, the masters, the instructors, and the students who make Taekwondo more than it is. Taekwondo is a style of living, not just self-defense.