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Tom’s Fitness and Paris Martial Arts

Taekwondo for Exercise…and More!

Posted: April 25, 2007

As a senior Taekwondo Master and instructor of many years, part of my responsibility is to attend regional and national tournaments and help out with the judging. This weekend, we took a group of kids and adults to a tournament about an hour away.

One of the benefits since becoming a Master last year, is that now I don’t have to judge all day. After judging the Black Belts first thing in the morning, I was free to walk around and watch our students. This was great, because I could see how they’re doing, and help them figure out a plan for their training afterward.

It also gave me time to reflect on several things. First of all, the fact that there were over 600 Taekwondo competitors is amazing. Sure, more than half were kids—there were 22 Orange Belt Tiny Tigers in my grandchildren’s ring alone, before they split them up.

That was amazing. Here they were, at the age of 3, 4 and 5, and they were out there doing something good for both their body and their mind.

Not only did they have to do their moves (physical), but they had to get up in front of the parents and all the other kids too (mental). I bet they’ll be pretty healthy and be pretty confident too, as they grow up.

There were hundreds of kids all brought together to compete in their art of Taekwondo, which means “kicking, punching way.” An oriental art, originally from Korea, Taekwondo has become extremely popular in the United States of the last several decades.

Known for its dynamic kicking techniques, and strong blocks and strikes, Taekwondo is also known for helping kids and adults improve their life skills, like courtesy and self-discipline.
It was pretty evident that it’s working, as all the kids and adults waited patiently for their chance to compete. Then, they handled themselves with courtesy and respect during their competition.

With my new freedom, I was able to observe our adults in competition in several different rings as well. It’s always fascinated me on how people deal with pressure. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve loved competing over the years.

They say the number one fear in adults is public speaking. Imagine getting up in front of a group and doing a physical demonstration all by yourself! Or point sparring with someone, with just two minutes to get more points than they do.

In all the adult rings, whether they were colored belts or black belts, I didn’t see anyone seriously overweight. Sure, some were in better shape than others, but usually, they were all pretty fit. Again, I think these people have a good chance to stay healthy.

For them, it was Taekwondo. There are plenty of other activities, though. What are you doing? Better get started with something!