If I asked you to stop for a moment and recall the last thing that you did for yourself – and yourself only – that boosted your morale, strengthened you physically and mentally, and helped you gain confidence all at once; would you have an answer?
I was kind of wondering you would find it troubling to answer that. However, all is not lost and its not too late as yet. I know of, and have been a practitioner, of one such activity that has helped me reinforce self-esteem, build confidence, enhance my stamina, fight stress, quash distress, and strengthened my mind and soul. It’s quite simple and all it takes is stepping inside the dojan t to begin improving your yesterday’s self.
Dojan is a term used in Korean martial arts to refer to the formal training hall and that is exactly what I suggest you head to; for the world of Taekwondo is truly more than meets the eye. Taekwondo is a Korean form of martial arts that incorporates the foot and fist. It is a sport that offers tremendous benefits and teaches self-defense, discipline, focus and promotes good health.
If you get to accounting them, the benefits of taekwondo are pretty staggering for a practitioner’s physical, mental and psychological wellbeing.
Physical & Physiological Benefits
Like most physical trainings, Taekwondo has immense benefits for a person’s physical structure. It is an effective way to train your body for physical endurance, build tonnes of stamina and give strength to your muscles. Resultantly, you build loads of self-confidence that enables you to be at ease in all social situations. The engagement in this sport also results in overall happiness by stimulating endorphins and serotonins. It also improves posture, increases flexibility, improves muscle tone, agility and reflexes and helps you get your body in shape. Coordination and balance skills are also natural outcomes of martial arts.
Taekwondo training consist of special sets of moves that enhance intelligence and connectivity of brain from the cerebellum with the frontal and parietal lobe. Research has shown that children and adults with attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD) who were trained in Taekwondo showed marked improvements in ADHD symptoms. It also helps a student develop improved hand to eye as well as body to mind coordination.
One of the ways this sport gets people going is by upping their motivation. One can improve incrementally, with mastery of a few basic tricks earning a student a certain-colored belt. The belt colors keep changing as the student progresses, keeping him/her motivated, passionate, concentrated and focused.
There’s a myth that martial arts make people aggressive. The fact is respect and self-control are one of the core values of the sport. It doesn’t teach you to fight, but rather how not to.
As Bruce Lee explained aptly, “The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”
According to WHO depression would be the 2nd biggest cause of death by 2020. Fortunately, Taekwondo can help on that account too. It consists of various activities like breathing exercises, Pranayama and Aikido which give practitioners a sense of contentment and joy.
Beside the benefits discussed above, Taekwondo works at the spiritual level by helping enhance 5 philosophical principles – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.
So before you download the next movie or hog the couch for binge-watching one of your favorite TV show for the umpteenth time, consider heading out to the dojan and getting some sweat going in Taekwondo. The benefits it has and the ways its helps you attain a healthy body and mind are almost innumerable to list.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine.