A personal reflection on the benefits of Tae Kwon Do
By: Joan A. Ferraro
I began taking Tae Kwon Do classes at “Yoo’s Martial Arts” almost four & half years ago.
The school is located on Main St. in Tarrytown, just a little less than a mile from my residence in Sleepy Hollow, NY. I note the distance as, oftentimes, many folks utilize the travel involved with exercise as a deterrent (i.e., “excuse”) to regular attendance.
In my case, however, I find few excuses, if any, not to attend, and on a very regular basis. Since my introductory class, I have been a “regular” and within the last 2 years have actually increased my weekly attendance! I have done so because I have found many & varied benefits to training in this form of martial arts, some of which include the following:
Better physical health
Since taking Tae Kwon Do I have noticed that physically, I feel much better. My energy/endurance/strength has increased, my weight has remained stable, (though my appetite has improved & my food tastes better!), sleep has improved, and on my last annual physical, my doctor said that my test results were “phenomenal!” (which was the first time a physician ever commented as such), stating that my blood pressure was low as well as cholesterol levels (despite a sugar/carbohydrate-laden diet that might indicate otherwise).
Admittedly, I also enjoy the positive feedback I oftentimes receive regarding my physical appearance (e.g., I “have well-defined arms; I am in great shape,” etc.).
Improved mental functioning
My cognitive/mental functioning seems to have improved since taking Tae Kwon Do, with a sharper memory, enhanced concentration, and a more pragmatic approach to problems. Whereas before I would “react” impulsively to any negativity, (with anger, jealousy, etc.), now I stop and “think things thru,” seeking the more rational response to an encounter/situation.
Both the physical & mental benefits of Tae Kwon Do combine to create yet another benefit to a more enriching life–that of a greater sense of emotional well-being. One develops more patience/understanding, higher tolerance when confronted with difficult situations, (evident in more self-control), a calmer attitude, and a general sense of positive well-being & self-confidence. This may lead a person to branch out and try newer endeavors. I know that since I have been taking TKD, I have become more involved in other activities and I have also noticed that I now speak in public with less anxiety.
When health is maximized on various levels, a person gains further inspiration for improvement on yet another level. This may include seeking a higher (& stronger) spiritual connection within your current belief system.
At the end of class, we have meditation incorporated within the cool down. At this time, we practice how to clear our mind of the daily grind: the haste with which we go thru our day and the subsequent problems/worries that each of us face.
In the process of meditation, we rid ourselves of the negativity and open the path to a clearer understanding of our self, as well as perhaps to a higher entity.
As a middle-aged woman who started taking Tae Kwon Do only several years ago, (as well as earning her black belt a few months ago), I am grateful that I stumbled upon this endeavor, which has become such an integral and enjoyable part of my life. One of the best aspects of this class is that anyone can enjoy its benefits; young & old alike.