Making TaeKwonDo a Family Affair

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Fitness

Are you looking for a way to bring your family closer together? Consider enrolling in TaeKwonDo classes as a family at your local community college continuing education center. TaeKwonDo is a form of Korean martial arts that literally means hand and foot. The techniques taught involve the use of hands and feet as a means of self-defense. Because TaeKwonDo is practiced as a method of self-defense, it has a very practical application of contributing to the overall safety and well being of the family.

TaeKwonDo training includes a study of the tenets of behavior. These tenets, or beliefs include courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit (a spirit that cannot be overcome). These tenets fit perfectly into goals for correct behavior and living for any family.

Enrolling as a family in TaeKwonDo classes is a great way to share common interests, get exercise, and grow together as a family. Each family member starts training at the beginner level as a white belt. Depending on the school, family members regardless of age train together and learn from instructors, other students, and each other and are usually amazed at how quickly they advance.

The study of TaeKwonDo brings a level of self-confidence and skill regardless of the physical abilities of the participants. Other students are very accepting of new students and willingly take on the role of teacher when partnered up with beginning or lower belt rank students. So there is no reason to be apprehensive about a lack of proficiency, age, or physical ability.

TaeKwonDo training includes the introduction of certain techniques that are designed to work together to provide a level of competence to fend off an attacker. The sport includes training in kicks, punches, blocks, open-handed strikes, takedowns, throws, and joint locks. Basic kicks include front snap, side, roundhouse, axe, hook, back, crescent, and variations of these kicks as spin and jump kicks. Learning three or four of the basic kicks really well can provide a good foundation for defense no matter how the attacker approaches. One of the reasons that kicks are so important in TaeKwonDo is because the leg is longer than the arms, so a well-placed kick could hit the attacker before they would get close enough to cause harm.

Some of the more common hand techniques as punches include straight punch, back fist, long punch, and hammer fist. Other hand strike techniques include knifehand, ridgehand, and spearhand. To help prevent an attacker from causing harm during an attack, TaeKwonDo also includes various blocks such as low, middle, high block, and maki to deflect any strikes by an attacker.

Overall physical fitness is usually a big part of any martial arts training because the more physically fit participant is the one who will be able to continue to defend adequately, and who will ultimately be able to get away to safety. So the classes include both aerobic exercise and flexibility stretching.

In the final analysis, TaeKwonDo is the perfect family activity with amazing extra benefits of fitness, self-confidence, and fun. And who knows, it might save a life!