Five Invaluable Lessons Taekwondo Can Teach Your Kids

Taekwondo teaches children more than self-defense strategies. It provides life lessons that make them productive adults. So what are the most valuable lessons from Taekwondo for your kids?

The principles taught in Taekwondo will stay with your children, shaping them into the best version of themselves. In Taekwondo children are taught 1) Goal setting; 2) Critical thinking; 3) Problem solving; 4) Leadership skills and 5) Stress and anxiety management.

Children need positive examples of how to function properly in society. They receive these examples through the consistent practice of Taekwondo, as well as from their instructor. Let’s consider the impact these lessons will make on impressionable children.

Goal Setting Defines the Path to Success

Taekwondo teaches children how to plan for success. It teaches them that there is always room to grow. Success never just happens; it must be created. And the first step in creating success is setting your goals.

Taekwondo teaches goal setting by teaching children:

  • To Identify Goals
  • To Trust the Process
  • To Unlock Their Potential
  • To Overcome Fear
  • The Reward of Hard Work

Identifying Goals Gives You A Map

For every level of Taekwondo, there are sets of tasks that must be accomplished before moving on to the next level. 

Taekwondo teaches children to identify these tasks and set about to achieve each one in order. This helps children learn about short-term and long-term goals. 

The long-term goal is the black belt; short-term goals include the many moves that must be conquered along the way to that black belt.

Taekwondo also teaches children that they cannot fake proficiency; they must be able to perform the tasks. Having clearly defined goals helps them stay focused even when things don’t go well.

It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination

Children learn that they cannot skip steps to earning their belts; They must fully apply themselves to the tasks assigned to them. This teaches them that the journey is more important than the destination.

On the road to earning that black belt, they learn to trust:

  • Their instructor 
  • The ancient methods that have endured for a reason
  • That careful attention to the process will move them closer to the goal
  • Following instructions that may not make sense to them at the time 

Learning to trust that their instructors know best how to achieve the goals they have set helps children understand the importance of listening to more experienced people.

This will prove invaluable in their adult years when they will need to learn from others who have more experience in their chosen career.

They also learn to trust their teammates. Many tasks are impossible to accomplish alone. So, they must trust that their teammates are capable and equal to the task.

Students must trust their peers to know their responsibilities in accomplishing group tasks. They must trust that their fellow-students will properly toss them into the air to break those boards held far above their heads.

This can be especially difficult when the safety of one’s person is dependent upon other people’s actions. But life offers many such scenarios when one must trust themselves to another.

Taekwondo both fosters trust in each other and teaches responsibility for each other. This makes children much more effective in life as adults.

Removing Limits Opens New Possibilities

Taekwondo teaches children to push themselves beyond their perceived limitations. It teaches them to go beyond what they thought themselves capable of achieving. 

This is the mindset that builds successful people. They learn to understand the necessity of challenging themselves.

Growth is never comfortable. Learning to accept challenges that stretch us beyond ourselves is essential. These lessons are most easily learned in childhood.

When children discover abilities they were unaware of, it helps them understand that hard assignments make them stronger. This will be an ongoing process in life as every day presents its own unique challenge.

Fears Must Be Faced

They learn to overcome the fear of failure or the fear of being laughed at by their peers. They learn that fear is a natural part of growth, but when faced with courage, it can be conquered.

Taekwondo teaches students to confront their fears and overcome them. This is an indispensable part of life.

Fear is a common human emotion, especially when faced with something bigger and stronger than you are. But Taekwondo teaches children that every fearsome event can be vanquished if only you understand how to take it apart.

This lesson helps them to avoid the paralyzing effect of fear. Quite simply, they learn to “do it afraid”.

Fear may rise, but it doesn’t rule thanks to Taekwondo teaching students to conquer their fears.

Hard Work Is Rewarded

They also learn the value and reward that comes with hard work. There is no shortcut to success and there is no substitute for effort. 

While the lessons may seem unreasonably demanding and the tasks may seem impossible, when they master the material and earn their belt, they understand the importance of putting in the work to make your goals happen.

These lessons will give them a great advantage in the real world when they face terrifying or intimidating assignments.

Critical Thinking Uncovers Options

Taekwondo teaches children critical thinking skills that can help them minimize or avoid unnecessary problems. 

It teaches them to think things through before reacting which helps them identify better options than brute force. 

Taekwondo teaches students to:

  • Diffuse Fights When Possible
  • Employ Strategy Development

Promotes Peace

Taekwondo is about more than ensuring that you win the fight. Taekwondo teaches students to diffuse the situation and avoid fights whenever possible.

The peacemaker is often stronger than the fighter. This may mean teaching them to apologize to someone they have offended, so a fight isn’t necessary.

Or reasoning with two parties who are angry at each other, so that they come to think rationally instead of acting on impulse.

It may also mean learning too quickly and painlessly to disarm their opponent, so there’s no need for self-defense.

Basically, Taekwondo teaches students to try every option available to them before resorting to physical violence. 

It does this by teaching them to identify viable alternatives to fighting. They learn how to calm down their opponent so that fighting is not necessary.

This lesson can quite literally be a lifesaver. There will be many situations in life where confrontation can be avoided by using the correct approach.

Taekwondo equips children to handle these circumstances by helping them learn the value of peacemaking.

Prepares If Fighting Is Needed

Taekwondo also teaches students to plan their attack when fighting is a necessity. They learn to strategize their movements to ensure the quickest win possible with the least amount of physical contact involved.

The truth is, fighting hurts. So, the quicker the end goal can be achieved, the less pain will be inflicted on both parties.

Taekwondo teaches careful analyzation of the opponent’s capabilities and weaknesses. Then it teaches students to leverage those weaknesses to effectively end the fight.

The ideal of Taekwondo is peace instead of fighting. But if a fight must ensue, students are equipped to make the best choices so that the matter is settled quickly with as little harm as possible.

Problem-Solving Skills Make Life Easier

Life is full of problems, and those problems must be solved if we are to move forward with our lives.

Taekwondo teaches children problem-solving skills that help them conquer even the toughest of challenges.

Most people, and especially children, are overwhelmed when faced with unfamiliar circumstances or multi-faceted problems that seem to have no solution.

Taekwondo teaches them to:

  • Overcome Unsurmountable Odds
  • Persevere Through Pain

Overcome Obstacles with Courage

Life is tough, so you must be tougher. Learning to overcome what looks like impossible problems gives you the confidence to face life with a “can-do” attitude. 

Taekwondo instills confidence and courage in children to see problems as opportunities for growth and development.

While the task at hand may seem beyond the little one’s capability, they are taught to approach it with the air of a winner.

Mindset is all important when dealing with problems. And being taught to look for solutions instead of focusing on the size of the problem will stand your child in good stead as they grow into adulthood.

They learn that every problem has an answer, and most problems are not as complicated as they seem. This helps them to identify possible solutions instead of being overwhelmed and giving up.

Never Give Up

They are also taught that perseverance is an important part of success. Nobody ever achieves anything without persevering through the hard spots. 

Children are taught that pain is a part of the process, and they must push through it. This helps them understand that they cannot postpone dealing with problems because it hurts. 

Nor can their goals wait until they feel better. They learn that pursuing goals sometimes means enduring discomfort. It may mean pressing through pain in order to perfect a certain move or conquer a certain task. 

Even winning sometimes causes pain. And children are taught that the pain is simply the price of victory. They learn to face the pain and work through it to accomplish their goals.

Leadership Skills Prepare Them for Their Career

Leadership is immeasurably important in the workplace, and good leadership is increasingly difficult to find.

Taekwondo teaches children the leadership skills they will need to thrive in their careers.

These skills include:

  • Respect For All
  • Teamwork
  • Leading By Example And Instruction   

Respect Is Paramount

One of the first lessons learned in Taekwondo is that of respect for all people.

Students are taught to bow to:

  • Instructors
  • Peers
  • Opponents

This shows respect in the Korean tradition for the people around you. 

Bowing to the instructor acknowledges his position as your immediate superior. Bowing to your peers shows camaraderie and acknowledges their expertise in the art as being equal to your own.

Bowing to your opponent conveys an understanding that he may be better than you. It shows humility in recognizing his prowess as being a match for your own abilities.

Respect is almost non-existent in today’s world, especially in the workplace. Teaching children to respect superiors and peers will make them a better employee when they become adults.

It will equip them to enjoy more harmonious relationships in all facets of life. Respect given is respect returned. They will be well-served in learning to show respect to others.

Teaching them to respect opponents will help them better assess the validity of getting into a scrape with someone whose abilities may be far above their own.

This can save them plenty of trouble in the long run. And, surprisingly, even bullies seem to be thrown off their center when treated with respect.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

In Taekwondo, children learn how to work together as a team. They learn the importance of following rules and looking out for each other.

The hardest task in Taekwondo is the group dance. Often participants cannot see what other team members are doing. Yet they must move in perfect synchronization.

For many tasks, the lone student will require a leg up from his teammates. This teaches children that others are critical to their success. This lesson takes away the instinct to look out for oneself and replaces it with a responsibility for one’s teammates.

As adults, this lesson will make children the kind of people who make sure no one gets left behind.

Do as I Do

They also see in real time the absolute necessity of a good leader. This helps to prepare them for being both a team player and a good leader when required.  

They learn that a good instructor leads by example as well as instruction. They learn to model the behavior they expect from their team.

They learn that words alone are often not enough to produce the desired results. A good leader shows his team what to do instead of just telling them what to do.

This will make them an invaluable asset to their employer as adults. Whether they are in management or not, they will know how to get the best response from their workmates by modeling the behavior they expect.

Since people respect those who “walk the walk,” they will have greater influence over those around them.

They will be authentic, genuine people who never require more of others than they themselves are willing to give.

Stress and Anxiety Management Makes Problems Easier to Handle

Stress and anxiety are an inescapable part of life. Even adults have major difficulty coping with stress and anxiety.

Certainly, children who have no life experience must find it almost impossible to cope with stressors and the anxiety that preys on their little minds. 

Taekwondo helps children learn to work through these emotions by teaching them to:

  • Clear the Mind
  • Remain Calm Under Pressure

The worst part of anxiety is the constant screaming of your brain. It is impossible to think of anything except the anxiety because your thoughts are so loud, they drown out everything else. 

Stress exacerbates the anxiety until it becomes an endless, vicious cycle.

Clear the Mind Of Distractions

Taekwondo teaches children to quiet their thoughts by clearing their minds of everything except the task at hand.

They learn to focus only on what they are doing at the moment and shut out all other thoughts. This helps them to pay full attention to the poses and movements as well as their breathing. 

Taekwondo strives for unity in spirit and body, and this is achieved by concentrated focus on the tasks assigned.

Clearing the mind of all other thoughts will hush the screaming voice of anxiety and reduce stress. This helps children learn to purposely turn their thoughts away from what is causing them anxiety and choose to focus on productive activities.

This has strong positive effects on mental and emotional health. Your children will become more balanced adults for having learned in childhood to quiet their thoughts and clear their minds.

Stay Calm and Focused

Taekwondo teaches children to remain calm no matter how much pressure they may be under.

No matter how hard the assigned task may be, nor how much may hinge on their successful execution of that task, they learn to remain calm and focused.

This will help them become better students in school where stressors and anxiety abound. As they learn to focus on one thing at a time, they become better at conquering whatever they are working on.

This increases their productiveness and their confidence. They will be in good stead as adults to fill high-pressure roles in the workplace without being overwhelmed by all that is required of them.

Taekwondo Prepares Children for Success In Life

In addition to the five lessons mentioned, Taekwondo teaches children about balance and harmony within themselves.

This is an invaluable lesson in a world where there are myriad things we cannot control. Learning to maintain unity and harmony within themselves will help children keep their moorings even when their surroundings are utter chaos.

That is a lesson we all could use.

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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