Tuesday, July 11, 2006

U.S. Junior Olympics - Tae Kwon Do: Part 2

Today’s post will describe the positives of sport Tae Kwon Do and why it is needed in our culture.

Since the 70’s, thousands of commercial Karate and Tae Kwon Do dojos/dojangs/studios have opened in strip malls across America. Of these, many came with the promise of a “black belt” with your name on the dotted line and credit card number. Not a bad business idea in light of the continuous increase in violent crimes.

However, the number of young persons who are rapidly becoming obese is also on the rise. Sadly, many of these children begin to suffer from premature health problems: diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis to name just a few. In addition, many suffer from bullying as well.

Now here is where I put two and two together.

Many of these children have turned to sport Karate or Tae Kwon Do, not only for self-defense reasons, but for health reasons as well. These students become very, very active and thus physically fit. As I witnessed from the U.S. Junior Olympics-TKD (JOs), many competitors were just as fit, or more so, than a kid who plays on a soccer league. Remember, the point of this post are the benefits of sport Tae Kwon and not a fanatical comparison between a soccer player and sport Karate competitor.

From an athlete’s viewpoint, sport Karate/Tae Kwon encourages students to work hard for competitive purposes. They train constantly for their sparring matches. Kicks are repetitive and generally only one or two styles, e.g. round-house or front-snap kicks. There is very little punching: Points are given more for the athlete’s ability to kick to the target area.

At JOs, there were several instances where a coach or instructor would warm-up their students a good hour before a match. They would do a series of kicking drills, then rest. The cycle would then repeat until the actual match took place.

Knowing that these kids are getting lots of exercise is wonderful. Many seemed to really enjoy the competition, especially the sparring. My hope is that these same kids are taught the character of the martial arts and why they should continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

Tomorrow’s post will focus on what I witnessed at the U.S. Junior Olympics-TKD and the reflection upon sport Karate/Tae Kwon competitors.


John Vesia said...

I'm familiar with those statistics of obesity in kids. There's definitely a correlation between obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These factors could have roots during childhood years - inactivity, too much TV, junkfood snacking, etc. Modern kids (on the average) are lazier and more out of shape than previous generations it seems. I believe competitive martial arts are fine provided they're combined with the inherent ethics that should be instilled in youngsters.

Lorraine Weston said...

Tae Kwon Do is such an excellent activity because it combines strength, agility, speed, accuracy and patience, which are such important qualities in other areas of our lives. It is wonderful that parents are encouraging their kids to learn this martial art.

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