Children can learn Taekwondo, and they can learn from Taekwondo.
Children are like sponges. They readily absorb physical instruction. The techniques of Taekwondo at their most basic are simple to learn if taught—as we teach them—as a set of fundamental movements and stances. Practice them consistently over time and the result is skill.
Acquiring the mental benefits of Taekwondo, on the other hand, is a challenge for anyone, and even more so for children. To some extent these mental qualities–self-discipline, for example—accrue naturally as a consequence of simply showing up for class and working hard. But what distinguishes martial art practice in general, and traditional Taekwondo in particular, from other physical activities is the awareness that these mental aspects of the art are, along with self-defense, a primary goal of your practice. To truly benefit from your practice in this way requires conscious cultivation.
Adults come to us already knowing this. They want to learn the physical techniques, of course, but somewhere in the back of their minds is the inkling that this will require systematic, rigorous, dedicated practice. This is something adults know about anything worth doing well, which is what makes a thing worth doing at all. You might say this is part of what it means to be an adult.
Nowhere is this truer than in the practice of Taekwondo.
Children do not come to us looking for this, but their parents come to us looking for this for them.
The natural question is, How do we do this? On several levels, is the answer. We start by telling them directly that this is something they’re here to learn: to be a disciplined person who knows how to set a goal for himself and work at it for a long time to achieve it. We reinforce this by structuring the training so that this kind of discipline is inherent in how we practice: systematically, rigorously, with a steadfast desire to get better than we already are. We further enhance the experience on this level by requiring strict rules of etiquette and decorum inside the dojang. This last requirement serves a double purpose by instilling the courtesy and mutual respect that are necessary conditions for safe practice.
And that’s what Kim’s Taekwondo does for children: it teaches values through martial art.
As one of our mothers was inspired to put it recently in a Facebook post after watching her 16-year-old son test for his 1st degree black belt, Kim’s Taekwondo is a place of courage and determination to succeed.
Who wouldn’t want that for their own children?