Beyond Self-Defense: The Real Benefits of Training Taekwon-Do

Beyond Self-Defense: The Real Benefits of Training Taekwon-Do

Martial arts schools love to advertise self-defense as a benefit to training. While this certainly is a plus, most of us who practice hope we never have to use our special set of skills! In fact, I do not take Taekwon-do so that I can defend myself or learn how to use my arms and legs as weapons. In a great martial arts school, you will see benefits that impact your overall health. Here are 3 that make a difference every day.


Balance is important to everything we do. Don’t take it for granted. Just because you walk easily doesn’t mean you will fall easily. Trips and slips happen to everybody. How your body reacts when it senses you tripping or slipping is partly related to how good your balance is (oh yeah, your brain and muscles help, too). Taekwon-do is excellent for improving balance because of its highly dynamic movement patterns. Simply earning to kick, for example, will improve balance. And, it doesn’t matter how high or hard you kick! Balance is something that improves over time, even for my fellow 40-70 somethings! A good instructor will teach you how to kick; a great instructor will adapt movements and expectations to meet the needs of his/her students.  


So what if you can’t wrap your legs behind your back or bend like Gumby. Good flexibility enhances your quality of life. Healthy joints and elastic muscles allow for greater freedom of movement. This is not only important for sports, but also for performing daily activities with ease, ensuring proper posture, and decreasing lower back problems. A Taekwon-do class will begin with stretches that help you warm up and improve flexibility. The movement patterns throughout the class continue to help you increase flexibility. A good instructor will teach you how to stretch; a great instructor will adapt stretches and help you increase flexibility over time.


Because Taekwon-do is a full-body workout, it is a great way to strengthen and tone the body and burn fat. It also increases your stamina which is important for a healthy heart. Increased stamina helps lower blood pressure. The movement patterns practiced in Taekwon-do are like interval training because they alternate between short, intense bursts of movement, long bursts of movement, and less intense movement. Think HIIT without the trendy gym. A good instructor will get your heart rate up; a great instructor will pace the class to ensure periods of high intensity, low intensity and recovery periods.


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