- Agility Drills
- Target Drills
- Learning Basic Kicks and Punches
- Stranger Danger
Taekwondo can help them:
- have the self-confidence and strength to better deal with bullies
- develop the self-discipline and self-control to not bully others
- combat childhood obesity
- learn to focus and improve school performance
- set and achieve short term and long term goals
- become role models and develop leadership qualities
What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a Korean form of martial arts that means, literally, foot (tae), hand (kwon) and art or way (do). Sparring taekwondo style typically involves about 70% kicking and 30% hands. Taekwondo America students learn patterns of moves called forms (also called hyungs and katas), spar with approved protective gear and break boards.
How old does a child need to be to start Taekwondo?
It depends on the child and the programs offered by your Taekwondo America school. While all Taekwondo America schools have programs for children, teens and adults, some schools may offer Little Ninjas or Little Dragons programs for preschool children.
However, just because a child has reached the age at which a Taekwondo America school allows students to try class doesn’t mean that a child is ready to start martial arts training. Many five-year-olds demonstrate the maturity to pay attention during a 45-minute class and follow instructions well. On the other hand, some children who are much older behave in such a way that shows they do not have the same maturity. It has less to do with physical ability and age than it does with willingness to try hard and be respectful. That’s why we encourage everyone to try a complimentary class first. We expect all students to:
- treat all instructors and other students with respect and courtesy
- be able to focus and follow instructions
- treat the school and equipment with respect
- obey safety rules
- handle bathroom needs without instructor assistance
- try hard and participate in all class activities with enthusiasm
Will participating in taekwondo teach children to be violent?
We typically find the opposite to be true, for a number of reasons. Our goals for Taekwondo America students include:
- Improving self-discipline to help them make better choices to try to avoid conflict
- Developing the self-control to resolve problems as peacefully as possible
- Increasing their self-confidence
- Understanding and living the values of the Tenets of Taekwondo and the Student Oath
Taekwondo America Curriculum
The Taekwondo America junior program teaches self-confidence, focus, self-discipline, courtesy and teamwork in a fun environment. During a typical class students may participate in a variety of activities such as:
- Agility Drills
- Target Drills
- Learning Basic Kicks and Punches
- Stranger Danger
Forms are patterns of moves designed to teach students increasingly complex marital arts skills and techniques. You may also hear Forms referred to as Hyungs or Katas.Each belt level has its own Form that a student will learn when he or she passes testing and receives that new belt level.
The expectation for how the techniques in each Form are performed increases also. A new student, performing their white belt form, will not be expected to have the same precision of stances and sharpness of technique that a black belt student should demonstrate when they do their black belt form. The goal is for students to show gradual improvement over time as they progress through the belt levels.
Sparring as a Taekwondo America student involves using controlled defense and attack techniques with light contact in short bouts with a partner in a safe environment. It helps prepare students to defend themselves in a real life situation. Sparring is introduced into a student’s training gradaully starting with One-Steps for white, yellow and orange belt students. The One-Steps are short combinations of moves a student uses as a defense against an attack.
Some orange belts, and all green belts and up participate in free sparring. Free sparring allows students to practice defensive and counter-attack techniques in a safe and controlled environment. For safety, all sparring level students are required to purchase and wear approved TA co-branded gear.
At brown belt (after a year of training in taekwondo) board breaking becomes part of a student’s testing and allows students to demonstrate their speed and power. The size of the boards students are required to break vary based on the student’s age.
A Parents Guide to Selecting a Martial Arts School.
What to look for in a Martial Arts school.
As instructors, even before we opened our own school, we have been asked what people should tell friends or family in other cities to look for in a martial arts school.
- The martial arts style is less important than the personality, teaching style and teaching qualifications of the Chief Instructor(s).
- Ask if the Chief Instructors are at the school during all the classes and if they teach most of the classes.
- Are the Chief Instructors old enough to have the experience and maturity to handle difficult situations that might arise.
- Watch a few classes to see if the Chief Instructors seem to genuinely like teaching, know the students’ names, use positive reinforcement, and maintain control of the classes while keeping it fun.
- The Chief Instructors should be at least 2nd degree black belts. Beyond that, teaching style is more important than rank. Many 2nd and 3rd degree Chief Instructors have better teaching and communication skills than instructors who have much higher rank who are considered “masters” of martial arts.
- All of the people in charge of teaching classes should be at least a black belt and have been certified to teach by some national martial arts group. If colored belt students are used, it should be in supporting roles to keep order.
- How important are the Chief Instructor’s competition history and trophies? An instructor’s personal martial arts accomplishments do not give any indication as to his/her teaching ability. It is more important that the instructors be able to communicate well with children and adults, be able to demonstrate proper technique, keep classes fun and interesting, and motivate students through positive teaching methods to develop self-confidence and achieve their goals.
- Check to see if the Chief Instructor is affiliated with a national martial arts organization that provides on-going training and quality control.
- Inquire about the number of classes that you or your child can attend each week. The more options you have, the better. Anything less than three times a week is too little. Make sure that the class times are flexible so that if a hectic week forces you to change your schedule you can still attend class.
- Ask if parents and spectators are allowed to watch classes. A closed-door policy is a red flag that something is wrong with the teaching methods in the school. (It is normal, however, for schools to ask parents to not talk to students during their class because it can distract the student and result in an injury.)
- Are classes fun or is it the same thing day after day? While repetition is important, classes should be an interesting, fun learning experience.
- What activities does the school offer besides classes, testings and tournaments to promote a family atmosphere? Look for activities such as lock-ins, parties, picnics, etc.
- Assuming you like the instructors and the program, the more convenient the location, the more likely you will attend classes regularly and get the most out of the program. If you choose a school all the way across town, even though it may be less expensive, you may attend less because of traffic and the longer drive time.
- Does the school look bright and smell clean? How often is it cleaned?
- Any schools you are considering should ask you to try a free class or two before you sign up for any martial arts program.
- One-year memberships are standard in our industry among full-time instructors. Many schools also offer an introductory special to allow new students to try classes for one or two months for a fee. When you are ready to sign the one-year memberships contract, it is better to make monthly payments rather than the entire amount up front, in case the school should close. Also, check to see if they offer a written guarantee that will let you out of the contract if you change your mind within the first 30 days.
- Ask how often the students test and how much testing costs. Specifically ask how much it costs to test for Black Belt (at some schools this could be hundreds of dollars). Also ask what equipment the students are required to have, when they are required to have it, and how much it costs.
- Make sure that the rates are reasonable, but do not make a decision based solely on price. The cheapest place may not be the best deal and the most expensive school may not offer the best program.