Taekwondo us a South Korean martial art that is mainly focused on waist-high kicks, head-high kicks, and fast kick techniques. Like any other skill, one must start learning at a younger age. This not only helps with character development in a child’s formative years, but it also instills life-long helpful interpersonal skills.
Helps Eliminate the Defeatist Mindset
Taekwondo is, undoubtedly, a grueling exercise. One must attain the skill set to beat their opponents and break objects to succeed and attain belts of higher levels. But once a child goes through the challenges of training, he/she comes out with greater resilience. A study published by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, children who were trained in taekwondo were more willing to take up more challenging tasks in the future. Thus, reinforcing the idea that the physically and mentally demanding Taekwondo training equips children with the resilience needed for tougher tasks.
Higher Levels of Self-Discipline
Taekwondo is an intense sport. And for a toddler or preschooler, this can have a greater impact. The amount of focus, physical coordination, and precision of kicks come with repeated training. This undeterred focus inculcates self-discipline in children at a young age. They are taught that to get better and achieve mastery at something, they must work every single time to polish their skills. Focusing on your moves, controlling your body’s balance and coordination will help them think faster than their opponent. This insight and skill set are developed through training and focus that requires intense discipline.
Boost in Self-Confidence
The correlation between increased cognitive function, self-discipline, and the willingness to take up harder tasks significantly improved self-confidence. From a very young age, a child training in Taekwondo learns that if he/she puts in the required efforts with dedication and resilience, he/she can achieve whatever they want. This boost in self-confidence is attained at a fairly later age by most children – especially if and when they overcome difficult life challenges. But achieving this self-confidence at a young age can create a massively, positive paradigm shift.
Improved Cognitive Function
With any physically demanding exercise, that increases blood perfusion to the brain, cognitive function significantly improves. Training for extensive hours can improve brain function by increasing neurogenesis, through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor – this is only released during exercise. Higher perfusion rates significantly increase memory, temporal lobe function as well as planning and decision making that is a function of the prefrontal cortex. These toddlers and preschoolers will be better equipped to excel at school compared to their classmates who did not receive any training. Despite this, your child must be clad in proper protective wear preventing high-impact injuries to the head.
Increased Flexibility and Coordination
Many Taekwondo moves require children to test their physical limits – this includes the head-high and the waist-high kicks. Learning at a young age, when a child’s body is already developing, helps attain more flexibility to perform these moves effortlessly. With the right trainer, a child can attain a steep learning curve. As opposed to adults who may take longer to push their physical barriers to the maximum limits.
Team Work and Respect
Taekwondo is an oriental exercise. And like any other martial art, the focus is on the individual rather than the competition. Thus, instructors create an amiable environment where students are encouraging, helpful, and respectful towards each other. Whenever an opponent loses, they are treated respectfully and encouraged to perform better next time. Instructors are mindful of being more connected with their learners, always motivating and coaxing them to believe in themselves and improve incrementally. This is crucial and helps instill a willingness in the children to work on themselves and make their peers proud – instead of being over-cynical about their capabilities. These toddlers grow up to be more grounded, they do not compete with others but work on improving themselves and perform better in teams by uplifting others.
The bottom line is that there has been an extensive interest and substantial research to correlate the positive impacts of taekwondo on toddlers and preschoolers. But it is emphasized that one wears proper head protection gear to prevent serious brain injuries.