Kids let off steam, learn respect in Tae Kwon Do 08/24/2011 The benefits of Tae Kwon Do are endless – just ask Bob Uhler, Edward Health & Fitness member whose two sons earned black belts before they were 14 years old.
At an early age, the Uhler boys, Jason and Brian, started taking Tae Kwon Do classes, instructed by Yongin Martial Arts at Edward Health & Fitness Center at Seven Bridges.
From improved concentration, healthy weight and body image to being respectful and physically and mentally stronger, Tae Kwon Do is a physical sport that teaches discipline, self-defense and coordination.
Each class begins in a traditional manner, with students lining up by belt ranking and stating the creed. Students participate in conditioning exercises then learn and practice a series of Tae Kwon Do movements that include kicks, strikes and formations. As a student progresses from one belt to the next, these movements become more complex and difficult. At each level, a student is expected to teach and help peers which helps create a feeling of constant renewal in the ranks and bonding with other levels.
Every individual pace is different, and some students earn a black belt quicker than others. Uhler’s oldest son, Jason, a sophomore at Benet Academy, participated in other sports so it took longer to progress through the different levels of Tae Kwon Do. But his perseverance paid off.
“Testing can be stressful, but you move from one level to the next in a measurable way. Edward’s approach is very supportive, and the instructors require the kids to learn each technique well. The kids from this program are always among the top-prepared for the tests,” says Uhler.
From an outsider’s perspective, the repetitive kicks, strikes and stances may seem like fighting, but self-defense is not the primary goal of the sport. The sport focuses on improving self-confidence, leadership abilities and physical and mental capabilities.
“My sons were taught to avoid fighting and to avoid using Tae Kwon Do to be an aggressor. Tae Kwon Do helped both boys with their footwork for soccer as well as their balance, and hand and eye coordination,” says Uhler.
Achieving the black belt gave the Uhler boys a sense of accomplishment and confidence about their athletic and physical ability. Choosing the Yongin Martial Arts program at Edward also meant that Uhler could workout while his sons were in class.
“I could show my kids the importance of health and fitness by doing it myself,” he says.
A new session of Tae Kwon Do begins in September at Edward Health & Fitness at Seven Bridges. Youth classes are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays for kids, ages 6-12. For more information, please contact Children’s Programming at www.edward.org/fitness.