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Walking around in any major hubs here in Korea, you’ll find a Taekwondo dojang on every other block. Taekwondo is a martial art that originated in Korea and has been popular worldwide due to its numerous benefits.

It’s been mainstream for years now and several celebrities practice it: Joe Rogan, Wesley Snipes, Chuck Norris to countless others. Your local dojo will surely have children’s martial arts programs for young kids. My son started this traditional martial art at the age of 4. 

The word “Taekwondo” comes from three Korean words: “tae” meaning foot, “kwon” meaning fist, and “do” meaning way of life. This awesome art form is popular for its high kicks and fast and dynamic movements. It is both an effective form of self-defense and a great exercise for the body and mind as well as an awesome way to get your child more active.

Origins of Taekwondo

Taekwondo has a rich history that dates back over 2,000 years. It was originally used as a form of self-defense in ancient Korea, where it was known as “Subak” or “Taekkyon.”

Over time, different forms of martial arts emerged, including “Hapkido” and “Kuk Sool Won,” which were influenced by Chinese martial arts. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Taekwondo was standardized and officially recognized as a martial art by the South Korean government.

Today, Taekwondo is practiced all around the world and is recognized as an official Olympic sport. It has evolved into a dynamic martial art that emphasizes physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense techniques. It’s just super cool to look at too.

Benefits of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is great for people of all ages, but it’s perfectly suited for younger kids. Keeping in mind that many Taekwondo schools practice the art without contact. Many schools and districts are different so please check the self-defense classes in your area to see the best option for younger children. 

The Perfect Exercise and Sport for Young Learners

Physical Fitness

The most obvious benefit of this gentle art is fitness…Taekwondo is an excellent choice that can help young learners develop strength, flexibility, agility, and endurance. The high kicks and fast movements involved in Taekwondo require a lot of energy and can help burn calories and improve cardiovascular health.

I’ve visited my son’s dojang on numerous occasions and I am always impressed with the moves the little tykes produce and how flexible they are.

Children’s Obesity is a whole other topic that I won’t touch on in this article. But as you can imagine, practicing Taekwondo will not only make your child lose weight but also keep him/her super active. Being active and staying active is the key ingredient to preventing your child from having a sedentary lifestyle.

Self-Defense Skills

Taekwondo is a highly effective form of self defense that teaches students how to protect themselves in real-life situations. Young learners can develop the confidence and skills necessary to defend themselves against potential threats.

Discipline and Self Control

Taekwondo is a disciplined martial art that emphasizes respect, self-control, and self discipline. Students learn to respect their instructors, their fellow students, and themselves, and they develop the mental discipline as well as problem-solving skills necessary to succeed in all areas of life.

Strong Focus

Taekwondo requires a lot of focus and concentration, which can help young learners improve their ability to concentrate in school and other areas of their lives as well as goal setting. They learn to tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand. If your child has ADHD, Taekwondo might help out with his/her concentration, focus and motor skills too.

Safe and Fun

Taekwondo is a safe and fun form of martial art and can be enjoyed by children of all ages and skill levels. It is a semi-contact sport, which means that students do not have to worry about getting hurt or injured.

Of course, it’s a martial art, so there’s kicking to the body and punches as well. There is protective head and body gear along with gloves and other sparring gear that can be used. While the child is young, he/she will be punching and kicking in the air and on bags. Please ask your local dojang for more information on this.

Building Confidence

Taekwondo is a great option for building confidence and self-esteem in young learners. As they learn new skills and progress through the ranks, they gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities. They learn to set goals, work hard, and achieve success, which can help them feel more confident in all areas of their lives.

Endorphine Release

Martial arts can be a fun and rewarding way for children to engage in physical activity, achieve goals, and socialize with others, all of which can help increase the release of endorphins. Endorphine is that ‘yummy brain candy’ everyone needs.

Endorphine is often referred to as the “reward neurotransmitter” because it is involved in the brain’s reward system, like that ‘runner’s high‘. It can help produce feelings of pleasure and reward when we experience something pleasurable or satisfying. This, in return, will make your child a ‘happy bundle of joy’…well most of the time!

Hand-Eye Coordination in Taekwondo

Precision Strikes: Taekwondo requires precise execution of kicks, punches, and blocks, which enhances hand-eye coordination. Kids learn to gauge distance and timing, improving their accuracy in executing techniques.

Sparring Skills: In sparring sessions, children must anticipate and react to their opponent’s movements quickly. This sharpens their hand-eye coordination as they dodge attacks and counter with precise strikes.

Weapon Training: Some Taekwondo schools incorporate weapon training, such as the use of nunchaku or bo staff. Mastering these weapons requires excellent hand-eye coordination, further honing the child’s motor skills.

Personal Growth through Taekwondo

Goal Setting and Achievement: Taekwondo promotes goal setting through the belt system. As children progress from one belt to another, they learn the value of setting and working towards achievable goals, fostering a growth mindset.

Resilience and Perseverance: Taekwondo training involves rigorous physical conditioning and mental challenges. Through perseverance in overcoming obstacles, children develop resilience and learn to push through difficulties both on and off the mat.

Leadership Skills: As kids advance in Taekwondo, they may have opportunities to assist instructors or mentor younger students. This cultivates leadership qualities such as communication, empathy, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.

A young boy practicing martial arts


Taekwondo VS Other Different Martial Arts

So, you’re thinking about enrolling little Timmy or Tina in martial arts, huh? Well, let me give you the lowdown on why Taekwondo might just be the perfect fit for them, especially when compared to other martial arts like Karate, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Kung Fu, and the rest of the gang.

First off, let’s talk about Taekwondo. Now, picture this: your kid kicking high, jumping like a ninja, and shouting like they’re in a Bruce Lee movie. That’s Taekwondo, baby! It’s like the ultimate blend of speed and agility. Taekwondo is all about those fancy kicks – think flying side kicks and spinning hook kicks. Plus, it’s got this whole “mind over matter” thing going on, teaching kids discipline and focus like nothing else.

Karate

Now, compare that to Karate classes. Sure, Karate’s got its kicks and punches too, but it’s a bit more grounded, you know? It’s like the solid, dependable cousin to Taekwondo’s flashy moves. Karate focuses on powerful strikes and blocks, building strength and resilience in your little warrior.

Thai Boxing

Then there’s Muay Thai – the art of eight limbs. Muay Thai is like Taekwondo’s tough older brother. It’s all about elbows, knees, and clinches. Muay Thai teaches kids grit and determination, turning them into little Muay Thai machines ready to take on anything life throws at them. It’s just a little too much for the youngins…

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Now, let’s not forget about Jiu-Jitsu. This one’s like the chess of martial arts. It’s all about leverage and technique, using your opponent’s strength against them. Jiu-Jitsu teaches kids problem-solving skills and humility – because let’s face it, you’re gonna get choked out a few times before you become a black belt.

Kung Fu

And then there’s Kung Fu, the OG of martial arts. Kung Fu is like a beautiful dance, combining strength, flexibility, and grace. It’s like poetry in motion, teaching kids balance and harmony with the universe. Can’t forget about Kung Fu Panda! Come on…who doesn’t like a little Skadoosh…

kids practicing martial arts laughing on a bench

My Last Word…

As you can see Taekwondo is one of the best martial arts that kids can get into at a young age. Get ’em started as early as your neighborhood dojang will allow. Ask your closest martial arts school if they offer a free trial class to see if it’s a right fit for your child.  

I’m in Korea, so the martial arts classes here have a large timetable of ages that can join.  You should call and visit a good martial arts studio in your area. You should ask them if they can accommodate little kids, whatever age he/she is.

Just do it! It’s a great way to maintain muscle strength and keep in shape as well as all the other awesome benefits of Taekwondo I’ve rounded up in this article.

I practiced Hapkido and Muay Thai here, but never Taekwondo. I’ve also dabbled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in my young years. My son is only 6 years old and has been doing Taekwondo since he was 4. He now has a red belt. 

A Good Match?

If you want your little one to start in the world of martial arts, a good head start would be to take a few martial arts lessons to see if it’s a good fit for him/her. I personally think Taekwondo is the best way to make new friends, learn important life skills, and build personal development at an early age. 

So that’s it, – when it comes to picking the right martial art for your kid, Taekwondo takes the cake. Why? Because it’s got all the flashy kicks and spins that kids love, plus it’s great for building confidence, discipline, and respect. And let’s be real, what parent doesn’t want their kid to have a killer roundhouse kick in their back pocket?

Sign ’em up, and watch ’em soar like a Taekwondo black belt superhero!

all the taekwondo belts lined up

7 Belt Ranks of Taekwondo

Here in Korea, the belt system is a little different for younger ones than for adults back in the West. The system of belts includes a ‘striped black’ in between the colors for the junior levels.

So it would go White, Yellow, Yellow+Black, Green, Green+Black, etc… There are different belt ranks as well “geup.” The belts might also vary by country and school.

  1. White Belt: The color white signifies innocence. This is the starting rank for all beginners.
  2. Yellow Belt: The yellow belt represents the first step towards understanding Taekwondo.
  3. Green Belt: The green belt represents growth, as the student’s skills and knowledge begin to flourish.
  4. Blue Belt: The blue belt represents the sky and the student’s further progression toward achieving a higher rank.
  5. Red Belt: The red belt represents danger, caution, and control, as the student’s skills become more advanced.
  6. Brown Belt: The color brown represents the ripening or maturing process as that of the advanced Tae Kwon Do student.
  7. Black Belt: The black belt is the highest rank that can be achieved in Taekwondo, representing mastery and perfection of the art.

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