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Boy with Green and black stripe Taekwondo belt
Green belt with black stripe belt

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.

Taekwondo Red Belt boy showing his flexibility
My son ‘flexing’

the Perfect Exercise and Sport for Young Learners

Physical Fitness

The most obvious benefit of this gentle art is fitness…Taekwondo is a great exercise 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 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.

Boy with Taekwondo Blue belt
My Son with his Blue Belt

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 to build 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!


Get ’em started as early as your neighborhood dojang will allow. 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 Kickboxing 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.

Here in Korea, the belt system is a little different for younger ones than for adults back in the West. 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 perfect place for making new friends, learning important life skills and building personal development at an early age.

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.

7 Belt Ranks of Taekwondo

  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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