I recently conducted a survey amongst thirty students who have been diligently training for three to nine months including boys and girls under ten years old, male and female teens, as well as twenty, thirty and forty something males and females, even a grandmother in her sixties, who without exception, all reported a dramatic improvement in the quality of their every day life and how they felt about themselves.
Demystifying aggression and fear
Most people initially start Martial Arts training because they have a desire to maintain and improve their physical capabilities, as well as to learn some self defence. However as new students discover, there are many more benefits.
Martial Arts students begin their learning by gradually applying themselves to the physical aspect of training such as by free sparring or board breaking (Gyokpa). The (doe) in Taekwondo is the mental, spiritual and esoteric side, the art. A student begins to first appreciate the benefits of Martial Arts, soon after they initially confront these types of daunting physical challenges. For example, when a student sees a steady improvement in their ability to do something difficult, their self esteem improves dramatically.
By engaging in a 'fight' under controlled contact conditions (giving and receiving hits), each student gains knowledge, confidence and understanding, as well as practical skills based on utilising balance, determination, timing, focus, fitness and tactics to own and control their space in all circumstances.
The experience gained from this controlled combat can then be adopted and applied into everyday life. Also, the strength and fortitude required to achieve a black belt can be utilised outside of the training hall (Dojang) to develop and maintain the necessary mindset to achieve major personal and career goals.