Friday, June 28, 2013

Taekwondo Increases Health of Body and Mind for Children and Adults

Many people search for a way to stay healthy in their mind and in their body. People try all sorts of workout routines and sports. But there is one discipline which can yield a healthier mind and body, and that is the martial art of Taekwondo.

Taekwondo is a brilliant workout. Combined with punching with both arms, kicking with both feet, and bouncing on your toes as you practice sparring moves you will see the positive effects on your physical health right away.

For many, a Taekwondo martial arts program will strengthen their body and improve their overall health through intense physical exercise and hours of training. With Isometric exercises coupled with dynamic tension movements it will allow you to gain better muscle tone and more strength. An ongoing regiment of safe and simple stretching methods will improve your flexibility. This along with breathing and concentration exercises lead to sharper reflexes and senses.

After a few weeks or month practicing Taekwondo countless people feel calmer and more able to clearly cope with matters in their own lives with superior focus.

Students of all ages who have practiced Taekwondo have said to experience:

  • Increased strength and stamina
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved agility and reflexes
  • Improved concentration and self-esteem
  • Improved leadership skills
  • Improved muscle tone and appearance
  • Greater discipline
  • Improved confidence
  • Improved flexibility
  • The ability to achieve goals
  • Respect for other class members

Starting children practicing kids Taekwondo as soon as possible is recommended. And as the child learns to kick, block and punch with both arms their physical fitness and dexterity begins to develop and build up both sides of the body.  By studying Taekwondo forms and body movements, concentration and focus are improved.

Another great reason to get children learning Taekwondo is for self-defense. There are many girls who get good exercise doing Taekwondo, but they also are learning techniques that can help keep them safe wherever they are and whatever situation they might be in. This of course is relevant to boys as well.

Taekwondo has also been known to enhance ones self-esteem by increasing their physical and mental powers. This also aligns with confidence building by encouraging them to succeed and take control of their life.

The discipline of Taekwondo leads to boosted energy, enhanced health and fitness, better coordination, and elevated self-esteem. These qualities are vital to a happier, longer life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Autistic brothers learn to focus through Martial Arts

One of the South Korean martial arts, known as Hapkido, has aided two autistic brothers in managing their thoughts and their focus so well they recently earned their first-degree black belts.

Hapkido is a very vigorous and demanding martial art that emphasizes non-resistance. It is a form of self-defense that makes use of joint locks, other martial arts techniques, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. It is an active and diverse Korean martial art.

“We were told by several people that it is a good discipline for kids on the (autism) spectrum,” said Allison Kozolanka, mother of Zack, and Evan.

Zack, 13, and Evan, 11, both began their martial arts training in 2008.

That kind of outlook has helped the boys’ organizational skills, memory and discipline, their mom said to the Windsor Star, and it’s improved their ability to focus.

The boys are also subject to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which includes symptoms of being easily distracted, missing details, forgetting things, and frequently switching from one activity to another. Allison told the Windsor Star that their memories are like a filing system, where they are constantly pulling open drawers and chaotically removing files of information that may not relate to the previous thought.

Allison said her Zack and Evan have been trained on how to slow down and articulate their thoughts plainly. She credits Hapkido, and the boys’ instructor Kevin Miller, with helping to systematize their thoughts and focus their energy.

“It helped us learn how to pay attention,” Zack agreed. “Speaking right and treating (other people) how we’d like to be treated.”

Zack, was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, and has constantly struggled in social situations. His mom said being involved in Hapkido has forced her sons into an environment where group work is essential which has greatly improved his social skills.

“Before, he never made eye contact,” Allison said. “Now he does.”

Evan said he and his brother have learned to respect themselves and others, as well as how to hold themselves accountable for their dealings with others.

The boys training schedule consists a variety of moves, some of which include martial arts tools such as a staff or cane. They train at least twice a week for nearly an hour or more.

“You have to practice, practice and practice again,” Evan said. “You’ve got to know all your patterns. It’s like piano; you’ve got to know where all the notes are."

Monday, June 24, 2013

World Taekwondo Federation endorses para-athletes

The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) is continuing its efforts in endorsing and sharing the Paralympic and Para-sport values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality. Taekwondo has started to increase its initiatives in growing its para-athlete martial art program for para-Taekwondo.

A para-athlete is an athlete with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy.

The signings took place on June 7, 2013 and intend to create new disciplines of para-taekwondo, with a large focus on taekwondo poomse, which is a series of postures and movements of the technical forms of taekwondo skills.

Moments preceding a WTF Extraordinary Council meeting at the International Olympic Committee headquarters, the WTF signed MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with the International Sport Federation for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disability (INAS) and the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association (CPISRA).

Dr. Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekowndo Federation, Mr. Koos Engelbrecht, president of CPISRA, and Mr. Nick Parr, executive director of INAS were all in attendance at the signing ceremony. Secretary General Jean-Marie Ayer, members of the WTF Council, several WTF Member National Association presidents and secretaries general, and members of various WTF committees all were witnesses to the ceremony.

“I am proud to announce that the WTF signed MOUs with the International Sport Federation for Para-Athletes with Intellectual Disability and the Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association to work together to include new competitors and disciplines into Para-Taekwondo,” said President Chungwon Choue.

“Para-taekwondo is fast becoming a popular sport globally and it is testament to how far the sport has spread since the inaugural World Championships in 2009 that the 59 medals handed out at the tournament were distributed amongst 20 different countries.”

 In the MOUs, the WTF and both organizations agreed

  • To conduct audits among its members to find out the interest for and number of athletes practicing Para-Taekwondo.
  • To cooperate for the establishment of specific classification and competition rules for Para-Taekwondo.
  • The WTF agrees to promote Para-Taekwondo for athletes with cerebral palsy or intellectual disabilities among its 204 Member National Associations.
  • Para-Taekwondo for athletes with cerebral palsy or intellectual disabilities should be included as an INAS- and CPISRA-promoted event in the 5th WTF Para-Taekwondo Championships to be held in 2014.
  • The WTF will actively work to fulfill all requirements to become a CPISRA and INAS members and recognized sport and to be included on the program of the World Games and Global Games.
  • CPISRA, INAS and WTF agree to work for the inclusion of Para-Taekwondo in the Paralympic Games.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Is Taekwondo the Martial Art for You?

Taekwondo, which originated in Korea, has a 5,000 year history and is designed to unify body, mind, and life. It teaches much more than just physical fighting skills.

The reality of our life today is that violence may come upon you at any time, walking down any street or country road; or even in your own home. Would you be prepared for such an attack? Or would you become a victim?

Many people turn to martial arts, because they can equip them with the knowledge to defend themselves. If you’re reading this, you've probably decided to start down this path. But with such a confusing array to choose from, how do you know which are the best martial arts for you?

Taekwondo, which originated in Korea, has a 5,000 year history and is designed to unify body, mind, and life. It teaches much more than just physical fighting skills. When doing Taekwondo, the goal is to make your mind peaceful, synchronize your mind with your movements, and then extend this harmony to your life and the larger world. If we analyze the word Taekwondo, we find that “Tae” means foot, leg, or to step on, “Kwon” means fist or fight, and “Do” means the way or discipline. Basically, it uses all parts of the body that are represented by fists and feet to stop fights and build a more peaceful world.

Taekwondo has gone through many changes over the years, and today is an official Olympic sport. While it has much in common with other Oriental martial arts, it also differs from them in significant ways. It is very dynamic physically, with active movements that include a large number of foot skills.

Once you've decided that Taekwondo might just be one of the best martial arts for you to learn, it’s time to choose a school. A special type of martial arts school that teaches Taekwondo is called a “Dojang” or “Kwan.” (It should not be called by any of the various names used by other oriental martial arts, because Taekwondo is distinctively Korean.)

One of the first questions you’ll want to ask is whether the prospective school has a good reputation. Talk to current students and hear what they have to say about it. Talk to the instructors to get an idea of their philosophies; do they match yours? Then, of course, there’s the all-important matter of the instructors’ competence. Pay most attention to the head instructor. This person should be not only very skilled in his art, but also a good teacher and more concerned with his students’ progress than with making money. You should do a criminal background check on this person, because unfortunately many people who have martial arts training, but couldn't make it in the business world, decide to open their own school…and martial arts schools and their instructors aren't regulated by the government. You have to be your own detective! A true master will have a very high level of skill, but also a strong aura of humility about him, and a deep desire to help others.

Taekwondo is an ancient art which can help you in many aspects of your life if you find the right fit for you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Taekwondo vs. Karate: What is the Difference?

If you are tired of sitting around on your behind all day, or if you are looking for an invigorating way to get physically and mentally fit, you may be considering signing up for a martial arts school. But there are many schools to choose from, and it can be difficult to determine which one suits you best. While there are numerous schools taught these days, two of the most popular continue to be karate and taekwondo.

You've probably heard of both of these schools; but how are they different? To a large extent, they aren't. Both revolve around sparring with a partner. Both teach a respect for self and others, and both mark advancement through upgrades in belt colors. But the most fundamental difference between the two martial arts schools is that karate focuses on punches and taekwondo focuses on kicks.

Don’t both schools use both kicking and punching? Yes, just to varying degrees. And which fighting action you are favoring ultimately determines your go-to stance, posture, and weight distribution. Taekwondo classes will teach you to keep your legs relatively straight and lengthened. You will be turned sideways to your opponent, and you will keep your weight largely on your back leg - this is to allow for quick, powerful kicks from your front leg.

Karate, on the other hand, positions its students in a lower crouching position. Since most of the fighting is done through the hands, it is beneficial to have knees bent more greatly - this allows for a “spring-loaded” effect, in which the fighter can push up from the legs and add a great deal more force to a punch. The karate posture also tends to place weight on the front leg, which is less conducive to kicks but helpful when delivering a punch.

The two martial arts schools also create differences in fighters’ torsos. Karate classes train fighters to greatly engage their hips; the spring-loaded stance allows for quick hip rotations, which help to drive punches even more strongly. Shoulders remain relatively low, relaxed and un-engaged. Taekwondo classes, on the other hand, teach fighters to greatly rely on their shoulders - this can be explained in part by the fact that the straighter-legged, kicking posture of taekwondo does not allow for hip rotation as greatly as karate does, so more strength is derived from the shoulders.

As you can see, there are differences between what you will learn in karate classes and taekwondo classes. To put it in a nutshell, karate will teach you to dominate with your hands, while taekwondo will teach you to master the strength of your legs. Whichever school you choose, you will be learning an ancient art that will not only allow you to protect yourself, but will involve you with a positive community that will ultimately make you a stronger, healthier person.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Self Defense Training Brings Focus and Control to a Sometimes Dangerous World

Kids learning self-defense
You might have experienced it: walking to your car alone at night, keys held tightly in your hand, wondering what you would do if someone attacked you from the shadows. Or, if you are less fortunate, you may have already experienced an attack like this first hand. No one likes to walk in fear, and no one likes feeling helpless against a stronger person. For this reason, it is wise for any woman to take a class in self defense.

Many women have made the decision to fortify their bodies and prepare their minds for defense by turning to martial arts training. Because taekwondo and other forms of martial arts are designed not to kill people but to debilitate them, they are perfect for people wishing not to fight but simply to protect themselves. The nature of taekwondo is such that the attacker’s force is used against him or her, so the defender can do great damage even when not the attacker’s equal in strength or size.

For women who have been assaulted in the past, or women who are simply tired of being afraid, martial arts training in a classroom setting can be very therapeutic. Class community forms, where experiences are shared and support is given. Self defense class becomes a safe space for you to develop your sense of self and build confidence in both your mental and physical development. Knowing you aren’t alone is a healthy way to overcome your fear.

Self defense training is good to have when you’re walking down a dark alley – but it is also useful in the less dramatic events of your everyday life. Taekwondo and other schools of martial arts teach you to master and control your body and mind. Think of all of the stressful situations that occur in your life; now, think how much better you’d be at handling and overcoming them if you were practiced in slowing your breathing and slowing the rapid, disorganized thoughts in your mind. Martial arts training teaches control and focus, two things we could all benefit from.

Hopefully, you will never be attacked, and you will never have to use your fighting skills on anyone. But if you are ever attacked, be ready by signing up for a martial arts training class today.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kids' Karate: Summertime in Conifer and Littleton

It’s finally here: summer has rolled back around, leaving kids running gleefully away from their last classes, ready for swimming and playing in the great outdoors. But we also are all familiar with that same old sentence we are sure to hear after a few weeks of scholastic freedom: “I’m bored!”

While it can be hard for adults to relate to the idea of “boredom,” we all know how prevalent it is for young kids, especially in mountain towns. If you are looking for a great solution to the what-to-do problem, consider enrolling your child in a kids’ karate class. Give your child some summer structure with a class schedule to follow, with other kids who are working towards the same goals. With multiple campuses around Colorado, CTI is enrolling now for Littleton karate and Conifer karate, among others.

What benefits can a kids’ karate class give your child? Good guidance, for one thing. In today’s world, it can be worrisome to wonder who might be influencing your son or daughter when you are not around. At our martial arts academy, kids are guided by our instructors not only in combat, but in respect. One of the essential elements of martial arts is their emphasis on discipline and respect for others and self; your son or daughter will be coached on how to behave to bring about the most peace for society.

Another benefit parents can expect when they enroll their child in Littleton karate or Conifer karate with CTI is an increase in healthy peer friendships. Childhood is a fun, but sometime scary time, and the presence of friends is essential to happy growth. Kids’ karate classes bring good kids together, where they work towards the same goals, provide each other with support, and celebrate each other’s achievements. Friendships are build that last throughout childhood and beyond, and your son or daughter learns what it means to lean on and support others.

Finally, kids’ martial arts training is extremely beneficial to your son or daughter’s health. Childhood obesity has become a serious problem in America, leaving many parents wondering what they can do to get their kids up and moving. Karate is a great way to pump up heart rate and strengthen muscles and, when started at an early age, sets a person on a healthy exercise track for life. So if you’re ready to give your child something do that will both entertain and enrich them, consider CTI kids’ karate classes today.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Wilma Rudolf, CTI LeAD Team Sports Hero

By Karen Carreon, red belt

I chose to speak about Wilma Rudolph, a track athlete who demonstrated true perseverance overcoming many obstacles in life to achieve many great things.

Wilma Rudolph was a famous track star.  Born in 1940, in Clarksville, Tennessee, the 20th child of 22 kids to Ed and Blanche Rudolph.  They were a poor, black family during a segregated time of our history. Wilma was premature at 4.5 pounds. She was a sickly child. She had one illness after another: measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox, double pneumonia. She was not able to start school until she was 8 because of all her illnesses. Then, at a young age, she contracted polio.  Polio left many crippled and Wilma was told by her Doctor that she would never walk.  Her mother had a different plan and told Wilma she would walk.  Wiima decided to believe her mother.  Since Wilma was black, she was not allowed in the local hospital.  Her mother found a black medical college 50 miles away that she could go to.   They went twice a week and were taught how to do the physical therapy at home where her brothers and sisters helped everyday.  By the age of 12, (some say age 9) Wilma could walk, without the aid of braces or crutches.

What did Wilma do with her newly usable legs?   She decided to follow in her sisters footsteps and join the basketball team. There she was benched for 3 straight years, the coach did not let her play. Then in her final year, she was allowed to play and she was actually quite good.  In fact, she was nick-named “skeeter” because of her speed and agility.  The team won the State Championships while Wilma won records for the most scoring.  The head track coach from Tennessee State University noticed her and recruited her to run track.  She lost every race in her first meet.  At the age of 16, she competed in the Olympics and won a bronze medal.  4 years later, she went to Rome, Italy and was the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in 1 Olympics.  She won the 100, 200, and 4x100 which was her favorite since she got to share the podium with her fellow teammates from Tennessee State University.  

Wilma was adored by many around the world. She was nick-named “The Black Pearl” and “The Black Gazelle.”  She did not simply glorify herself though, she served her community and fought for what she believed in.  She fought to end segregation and started her mission by insisting that her victory parade after the Olympics would be integrated.  It was the first time in her hometown that blacks and whites celebrated together.  She also participated in community service by helping kids who would not otherwise have a chance to join athletics by providing free coaching and academic assistance.  She started the Wilma Rudolf Foundation to provide children with athletic programs so that they too could have goals and aspirations.

Some other facts about Wilma:

  • She was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in the 1980’s.
  • Wilma got her degree and taught school and coached track at her hometown.
  • Wilma won many awards including the Associated Press’ Woman Athlete of the Year in 1960 and 1961.
  • She later went on the become a t.v. sports commentator.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee said that Wilma inspired her the most and considered her a close friend.
  • She is featured on the 23 cent stamp.