Taekwondo Kingsgrove


Taekwondo Kingsgrove

There is a myth that Martial Arts is strongly tied to religion or spirituality. Perhaps this was true of some martial arts in the past, maybe even a few in the present. But of the most part practices like taekwondo have nothing to go with religion.
Taekwondo or any decent martial art is about physical activity, improving the body and providing a means of self-defense should we be unlucky enough to encounter a situation where we might need it. Yet the mind and body are not completely independent. If we training ourselves for any task then we improve our mind. The discipline this requires, the mindset where we set and achieve goals, the understanding of our abilities and limits that this imparts – this has a certain spiritual aspect to it. Martial arts training can help us understand ourselves and our place in the world.

Of course there is philosophy entwined with Taekwondo, and with at least some other martial arts. Taekwondo teaches the five tenant – Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and the indomitable spirit. But these are things we might find in any approach to life, including religious approaches or ethical systems of though. They are about finding the best way to live and be an individual amid a society of other individuals. People who make the mistake of thinking that philosophy means spirituality tend to misunderstand this. Philosophy literally means a love of knowledge. And there is knowledge involved in any endevour. With taekwondo there is knowledge behind the training and skills, a knowledge that also helps with many other aspects of life.

Taekwondo The Ponds

Competition Taekwondo helps in a way that neither book knowledge or isolated training will. When we compete with others we learn to deal with stress, fear, adrenaline, anxiety. These are factors that can compromise our performance, especially in unexpected situations. If we are unfortunate enough to encounter a street fight, if we are mugged, we may find that all out training goes to waste because of the unexpected adrenaline we experience when seriously threatened. We cannot be sure how we will react until we are in the situation. But constant competition will help us considerably. Having experienced stress and adrenaline in competition we learn how to function under these circumstances. And then a real threat doesn’t quite catch us so off-guard.

Taekwondo West Pennant Hills

Taekwondo training can help us develop as individuals, and help us considerably through life. It is only spiritual in the sense that we learn about ourselves and our place amid others.

Sydney Martial Arts

Marital Arts and Improved Cognition

Marital Arts and Improved Cognition

Martial Arts Training Sydney

The connection between the physical and the mental, how our body’s health affects our mental facilities, is not fully understood. But there appears to be some connection. At the very least a healthy body benefits our mind; we can think a little clearer, have a better memory and improve our focus and attention by being physically fit.

There is a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that martial arts training can benefit cognitive function in children. Is probably has some similar benefit for adults. Research in the area is encouraging.

Attention, the ability to focus on a task, is a essential for all physical and mental endeavour. This is something that can be measured by the Attention Network test (ANT). Studies on groups of people who start Martial arts training, with little or no background in the subject, indicate some improvement over the space of a few years. This improvement carries over into other tasks, which is reason enough to continue with a
Martial arts class.

Other activities that purportedly improve attention, like playing video games, also show some positive results. But the results were short term and limited. Individuals found the improvement in attention started to decline after they stopped playing the games. And the attention was limited to activities that were physically interactive; they did not carry over to reading or book learning. Other computer activities like brain training games had slightly different benefits, helping to remember words and learn concepts that were applicable to formal study. This appeared to have a more lasting effect. Though obviously computer activities did not improve physical fitness, and while it might help fine motor skills (using the hands on a keyboard or joystick) it didn’t benefit course motor skills where individuals had to more the whole body.
Martial arts school training offer a broader improvement in attention and mental functioning. This is because martial arts are physically interactive. Like many eastern cultural practices it mean being involved physically and mentally, and improving both together.
Some studies in the mental improvements of Martial arts suggest that the greatest improvements come to those who were less than average to start with. The martial arts training helped people to reach at least an average level of mental competence, in some cases recovering their former level of competence. People who already performed well before the training progressed a little faster, but showed less mental improvement, perhaps because they were already near their potential. Though the training did improve their physical fitness and their martial arts performance.

It has also been suggested that martial arts training may prevent or reduce the mental decline of older individuals. This is a possibility that is worth pursuing.
Sydney Martial Arts

Consider Martial arts classes as a way to improve you life, physically and mentally.

Best and Worst Martial Art


Best and Worst Martial Art for kids Sydney

Good martial art training is about making us better individuals, something that impacts every area of our lives, and the lives of those around us. This type of training should encourage discipline, honesty, humility and co-operation as well as the more obvious virtues of physical fitness and the ability to defend ourselves.

A martial art is bad if:

  • Its focuses on just harming the opponent. We want to avoid injury, and defend ourselves without killing the aggressor.
  • If it never progressed past its military origins.
  • If it limits us to a set of moves. Restriking bad habits is one thing, getting stuck in a rut is another.
  • If it is all about film performance and display. This is choreography and dancing. The participants are probably fit, if nothing else.
  • If it doesn’t encourage discipline or respect for others.
  • If it has become obsolete over time.
  • If it was designed to help foot solders knock cavalrymen off horses. When was the last time you were attached by a moan on a horse?

Any martial art is bad if we simply neglect it, or form bad habits.

shutterstock_96292529 Best and Worst Martial Art

Best and Worst Martial Art

Learning Hacks

Learning martial arts Sydney

Even the greatest achievers had hurdles to overcome. Motivation, enthusiasm and perseverance are all necessary parts of getting ahead. But sometimes it’s about getting some skill or habit right, knowing that we cannot progress till we get this one thing right.

Frustration and failure can go either way, working for or against us. Sometimes this type of thing can really motives us to get things right; or we can take a defeatist attitude and give up. This seems to be a choice we consciously make, and we can always change an earlier defeatist choice latter on.

Some learning points

  • SMART has become a popular acronym in many education courses. It breaks down to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based Goals.

This means set realistic goals that you can achieve and measure. Being able to see legitimate improvement is great for motivation. And there may well be some unmeasurable, less blatant improvements as well. Like just feeling more confident.

  • Learn according to style and subject. Some people learn only by doing. Others learn first by observation, and then by doing, by applying what they observe. A few people learn a lot by books and study, and then rapidly gain skill by applying what they studied. Most of us find that we learn in different ways according to the subject. But participation / doing is always part of the learning process.
  • Use technology. If there’s is an app for monitoring you progress, then use it. Or just video yourself to get some insight into the things you get right and wrong.
  • Individual training is good. Group training is good. There is no reason why we have to choose one over the other. Have both on a weekly basis.

Martial arts training Sydney

A good teacher and regular classes are the best way to develop martial arts skills. All the better when this training help us in other aspect of our lives.



Best Martial Arts for Kids Sydney

When we play contact sports we should wear a mouthguard. This includes contacts sports like martial arts.

Mouthguards will not prevent an actual impact to the face, but they can greatly reduce the damage of an impact. It is the difference between a bad bruise and losing a tooth.

Martial arts is about impacts to the body and about avoiding impacts from others. This is more true of Taekwondo and Karate than many other martial arts, and more true of any martial arts over other sports. It makes sense to use a mouthguard to protect against high-head kicks and other potential impacts from your opponent.

Types of Mouthguard

Custom made mouthguards are a more expensive option, but they are almost always the most comfortable. Statistics suggest that there are fewer injuries with custom made mouthguards, but this may be because individuals are more likely to wear a mouthguard that is comfortable.

Dentists make custom mouthguards by taking a mould of the individual’s teeth. Make sure to specify that the mouthguard is for sports purposes, as dentist also make mouthguards for night breathing and as antisnoring devices.

Generic mouthguards are available for under $10.oo. Sometimes these will fit an individual well, but usually they are a compromise solution. It might be a good idea to keep one of these as a backup.

Hot mouldable mouthguards are another option. These moderately priced mouthguards will mould to the shape of your mouth after being inserted in hot water. They can be a fairly good fit.


Good breathing is essential for all sports, and for life in general. The correct way to breathe is through the nose. A mouthguard should make this type of breathing easier. Breathing through the mouth will reduce the nitric oxide in the body, which compromises performance. Mouth breathing is also bad for the teeth as it causes a dry mouth.


Largest Taekwondo Event

Salt Lake City in the USA is hosting the world’s largest Taekwondo Event from the 2nd to the 9th of July 2018. Around 5000 athletes will attend the competition, along with thousands of spectators.

These national championships will include many of the best taekwondo athletes in the USA, including may who have represented the country internationally.

Large events like these are possible with Taekwondo because the sport is popular, widespread and has consistent rules wherever it is practiced.  Interestingly, mixed martial arts is also popular because of the difference between the various martial arts practices.

Competition Taekwondo takes training to another level. An individual can learn a fair amount by Taekwondo practice, but the experience of competition teaches individuals how to deal with the adrenalin and stress of confrontation, while still remaining in a relatively safe situation. These are life lessons that can only be learnt by experience.

Live streaming of some of the events is on the Utah Sports Commission and Taekwondo USA Facebook sites. 

Self Defence for Kids Sydney

Martial arts like karate and taekwondo get children active in ways that benefits their physical and mental wellbeing. In additional to its health benefits the martial arts teach discipline, self-esteem, responsibility, social respect, co-operation and team work. Of course martial arts are the best option for self-defence, but they also encourage the peaceful resolution of conflict.


Martial Arts Training and Mental Health

Martial Arts Class

People with mental health issues tend to benefit from exercise and physical training. A martial arts school is especially good for this type of mental health benefit as martial art training also teaches useful life values regarding sincerity, achieving goals, and healthy living.

Improvement in the quality of life tends to noticeably improve an individual’s ability to cope with and manage mental health disorders. It is too easy for the mentally ill to give up and remain socially isolated. This is a habit that gets worse over time and becomes harder and harder to break. Becoming socially active helps give an individual a broader perspective on life; they see that there is more to life than their present experience of mental illness. Social isolation tends to reinforce the false impression that their mental illness is entire world.

Both the physical and the psychological elements of martial arts will help with mental illness. Being physically fit is beneficial if only because the individual does not feel as helpless. It can be of further benefit because being physically fit will alter body chemistry to a certain degree, perhaps enough to reduce the extent of the illness. There is psychological benefits is martial arts in being goal driven, in personal development, is seeing personal improvement, and in interpersonal competition. Being physically and mentally active is always beneficial for mental health.

Best Martial Arts for Kids

Children may be less likely to suffer mental illnesses, or be able to reduce the extent of the illnesses, with martial arts training. Conditions from depression to problems with aggression can be helped with the socialization and competition of Taekwondo or Karate. Kids learn to defend themselves without injuring their opponent. And to overcome obstacles without malice. Personal development is beneficial for all of life’s challenges.


Taekwondo Grand Master Jhoon Rhee

Taekwondo (tkd) was popularized in the USA by Jhoon Rhee, who started teaching there around 1960. Jhoon Rhee taught martial arts for his entire life, with students that included many prominent congressmen. He founded a network of Martial Arts centres in Washington D.C., promoted by TV adverts in which he and his children appeared. He made only one taekwondo film, but was connected to the film industry through several celebrity friends, including the famous martial artist Bruce Lee. He died, aged 86, in April 2018.

Jhoon Rhee always remained a tireless ambassador for tkd, promoting it to a broad audience. His philosophy of Martial Arts was part of the reason why approached such a large portion of the population. He focused on Taekwondo as a means of fitness and discipline, not as a ‘means of beating people’. He did not emphasis winning; he was more concerned with endurance, perseverance, timing, and knowledge.

Born in Korea in 1932 Jhoon Rhee secretly started studying Taekwondo in 1945, when the practice finally became legal at the end of the Korean War.  He graduated from one of the earliest Taekwondo schools, amid the first of his generation to do so. Eager to re-establish both their cultural heritage and the good reputation of Korean martial arts after the Japanese occupation these early Taekwondo schools emphasised honour and self-improvement.

Jhoon Rhee moved to the USA in the 1950s, founded several Taekwondo schools and made many social connection in the martial art and film scenes. He appreciated how much the USA did for him and his family, and to return the favour he taught Taekwondo to more than 250 members of congress free of charge. He continued Martial Arts teaching until he was almost 80 years of age.

Tkd Self Defence for Kids Sydney

It is good to understand that the philosophies of martial Arts, the emphasis of honour and discipline, was preached and practiced by such famous founding members as Jhoon Rhee. Even those taking marital arts of self-defence benefit from these ideologies.


Safety For Karate and Other Martial Arts

All sports, especially a contact sport or martial arts class, carry some risk of injury. This risk and the extend of any injuries can be reduced with some good safety habits.

  • Do warm up exercises. This increases circulation, gets oxygen into your system, loosens muscles and tendons.
  • Do stretching exercises every day, not just in the Taekwondo or martial arts class. This is especially important for adults who have to work to retain their flexibility.
  • Drink water to keep hydrated. Dehydration will cause poor thinking, low blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
  • Mouthguards are highly recommended.
  • Let your instructor know if you have any condition like asthma.
  • Avoid horseplay or ‘mucking about’.  More injuries are caused by this that anything done while training.
  • Seek medical advice if there is any injury, even if it seem mild.
  • Do not practice if you suffer any injury

Self Defence for Women Sydney

Self Defence emphasises techniques to avoid injury. This mostly means avoiding injury from the attacker, but also how to disarm an opponent without causing serious damage.

Self Defence for Kids Sydney

Martial arts classes should limit the techniques practices by children, and only match sparing partners of similar ability. The attaching individual should only use martial arts techniques that the defending individual has been taught to parry. Instruct children not to step outside of these parameters. Explain that the other person is not ready for the advance moves, and neither are they. 


Karate in the East and West

Karate Classes Sydney

The Karate that exists today is the most recent development in a long history of martial arts. There are really multiple versions of karate. Every Japanese school has its own slightly different take on the methods and training. In some ways there is an even bigger difference between Karate in the Western countries and the Karate taught in the East. Comparisons on these differences can be interesting.

  1. Orientation to Process or Goal.

There is the old question- it is about the journey or the goal?

In the West we are more concerned with the goal. Or we are concerned with reaching the goal and overcoming the obstacle. This does have some relevancy in all cultures. But in the Eastern countries it is more about the journey. Martial arts are about the path. The suffix ‘-do’ that is affixed to so many martial art practices (Judo, Aikido …etc.) means ‘path’ or ‘way’. This refers to a spiritual journey, and that is the point of a lot of martial arts practice.

  1. Questions vs. Practice

Our culture in the west likes to ask questions. And this is usually a good thing. But the East is more focused on simply doing something because they trust that the teacher. They expect the practice of martial arts exercises to lead to good technique, and don’t ask how or why first. This is the path to self-discovery. We discover the answer by doing.

As the Ancient Greeks said – there is no royal path to learning. This means that actually doing something is necessary to gain an understanding. Personal insight is very valuable, and questions have a place. But progress requires participation.

  1. Culture vs. company

Martial arts is part of the culture in the east, and is learnt as one might learn manners, language and other aspects of culture. Hiring a professional teacher is rather like us hiring a professional mentor. It is a little odd. The martial arts are certainly taught, but the schools do not have a ‘pay for the qualification’ mentality as known here.

Karate for Kids Sydney

Children who practice karate can acquire the respect for authority, hierarchy and dedication that is behind the martial arts practice. This is less something that it directly enforced than it is a mental or spiritual attitude acquired through participation in a group.

Karate School Sydney

The self-discovery and progress made while on the martial arts path are good spiritual practices that can be applied to all parts of our lives.

Martial Arts Sydney

Consider Taekwondo (TKD) or Karate as a means of self-improvement.