Mind, body and doboks

The physical and mental effects of Taekwondo can relieve stress and teach patience and self discipline.


Photo by Jay Lewis-Jover

Master Janice and the Fosters warming up with front kicks at a Tuesday night training on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Jay Lewis-Jover, Contributing Reporter

Everyone around the world has a release, whether it be for their physical well-being, or mental. Taekwondo can help with that, as well as gaining confidence in yourself. 

For Master Janice at Goddard Methodist Church, taekwondo helped her get out of the United States and enjoy her time as a student overseas.

“I’ve always been able to do things just on my own, alone and try new things and everything. I actually traveled out of the country 10 years ago. Didn’t know the language, didn’t know anyone and I know it’s because my taekwondo,” said Janice. “I was comfortable enough going to a different country not knowing their language. And like, I’ll be alright.”

Besides regular education students, Janice also thinks that kids on the spectrum and hyperactive children would benefit well from martial arts.

“I don’t care if they’re four years old or ninety-four years old. But the one, the one group of people, little children that are diagnosed, on the spectrum, or ADHD, this is really good for them,” said Janice. “Any kind of martial art is really good for them. Because it’s not a, it’s not a sport that they have to do as a team player and so they won’t get picked on.” 

Taekwondo trains your mind and also helps greatly with self-image. The training releases endorphins, a “happy chemical” in your brain. When you are working out and moving a lot, it can get your brain moving as well and in turn, reduce depression and anxiety. 

“It changes lives because it helps your self esteem, that’s the main thing that it does for all ages,” said Janice.

Training in a group is what makes taekwondo straight forward. You’re not necessarily training with them, but alone with examples surrounding you.

“We train as a group, but they train on their own,” said Janice. “So, they can advance at their pace and not feel like they’re being rushed or hurried.” 

Taekwondo is also a great way to learn self control. It teaches patience and discipline, and builds self assurance. 

“Probably a lot because of it being increased my self esteem and other people’s self esteem. So, one thing I always told my girls, even prior to taekwondo.” Janice started. “When they were young, if one of my kids came to me and said ‘She made me mad!’, cause I only have daughters, ‘No, she didn’t, you got mad.’ So part of any martial art is that self control part. You cannot make me do anything, I have to allow you to change my happiness meter,” said Janice.

We all learn self control when we’re young, but confidence and consistency is what can help you grow and learn new things. For Taekwondo black belt Master Craig, he believes that people just need to give it a try at the church.

Master Janice performs a demonstration of an in-to-out crescent kick on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Kicks for new Taekwondo athletes include side kick, front kick, stepping side, skipping side, and jumping front kick.

 “Just come. Come to class, open the door and say ‘I wanna do class freewill,” said Craig.

Coming to class will eventually help your self confidence and self image. The levels of belts are also a great bragging right on how much you’ve grown in your training, techniques and mindset. For most, Craig believes it takes only a couple years. The black belt is a great honor to receive, spar with, and to be in a class with. 

“It keeps your mind, body, and spirit all level,” said Craig. “And the exercise part of it keeps you physically fit by going to class.” 

Along with taekwondo helping Master Craig with his mind, body and soul. For Mister Foster, who serves as another adult black belt in the program. keeping in shape as been the most important part of the art of taekwondo.

“Well, it helped me stay in shape when I was in it before. And since I was out of it I gained 40 pounds,” said Foster. “Getting back in, I lost a lot of the weight, and then I ended up back out. It also helps me get rid of stress. That’s another big thing, it’s that, you know, it’s a good stress reliever.” 

According to Mister Foster, grandmaster Kim’s teaching of the art leaves an impact on all students that take a chance on taekwondo.

“One thing I really like about Master Kim is he cares about his students. His teaching approach, it just kind of shows he cares about his students, and wants them to do well,” said Foster.

Taekwondo’s main purpose is to defend and keep yourself safe from a threat or situation. Foster believes that any martial art’s key focus is to protect yourself from harm’s way.

“Just making sure you’re safe, personal safety, a lot of it is learning to keep a level head. Keeping control of yourself and not letting fear direct your actions or what you say or what you do,” said Foster. “Just having the confidence to go into a situation where you may feel like things aren’t gonna be much under your control. A lot of it’s just situational awareness, making sure you’re paying attention to things around you, so you can avoid any potential situations.”