Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Its large, fancy, and powerful kicks took the world by storm, and now, many martial artists who hold belts and titles have gotten their beginning thrust into the world of fighting from Taekwondo. It is quite obvious from all the large names in the martial arts world and UFC championships, that Taekwondo is a useful thing to learn, but all-in-all, the main question remains: is taekwondo worth it?
Taekwondo is one of the most beneficial martial arts one can learn since it doesn’t only improve one’s ability to defend themselves, but also almost all of the aspects of their existence as a human being, like health, mindset, and fitness, leading to a general increase in their quality of life.
If you are interested in all the ways Taekwondo can be good for you and how it can improve, as we mentioned, almost all aspects of your life, this article is meant for you. If you are interested in comparisons of this art and other famous and popular martial arts, check out our articles on Judo vs Taekwondo, Aikido vs Taekwondo, or perhaps Capoeira vs Taekwondo. However, if you just want to read about the reason why Taekwondo is easily worth it, read on!
Should You Learn Taekwondo?
Okay, we have established that Taekwondo is worth it and is in general, a great martial art. But should YOU learn it? This section of our text will discuss who should train Taekwondo, and which age groups or other groups of people are the ones who can get the best out of this amazing martial art.
Taekwondo is a highly physically demanding martial art. By this, we mean that you need immense physical power, flexibility, and stamina to be able to perform it at higher levels. Even though we believe age is mostly just a number, this pretty much means that if you are older, Taekwondo might not be worth it for you, since you might end up hurting yourself more by trying to train it than actually learning something you can use. Although we do not want to discourage anybody from training in this wonderful art, if you are anywhere above 45 or 50 years of age, it might be better for you to learn a martial art which is more internal and soft, like Aikido or Tai Chi. If you are interested in a comparison between Taekwondo and these two arts, click on the link, and you will be redirected to them.
Is Taekwondo worth it for anyone younger and physically able, though? Absolutely. We are advocates of being physically fit and also trained in some form of self-defense system or martial art, and Taekwondo gives you both. We will talk more about the benefits of Taekwondo later in the text, but for now, we will focus on why young people can benefit a lot from training in Taekwondo, and why it is one of the best martial arts for them to learn.
Taekwondo, as we said, is highly physically demanding. This means that even a young person will have trouble keeping up with the pace of the trainings, and will have to push their limits and boundaries in order to become a successful Taekwondo fighter. Even though Taekwondo is one of the more aggressive martial arts, it still has a pretty low injury rate, and an even lower permanent injury or damage rate. Though anyone training will be aware of the fact that martial arts are more dangerous than taking up painting as a hobby (though you might want to watch out with the paint thinner), it is still useful to take into consideration the amount of damage and injury that can be suffered while training.
Boxing is one of the most useful and effective fighting methods for the street, period. However, we would recommend Taekwondo over boxing any day, since boxing is one of the sports with the highest percentage of reported permanent brain injury due to the constant shaking and hitting of the head and thus the brain. Taekwondo, though it does have a lot of kicks to the head, is not nearly as dangerous, since the strikes spread out across the whole body, so the head is hit with much less frequency. If you are young and aren’t afraid to trade a couple of months, possibly some bruises and muscle strains, and some money to become a skilled, fit fighter, definitely have a go at Taekwondo.
What Are the Benefits of Taekwondo?
Now, we will discuss the benefits of Taekwondo. This might end up becoming quite a long section since there are a lot of benefits to be had from training in taekwondo. You might be surprised to find out that Taekwondo can have effects not only on your leg muscles and flexibility, but also your sleeping rhythms, your ability to learn, and also on the speed of IQ degeneration and general cognitive decline with age. Though it might sound like we are selling fairy-dust here, stick with us for a moment and let us explain how this happens.
So first, let’s talk about the basics. You go to trainings, perhaps even eat right, get your full night’s sleep and drink enough water, and in a couple of months, you will have lost a significant amount of weight and you will have gained a lot of muscle. This is great, you feel good about yourself, you are proud as you should be, and you can also probably do a full split at this point, which is great, right? However, there are a bunch of other amazing effects of training a type of martial art as physically demanding as Taekwondo which might not be as immediately apparent.
Training has more important effects on your brain than it has on your physical appearance. It increases endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine production, which, to summarize, all have to do with the way your brain regulates happiness, motivation, and a positive outlook on life. With proper, regular training, you can also reduce inflammation levels in your body, which aids sleep and also reduces cellular aging, together with the chance of developing chronic diseases in general. Your fluid IQ (probably the most important marker for general cognitive ability) degenerates quite steadily after you reach your twenties, and there is one way which is far better than any other to slow down this aging, and that is regular physical exercise.
Okay, but why is Taekwondo specifically so good at this? Well, it is true that you can get most of these benefits from any other rigorous and extensive training regimen or martial art, however, Taekwondo with its huge, powerful kicks and complex techniques forces you to improve your physical and mental fitness. Stretching, which is a primary component of Taekwondo, increases blood flow, thus oxygen transportation to the brain and muscles. The high-intensity conditioning training, the strong kicks all contribute to improved balance, blood flow, heart rate and pressure, and a lot more. Aside from all these biological advantages, you will also be equipped with skills perfect to defend yourself and thus boost your confidence and ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
Is Taekwondo Good for Self-defense?
Taekwondo is a martial art, and the reason martial arts were created was to provide a system for one to learn how to defend themselves properly. However, not all martial arts can be placed in one basket. Not all are as effective, and not all are as useful for actual, real-life self-defense scenarios. So, how does Taekwondo fare?
Taekwondo is among the more effective martial arts. The reason we are saying “more effective” is because Western combat styles like kickboxing, boxing, and wrestling have been proven time and time again to be superior to most Eastern martial arts when it comes to a one-on-one faceoff in an octagon.
So, Taekwondo isn’t the most effective there is, but it surely gets the job done. When watching competitions like the UFC, most people see those leg-kicks and think nearly nothing of them, as if they were just distractions. What most people don’t realize is that a leg kick like that, from a trained Taekwondo martial artist, would likely cripple any average Joe from the local pub who had a beer too much to drink. It is no wonder Choi Hong Hi and the other masters developed Taekwondo to be full of kicks, seeing as he was aiming for an overwhelmingly powerful and fast fighting system.
Taekwondo is a highly effective martial art. If you ever find yourself on the street with a professional kickboxer, you might run into quite some trouble (though you still will be a tough nut to crack, even if you lose), but for about 90 percent of all potential physical altercations you might experience in your life, Taekwondo will equip you with more than enough skills to completely overwhelm the aggressor.