When you see those crazy flashy kicks on TV, the actor or stunt person usually has a background in Taekwondo.
This Korean martial arts gained worldwide fame for its incredible lightning fast techniques, and beautiful spinning leg kicks that leaves spectators in awe.
Taekwondo is one of the world’s most popular martial arts and is even an olympic sport that is watched by thousands.
Today it is practiced by millions of people all around the world and there are even many different styles of Taekwondo.
But is Taekwondo all its hyped up to be?
What are the pros and cons of learning Taekwondo?
On today’s article, we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of learning Taekwondo and whether or not you should consider it.
Let’s dive right in.
Great Stress Reliever
Ever go all out at the gym and then walk out of there feeling like a million bucks afterwards?
Well that’s what you could be experiencing at the end of every Taekwondo lesson.
Taekwondo is a great stress reliever because it helps your body release a chemical called endorphins which not only helps reduce the feelings of pain, but provides you with “feel good” emotions.
In addition, a lot of times we are stressed out due to anger or frustration.
This is where Taekwondo comes into the picture.
Having a bad day at work because your boss is an A hole?
Why not take out your angry and wail away at the punching pag or kicking pad?
In class, you learn how to strike with your limbs at different objects such as punching bags, kicking pads, and even at your sparring partner!
I can guarantee you that you will feel a whole lot better afterwards after beating the crap out of that punching bag in class!
Teaches Discipline and Respect
In Taekwondo there will always be a teacher and student relationship all throughout the life of the student.
Students are instilled discipline right from the get go.
Learn to get in line and follow rank.
Learn to obey commands by your instructor or otherwise face the consequences such as being forced to do extra pushups before, during, or after class.
Students will also be taught to be humble and respectful not only of their instructors but also their classmates and opponents.
Before the beginning of every class, students are taught to bow before the instructors, and to also bow before their opponents before and after every match.
If you are currently struggling trying to teach a child discipline and respect, well then there’s no better way to do this then by enrolling them in a Taekwondo school.
In fact, you may notice that only after a very short period of time that your child’s behavior will quickly do a 180 on you.
A wild and unruly person will over time develop the skills to become more disciplined and respectful.
Increases your Self Confidence
In Taekwondo, you will get challenged to do things that you never thought you were capable of doing.
Such as performing death defying jumping leg kicks in mid air
Breaking hard bone crushing objects such as wooden boards or bricks.
All of these tasks that you will encounter on your learning journey will make you into a more stronger and confident person in the process.
As you see with your own eyes that your able to accomplish tasks that you thought you couldn’t do, your confidence levels and self esteem will increase in the process.
Furthermore, since Taekwondo is a great form of cardiovascular as well as strength exercise, it helps you maintain a healthy body composition as well as making you stronger.
When you look into the mirror after a few months of training, you’ll be happy with what you see looking back at you.
And finally, knowing that you possess both the ability and knowledge to defend yourself and loved ones in scary situations is a great confidence boost.
You’ll Learn How to Defend Yourself
Wouldn’t it be cool to know and have the confidence that you can defend yourself if need be?
Well that’s what you would be able to do if you studied Taekwondo, at least theoretically if you picked a good school and you put in the hard work.
In Taekwondo, you’ll learn a variety of different techniques such as kicking, punching, self defense techniques that could potentially save your life in a dangerous situation.
Or maybe you get bullied at school or work.
Well now you won’t be living in fear of the perpetrator because you know that you could kick their ass if you wanted to, not that I’m advocating that you do that 😅.
Great for Exercise and Cardiovascular Health
According to the CDC, in 2015-2016, about 40% of US adults were obese.
Not only is this bad for your health and puts you at major risk for a variety of heart conditions, it also has a profound negative effect on health care costs for the country.
For those of you that currently struggle with weight loss and maintaining a healthy body composition, Taekwondo could very well be the answer that your looking for.
A 160 lb person could potentially burn up to 752 calories/hour in a Taekwondo class!
I remember returning back to Taekwondo training after taking a long break from the martial art, and one day having a fellow instructor tell me that I lost a tonne of weight from the lessons.
In only a few short months, I must have dropped a good 15-20 lbs just from attending Taekwondo lessons.
Instead of wasting your time jogging or walking on that god awful treadmill and being bored out of your mind, why not just join a Taekwondo school instead?
Not only will you drop the pounds, you’ll also learn a tonne of cool martial arts moves and techniques, as well as being able to defend yourself.
I personally can’t stand jogging on the treadmill and would take up Taekwondo or any martial arts in a heartbeat if it meant having to avoid that borefest of an exercise machine.
If your goal is weight loss, or if you enjoy indulging in those tasty high fat high calorie foods but are worried about gaining weight, then Taekwondo is your answer.
Improves Your Flexibility and Mobility
When you study Taekwondo one way or another, you will gain a lot of flexibility and mobility.
Performing those high kicks will require you to be ultra flexible which in turn requires a lot of flexibility training in class.
When you attend a Taekwondo class, you will perform a combination of dynamic and static stretches in every class.
After only a few short months, you may one day discover that you are able to kick much higher then you could have ever imagined or be much more mobile.
This is great for those of us that are sedentary all day stuck in the office.
The lack of stretching and being immobile all day can lead to a wealth of different health problems that Taekwondo training can help alleviate.
Too Much Focus on Kicking and Not Well Rounded
Taekwondo has always been criticized in the martial arts community due to the lack of emphasis on punching and being more well rounded as a martial arts.
Rather instead, you see a lot of kicking been emphasized in classes.
I would say based on my own experience that you can expect at least 70% of the class being dedicated towards practicing kicking techniques and drills.
Punching is barely taught in classes other then your classic horse stance type of punches that are used for poomse.
Furthermore, during competitions and even sparring, punching someone in the face is made illegal and frowned upon.
What you get then are students that are very well versed in kicking but completely one dimensional in their skill set.
Lastly, there are hardly any grappling and throwing techniques being taught in classes except for when your a much higher rank, but even then, its minuscule compared to other martial arts such as Judo, Ju Jitsu, or MMA.
This can be detrimental towards the student’s ability to defend themselves in circumstances that aren’t favorable towards the use of leg kicks such as close quarters fighting or even street fights that end up on the ground.
Too Much Focus on Sport and Not Self Defense
As Taekwondo gains more and more popularity around the world, its focus has shifted more towards the sports side of things especially if you study WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) style.
As Taekwondo has become an official Olympic sport, a lot of good old school techniques are now being abandoned in favor of techniques to score points in competition.
In addition, the Olympic style of Taekwondo tends to favor high head kicks rather then punching which further takes away from the roots of Taekwondo.
If your not into the sport side of Taekwondo, then it may be a little hard trying to find a school that is more purist in Taekwondo teachings.
Furthermore, a lot of self defense techniques are not really taught in classes anymore.
You may once in a while attend a class where the instructor would teach a few techniques here and there but for the most part, expect a lot of kicking pads in classes + sparring sessions.
What this in turn means that a lot of students won’t even be able to apply any of these self defense techniques in real life circumstances.
Lots of Schools With Questionable Teaching Standards
A term you will often here in the Taekwondo community is “Mcdojo” which is used to refer to a school with substandard teaching quality that also loves to milk as much money out of their students as possible.
This is one of the reasons why Taekwondo gets a bad rep in the martial arts community.
A lot of schools are only focused on generating revenue and this often times means that students that were not qualified to meet certain belt testing standards get promoted.
You may have seen these students sometimes around tournaments.
You know, that black belt that can’t even perform a basic spinning hook kick, or even a proper side kick for that matter.
Then there’s the issue of instructors withholding teaching techniques and methods with the goal of making the student study under them for a longer period of time.
I remember when I studied under one master in particular, she got angry at me one time for showing a new poomse to another student.
This is why its important to spend your time researching and evaluating whether or not a school has high teaching standards and meshes with your goals.
Costs Can Quickly Add Up
If you’ve never studied martial arts before then be prepared to be in for a shock as costs can quickly add up.
A lot of schools make their income from monthly membership dues in addition to monthly belt testing fees.
At some schools that love to milk their students, they will use colored tape in place of new belts to try and extract as much money as possible.
The more honest one’s usually don’t use any colored tape.
Then you throw in protective sparring equipment and other miscellaneous expenses and now costs are through the roof.
Here’s an example breakdown of what you could expect to be paying:
|Yearly Membership fee||$1200 ($100 x 12)|
|Belt testing Fee (every 1-2 months)||$400|
|Tournament Entrance Fees||$150|
|Other Miscellaneous Expenses||$100|
As you can see, the membership fee isn’t all that your going to be paying out of your wallet.
That $100 monthly fee you were quoted now turns into a $2200 yearly expense.
Risk of Bodily Injury
I can’t count the number of times where I went home with a bruise or other type of injury from my Taekwondo class.
There will always be some sort of inherit risk when your learning Taekwondo or any martial arts for that matter due to body contact.
Maybe you miss time a kick and suddenly, your toe ends up kicking the hard edge of a kicking pad or hard object.
Perhaps during a sparring session, your opponent accidentally goes a bit too hard on one of there kicks and it lands square right on your stomach, leaving you grasping for air and about to puke out your lunch.
You will quickly learn the definition of pain when you study Taekwondo.
Getting injured is unfortunately unavoidable in Taekwondo or any martial arts unless your studying something like Tai Chi.
On the positive side of things though, your pain tolerance will definitely go up as you train more in Taekwondo.
Like all martial arts, Taekwondo has its pros and cons which makes it unique.
Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of learning Taekwondo:
- Great Stress Reliever
- Teaches Discipline and Respect
- Increases your Self Confidence
- You’ll Learn How to Defend Yourself
- Great for Exercise and Cardiovascular Health
- Improves Your Flexibility and Mobility
- Too Much Focus on Kicking and Not Well Rounded
- Too Much Focus on Sport and Not Self Defense
- Lots of Schools With Questionable Teaching Standards
- Costs Can Quickly Add Up
- Risk of Bodily Injury
Taekwondo is an excellent martial arts for those just looking to get their feet wet in a friendly and safe environment.
Not only will you learn a variety of cool and flashy techniques that will wow all of your friends and family, your also develop self confidence, discipline, flexibility, and the ability to defend yourself in tough situations.
Sure Taekwondo may not be the perfect martial art, but it does have far more benefits then drawbacks. If you are seriously considering learning a martial art, then why not give Taekwondo a try today.