Team GR: Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. This mom says her son has learned meditation, perseverance and body awareness all from Taekwondo!
I love watching my son do Taekwondo, because I get to see his brain develop and grow by him acquiring new skills. Recently, they went over how to fall safely. In the past, he was unable to do this skill. He would bend his elbows and land on his arms in an unsafe way. Today, he did it for the first time!
Most importantly, they are teaching him the importance of protecting his head. These lessons sometimes seem to be far-reaching for my son.
The picture above is part of his 18-step form that he has to master prior to moving up a belt. The forms have helped him with body awareness, learning left from right, forming new connections within the brain, due to needing to move his arms and legs in a pattern at the same time. Some moves are hard but as they have taught him in Taekwondo “never give up and try your best.” His teacher told me my son has never given the instructors attitude, even when things are hard. So what he’s learning can be generalized to life.
This is from falling practice. The practice teaches students how to protect their head and body when they fall. Recently, he did this correctly for the first time. It’s certainly not an easy skill and and challenges him to make new connections within the brain.
This picture is from their steady breathing and meditation time. This skill has been invaluable for my son for focus and concentration. When he gets worked up, we can tell him to do steady breathing for one minute with his eyes closed and it helps to reset the situation. I believe this is also one of the things that has improved his attention span and ability to sit still.
This photo is a difficult stretch they do to improve flexibility. It hurts a little, but that teaches perseverance in the face of adversity. They are also counting in Korean as they do the stretches so that activates another area of the brain.
These are only a few aspects of the class. They also play games that help with listening skills, following directions and self control. It’s purely amazing and the gains my son has had because of Taekwondo have been priceless.
“I think that Taekwondo is amazing,” her son said. “I like the moves and stuff. It makes me stronger and more powerful. I really, really like Taekwondo. It’s fun.”
Share your stories with us on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #MoreThanAutism.