Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Fantastic Life of Taekwondo

By Nathan Rooney, Aged 9, Holly Springs, North Carolina, United States


Taekwondo is a type of martial arts that originated from Korea and holds more than 5,000 years of history. You learn more than fighting in class. Taekwondo is about health and the philosophy of peace. It teaches you about eye, body, and mind focus. The word taekwondo is composed of three parts: “tae” or foot, “kwon” or fist, and “do” or way of life. The best way to think of taekwondo is “the right way of using all parts of the body to stop fights and to help build a better and more peaceful world.”

Taekwondo is helping me with everything, from small to big. I am nine years old and have been a taekwondo student at Yong in Martial Arts for over two and a half years. I have a bodan belt, which is the last belt before the black belt.

Nathan Rooney in Yong-In Uniform

Nathan Rooney in Yong-In Uniform

In taekwondo, I have made many friends because it uses a lot of teamwork which forms many friendships. I enjoy helping my classmates improve their forms and other skills. I think you will also gain a lot of friends if you practice taekwondo. My friends are of all ages and we have been doing taekwondo together for close to 3 years.

In my group, the kids are in first grade through middle school. Although my group composes mostly of kids, some groups or classes have a few adults. In fact, many families go to practice taekwondo together. For example, my dad goes to class with me. Sometimes, I see children teach their parents how to do things correctly. Likewise, I help my dad learn new skills while he helps me to improve those skills.

Stripes and belts show your rank and skill level in taekwondo. For every belt, you need to learn a new set of self-defense, kicking, forms, and breaking skills. You also learn self-control and combat from sparring. At the level of my belt, the bodan, we start to teach the lower-belted students moves for tests and to help them prepare for their next belt level.

Nathan Rooney in the Power Breaking Competition

Nathan Rooney in the Power Breaking Competition

In taekwondo, a form is a set of around 20 moves needed to pass each belt. These moves include punches, kicks, blocks, stances, and yelling. We have to remember the steps and do them in the same order every time. Sometimes we even do these moves to music, which is fun if you ask me. Doing these forms to music is a challenge and it proves how well you know the form.

For every belt we focus on and learn a new philosophy. These philosophies are important because we use them in our everyday lives, not just in taekwondo. The first philosophy that we learn is respect, and respect is a main focus of taekwondo. We show respect to the masters, to the students, and especially to family. The other philosophies are really important too; they include integrity, patience, self-control, perseverance, and cooperation. For the last belt, the philosophy is leadership because the students need to exhibit leadership to guide the other lower-belted students.

I think you should do taekwondo to have a fantastic time. It can help you in many parts of your life as taekwondo increases the strength of your body as well as the clarity of your mind. You might enjoy learning taekwondo with your family and you definitely will make friends.

My school or “do jang” is called Yong in Martial Arts. When you are ready to join, you should go to a do jang near you. Anyplace you go, you will find masters who you will love.