What do Taekwondo and Therapy Have in Common?

Taekwondo Values

1)Courtesy 2) Integrity 3) Perseverance 4) Self-Control 5) Indomitable Spirit

I recently learned of the 5 core Taekwondo Values and was impressed with their connection to therapeutic activities. These values are very similar to many of the positive core beliefs I work with my clients to instill. Students may be asked to recite the core values to themselves if they are getting frustrated with learning a new move or getting their form correct. Genius! Although, some students may just memorize the words and repeat them.  I believe if a student actually considered their meanings, they may find great support and strength in each value. Taekwondo could be on to something with its approach that’s good for the body and the mind. The values appear to support many of the strategies I typically review in session with clients. These values also help reiterate the fundamental building blocks of a healthy self-view. Let’s look a bit deeper in to each value and elaborate. Whether it’s in Taekwondo class, at school or at home, if a student is frustrated, discouraged and becoming irritable it may help to consider these values. Anger and frustration are likely happening because they can’t pick up on something as quickly as they think they should, so let’s pause and review the values.

Taekwondo Values:

  • Courtesy -Showing courtesy to all others.

    Not lashing out at others when you’re upset, or putting others down when you feel insecure. I’d also like to add courtesy towards yourself to this definition. To treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend in a similar situation. Be kind to yourself and supportive of your efforts. Instead of “I stink at this” or “ I can’t get this no matter how many times I try”.  Step back from the situation and view the current struggle as the learning period, an opportunity to take on something totally new and encourage yourself to get better with practice.
  • Integrity- Determine the difference between right and wrong and stand up for what is right.

    Stand up to the nasty critic in your head that’s telling you “I can’t get it”, “I’ll never be as good the person next to you”. Instead try replacing some of that negativity with strength. “I’m strong enough to say I won’t believe the unhelpful thoughts.” “I’m determined enough to not listen to the critic in my head.”
  • Perseverance- Willingness to continue training and struggle against all odds to reach the goal.

    Beautiful! Persevere and know that although you are in a difficult situation now, you can and will work through it and reach your goal if you continue making a good effort. There’s a saying that I will slightly edit to be G rated “If you’re going through heck, keep going”. In other words, the time to quite is not when you’re struggling because then you never get the victory that makes the struggle worth it.
  • Self-Control- To have control over your thoughts, emotions and actions.

    Hello?! This is where I knew for sure that Taekwondo is a secret mental health advocate. Let’s pause and become aware of our thoughts, our feelings and our behaviors so we can decide what thoughts needs to change. It’s been proven time and time again that our thoughts impact our feelings and change our behavior. We can control our thoughts if we raise our awareness of them!
  • Indomitable Spirit- Having the courage to stand up for your principles and beliefs no matter what hindrances are ahead of you.

    Indomitable Spirit sounds kind of like a superhero that we could all look up to. It’s encouraging knowing that regardless of the barriers and setbacks we can strive to find ourselves and be strong in the face of adversity.
So I may be late to the whole Taekwondo thing and NO this post isn’t sponsored by a Taekwondo studio. I just wanted to express my gratitude for an activity that values mental health, whole body wellness and a positive sense of community. In a culture that can get wrapped up with competitiveness and individualism it’s a breath of fresh air to come across these Taekwondo values. Yes, I know Taekwondo is not exactly a new/fresh concept because it’s a 2,000 year old tradition. However, sometimes getting back to the classics and fundamentals is just what we need. Here are some related articles on How to Fail the Right WayMindfulness, and Ways to Improve Your Kids Negative Mood. You’re always welcome to reach out to me for more information regarding mental health, anxiety, mindfulness and positive self-esteem. At my practice Fundamental Psychology, I value focusing on the fundamentals of mental health and wellness. CONTACT

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  Dr. Angela Steranko, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Fundamental Psychology, PLLC 941-275-9183                                      www.funpsy.com    

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