The Purpose of Martial Arts Schools
Martial arts is the all-encompassing term for the practice of self-defense or fighting skills. However, martial arts is only the tip of the iceberg in describing what is martial arts. Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins specializes in Taekwondo, a Korean martial art form. We endeavor to make clear on this page what exactly is martial arts, to dive into the different types of martial arts, to examine your interests, and help you choose with martial art form is for you. If you do decide you are interested in Taekwondo, contact us today for more information!
WHAT IS MARTIAL ARTS?
Most of us know martial arts from the movies. However, unless you’ve practiced martial arts, the movies again are only the tip of the iceberg.
Ever since humans first walked this planet, they have had conflicts amongst each other, usually from difference of opinion or a struggle for power. They used their fists and primitive tools to fight (and eventually, to kill) each other. As with everything with humans, there is a desire to be better, to gain the upper hand, to win, and in this case, to defeat your opponent. Thus, humans have developed martial arts as just one way to best their opponent.
Ancient cultures have left behind pictures of struggles, but the exact origins of martial arts are unknown. Battle scenes have been found dating from 3400 BC. The major ancient civilizations all left behind images of fighters, including the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese. The Minoans on the Greek isle of Crete boxed, using the first known example of gloves to protect their hands. And in the first Olympics, wrestling and sword-fighting figured prominently.
Today martial arts is typically thought of as coming from Asia. However, Europe had its own form of combat martial arts. Native Americans even practiced their own form of self-defense and fighting. However, European martial arts diminished significantly with the advent of the firearm.
Striking, grappling, and weapons use are the three major areas all martial art forms are broken down into.
Striking involves punching and kicking, along with other striking moves involving the elbows, knees, and your open-hand. Grappling is characterized by throwing, joint lock, and pinning techniques. Finally, weaponry uses weapons.
Interestingly enough, it is usually these three classifications that cause people to choose one martial art over another because fundamentally they are all the same.
In conclusion, martial arts is the development of hand-to-hand combat for fighting and self-defense purposes. There are many forms of martial arts, each distinct and each usually coming about for different purposes. Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins, for example, teaches the martial art form of Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, came about in the 1940s for the purpose of unarmed combat for self-defense that focuses on the mind and body. Below, we’ll explore a few of the dozens of martial arts forms you can choose from.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MARTIAL ARTS?
- Taekwondo. A combination of Korean form, taek kyon, and the Japanese discipline of Karate, Taekwondo (or Tae kwon do written separately), taekwondo literally means tae (to kick with the foot), kwon, (to strike with the fist), and do, (art) — an art form to strike with the fist and kick with the foot. Taekwondo is a physical sport as well as a philosophy of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, and spirit. Taekwondo is the most popular martial art form in the US, having surpassed karate in the 1980s. The International Taekwon-do Federation estimates that 40 million people practice the discipline in more than 100 countries. Taekwondo is very popular with families with young children as it emphasizes discipline and focus and promotes physical activity.
- Karate. Karate is Japanese for “open hand” (kara means open and te means hand). The second most popular martial art form behind Tae kwon do, Karate developed from a martial art form popular on the Japanese island of Okinawa with Kung fu from China mixed in. However, it has molded into a striking martial art characterized by punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. You still may also see grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital-point strikes, which were part of Karate originally.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Growing by leaps and bounds in the United States due to the popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art form. Developed in Brazil from a martial art form of judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) uses ground fighting primarily to subdue an opponent. It focuses on allowing a weaker person to use leverage and submission techniques (choking and locks) to defend himself or herself against a larger person. BJJ is known for using strategy and technique, and for getting a great workout. It promotes focus and continual self-improvement in all aspects of life.
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). As its name states, mixed martial arts is just that — a mix of martial arts and combat sports. It’s full-contact, featuring striking and grappling, both standing up and using the ground. This sports’ origins actually extend back to ancient Greece where a sport called pankration appeared in their Olympics. It came from boxing and wrestling and anything was allowed except gouging and biting. MMA has surged in popularity due to its versatility and use of all types of martial arts and sports.
- Muay Thai. A martial arts combat sport from Thailand, Muay Thai features clinching along with stand-up striking techniques. It’s known as the art of eight limbs because you use your fists, elbows, knees, and shins for striking. Originating in the middle of the eighteenth century as a hand-to-hand fighting skill, Muay Thai is an intense, high-energy cardio workout that will build strength, timing, stamina, and power. With similarities to kickboxing, Muay Thai is experiencing record growth here in the United States, similar to MMA.
Martial arts gained popularity in the United States due to the martial arts movie craze in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, karate is used in the United States to generically refer to all martial arts forms as a throwback to these movies.
Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins is a martial arts school that aims to create a community for growth, change, and inspiration. Using five principal tenets (courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit) to guide us, our martial arts classes are for all ages and all experience levels. We aim to challenge you in a fun environment as you learn life-long self-defense skills as well as focus and discipline. Adhering to the standards of Kukkiwon Taekwondo, Becks Martial Arts promotes rank advancement as you progress with your martial arts skills. If you’re interested in Taekwondo, contact Becks Martial Arts today!
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of martial arts, let’s move on to the benefits of martial arts training. After all, we want you to spend your time wisely, so it’s important to know how martial arts will help you both as a person and in the future. Then, we’ll dive into how you can choose which martial arts school is for you.
BENEFITS OF TAEKWONDO
- Physical fitness. The importance of maintaining a healthy body cannot be overstated. Building strong bones and muscles will allow us to maintain our health for a lifetime. Being physically fit reduces the risk of heart attacks as well as a myriad of other health conditions and keeps you at a healthy weight. Taekwondo helps to promote a lifestyle of activity, allowing you to go and do the things you want to do, such as skiing for the day up in the mountains or wrestling with your grandkids.
- Self-discipline and self-esteem. Taekwondo emphasizes moral development almost as much as physical development. Taekwondo will teach students respect for themselves and others, self-restraint as they wait on others in the class to complete a task, and heightened concentration. Learning and practicing the techniques of Taekwondo will translate into other areas of life as students face goals and challenges everyday they have to meet or overcome. You’ll grow confident in Taekwondo with each level you advance and more self-assured.
- Stress and anxiety relief. There’s something inherently stress-relieving about punching and kicking that rids your body of any anger you may be feeling. Even just when you’re punching and kicking the air in a room by yourself, you’ll lower stress and increase cortisol production, which is the feel-good hormone.
- Competition and goal setting. Some students who study Taekwondo are interested in competition and work very hard to be champions. This takes incredible self-discipline and self-control, further strengthening those areas in your life. Taekwondo is a mental martial art, meaning you have to use a lot of mental capacity when learning the set of moves, learning the strikes, stances, the punches, and the kicks.
- Self-defense. Most martial arts have a self-defense element to them. After all, you’re learning how to fight others. Taekwondo is not an offensive martial art, meaning you don’t attack others. You’ll learn skills if provoked or attacked that could save your life.
- Cardiovascular health. Taekwondo classes are long and hard. Endurance will be strengthened as you train in all movements, which recruit major muscle groups to do the job. Your heart will get stronger and more efficient, allowing you to put out more power as you stick with Taekwondo. You’ll reduce the chance of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes, as well as live longer with cardiovascular health.
- Focus. These days, many kids are ADHD and ADD. These disorders are characterized by people not being able to focus for long periods of time. Taekwondo can help with these conditions as the movements are subtle and takes focused concentration to master. This will serve you well in other areas of life such as at work when you hit the dull moments of your job or at school when the teacher is droning.
- Increases flexibility. This is super important as you age. If you don’t focus on stretching and increasing your range of motion, you’ll lose it as you age. Stretching makes your muscles lengthen, limber, and loose, and helps you in all aspects in life.
- Promotes happiness. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical released by the body during exercise that makes you happy, full of joy, and calm. Serotonin can fight feelings of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, you’ll feel accomplished from your new skill of Taekwondo. When you do something others don’t do, you feel like your life has value.
- Strengthens bones. Something most of us take for granted is the health of our bones. After all, we never see our bones unless we break one (and then hopefully, it’s not a compound fracture), so we don’t think about them until it’s too late. Anytime you put weight on your bones, more bone matter is laid down, making them thicker and stronger. Having strong bones lessens your risk of breaking them as well as having degenerative bone diseases as you get older, such as osteoporosis. When you jump, kick, push, or punch in Taekwondo, you’ll get stronger overall.
- Lose weight. Martial arts is a great combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercises, giving you the best bang for your buck and your time. Anaerobic exercises are the short, intense bursts of exercise characterized by sprints. In Taekwondo, you’ll see this in a match with an opponent where you’ll output punches and kicks quickly and efficiently. Aerobic exercises last longer and are steady. This occurs for most of the Taekwondo class as you are in constant motion during martial arts training. If you continue with martial arts training, you’ll increase your metabolic rate, which is the rate you burn calories.
- You’ll make friends. Martial arts and taekwondo are social activities. You don’t train alone since you need a teacher and others to help you learn proper technique and to practice with. Martial arts classes and Taekwondo classes are great for meeting others and forming life-long friendships as you strive for common goals together.
WHY CHOOSE TAEKWONDO?
Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins is a Taekwondo martial arts schools. We’ve already reviewed what Taekwondo is and its benefits. But why choose Taekwondo? After all, there are hundreds of other martial arts forms to practice. How do you choose?
Becks Martial Arts believes there is no one martial art better than another one. Each martial art is special and unique and offers different skills and purposes. We recommend you choose a martial art based on what you hope to gain from it. For example, Tai Chi is very meditative and not the best martial art for self-defense skills. Below, we’ll outline what Taekwondo involves and what it doesn’t involve to help you choose.
WHAT TAEKWONDO OFFERS
- Powerful martial art. Taekwondo places emphasis on powerful kicks and punches, as well as blocking and stances. It’s a very dynamic martial art that is one of the best for improving your physical fitness.
- A mix of formality. Some martial arts are very informal (such as kickboxing) and some are very stylized (such as kung fu). Taekwondo is a great mix of both practicality and artistic style.
- Self-defense training. While de-emphasizing holds, locks, and throws, Taekwondo does incorporate solid self-defense training as seen when sparring with opponents.
- Unarmed martial art. There are no weapons used in martial arts like you’d see in karate. Taekwondo focuses on using the body for strength, power, and speed. That being said, you may see the bo-staff, nunchucks, and Eskrima sticks used in Taekwondo. However, these are not traditional weapons.
- Impressive moves. Martial arts in the movies shows people jumping off buildings, executing spinning kicks, and taking out multiple attackers at once. Taekwondo can teach you these skills if you commit to martial arts training.
We mentioned the bo-staff, nunchucks, and Eskrima sticks above. What exactly are these weapons of Taekwondo?
- The bo-staff. The bo-staff is a weapon originating from Japan and Karate during the feudal years. The bo-staff is taught as an extension of one’s limbs and is considered part of empty-hand fighting, or hand-to-hand combat with no weapons but one’s hands. The bo-staff can be used for blocking, striking, sweeping, or entrapping opponents. It can also be wielded like a spear or sword in its motions, such as swings and slashes.
- The nunchucks. Another import from the Japanese island of Okinawa, this weapon consists of two sticks joined together with either a piece of rope or a chain. Originally, only one pair was used, but efficient wielders of nunchucks can wield two sets effectively. These can be used for striking or immobilizing an attacker’s weapon. This weapon takes an insane amount of hand-speed, hand-strength, and coordination.
- The Eskrima sticks. These are very similar to the nunchucks but are not attached by a chain. Two wooden sticks are used to strike and defend. This is a Philippine martial art that was adopted by Taekwondo, karate, Amercian kenpo, and others. In the Philippines traditional Eskrima is taught and is expected to be mastered before any empty-hand fighting techniques.
WHY BECKS MARTIAL ARTS IS DIFFERENT THAN OTHER MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOLS
As you can see, martial arts training offers many benefits and many disciplines to meet everyone’s needs, depending on your interests and what you hope to gain from martial arts training. We believe Taekwondo is the best martial arts discipline overall. With self-defense training and a mix of punches and kicks, as well as a desire to develop the whole person, we believe Taekwondo is the martial arts discipline for you. Don’t believe us? We offer a free introductory class (or two or three) so you can try us out and decide for yourself if Becks Martial Arts School is a good fit. We offer classes for kids ages four to adults, featuring age appropriate skills and classes tailored for the developmental level of the children. Thus, as the kids get older, the skills get more complicated. Homework is required, with a focus on character development. Rank promotions are based on skill development. With the older kids, we incorporate more real-world lessons, such as bullying and emotional coping skills.
We teach five important tenets in the operation of our school: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. Our success is attributed to the ethics and perseverance inherent in these guiding tenets. We offer flexible schedules to accommodate your busy schedules, and some of our adult Taekwondo classes focus on health, fitness, and weight loss.
Leadership is emphasized in all of our kids martial arts classes and our adult martial arts classes. We encourage the development of public speaking and conflict management skills, as well as community service. Giving back is a guiding tenet of Kukkiwon, and Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins supports our students’ interests and charities. We invite all of our leadership students to assist in classes. This boosts self-confidence, improves public speaking skills, and offers a unique chance to teach others martial arts skills — in effect passing on your learning to others.
As summer approaches, Becks Martial Arts offers summer camps, which, while not as intense as our regular classes, will give your kids a good foundation in Taekwondo skills should they wish to continue in the fall with our regular martial arts classes. These summer camps will keep your kids active and growing in all aspects of their character.
We also offer birthday parties at our martial arts school in Fort Collins. Featuring sword cake-cutting and guided instruction, your kids are guaranteed to have fun.
Becks Martial Arts is the best martial arts school in Fort Collins because we care about our students. Our students are members of our family. We support them in all that they do and in what is near and dear to their hearts. We care about our students’ physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We focus on developing the whole person, so our students will be equipped to deal with the trials life inevitably brings. At Becks Martial Arts in Fort Collins, you will grow in innumerable ways. Contact us today to sign up for a free introductory class!