Thursday, 15 March 2012

What Are The Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids?

Martial arts are an ancient method of training your mind, body and spirit to act as one. Martial arts practitioners strive for harmony, but also learn effective and often devastating self-defense techniques. Children who get involved in martial arts reap many benefits in several areas of life. Most martial arts originated in Asia and include karate, kung fu, jiu jitsu, aikido, taekwondo, judo and muay thai.


Fitness is a crucial element to all martial arts classes, especially where children are involved. Warmups with jumping jacks, pushups and stretches are common, and the movements of the martial art itself often challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system. Martial artists are known for being toned, flexible and physically fit, and your child will be no different.

Self Defense

The ability to defend yourself against an assailant is an empowering feeling. Most martial arts use self defense as a cornerstone of the entire program. The precise methods will vary from discipline to discipline, but you can be certain that with regular practice, your child will learn to defend himself in a variety of different ways. Many martial arts schools also teach street-smart techniques to kids to help avoid problems altogether.

Self Discipline

Martial arts help instill mental focus in your child, giving her the ability to concentrate on a task and see it through to its conclusion. The discipline that is taught in the dojo in regard to uniforms, customs and techniques often translates into other areas of life, including school and household chores.


Martial arts are all about respect. Punching, kicking, throwing and locking are all secondary to the respect that is shown form the moment you walk into a dojo. Children learn to bow to the masters who came before them, and to their current instructors. They also learn to treat other students as they wish to be treated. Quality martial arts instructors press upon the respect issue regularly and instruct students to practice respect for self, parents, teachers and peers at every opportunity.

Self Confidence

A child who is involved in martial arts is generally a child who is confident in herself. Working through a martial art and the belt ranking system gives a child measurable goals to follow that are realistic to attain. The sense of accomplishment a child feels by mastering a new technique or graduating to a new belt follows him everywhere he goes.

Here is an interview we did on the Benefits of Taekwondo with Omni Television.

Authentic Taekwondo:  Markham's best kept secret Call 905. 947 -1235 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Plateau Effect

While playing sports or any activity over a long period of time, there will come a time when you will plateau. At Plateau it feels as if your progress is at a standstill despite your persistent efforts, majority quit or move to something else. But plateau is a natural part of development and, most importantly, it is a state of mind and the few who make it through can look forward to higher accomplishments and greater rewards.

When starting Taekwondo people don't usually know anything about kicking and punching techniques. Surprisingly enough, in the first few months their knowledge grows exponentially, and they realize the progress every time a color belt test is approaching. The change in belts gives a sense of improvement and accomplishment, the feeling and experience that we are getting better.

When becoming a black belt, tests become a rarity and progression is hard to be seen. There are not many kicks to learn because a black belt should know them all already. But despite the knowledge there is still room for amelioration. Though, plateau is a tough phase.  It is the moment where you start to doubt yourself and to deal with personal frustration because no matter how hard you try, it seems there is no range for improvement. Ironically, even though this is not entirely true, the feeling of Plateau is very real and this is why most people drop out after black belt, either due to the plateau feeling or the assumption they know everything by now and it is time to move on.

There is a natural urge to feel disappointed when you run into the plateau, but in fact it is a sign that you are on the right track. You can pass through the plateau phase by focusing on different aspects or details. Try to rediscover your love for Taekwondo, focus on having some fun rather than achieving all the gold medals. Remind yourself of what made this sport enjoyable in the first place and follow the fun aspects of the game. Think of the progress you have made thus far and enjoy the new challenges that you are faced with.
If you are easily getting frustrated take some time to cool off. In my 20 year history of Taekwondo I took a few months off, and I needed them to recharge my energy and start training harder than before. I missed the excitement of the fight, the sore muscles, the breathless moments after a sparring round, and my dreams came back stronger and more vivid than I could ever expect. A few weeks to a couple of months will help settle your mind and perhaps help you find the inspiration that brought you in the ring.  

In some ways plateau is a decision making moment, it is the moment of truth. How much do you really love what you are doing? How much further are you willing to push yourself? Will you be able to overcome your self imposed limitations? I believe this is the moment where the average is separated from the great ones, because it is no longer about the ability of your body to handle a training session but more so about the capacity of your mind to endure the frustration.

In the end, I believe plateau is just another obstacle you might face on the process of your personal growth, in Taekwondo as well as in life. You are still moving forward, it only gets harder to see it and measure it. Be aware of the fact that at higher stages, your ability to make significant gains are different than at the beginning , but most importantly “learn at your own pace”. Teach yourself to be patience and flexible, gives yourself time to analyze your emotions and you will be amazed how far you can go.

Monday, 2 January 2012


The foundation is firm.

Canadian Junior Nationals, Winnipeg, Manitoba: we took 4 athletes to Nationals and came home with 1 gold and 3 bronze medals and a new sense of enthusiasm.


(Left to right, Andus Lau, Emily Lee, Crystal Chan, Stephanie Lo, Akmal Farah)

Not only did our athletes gain experience and a grasp for National level competition, but they also managed to find time for a science experiments. After our pasta dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, some of the athletes and their parents got some hot water and in the freezing temperatures of Winnipeg tossed the water in the air to watch it evaporate into thin air. Yes we made instant fog, much like this youtube clip.

OUR FOCUS:  After coming back from Nationals, our athletes had a new sense of determination.  Every month we decided to participate participate in a different tournament in order increase our ring experience.  By fighting new competitors, different arenas and determining our strengths and weaknesses. After each competition the coaches would get together and analyse our competitors and apply the lessons in the next training sessions. As time went on, our competition team grew. More and more individuals took up the challenge to compete as they realized the excitement of Taekwondo competition, is unlike anything else.

But I am lucky to be surrounded by two amazing coaches, Ali Ghafour and Dominique Bosshart.

Master Dominique Bosshart
Master Ali Ghafour

 They are not only coaches but have international and Olympic competition experience. Their dedication and passion coupled with the love for the sport and competition is woven into each one of our athletes.  Their continued mentoring and training has dramatically improved the level of our competitors who continue to strive and learn from some of the best.


While our collective training, mentoring and hard work was destined for great rewards, it is impossible to achieve anything without teamwork.  Therefore, it seemed Summer Camp was the perfect opportunity to build relations and glue our team together.  The weather was hot, the training was intense and it becomes very difficult to get through these sessions without some fun, motivation and a united effort.

The morning training consisted of plymetrics and cardio work at the local park.  It would start from 9 am by walking to the park and consisted of sprints and many laps around the football field.  In the end of this gruelling exercise they were rewarded with 15 minutes of playtime at the playground, though, many took advantage of this opportunity to rest by sleeping on slides and monkey bars while others sat on horses and swings without much energy to go back and forth. 
Omayd finding comfort
Stephanie taking a nap
Everyone working hard
Cristian telling a story
Logan waiting

Although, it may seem rough but they were actually conserving their energy for the “torture master” and strength & conditioning coach Ray Ortiz. 
 coach Ray working with our athletes

In the afternoon our training consisted of watching motivational movies, and taekwondo drills.  While all our activities were fun productive and exciting, nothing was more entertaining than our dance off competitions. 

Omayd showing kasey the stepping drills
Tyler showing off his flexibility

It all started with jokes of Justin beiber and how certain teammates were big “Beliebers”.  As a result of constant nagging and bickering between friends, they were told they had to dance to the tunes of one of Beiber’s smash hits.  They were split into two teams where they would choreograph their own dance moves and the winners of the contest would have to perform at our next Annual Authentic BBQ.  

While at each local tournament the outcomes were the same, quality of our fights were improving.  Everyone competed with integrity, sportsmanship and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.  In preparation for Nationals our journey led us for a weekend of training in Montreal.  With our gracious hosts, Master Micheal Bellanger and Master Rejean Sergerie inviting us to train with their team of young and dedicated athletes.  It was a pleasant atmosphere and it was nice to see other young athletes who share the same a similar passion. 
Tyler Lam
Gianluca Battist



I believe 2011 was the building phase of a young, strong and cohesive team.  While the developing process is never ending we, at authentic taekwondo, have built a strong foundation to prepare us, with great anticipation for New Year.

Here is a sneak peak into the next generation of Authentic Taekwondo competitors…

to 2012 and more memorable moments...

Crystal refereeing giants