Since 2016 when we ran into a group of uniformed black belts at a local health fair, our family has been on this crazy Taekwondo journey. What started with my eldest son has now become a family affair and I feel like a soccer mom running to and fro to make scheduled tournaments, belt tests, and practices. It costs money, it takes time, requires a certain level of commitment and determination, and we’re in it for the long haul. We are a Taekwondo family, and we love it.

Unfortunately, in the Christian community, martial arts (and now, my family) is largely misunderstood. Not everything that works for my family will work for yours, but the positive impact martial arts have had in my home is worth sharing.

Life Lessons

The ATA Leadership Program helps students with six major life lessons to help them be better martial artists and community leaders. At our school, they use these life lessons in every class, not just the leadership classes, so that all students can excel in these six areas (linked above):

  1. Belief
    “The conviction that no challenge is too hard and that all things are possible.”
    For this tenet, the kids remember the saying: yes I can! The idea is not unlike what we already strive to teach our children: that they can do all things through Christ’s strength (Phil 4:13).
  2. Communication
    “How we related to ourselves and everything around us. Effective communication is crucial to a human being’s growth and is a necessary quality for every leader.”
    The kids remember this value by remembering that communication is the link between the world and me. This helps us to remember that words matter–whether spoken, typed, cried, screamed, or withheld. Communication is the link between the world and us, and using it for hurt will forever be that bridge that we build–one that hurts others.
  3. Respect
    “The way we treat ourselves, others and one another’s beliefs and belongings. It is the way we follow the rules and regulations of society and the way we interact with the world around us.”
    It’s not what you know; it’s what you do. What we do when no one is looking, what we do with our training and knowledge, how to treat others, and how to treat ourselves matters.
  4. Honesty
    “It starts with integrity, which is being honest with ourselves. To be honest, is to obey our conscience; it is to take responsibility for our actions. As leaders, we learn to apply honesty to all aspects of our lives.” At taekwondo, the kids learn that honesty is The first step to an abundant life. The weight that we bear while being dishonest with ourselves and others detracts from a full life.
  5. Self-Esteem
    “Taking pride in who you are and using your own individual gifts to lead others. Taekwondo teaches students to find their own strengths, then teaches them how to use those strengths to impact the world.” Learning our gifts, the beauty of our own personalities and our spiritual gifts allow us the joy to be myself.
  6. Discipline
    “Understanding structure and following the rules. leaders obey the rules and are able to enforce the rules. Successful leaders are able to inspire others to do the same.” Obey what is right, and you’ll never have to wonder if you “shoulda’, coulda’, woulda'” found a better way.

Taekwondo and martial arts are not something everyone can or should do. Some Christians have a big problem with it, alluding to dark origins and violence. If this would affect your Christian growth, do not do martial arts. I understand. I can attest to the positivity it has brought to our home, though, and the origin of martial arts doesn’t bother us any more than the origin of Christmas.

It also makes a difference who you choose to teach your family. If you are interested in martial arts, make sure you find a great school, with good Christian people to influence your children. It’s never a bad thing to grow with other Christians as you do something you enjoy.