Aims, objectives and benefits of Choi Kwang Do
Martial arts have always reinforced values such as humility, integrity, respect, self-control, self-discipline, perseverance and striving for excellence while developing stamina, endurance, strength and flexibility. The benefits of these are well documented and are what many parents would like their children to aspire to.
There is much research which establishes that regular exercise reduces stress levels, induces a feeling of well-being through the release of endorphins and serotonins; these make the person feel good and help maintain stable, even improve, mental health. There is some evidence that regular exercise helps to prevent or alleviate depression. From this we can deduce that martial arts exercises will help to produce these hormones and thus reduce mental illness. Further to this there is also a body of study that shows that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other debilitating illnesses that result from being overweight.
These benefits are worth striving for but there have to be more benefits that a martial art can bring to those that practice it. Many people feel insecure when on their own and some feel acutely vulnerable. A martial art should enable its students to feel confident that they can handle conflict situations should they arise. Many do not equip their students with the skills to defend themselves if they are assaulted.
The aims of CKD
To teach self-defence involving martial art techniques that use scientifically designed bio-mechanical processes that prevent excessive strains on the body. It incorporates yoga style stretches to improve flexibility. CKD uses a balance of aerobic and anaerobic exercises that help to strengthen bones, muscle and connective tissue in the body while increasing stamina and endurance;
To make the techniques inclusive so that people of all ages and abilities can train. CKD schools actively encourage members of families to train together and it is one of only a few martial arts in which parents and children, as well as men and women, can train together. This is particularly important when practicing the self-defence techniques as self-control is necessary;
To increase social inclusion by promoting friendly relationships amongst all people; promoting CKD as a non-aggressive martial art from which all can benefit;
To instil values such as respect for others and self, self-discipline, humility, integrity, gentleness, self-control, perseverance and unbreakable spirit;
To reduce the feelings of vulnerability and insecurity by helping students to gain the confidence in their abilities to defend themselves in conflict situations;
To increase flexibility, strength, endurance and stamina;
To avoid excessive strain on the body while producing power and effective energy burn;
To provide a safe and friendly environment in which all can train;
To make the training accessible to people of all ages and abilities, including those with mobility challenges;
To provide a structured approach that encourages students to set and achieve goals; and
To carry out the adults’ pledges or children’s promises that we make at the start of every lesson:
To set positive goals and strive to achieve them;
To apply self-discipline to further my personal development;
To stand for justice and honour my word;
To promote friendly relationships among all people;
To use what I learn in class in a positive manner.
To always do my best and never give up;
To obey my parents and teacher;
To tell the truth and honour my word;
To always be polite;
To never misuse what I learn in class.
The benefits of practising Choi Kwang Do (CKD):
- CKD is a non-contact, non-competitive martial art. Thus it is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It is suitable for those with some forms of physical disability.
- CKD uses Yoga style stretches before and after each session that help to increase flexibility and prevent strain on the body. This is an incremental process. It does not matter how flexible you are to start, you will become gradually more flexible over time.
- The techniques do not put an excessive strain on the body’s joints and muscles. The movements use the body’s natural flow. The increased flexibility that is needed for the more advanced techniques is achieved incrementally by the students as they train.
- The structure to the classes and the hierarchy of belts encourages students to set goals and achieve them. This is particularly beneficial to children as it motivates them to practice in order to be able to reach the next belt level. This process also helps to build self-esteem and confidence in all students.
- The etiquette used in classes and any gathering of students encourages respect, humility and courteousness. The processes in studying the art produce self-control, endurance, and a willingness to keep going when tasks become difficult. The latter is reflected in the phrase “Pil Seung” with which we greet each other. Pil Seung means “certain victory” or “keep going until you achieve your goal”.
- The classes have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and are inclusive for all who wish to participate. CKD has a strong social element to it and many make lifelong friends while studying this martial art. CKD has a family feel to it and wherever you go in the world you are warmly welcomed into other dojangs and are welcome to train in any school with any teacher.
- The techniques taught in CKD are designed for self-defence and enable students to gain the confidence that they can deal with conflict situations or if they are assaulted. The first techniques that are taught are designed to help prevent the student from being struck and the hand and feet techniques are designed to discourage an assailant from continuing their attack. If that fails then the techniques will disable the assailant so that they can’t continue to attack.
- Through regular practice the students learn to use the techniques in a spontaneous way as an immediate and effective response to an attack.
- The exercises in classes are both aerobic and anaerobic, leading to an improvement in fitness and health. There is evidence that the combination of the different types of exercise produce improvements in the overall health of the students.
- Studies in the USA and the UK have shown that students of CKD show an improvement in mental agility, cognitive abilities and memory. This is particularly useful for youngsters and has been shown to improve their academic performances.
The rationale behind CKD is the use of bio-mechanics. CKD uses a process of incremental improvements in the performance of techniques using the body’s natural flow of movements to generate power and burn energy. We use yoga style stretches at the start and end of lessons to improve flexibility. As CKD does involve any competitions or contact, in the practice of defence techniques, it is accessible to people of all ages and abilities and even some with limited mobility.
Inasmuch as all exercises are beneficial in stabilising mental health and even improving it, CKD is good for this as it also induces self-confidence in the students’ abilities to defend themselves. The combinations of moves in the patterns studied help to increase cognitive abilities. The speed and defence drills improve speed of reactions.
The use of aerobic and anaerobic exercises strengthens bones, muscles and connective tissue. For people of advanced years this helps to prevent, or at least slow down, the onset of osteoporosis. CKD uses scientifically designed processes allied to traditional oriental martial art techniques to produce a self-defence methods that are powerful and yet do not put excessive strains on the body.