In a busy world keeping a balance in life can become difficult. A different way of achieving the much sort after balance and gaining self-confidence as well as fitness is turning many people turn to martial arts.
In Christchurch, International Taekwon-Do (ITKD NZ) a martial art is growing at a fast rate as member numbers grow and a new club is opening in Hallswell last month. The strength of International Taekwon-Do in Christchurch can be seen through the performance of the recent South Island Regional Championship Tournament, with about 100 competitors, and over half of the competitors were from Christchurch clubs.
The strongest club was Do Riccarton, with competitors from 5 to 50 years old, and which maintained its winning streak and took out the Best Overall Club for the second year in a row, with 29 gold medals against 16 gold medals won by Pulse Taekwon-Do of Christchurch. International Taekwon-Do Riccarton was also nominated and was a finalist in the top three clubs for the Club of the Year in the Canterbury Sports Awards this year.
At the Tournament competitors took part in not only sparring, but also patterns, pre-arranged sparring, power board breaking and specialty breaking (high flying kicks). Competitions help entrants grow both as martial artists and as individuals through pitting their skills against competitors from other clubs, and often winning through mental toughness and perseverance – and performing to new level.
“In recent years, many martial arts, including Taekwon-Do, are been viewed as only a combat sport, losing its identity as a martial art. International Taekwon-Do is a martial art, but a martial art isn’t just about fighting. In fact Taekwon-Do aims to eliminate fighting and building a better and more peaceful world through developing self-confidence and discipline, to people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Kris Herbison the instructor of International Taekwon-Do Riccarton and former silver medallist at the ITKD world champs who is aiming at involving the sport in the community more in the future.
There are classes run by the International Taekwon-Do Clubs in Christchurch from four years old, including a School Holiday Programme for kids. Taekwon-Do has been found to work well for kids, where they can learn many skills to help them through life – including paying attention, using calm voices and working together.
New Zealand are the current World Champions after winning the best overall country with 14 gold, 8 silver, and 13 bronze medals in Italy last year.
In New Zealand there are around 3,500 members and growing in New Zealand at over 75 clubs around New Zealand.