This might sound weird, but I believe that getting yelled at and being told what to do for an hour can actually relieve stress.
At our dojang, we get a lot of people who have high-powered or high-stress jobs. They love training here because, for that hour, they don’t have to think as much as they do in the outside world. The pressures they normally shoulder fade into the background while they’re training.
As the head instructor at our school, I rarely get the chance to experience this for myself. But, when I go to Toronto to train with my instructor, Grandmaster Park, as he is teaching me and telling me what to do, I find it to be a stress-relieving environment.
I do stress a bit about being as perfect as I can for him, but that’s kind of a joyful stress. By the time we’re done training, though, I’m totally relaxed and in a much better place.
Tae-Kwon Do is a perfect stress-reliever. Physical exercise, in general, is good for stress because it causes your muscles to tire, which inevitably forces them to relax. But Tae-Kwon Do in particular can help you deal with stress in a number of ways.
As you’re stretching, you’re on the floor or at the bar, doing your deep breathing, you’re relaxing your muscles in order to stretch. So, unbeknownst to you, while you’re trying to stretch, you’re relieving stress in your muscles, stress in your ligaments and, ultimately, stress in your body.
As you’re doing your patterns, you’re disciplining your body to move to certain places and positions and, at first, you’re rigid and deliberate. Then, over time, by memorizing the patterns, your muscles begin to relax as they move. So, you go from movements that are rigid to something loose, fluid, and natural.
In memorizing your patterns, you’re also exercising your mind as well. When your body becomes less stressed, your mind becomes less stressed. That symbiotic relationship between mind and body is something that comes up a lot in Tae-Kwon Do.
A lot of times, people – myself included – use their patterns to center themselves. If I’m having a bad day, if I’m having a bad training session, if my body doesn’t feel right, if my mind is kind of scattered, I begin doing patterns. Somehow, I find myself centered and in a much better mood, a better place.
Studies have shown – and I have always known this to be true – that memorizing Tae-Kwon Do patterns can also stave off Alzheimer’s and other mental diseases. The memorization keeps your synapses forming and firing better.
Another thing at the dojang that helps relieve stress is the culture and environment that we have nurtured.
We have a rule here. If somebody says hi to you, you must answer: “fantastic!”
The reason we do that is because I believe that if you say something enough, then you’ll manifest it more and more. Eventually, it begins to take over your life.
A student once told me a story about applying this rule at work. Someone there asked them how they were doing, and the student responded, “I’m fantastic!”
“They looked at me like I was crazy,” he said, “but then they smiled and said ‘what a great attitude!’”
I think just by bringing a little bit of the dojang with them to work, their workplace has a little less stress and, of course, a lot more smiles!
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!