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How to Train for Olympic Taekwondo Success

Olympic Taekwondo is a popular and fast-paced martial art that requires a combination of physical, technical, and mental skill to excel. In this blog post, we will provide tips and strategies for training for success in Olympic Taekwondo.

First, let’s talk about physical training. It’s essential to have a strong and well-conditioned body to perform at the highest level in Olympic Taekwondo. A good strength and conditioning program should include exercises that target the major muscle groups used in the sport, such as the legs, core, and upper body. Some recommended exercises include squats, lunges, and plyometric drills for leg strength, and push-ups, pull-ups, and medicine ball exercises for upper body and core strength. In addition to resistance training, it’s also important to include cardiovascular training to build endurance. Interval training and circuit training are effective ways to improve cardiovascular fitness.

It’s also crucial to warm up and cool down properly before and after training sessions to prevent injury and improve performance. A proper warm-up should include a combination of stretching, cardiovascular exercises, and sport-specific movements to prepare the body for training. A cool-down should include stretching and light cardiovascular exercises to help the body recover.

Moving on to technical training, Olympic Taekwondo is a sport that requires a wide range of techniques, such as kicks, strikes, and blocks. It’s essential to practice and perfect these techniques through drills and sparring. Drills can help you to focus on specific aspects of a technique, such as footwork or power, while sparring will allow you to apply the techniques in a more realistic setting. It’s also important to work on accuracy and timing in technique execution, as a well-timed and accurate strike or kick can make the difference in a match.

Mental training is also crucial in Olympic Taekwondo. The sport can be mentally demanding, and it’s essential to develop a strong mental game to perform at your best. One of the most important things is to manage stress and anxiety before and during matches. This can be achieved by using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and meditation. Setting goals and visualizing yourself achieving them can also help to boost confidence and motivation.

In conclusion, Olympic Taekwondo is a challenging sport that requires a combination of physical, technical, and mental skill to excel. By focusing on strength and conditioning, technical training, and mental training, you can improve your performance and achieve success. Remember to stay dedicated and disciplined in your training, and don’t be afraid to push yourself to the limit. With hard work and determination, you can reach your full potential in Olympic Taekwondo.

Please visit at TKD Wellness if you’re interested in learning and practicing Olympic sport Taekwondo. We’re located in NW Tucson and welcome all new students to join us and have fun while getting fit!

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4 Mental Skills To Get You Tournament Ready!

Taekwondo Wellness sparring

Preparation is an essential part of any sport, and Taekwondo is no exception. Mental skills like stress inoculation, mindfulness, growth mindset, and self-talk can all play a role in helping athletes perform their best at an upcoming tournament. As a psychologist, I’d like to share some tips on how Taekwondo athletes can use these mental skills to best prepare for their next tournament.

Stress Innoculation

One of the most important mental skills for Taekwondo athletes to develop is stress inoculation. Stress inoculation is a process of learning how to manage stress by gradually exposing oneself to stressful scenarios and learning how to cope with them. For example, an athlete could start by imagining their upcoming tournament and imagining how it will feel to compete in it. From there, the athlete could practice visualization, relaxation, and self-talk techniques in order to help them cope with the stress they’re feeling. Additionally, the athlete can practice their technique in a simulated environment, such as a sparring match or tournament-style drill, in order to prepare themselves for the real thing.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is another important mental skill for Taekwondo athletes to develop. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of one’s thoughts and emotions in the present moment. This can help athletes focus on the task at hand and be present in the competition. Additionally, mindfulness can help athletes stay calm and confident when competing. For example, an athlete could practice mindfulness by taking deep breaths before competing and focusing on the present moment. Additionally, the athlete could practice mindfulness by reflecting on their performance after each match and noting any areas for improvement.

Growth Mindset

Growth mindset is an important mental skill for Taekwondo athletes to develop. Growth mindset is the belief that one can grow and improve through hard work and dedication. This can help athletes stay motivated and push themselves to their fullest potential. Additionally, a growth mindset can help athletes stay focused on their goals and not be discouraged by their mistakes. For example, an athlete can practice a growth mindset by reflecting on their mistakes, learning from them, and setting goals to become better.

Self Talk

Finally, self talk is an important mental skill for Taekwondo athletes to develop. Self talk is the practice of talking to oneself in a positive and encouraging manner. This can help athletes stay confident and motivated while competing. For example, an athlete could practice positive self-talk by telling themselves that they can do it and that they have the skills and abilities to succeed. Additionally, the athlete could practice positive self-talk by reminding themselves of their successes and affirming their abilities.

In conclusion, Taekwondo athletes can best prepare for an upcoming tournament by developing mental skills like stress inoculation, mindfulness, growth mindset, and self-talk. By utilizing these mental skills, athletes can stay focused, motivated, and confident while competing. With the right preparation, athletes can be well on their way to achieving their tournament goals.

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TKD Wellness Competition Team WOT 2022

I want to congratulate our athletes for their display of Taekwondo spirit despite of some difficult matches and for representing TKD Wellness positively at WOT Championships 2022 on March 5th and for supporting their teammates during/after every match. “This is the way.”

Also… major kudos to our amazing coaches Chris and Dion for not only training up our athletes but for their leadership and dedication to our athletes’ wellbeing.

Athletes medals:

Fletcher – Gold (Olympic Sparring)
Valeria – Gold (Olympic Sparring) & Silver (Olympic Sparring)
Angela – Gold (Olympic Sparring)
Coach Dion – Gold (Olympic Sparring)
Coach Chris – Gold (Olympic Sparring)
Jesus – Silver (Olympic Sparring)
Jesse – Gold (2020 Sparring), Gold (Olympic Sparring), Gold (Poomsae)
Colin – Bronze (Olympic Sparring)
Kawsa – Bronze (Poomsae)
Megan – Gold (2020 Sparring), Silver (Olympic Sparring)

Next up is Grand Prix West on May 6-8 in Reno, NV… it’s the qualifier for 2022 USAT Nationals!

Check out sparring highlights video

Check out poomsae highlights video

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December 18, 2021 Q4 Promotion Test

On December 18, 2021 Taekwondo Wellness held its Q4 promotion Taekwondo test in Tucson and it was a great success. A big congratulates to the following students on their rank promotion and display of effort, dedication and perseverance.  

This Taekwondo promotion test was extra special because TKD Wellness held its first ever black belt promotion test in Tucson! It was 4 hours worth of pure Taekwondo heart and spirit that each of the black belt candidates demonstrated. The black belt test not only tested their physical conditionings and technical knowledge but it also required a written essay and multiple choice/short answer exam to test their understanding of Taekwondo psychology, history, terminology, etc. It is with great honor that I welcome these black belt candidates into the black belt Taekwondo family! Welcome and let the journey to mastery and self growth continue.

Black Belt Promotion Rankings

  • Christopher “Dion” Williams Jr who promoted from 1st Dan to 2nd Dan black belt
  • Christopher D Williams Sr who promoted from deputy black belt to 1st Dan black belt
  • Kawsa Ponnampalam who promoted from deputy black belt to 1st poom black belt
  • Allen Kempel who promoted from deputy black belt to 1st poom black belt
  • Mylo Baker Torres who promoted from deputy black belt to 1st poom black belt

Color Belt Promotion Rankings

  • Matthew Cruz who promoted from brown belt to red belt (2nd Kub)
  • Madeleine Berry who promoted from purple belt to brown belt (3rd Kub)
  • Mateo Berry who promoted from orange belt to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Elias Berry who promoted from orange belt to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Aidan Ball who promoted from orange belt to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Cristal Romero who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Angela Romero who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Valeria Romero who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Fletcher Cassen who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Sam Irish who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Sebastian Nellums who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Auburn Culp who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Everett Culp who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Gabriel Wong who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Carlos Wong who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Christopher Womack who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Jordan Duran-Lizarraga who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Kai Baker Torres who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Bethany Molina who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Bonnie Boyer-Stevens who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Emilia Bustamante who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Gavi Al-Haddad who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Issac Ripley who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Isabella Bustamante who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Jayden Molina who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Maia Cruz who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Woody Al-Haddad who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)

Want to see highlight photos & videos from the promotion test? Visit our facebook page. Hope you enjoy the photos/videos… if so, please like and share to help us recruit more students!   Much gratitude, Master Torres

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TKD Wellness COVID19 Update

Here is update re COVID19 as of 8-31-2020:

AZ Department of Health Services recently released new guidelines for reopening gyms. Good news, TKD Wellness was already implementing all of AZDHS recommendations even before they posted them. See AZDHS details here. See TKD Wellness COVID19 protocol here.

Best yet, TKD Wellness has now reopened in-person classes. Students must book classes in advance, wear mask and follow other COVID19 protocol precautions including staying home when feeling sick. Note that virtual classes will remain an option for any student wishing to train from home.

Get out of the house!!! Come get fit, learn Taekwondo and feel empowered. Get started today with our FREE class offer!

New AZDHS benchmarks: There are 3 COVID19 stats benchmarks that need to be met in Pima County at least at the moderate level for 2 weeks before reopening. They are: 1) Cases Per 100,000 2) Percent Positivity 3) Hospital Visit for other COVID-like illnesses. Good news is that Pima County is meeting 3 of the 3 benchmarks.

Let’s all do our part to keep COVID19 at bay so small business like TKD Wellness can remain open! Thank you for your continued support! 

See attached image with benchmarks data/charts. Thanks for your continued support and dedication to Taekwondo and your health!

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TKD Wellness COVID19 Update

Here is update re COVID19:

–  AZ Department of Health Services recently released new guidelines for reopening gyms. Good news, TKD Wellness was already implementing all of AZDHS recommendations even before they posted them. See AZDHS details here. See TKD Wellness COVID19 protocol here.

– New AZDHS benchmarks: There are 3 COVID19 stats benchmarks that need to be met in Pima County at least at the moderate level for 2 weeks before reopening. They are: 1) Cases Per 100,000 2) Percent Positivity 3) Hospital Visit for other COVID-like illnesses. Good news is that Pima County is meeting 2 of the 3 benchmarks and the cases per 100,000 just dropped into the moderate level as of last week. This means that if Pima County has another week of less than 100 cases per 100,000, we will be able to reopen with in-person classes. As a result, we anticipate TKD Wellness will be able to reopen in-person classes on Mon, Aug 24 as long as we continue to meet benchmarks. 

See attached image with benchmarks data/charts. Thanks for your continued support and dedication to Taekwondo and your health!

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3 Tips for Keeping Your Kids (& Yourself) Sane During Summertime

Summertime is usually one of the best times of the year for kids because they get to play most of the day. This free play time can be wonderful experience but can create chaos that can lead to conflict between kids and caregivers.

Here are 3 tips to help avoid the drama and conflict and have a fun summer:

  1. Make sure the essentials are covered: Rest, sleep, food and water are essential for human life and our mental functioning. People, especially kids, can get super cranky, or “irritable” as the professionals label this behavior, when they are hungry, thirsty, sleepy or tired. So the tip is to teach your kids about the importance of having good sleep hygiene and getting rest throughout the day so that they can have more fun when well rested. Teach them about eating or snacking throughout the day so that they don’t get “hungry.” Explain to them that drinking water, lots of water, will help them stay hydrated and play longer. Lastly, the best way to encourage them to follow this tip is by leading from example and making sure that you are also getting enough rest, sleep, food and water.   
  2. Create Routine: Most kids do better with structure and routine. Thus to avoid drama or full blown tantrums create a bit of a daily or weekly routine. The daily routine should cycle between periods of less structured activities with periods of more structured activities. For example, waking up and playing for a bit on their own is less structured followed by a more structured breakfast and then with outside play time followed by reading a book. The key is to create a routine that works for both and be consistent. The weekly routine can be something like on Mondays you read books, on Tuesdays you play a boardgame, on Wednesdays you bake together, on Thursdays you watch a movie, on Fridays you go for a bike ride together, on Saturdays you watch a YouTube kids video and on Sundays you practice your draw together. Some examples of unstructured activities include pool time, outdoor play, video games, building stuff or any other type of free play. Examples of structured activities can include meals, card games, reading, Taekwondo class, drawing, watching and talking about something educational, meditation or cooking just to name a few.
  3. Keep your cool: I think it goes without saying that if caregivers lose their cool and yell, express anger (notice that this is different than feeling anger) or in some other way have an “adult tantrum,” then the situation just got a whole lot worse. So to keep your blood pressure down you wan to first be aware of your moment to moment feelings and thoughts because you can avoid having yelling if you’re not aware that you’re feeling angry or thinking that your child is disrespecting you. Surprisingly, this can be very difficult for many but like any skill, it can be learned with practice. The best way to practice awareness is by getting into a habit of daily 2-5 minute meditation in a quite place so that you can pay attention to your thoughts and feelings during the meditation. One way of practicing meditation, called “Mindfulness Meditation” has you practicing three easy steps: 1) close your eyes and focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale breathing slowly and deeply; 2) notice your thoughts or feelings or perhaps sounds that distract you from focusing on your breath and; 3) returning your attention gently, without judgement or criticism, back to your breath. That’s it! Simple focus, get distracted or aware of what your are thinking or feeling in that moment and then refocus. Do these three easy steps over and over during the 2-5 minute meditation and get to know yourself better! Even better, practice with your kid/s and help them became more aware of their thoughts and feelings too.

Question: Let us know what your favorite tip is or do you have your own tip to share?

I hope you find these tips helpful and you have a great summer. If you’re a caregiver wanting a bit more support or structure for yourself or your kids, know that our sister program, Intuition Wellness Center, can help or if you want to start taking Taekwondo classes, either live or virtually, check out our programs, TKD Wellness.


Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D. Head Coach @ TKD Wellness & Clinical Psychologist

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Collaboration with Dancesequences

Just a few more hours before 2020! Can you believe it? 

Back in August I hinted on a Facebook post at a collaborative project between TKD Wellness and Dancesequences Inc. I’m pleased to share that we’ll have Kareene and Sabrina from Dancesequences joining us for a special 8-session program starting on Saturday, Jan 11, 2020 (more details below).

The program will be a part of the Saturday kids TKD classes. Dancesequences will take the reins at 9:40am and go to about 10:15am. I’ll be joining the fun too. There will be no fee for this program and everyone (including parents) is invited to participate and move.

I’m hopeful that this program will help students get more comfortable with moving and in turn find their own expression of the “art” of Taekwondo.

Program Description

Dancesequences’ IN MOTION classes encourage individual and group movement expressions and take inspiration from the free approach to body movement pioneered by Barbara Mettler. In IN MOTION, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to move. Utilizing improvisational creative problem-solving modalities, we explore what it means to follow our own movement feelings while simultaneously cultivating awareness of the larger group. Each person learns to value individual choices; in turn, the group provides support for individual creativity. Among the themes that we will explore are Sound and Movement (with a wide variety of self-accompanied percussive instruments, vocals and spoken word), Moving with Objects (both man-made and natural items), Movement and Art (exploring the intersection between 2-dimensional art and body movement), Moving Cultures (exploring cultural themes through movement), and many, many more. We will creatively move together, discover new ways to communicate and connect with each other, and find inspiration from each other. 

Class Details

Dates: 8 Saturdays, beginning 2020

  • Jan. 11, 18, 25
  • Feb. 1, 8, 15, 29
  • Mar. 7

Times: 9:40 am – 10: 15 am

Cost: Free

Notes: Open to TKD Wellness students, families and friends

This project is supported in part with funding from Ong Family Foundation.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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December 21, 2019 Q4 Promotion Test

On December 21, 2019 Taekwondo Wellness held its Q4 promotion test and it was a great success. A big congratulates to the following students on their rank promotion and display of effort, dedication and perseverance.  

  • Gabriel who promoted from red belt to deputy black belt (1st Kub)
  • Allen who promoted from brown to red belt (2nd Kub)
  • Kirk who promoted from brown to red belt (2nd Kub)
  • Mylo who promoted from blue to purple belt (4th Kub)
  • Chris who promoted from green to blue belt (5th Kub)
  • Lena who promoted from orange to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Rodney who promoted from orange to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Kawsa who promoted from orange to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Alaina who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Braydon who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Roger who promoted from orange to green belt (6th Kub)
  • Odin who promoted from yellow to orange belt (7th Kub)
  • Bridgett who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)
  • Liam who promoted from white to yellow belt (8th Kub)

Want to see highlight photos & videos from the promotion test? Visit our facebook page. Hope you enjoy the photos/videos… if so, please like and share to help us recruit more students!   Much gratitude, Master Torres

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Halloween Safety Tips For Kids

Trick-or-Treating Kids

Halloween is upon us and it can be super fun and exciting for some but… parents beware that ghouls and goblins aren’t the only dangers to watch out for during your trick-or-treating adventures with kids. There are spooky things to watch out for like cars while crossing the road, trips and falls, and candy quality. So, here is a cheat-sheet of safety tips for kids and parents.

WALK SAFELY
  • Whenever possible cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Remember to look left, right, and left again when crossing… and keep looking.
  • Keep electronics away so you can listen to and look at your surroundings.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths or if there is not sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Carry a flashlight or headlight to light the path once it gets dark to avoid trips and falls.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Don’t go into the homes of people you don’t know.
EAT SAFELY
  • Adults should examine candy before eating them.
  • Never eat open or unwrapped halloween foods.
  • Ask your parent or guardian if unsure about eating a treat.
  • Call the National Poison Center toll-free number if your child becomes ill or believe the treat was tampered with: 1-800-222-1222
COSTUME SAFETY
  • Use reflective tape on costumes and bags to help drivers see children at night.
  • Make sure costumes are the right size to avoid trips and falls.
  • Avoid wearing masks that limit obstruct field of vision. Wear face paint and makeup instead whenever possible.
  • Carry a glow stick, glow necklace, or glow bracelet to help spot your child at night easier.
DRIVE SAFELY
  • Drive slowly in residential neighborhoods.
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections.
  • Enter and exit driveways carefully.
  • Eliminate distractions in car to improve alertness and concentration on driving.
  • Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Turn on your headlights earlier to help be seen.
  • Be extra alert during popular trick-or-treating times – 5:30pm – 9:30pm.
KIDS TRICK-OR-TREAT WITH AN ADULT
  • Children under 12 should trick-or-treat with adult supervision.
  • Parents with young children might want to bring a stroller to carry tired children or extra candy.
  • Bring a backpack to carry extra candy.
  • Remind children who are mature enough to trick or treat without adult supervision to stay with their group in light and familiar areas.
  • In case of an emergency dial 911.
SPOOK-TACULAR OFFER

Question: What additional Halloween safety tips to you have?… besides not eating all the candy at once!  ;P 

Written by: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.