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FREE Women’s Self Defense Workshop

You’re invited to attend a FREE women’s self defense workshop on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 6:10pm-7:10pm at TKD Wellness located on 5675 N Oracle Rd Suite 3101 Tucson AZ 85704. Enroll Now!

The workshop will cover the following strategies and techniques:

Safety & Mindset Strategies

  • Statistics Summary
  • Avoiding being a target
  • Handling confrontation: verbally, physically & psychologically
  • Using body language and non-verbal cues

Physical Techniques

  • Striking basics
  • Power Theory: Centerline & Rotation
  • Striking weaknesses from head to toe
  • Escaping grabs
  • Using your voice

Please share the women’s self defense workshop flyer with your friends.

Did I mention that it is free… register now!

Thanks, Master Torres

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Deliberate Practice: 2018 TKD Training Goals

I know that I may be a bit late to the 2018 goal setting… but better late than never, right!

In all seriousness, after competing in the 2018 Arizona State Taekwondo Championships at the end of March and re-experiencing the thrill of competition, I decided that tweak my training routine in an effort to model deliberate practice for my students… and well to simply get better at poomsae. If you’re wondering what deliberate practice is, let me offer a brief review.

Deliberate practice is basically a type of purposeful and systematic practice/training. It is not mindless repetitions or practice but focused training with the goal to improve a particular skill. Another related psychology term is “Growth Mindset,” which is the theory developed by Carol Dweck that defines two types of mindsets:

  1. Fixed Mindset: Is a belief that you are either born with talent or your not. Born with intelligence or not. People with fixed mindsets often see failure as a blow to their ego and as a result avoid trying new things in order to maintain the belief that they are “good.”
  2. Growth Mindset: On the other hand, growth mindset is a belief that one can work, train hard to achieve mastery or even get smarter! Mistakes, failures, etc are often experienced as opportunities to grow and improve. Thus, new experiences are sought after because that is the path to excellence.

Ok, so enough about psychology… and back to TKD training. My 2018 TKD goals are simple and straight forward. Let me start out by saying that my overarching goal is to compete at Nationals in 2019 in men’s 31-40 Poomsae Division. To be clear, my goal is to simply qualify for nationals, not to win gold at national. Baby steps right?!

So here are my 2018 TKD training goals that I settled on after reviewing my video from my 2018 AZ State Championships:

  1. Improve Flexibility: Although I consider myself already pretty flexible, I think my poomsae performance can be more spectacular with higher kicks, specifically side kicks, which tend to be more difficult for me. I am focusing strength training on my legs, specifically the adductor muscles (adductor flies) and isometric exercises (front and side isometric splits) to help achieve this goal.
  2. Improve Balance: I tend to lose my balance during my higher side kicks as seen on my video, so it makes sense to focus on improving my balance so that the overall poomsae performance is stronger.
  3. Improve Timing: This is probably the most important factor that will require deliberate practice. The timing and rhythm of poomsae is one of the most important factors judges are looking for and it is something I can improve with deliberate practice. See this youtube interview by Master Ashly R Davis of Iron Wood Productions of Grandmaster Raymond Hsu for insider tips for beginner poomsae athletes where he speaks to this topic.

So now that we have reviewed growth mindset, deliberate practice and my 2018 goals, here is the training plan I created. Feel free to download and use for yourself. I plan to post regular photos of my training progress on the new  #Taekwondo_Wellness Instagram account. Lastly, if you want to learn more about growth mindset, take a look at this 2-part blog written by my colleagues at Intuition Wellness Center.

  • TKD Periodization Plan 2018: This is the overall plan for the entire year. More about periodization in a future blog post.
  • TKD Strength Training Log: This is the strength training log. I decided to do strength training twice per week and rest on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
  • TKD Technical Training Log: This is the technical training log where the focus is on improving specific skills in poomsae by drilling my weak areas.

Question: What are your TKD training goals for 2018… and more importantly, what is your plan to achieve them?

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Written by Dr. Yoendry Torres, Psychologist & 4th Dan Taekwondo

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March 2018 Promotion Test

On March 31, 2018 Intuition Wellness Center’s Taekwondo Wellness program held it’s third promotion test in Tucson! Intuition Wellness Center congratulates:
  • Gabriel A who promoted from yellow to green belt
  • Blue B who promoted from orange to green belt
  • Tanner M who promoted from white to orange belt
  • Ben J who promoted fromwhite to yellow belt
  • Elijah C who promoted from white to yellow belt
An extra special message from Master Torres: “Thank you for continuing to allow me to be your Taekwondo instructor. It is an honor to watch your growth. Don’t forget to finish what you start!”
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3 Reasons to Incorporate Mindfulness Meditation into Your Training

Meditation is a mental exercise that has been taught and practiced in both traditional and sport Taekwondo dojangs across the world. Meditation has also been featured in countless martial arts movies such as The Karate Kid and USA Taekwondo has written articles about “Clearing Your Mind Using Meditation.” It’s important to know that there are various styles of meditation but for the sake of brevity, we will discuss “mindfulness meditation,” which is the stye taught to students at Taekwondo Wellness.

So what exactly is mindfulness mediation and how can it benefit your martial arts practice?

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Thus, mindfulness meditation is the practice of intentionally paying attention to the present moment without judgment or criticism. Mindfulness can be practiced both formally and informally. Formal practice is done by setting aside a specified amount of time (e.g., 5, 10, 30 minutes per day, etc) to practice mindfulness while informal practice is done throughout one’s day by simply paying attention at various moments during one’s day (e.g., while eating, showering, walking, training, etc).

 How to Practice

  1. For formal practice: Get into a comfortable position. Can be sitting with legs crossed, sitting in a chair or even laying down. For informal practice simply do steps 2-3 throughout your day for moments at a time.
  2. Close your eyes and inhale. Focus your attention on your breath. Notice if your shoulders, chest, or abdomen move as you inhale or exhale. Continue to breathe in and out at your natural rhythm.
  3. You will soon notice that our mind naturally begin to wonder and experience all sorts of thoughts and feelings and our senses are heighten. For example, you may notice sounds that were in the background that you hadn’t noticed before. This is normal. The task is to simply notice your experience without judgement or criticism and return your attention to your focus of attention (usually one’s breathe but can also be to other things like our sense of sound).

Reasons to Practice

  1. Relaxation is a major benefit of this sort of meditation practice. Sport psychologists have shown that anxiety decreases performance in their research. Thus, if you’re nervous before a promotion test, a competition or even a challenging drill in class, meditation is the antidote!
  2. Meditation helps regulate our energy levels. Research has also found that people have an optimum level of energy where they perform at their best. However, if one’s energy is too high, it becomes difficult to concentrate whether it is poomsae, sparring or breaking. Meditation practice lowers our heart rate, which in turn lowers our energy levels allowing us to concentrate and perform better.
  3. Focus is another added benefit of a regular meditation practice. Let me explain, in how to practice step 3 above, the mind wonders and the task is to return to our chosen focus of attention without judgment. This exercise of being distracted and returning attention, followed by being distracted and returning attention gives us the power to focus our attention to what we choose rather than what the brain wants to experience at that moment. This is vital whether it is in a self defense situation or a competition as one would want to focus on the actions that will lead to the desired outcome rather than on emotions such as fear that may leave us frozen in place.
  4. There are many more evidenced-based benefits to mindfulness, just see this article by the American Psychological Association. For example: Reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility and relationship satisfaction are benefits demonstrated through research.

Now you know how and why to incorporate a practice meditation into your martial arts training. The key, like in martial arts training, is consistency. The more you practice meditation, the more useful it will when you need it. So I recommend you practice at the end of every class, even if it is just for a minute or two.

Question: Do you practice meditation in your martial arts school? If so, what are the benefits you have noticed?

Liked what you read? Ready to join me in the Taekwondo Wellness Program at Intuition Wellness Center?

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation and to get more information on any one of the many services and programs we offer.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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2018 AZ State Taekwondo Championships

Hello Taekwondo Family!

Its been several years since I have competed in a Taekwondo tournament but I decided mid 2017 that I would start training for poomsae competitions sponsored by USA Taekwondo. Tournaments are great fun and a tremendous opportunity for overcoming anxiety, learning sportsmanship, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

I’m excited to share that the Arizona State Taekwondo Association released the details for the 2018 Arizona State Taekwondo Championships. See tournament details below:

  • Date: March 24, 2018
  • Location: Washington High School, 2217 W. Glendale Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85021
  • Contact: 623-875-2882, Email: aztkdworld@gmail.com
  • Spectator Admission: $10 per person, 5 years old and under Free
  • Competitors Register Online: www.usat.hangastar.com by March 19, 2018
  • Divisions: There are many divisions for all ages to compete in such as sparring, poomsae, board breaking, team poomsae, etc.
  • Price varies by the amount of divisions you compete in. See chart below:
Price For 1 division(s): $75.00
Price For 2 division(s): $95.00
Price For 3 division(s): $115.00
Price For 4 division(s): $135.00
Price For 5 division(s): $155.00
Price For 6 division(s): $175.00
Price For 7 division(s): $195.00
Price For 8 division(s): $215.00

Taekwondo Wellness students are welcomed and encouraged to attend the AZ Taekwondo Championships as either spectators or competitors in the poomsae and/or board breaking events. Students, please note that in order to compete in a USA Taekwondo sponsored tournament, competitors must pay an annual USA Taekwondo membership of $45 in addition to the event price. This is worth spending if you plan on competing in more than one tournament per year.

I will be competing in the Adult 31-40 Male Black 1st / Black 9th All (UNDER 40) Poomsae Division. Hope to see you there!

Train hard but have fun, Master Torres.

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December Promotion Test

On December 16, 2017 Intuition Wellness Center’s Taekwondo Wellness program held it’s second promotion test in Tucson! Intuition Wellness Center congratulates:
  • Gabriel Avenenti who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Blue Breuer who promoted from yellow to orange belt
An extra special message from Master Torres: “Thank you for continuing to allow me to be your Taekwondo instructor. It is an honor to watch you both flourish and thrive inside and out of the dojang. Don’t forget to work on those goals you set for yourselves and keep up the hard work!”
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Taekwondo Uniform Sizing 101

It’s common for new students or their parents to have uniform sizing question before purchasing their first uniform. Below is a uniform sizing table and a few guidelines that should help you decide what size Taekwondo uniform to purchase for yourself or your child.

Uniform Sizing Table

SIZE

OOO

OO

O

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

HEIGHT

3’ 4”

3’ 9”

4’ 2”

4’ 8”

5’ 2”

5’ 6”

5’ 8”

5’ 10”

6’ 0”

6’ 2”

6’ 4”

WEIGHT (lbs)

35

50

70

90

120

150

170

190

220

240

260

A Few Guidelines
  1. The uniform sizes start from 000 and go up to size 8.
  2. The uniform sizes are based on the height (inches) and weight (lbs) of the student.
  3. When choosing the size of the uniform choose the larger size if there is a size difference between height and weight.
    1. For example, if the student’s height is 4’3″ (size 0) but their weight is 60 lbs (size 00), choose the larger size (size 0).
    2. The same would be true if a student weighted 160 lbs (size 3) and was 5’2″ (size 2), choose the larger size (size 3).
  4. Please know that new uniforms tend to shrink a bit when washed for the first time. So take that into account when purchasing your uniform.
  5. New uniforms usually also come with a matched size white belt; however, some do not, so make sure that the uniform description states it comes with a white belt before purchasing if you are a new student.
  6. Students that have tight fitting uniform tops but pants that fit correctly should purchase a larger size uniform that will fit their comfortably and hem the pants. Alternative, two uniforms can also be purchased.
  7. Parents may be tempted to purchase their child a uniform several sizes up given that their child is growing quickly. Although this is cost effective, it may hinder your child’s ability to move freely in class or even trip them up, if the uniform is not hemmed and is overly large and loose on them. Thus if your a parent planning on purchasing a much larger size uniform for your child, please hem the uniform so it does not prevent them from tripping or from executing their full range of motion.
  8. In Taekwondo Wellness, beginning students wear “White V-Neck Taekwondo uniforms while advanced students (Red belt & above) wear “Black V-Neck Taekwondo uniforms.
  9. Taekwondo Wellness students interested in competing in official World Taekwondo/USA Taekwondo tournaments will be required to purchase an additional competition uniform (and other official equipment for sparring) that meets World Taekwondo sparring or World Taekwondo poomsae uniform specifications.



I hope these uniform guidelines were helpful.

Question: What additional tips do you have when sizing your uniform? Write your responses below in the comment section.

Liked what you read? Ready to join me in the Taekwondo Wellness Program at Intuition Wellness Center?

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation and to get more information on any one of the many services and programs we offer.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

A Word about Affiliates

The Taekwondo recommended gear above contain affiliate links to products. If you click through and purchase, Intuition Wellness Center will receive a small commission on the sale. Rest assured, we only recommend products or services that our team members personally use or believe will be helpful to our readers or clients.

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Lets Reduce Male Suicide Rates: Fathers Train Free During Movember


Movember is finally here… Men get your mustaches ready, set, grow!

For those of you who haven’t heard about the “Mo” movement, I recommend you start by watching this TED talk by the founder of Movember.

Back in June 2015, I wrote a blog post about Men, Fathers & Mental Health for Men’s Health month where I highlighted the suicide and depression rates for men in the United States in addition to reviewing the signs of depression and offering some resources for men. As a psychologist, I work with many brave men who courageously confront their mental health. As a father of two boys, I want them to know that it is OK to talk about feelings and it is OK to ask for help.

Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men. Too many men are ‘toughing it out’, keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence. The Movember Foundation is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030, and I want to help them get there. Help me stop men dying too young.

So this year, I want to do something a bit different and offer any father who donates money to Movember a free month membership of Taekwondo Wellness or give the same deal to any father who enrolls their child into Taekwondo Wellness in November (these membership proceeds will be donated to Movember).

DONATE TO MOVEMBER

Liked what you read? Ready to join me in the Taekwondo Wellness Program at Intuition Wellness Center?

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation and to get more information on any one of the many services and programs we offer.

Written by: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

Photos by: Movember Foundation

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3 Ways Courage Impacts Our Mental Health

When I was first learning how to execute a flying side kick over an obstacle, it took quite a bit of mental gymnastics to build up the courage that ultimately helped me overcome my fear. I have seen my students experience similar fears while training and that’s my cue to have a “mat chat” on the topic of indomitable spirit.

Indomitable spirit is having the courage to face one’s fears and possessing unbreakable determination. There is nothing like overcoming our fears to build our self confidence. Here are three ways courage impacts our mental health:

  1. Destroys Anxiety: Fear is at the core of most anxiety disorders and courage may be the antidote. Exposure plus response prevention is the standard treatment for some types of anxiety in which individuals are taught to use coping skills while confronting the very situation that causes anxiety rather than retreating from the fear-inducing situation. As one might imagine, there are plenty of circumstances that incite fear while practicing Taekwondo whether it is when breaking boards, demonstrating poomsae in front of class, or executing a flying side kick over an obstacle.
  2. Builds Confidence: By repeatedly overcoming fear, it becomes easier to face that fear, and other related fears, in the future. In doing so, we build confidence and the more we build confidence the easier it is to have a “yes I can” attitude, which is advantageous both in and out of the dojang.
  3. Create Neurological connections: Interestingly, the two above mental health benefits of indomitable spirit have a neurological basis. Specifically, our brains may develop unhelpful neuropathways over time through experiences that trigger negative thoughts, increase heart rate, and create a feeling of nervousness when confronted with a stressful event. The more one engages in this unhelpful neuropathway, the stronger it gets. On the other hand, the less we engage in this unhelpful neuropathway, the weaker it gets. Moreover, if one develops a healthy response to anxiety, it establishes a healthier neuropathway. Thus, every time we overcome our fears in Taekwondo, we are in fact strengthening our healthy neuropathways and weakening our unhelpful ones.

Keep in mind that fear is a very real experience. It is important to know that with proper guidance and support and a lot of hard work, students can grow and overcome these challenges. If this post was helpful, please leave a comment below and tell us what’s your answer to our question below.

What has been your greatest fear that you have overcome in Taekwondo?

Indomitable spirit is one of the five tenets of Taekwondo taught at Taekwondo Wellness. Check out my previous posts if you’re interested in learning about how perseverancecourtesyintegrity, and self control impact mental health. Also, be on the lookout for my next blog post about indomitable spirit and how it impacts our mental health as well. If you are interested in learning more about our programming, please call 520-333-3320 or visit our dojang at Intuition Wellness Center.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

 

Image by: Ayuntamiento Roquetas de Mar

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5 Tips for Perseverance

Have you ever felt like giving up? If the answer is yes, then you’re not alone. I won’t lie, when I train hard, my muscles ache and I sometimes think, “what’s the purpose.” Life would be so much simpler without these aches and pains wouldn’t it? Well, that’s debatable! I know that my life would definitely lack depth and the satisfaction of accomplishment that comes when I persevere through life’s trials rather than giving up. So what does perseverance mean and how do we get better at it?

In my last post, I wrote about Integrity: 3 Reasons Accepting Our Failures Lead to Excellence and how important it is to look at our failures as opportunities for growth. Yes, perseverance is not giving up and finishing what you have started. I like to think of perseverance as also not giving up on yourself or your goals. Perseverance is not only an action but the way we think about life’s challenges. It is a goal oriented mindset that helps you push through the tough workouts or other challenges in life. Let me share 5 tips that I’ve learned from my psychology education, clinical work, and from my years of training and teaching Taekwondo that I think will help you have a mindset of perseverance:

  1. Develop goals: Goal setting is a blog in itself (coming soon) and is commonly cited by olympic champions as a primary factor leading to their success. Goals act as our compass not only in sport but in life. Goals are vital at directing our energy productively and motivation that fires us not to give up. However, in order for goals to be effective they need to be personally inspirational and meaningful.
  2. Have shared goals: Whether you’re part of a team or a family, having shared goals makes a huge difference in how all the members work towards a common goal or set of goals rather than against each other. Keeping your shared goal/s in mind at times of hardship comes in handy as it will help guide our behavior towards a mutually beneficial resolution rather than a distancing and destructive resolution.
  3. Plan to achieve: Once you have a goal, the next step is to work out the fine details that will help you achieve it. There are lots of ways to plan and varying degrees of detail. I suggest keeping it simple but specific and measurable. For example, if your goal is to qualify for a state poomsae tournament, then part of your plan might include to conduct strength training 2-3 times per week, to practice poomsae for one hour and flexibility for 30 minutes 4 times per week, and to make sure you are eating a healthy diet consisting of the recommended protein, carb, and fat intake, and getting 8 hours of sleep nightly.
  4. Focus on your daily effort: The plan is built on actions such as training, sleep, and nutrition that are within your control. This is important because we can only control what we do and cannot control what others do. For example, we can control if we training or stretching daily or if we put effort into our training or just go through the motions. As you put your plan into action, you will soon begin to notice the very nature of achieving your daily efforts is very rewarding. Actually, sports psychologists have done research that concludes that athletes who focus on their daily effort rather than the end goal are more satisfied with their accomplishments regardless if they lose the tournament compared to athletes who focused on winning gold.
  5. Accept failures and grow: As mentioned in my previous post, Integrity: 3 Reasons Accepting Our Failures Lead to Excellence, the knowledge we get from failing is priceless and ultimately leads to success if we persevere. Another factor that impacts our ability to persevere is negative self talk, which affects our mood and as a result, our ability to perform at our best. Check out this previous blog post: “Self Control: 3 Mental Abilities That Improve Performance & Wellbeing” for more info on self talk.

Now you have the secret sauce to perseverance, goal setting. Keep your goals in your awareness, or even better, written down. By doing this it will help motivate you towards achieving your goals by more effective training, conflict resolution, and growth. If this post was helpful, please leave a comment below and tell us what’s your answer to our question below.

What goals help you persevere?

Perseverance is one of the five tenets of Taekwondo taught at Taekwondo Wellness. Check out my previous posts if you’re interested in learning about how courtesy, integrity, and self control impact mental health. Also, be on the lookout for my next blog post about indomitable spirit and how it impacts our mental health as well. If you are interested in learning more about our programming, please call 520-333-3320 or visit our dojang at Intuition Wellness Center.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Image by: BK