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July 2019 Promotion Test

On July 13, 2019 Taekwondo Wellness held a promotion test and I want to congratulate the following students for their hardworking, dedication and perseverance.
  • Kirk who promoted from blue to purple belt
  • Mylo who promoted from orange to green belt
  • Gray who promoted from yellow to orange belt
  • Elena who promoted from yellow to orange belt
  • Chris who promoted from yellow to orange belt
  • Lauren who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Lena who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Rodney who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Kawsa who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Roger who promoted from white to yellow belt
Want to see highlight videos from the promotion test? Visit our facebook page. Hope you enjoy the videos… if so, please like and share our video!
Much gratitude,
Master Torres
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December 2018 Promotion Test

On December 22, 2018 Taekwondo Wellness held a promotion test and I want to congratulate the following students for working hard and their perseverance.
  • Gabriel who promoted from purple to brown belt
  • Austin who promoted from orange to green belt
  • Kirk who promoted from orange to green belt
  • Lotus who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Mylo who promoted from white to yellow belt
Want to see highlight videos from the promotion test? Visit our facebook page. Hope you enjoy the videos… if so, please like and share our video!
Much gratitude,
Master Torres
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Brain Benefits of Exercise: 4 Reasons to Start and Continue Taekwondo

Taekwondo is probably one of the funnest ways to get our dose of weekly exercise, in my opinion. Not only are Taekwondo classes a great workout but they are fun! Taekwondo classes are also energetic because we’re training with friends and because the the drills rotate and change from class to class, keeping it fresh. Most importantly, we will continue to exercise via Taekwondo because its fun and whether we realize it or not, we’re cultivating our minds, bodies and spirt.

Speaking of minds… also known as our brains. Did you know that there are an ever-growing body of research that shows the many ways regular exercise benefits our brains. For example, Wendy Suzuki, neuro-scientist, recently gave a wonderful review of these brain benefits of exercise in her TED talk. Check it out below:

Summary of the brain benefits of exercise:

  1. Boost in mood: Immediate effect on our moods due to increased neurotransmitters after workouts that last at least 2 hours. Other research suggests there is an “exercise dose” for anxiety (high frequency 5-6 days a week short duration 20-30 mins workouts) and for depression (low frequency 3-4 days a week with longer duration 45-60 minutes workouts).
  2. Improved focus: Exercise actually improves attention. For example, a study from 2013 in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that exercise has “positive implications” on how children with ADHD perform at school.
  3. Long term memory: The hippocampus is involved in long-term memory and is positively impacted by regular exercise in that it produces new brain cells, increasing its volume and enhancing our memory.
  4. Protects against brain diseases: Neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can be warded off by exercise. This is thought to be because exercise helps improve one’s cardiovascular functioning in our brains as well as the rest of our body.

Remember that there are other great reasons to train in Taekwondo such as to get physically fit, make friends, or learn self defense. Whichever the reason, I want to encourage everyone to go out and exercise for a healthier you.

Question: What is your top TKD training benefit?

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

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June 2018 Promotion Test

On June 30, 2018 Taekwondo Wellness held a promotion test and I want to congratulate the following students on working hard to improve their skills and not giving up on themselves.
  • Blue who promoted from green to blue belt
  • Gabriel who promoted from green to blue belt
  • Gamal who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Austin who promoted from white to yellow belt
  • Kirk who promoted from white to yellow belt
I also want to share a fun “action movie style trailer” video that I created to show some highlights from the promotion test that can promote TKD Wellness. Hope you enjoy the video… if so, please like and share our video!
Much gratitude,
Master Torres

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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:
  • Spectator Admission: $10 per person, 5 years old and under Free
  • Competitors Register Online: 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!”