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Balancing Body and Mind: The Synergy of Psychology and Taekwondo at TKD Wellness

In the bustling world of fitness and personal growth, a unique fusion has emerged – one that marries the discipline of martial arts with the insights of psychology. At TKD Wellness, a haven for Olympic Sport Taekwondo in Tucson, Arizona, we’ve harnessed this powerful synergy to create an environment that promotes holistic well-being and empowers individuals to reach their full potential. Join us as we explore the dynamic connection between psychology and Taekwondo and how it’s redefining the concept of wellness.

The Convergence of Disciplines

As a seasoned psychologist and a 4th Dan Taekwondo instructor, I have witnessed the transformative potential of combining psychology and martial arts. At TKD Wellness, we’ve taken this concept to heart, weaving together the philosophies and practices of both fields to create a unique approach to empowerment. Our mission is to not only sculpt strong bodies but also to nurture resilient minds.

Mindfulness in Motion

Taekwondo is more than just a physical practice; it’s a journey of self-discovery. By integrating mindfulness into our training, we guide students to be fully present in each moment. Through focused breathing, intentional movement, and meditative practices, we encourage participants to connect with their inner selves. This mindfulness not only enhances performance but also fosters a deeper understanding of one’s thoughts and emotions.

The Power of Self-Awareness

In the realm of psychology, self-awareness is a cornerstone of personal growth. By incorporating psychological principles into our Taekwondo practice, we facilitate a profound exploration of self. Through introspective techniques, students gain insights into their strengths, limitations, and potential areas for improvement. This self-awareness not only enhances their martial arts journey but also carries over into their everyday lives.

Confidence Beyond Technique

Confidence is a trait that’s built on a foundation of self-belief and achievement. At TKD Wellness, our holistic approach nurtures this attribute through both physical and psychological means. As students master intricate Taekwondo techniques, their accomplishments become a testament to their dedication and hard work. This sense of achievement bolsters their self-esteem, empowering them to tackle challenges with poise and determination.

Stress Relief and Emotional Resilience

Life’s demands can often lead to stress and emotional turmoil. Taekwondo, with its rigorous training and disciplined approach, offers a healthy outlet for releasing stress and building emotional resilience. The fusion of psychology and martial arts equips students with coping strategies that extend beyond the training mat. These tools help individuals manage stress, regulate their emotions, and approach difficulties with a clear and focused mind.

Building Strong Connections

One of the cornerstones of TKD Wellness is the sense of community we foster. Our classes aren’t just about individual growth; they’re about creating bonds that support each person’s journey. Through partner exercises, teamwork, and shared goals, students develop a strong sense of camaraderie. This interconnectedness aligns with psychological theories that highlight the importance of social support in overall well-being.

The Science Behind the Synergy

The blend of psychology and Taekwondo is not arbitrary; it’s backed by science. Studies have shown that physical activity, such as martial arts training, can have a positive impact on mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. Furthermore, the principles of psychology, such as goal setting, positive reinforcement, and cognitive strategies, seamlessly integrate into the training process, enhancing motivation and performance.

Your Invitation to Empowerment

At TKD Wellness, we invite you to experience the profound synergy of psychology and Taekwondo. Our unique approach goes beyond physical exercise – it’s a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and empowerment. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or new to martial arts, our classes cater to all levels of experience and fitness. Come join our community, where you’ll not only enhance your physical prowess but also cultivate a resilient mind and a confident spirit. Get Your Free Class Pass Now!


The fusion of psychology and Taekwondo at TKD Wellness in Tucson, Arizona, is a testament to the transformative potential of a holistic approach to wellness. By harmonizing the mind-body connection, we create an environment where personal growth flourishes. Through mindfulness, self-awareness, and a strong sense of community, our students unlock their true potential, becoming not only skilled martial artists but also empowered individuals ready to face life’s challenges head-on. Join us on this incredible journey of self-discovery and empowerment – where the balance of body and mind is the key to unlocking your fullest potential.

Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist & Head Coach: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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How Taekwondo Empowers Kids to Stand Up Against Bullying

Bullying is a pervasive issue affecting children worldwide. It’s a problem that can have long-lasting consequences, impacting a child’s self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being. As parents and educators, it’s crucial to equip kids with the tools they need to combat bullying effectively. One such tool is Taekwondo.

Taekwondo is more than just a martial art; it’s a discipline that can help children develop essential life skills, including confidence, resilience, and the ability to stand up against bullies without resorting to violence. In this blog post, we’ll explore how Taekwondo can empower kids to avoid bullying and create a safer environment for themselves and their peers.

1. The Role of Confidence in Bullying Prevention

Bullying often targets children who lack self-confidence and assertiveness. These vulnerabilities make them easy targets for bullies seeking power and control. Taekwondo addresses this issue by instilling a sense of self-confidence in its practitioners.

Through rigorous training and setting achievable goals, Taekwondo helps children build confidence in their abilities. As they progress and earn belts, their self-esteem soars. This newfound confidence is a powerful deterrent to bullying, as bullies are less likely to target kids who exude self-assuredness.

Actionable Skill: At home, parents can encourage their children to set small achievable goals and praise their efforts. This builds self-confidence gradually.

2. Building Resilience and Emotional Control

Children often struggle with managing their emotions, especially when confronted with bullying situations. Taekwondo teaches kids how to handle stress and adversity, which are essential skills in preventing bullying.

In Taekwondo, students learn to persevere through challenging training sessions and setbacks. This resilience extends to their daily lives, helping them cope with bullying-related stress. Additionally, the discipline teaches emotional control, emphasizing the importance of staying calm in difficult situations.

Actionable Skill: Teach deep breathing techniques to help children calm down when they feel upset or stressed.

3. Developing Physical Skills as a Deterrent

While Taekwondo promotes non-violence and self-defense as a last resort, it equips children with physical skills that can deter potential bullies. Bullies often target those they perceive as physically weak, making self-defense skills a valuable asset.

By knowing how to protect themselves, children become less appealing targets for bullies. Taekwondo encourages responsible use of these skills and emphasizes that physical techniques should only be employed when necessary to ensure personal safety.

Actionable Skill: Teach basic self-defense moves that focus on protecting themselves and escaping from dangerous situations.

4. The Importance of Respect and Discipline

Taekwondo is built on a foundation of respect and discipline. Students are taught to respect their instructors, peers, and themselves. These values discourage bullying behavior and promote a culture of kindness and empathy.

Children who practice Taekwondo often carry these values into their daily lives. They understand the importance of treating others with respect and empathy, making them less likely to engage in bullying behaviors themselves.

Actionable Skill: Encourage respectful behavior at home, including polite language and active listening.

5. Communication and Conflict Resolution

Effective communication and conflict resolution skills are vital in preventing bullying. Taekwondo places a strong emphasis on open dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution.

In Taekwondo dojangs (training halls or gyms), students learn to express themselves and resolve conflicts through dialogue rather than violence. This training equips them with valuable tools to address bullying situations constructively.

Actionable Skill: Teach children the importance of expressing their feelings and concerns through words instead of aggression.

6. Creating a Supportive Community

Taekwondo schools often foster a sense of community and camaraderie among students. This support system plays a crucial role in helping children cope with bullying incidents.

When children feel part of a supportive community, they are more likely to report bullying and seek help from their peers and instructors. This creates an environment where bullying is less tolerated, and victims receive the support they need.

Actionable Skill: Foster a supportive environment at home by encouraging open communication and emphasizing the importance of standing up for others.


Bullying is a significant concern for children and their families. Taekwondo, with its focus on confidence, resilience, non-violent self-defense, respect, communication, and community, equips kids with the tools they need to avoid bullying and create safer environments.

By enrolling your child in Taekwondo, you’re not just providing them with a valuable skill set; you’re empowering them to stand up against bullies and thrive with confidence and resilience. Taekwondo helps children become not just physically strong but emotionally resilient individuals who can navigate life’s challenges with grace and dignity.

In an increasingly interconnected world, where bullying can extend beyond the schoolyard into the digital realm, Taekwondo offers a holistic approach to building strong, confident, and kind individuals who are better equipped to prevent and address bullying. Empower your child with Taekwondo and help create a brighter, bully-free future for them and their peers.

TKD Wellness teaches olympic sport Taekwondo in NW Tucson, AZ and is a member club of USATaekwondo. Our goal is to have fun while getting fit and empowering our students through Taekwondo.

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Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist & 4th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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Mastering High Kicks: A Guide to Proper Stretching for New Taekwondo Students

In the world of Taekwondo, high kicks are not only visually stunning but also essential techniques that showcase flexibility, balance, and control. Whether you’re a new student excited to learn the art of high kicks or seeking to improve your existing technique, proper stretching is a crucial step to achieve those impressive heights. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the importance of stretching and provide a step-by-step approach to help you stretch effectively for high kicks.

The Importance of Stretching for High Kicks

Stretching serves as a vital foundation for executing high kicks with precision and reduced risk of injury. Proper flexibility enhances your range of motion, allowing you to perform kicks at various heights while maintaining stability. Stretching also promotes muscle elongation and suppleness, reducing muscle tension and making high kicks smoother and more controlled.

Step-by-Step Guide to Proper Stretching

Follow these steps to prepare your body for high kicks and optimize your stretching routine:

1. Warm Up: Begin with a light cardiovascular warm-up to increase blood flow and elevate your body temperature. Jogging in place, jumping jacks, or dynamic movements like leg swings are effective ways to warm up your muscles.

2. Dynamic Stretching: Engage in dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you’ll perform during your Taekwondo session. Leg swings, knee lifts, and hip rotations gradually increase your range of motion and prepare your muscles for the static stretches to come.

3. Static Stretching: Static stretches involve holding a position for an extended period to target specific muscles. Focus on the muscle groups involved in high kicks, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and groin.

  • Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the floor with one leg extended straight and the other foot against the inner thigh. Lean forward, reaching for your toes while keeping your back straight. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each leg.
  • Quadriceps Stretch: Stand on one leg and hold the opposite ankle behind you. Gently pull your ankle towards your glutes while maintaining an upright posture. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each leg.
  • Hip Flexor Stretch: Kneel on one knee with the other foot forward. Tilt your pelvis forward while gently pressing your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of the hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side.
  • Groin Stretch: Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching and your knees pointing outwards. Gently press down on your knees with your elbows to feel a stretch in the groin area. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

4. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching: PNF stretching involves alternating between stretching and contracting the targeted muscle group. For example, while doing a hamstring stretch, push against your hand or a partner’s resistance for a few seconds, then relax and deepen the stretch. Repeat 2-3 times.

5. Relax and Breathe: Throughout your stretching routine, maintain a steady and relaxed breathing pattern. Deep, controlled breaths help relax your muscles and enhance the effectiveness of your stretches.

6. Stretch Regularly: Consistency is key when it comes to improving flexibility. Incorporate stretching into your daily routine, even on non-training days, to gradually increase your flexibility over time.


Proper stretching is an essential component of mastering high kicks in Taekwondo. By warming up, engaging in dynamic and static stretches, incorporating PNF techniques, focusing on breathing, and making stretching a regular habit, you’ll enhance your flexibility and set the stage for impressive high kicks. Remember that progress takes time, so be patient and persistent in your stretching routine. As you work towards achieving higher kicks, you’ll not only improve your technique but also develop greater body awareness, control, and overall athleticism in your Taekwondo practice.

Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist & Head Coach: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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Starting Strong: How to Make the Most of Your First Taekwondo Class

The journey into the world of Taekwondo is an exciting one, filled with opportunities for personal growth, fitness, and empowerment. If you’re about to step into your first Taekwondo class, congratulations! It’s the beginning of a transformative adventure. To ensure you make the most of this experience, here are some essential tips to help you start strong and set the foundation for a rewarding Taekwondo journey.

1. Arrive Early and Prepared

Arriving a little early for your first Taekwondo class gives you the chance to settle in, meet your instructor, and familiarize yourself with the training environment. Wear comfortable workout attire and bring a water bottle to stay hydrated during the session. Being prepared physically and mentally will help you focus on the learning experience.

2. Embrace an Open Mindset

Approach your first Taekwondo class with an open and positive mindset. Embrace the challenges and new experiences that come your way. Remember that every martial artist was once a beginner, and the journey of improvement is ongoing. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to learning and growth.

3. Listen and Learn

Listening to your instructor is key. They’ll provide guidance on proper techniques, movements, and the philosophy behind Taekwondo. Pay attention to instructions and ask questions if something isn’t clear. This attentive approach will set the foundation for your understanding of the art and its principles.

4. Focus on Fundamentals

In your first class, you’ll likely cover fundamental techniques, stances, and basic movements. These fundamentals are the building blocks of Taekwondo. Mastering them will provide a solid foundation for more advanced techniques in the future. Focus on quality over quantity, ensuring your techniques are accurate and controlled.

5. Pace Yourself

While enthusiasm is great, it’s important to pace yourself during your first Taekwondo class. Don’t feel pressured to match the pace of more experienced students. Listen to your body, take breaks if needed, and gradually increase your intensity as you become more comfortable.

6. Engage with Others

Taekwondo often thrives in a supportive community. Engage with your fellow students and make an effort to connect. Sharing experiences, exchanging tips, and providing encouragement can enhance your learning journey. Remember that you’re all on this path together.

7. Set Realistic Goals

Setting goals can provide direction and motivation. Start with realistic short-term goals for your first few classes, such as improving a specific technique or learning a certain form. These achievements will boost your confidence and keep you motivated to continue your Taekwondo journey.

8. Embrace the Learning Process

Taekwondo is a journey of continuous learning. Don’t be discouraged by any mistakes or challenges you encounter. Instead, see them as opportunities to learn and grow. Every class is a chance to improve, and progress often comes from embracing the learning process.

9. Stay Consistent

Consistency is key to success in Taekwondo. Regular practice and attendance will help reinforce what you’ve learned and build your skills over time. Make an effort to attend classes regularly and practice outside of class to solidify your understanding of techniques and forms.

10. Celebrate Your Progress

As you complete your first Taekwondo class and subsequent sessions, take time to celebrate your progress. Acknowledge the techniques you’ve mastered, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the sense of accomplishment you feel. This positive reinforcement will keep you motivated and excited to continue your journey.


Your first Taekwondo class is a stepping stone toward empowerment and personal growth. By arriving early, embracing an open mindset, focusing on fundamentals, and engaging with the community, you’ll lay the groundwork for a successful journey. Remember that Taekwondo is a process, and every effort you put in will contribute to your improvement. Stay committed, practice consistently, and celebrate your progress along the way. Starting strong is the first step toward a rewarding and transformative Taekwondo experience.

Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist & Head Coach: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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Unlock Confidence and Strength: Join a Free Taekwondo Class in Tucson, AZ

Are you ready to embark on a journey that will not only transform your physical fitness but also empower your mind and boost your self-confidence? Look no further than TKD Wellness, your premier destination for Olympic Sport Taekwondo in Tucson, Arizona. We invite you to experience the exhilarating world of Taekwondo by joining our free introductory class – a stepping stone towards discovering your hidden potential.

Why Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is not just a martial art; it’s a holistic approach to wellness that combines fitness, self-defense, and personal development. With roots tracing back to ancient Korean traditions, Taekwondo has evolved into an Olympic sport that focuses on strengthening both the body and the mind. At TKD Wellness, we embrace this philosophy to create a unique environment where fun, fitness, and empowerment converge.

Unleash Your Strength

Our free Taekwondo class is designed to introduce you to the fundamental techniques and principles that make this martial art so powerful. From mastering dynamic kicks to refining your hand techniques, you’ll experience a full-body workout that engages muscles you didn’t even know you had. Taekwondo’s dynamic movements not only enhance your flexibility, balance, and coordination but also provide an exhilarating cardiovascular challenge.

Empower Your Mind

At TKD Wellness, we believe that true strength comes from within. Through our free Taekwondo class, you’ll embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Taekwondo teaches you discipline, focus, and determination – skills that extend far beyond the training mat. As you progress in your practice, you’ll notice an enhanced ability to tackle challenges, set and achieve goals, and approach life with unwavering confidence.

Boost Your Confidence

Confidence is the key to success in all aspects of life. Our free Taekwondo class is designed not only to strengthen your body but also to boost your self-esteem. As you learn new techniques and overcome obstacles, you’ll experience a sense of accomplishment that translates into newfound confidence. This newfound assurance will radiate through your daily life, empowering you to seize opportunities and face challenges head-on.

Experience the TKD Wellness Difference

TKD Wellness is not just a martial arts school; it’s a community that supports and uplifts each other. Our experienced instructors are not only skilled in Taekwondo but are also passionate about helping you achieve your personal goals. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have previous martial arts experience, our classes are tailored to accommodate all skill levels.

How to Get Started

Joining our free Taekwondo class is easy. Simply fill out the online registration form on our website or give us a call to reserve your spot. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to prepare for your class – from what to wear to what to expect. We recommend comfortable workout attire and an open mind ready to absorb new knowledge and skills. Get Your Free Class Pass Now!


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to unlock your full potential through Taekwondo. Join us for a free class at TKD Wellness in Tucson, AZ, and experience the thrill of dynamic movements, improved fitness, and a newfound sense of confidence. Taekwondo is more than just a martial art; it’s a path to empowerment and personal growth. Are you ready to take the first step? Sign up for our free introductory class today and embark on a journey towards a healthier, more confident you.

Get Your Free Class Pass Now!

Written by ChatGPT & Reviewed by Clinical Psychologist & Head Coach: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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The History of Taekwondo in the Olympics

Taekwondo is a martial art that has a rich history and has become a popular sport worldwide. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the history of Taekwondo in the Olympics.

Taekwondo made its debut as a demonstration sport in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This was a significant moment for the sport, as it allowed Taekwondo to be introduced to a global audience. Four years later, Taekwondo was once again a demonstration sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. This marked the second time that Taekwondo was included in the Olympics, and it helped to raise the profile of the sport.

In 2000, Taekwondo officially became a part of the Olympic program. The Sydney Olympics marked the first time that Taekwondo was contested as an official Olympic sport. This was a significant achievement for the sport, as it recognized the popularity and competitive nature of Taekwondo on a global level.

Since its debut as an Olympic sport, Taekwondo has undergone several changes to make it more spectator-friendly. The rules and scoring system have been modified to make the sport more exciting for the audience. The introduction of electronic body protection and instant video replay has also improved the fairness and accuracy of the sport. Additionally, the number of weight classes has been expanded, and female competitors have been included in the Olympics.

Taekwondo’s inclusion in the Olympics has had a significant impact on the sport. It has helped to increase popularity and participation in Taekwondo worldwide. The sport also promotes cultural exchange and understanding, as athletes from different countries come together to compete. Taekwondo’s inclusion in the Olympics has also had a positive influence on the development of the Olympic Games, as it has helped to bring new and exciting sports to the global stage.

In conclusion, the history of Taekwondo in the Olympics is a story of growth, evolution, and success. From its debut as a demonstration sport in 1988 to its official recognition in 2000, Taekwondo has become an integral part of the Olympic program. With its continued popularity, Taekwondo will undoubtedly continue to play a major role in the Olympic Games and promote cultural exchange and understanding.

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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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 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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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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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.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

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

Written by: Yoendry Torres, Psy.D.

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3 Hacks Every New Taekwondo Student Should Know

Tucson Taekwondo Wellness White Belt Board Breaking

Are you (or your child) new to Taekwondo in Tucson or elsewhere and want to be the best? Then Keep reading because I’m going to share 3 hacks that will help new students 1) kick higher and stronger, 2) block & punch with power and 3) learn your poomsae faster.

So here are the 3 Taekwondo hacks:

  1. One of the biggest mistakes that new students make is not pivoting their feet. It’s important to pivot the foot that is on the floor so that the heel is facing the direction one is kicking. This opens up the hips and allows for greater range of motion… meaning higher kicks! So try this routine and practice 3 sets of 10-25 round kicks and 10-25 side kicks against the wall making sure your heel is facing the direction your kicking. Your kicks will be higher and stronger in no time!
  2. The second hack will help new students block and punch with more power. However, first new students have to slow down, way down! New students tend to be excited about learning martial arts and want to jump right in and do every movement fast and strong, which is wonderful… however, this may lead to poor technique in the long run, which will reduce both your blocking and punching power. Try this instead: Practice all blocks and punches in slow motion 5-10 times making sure that your rotate wrist at end of every block or punch and the blocks and punches are ending in the correct endpoint (e.g., soloplex, shoulder level, etc). Once you’ve done these drills enough, muscle memory will take over when executing techniques at full speed/strength and your blocks and punches will be much stronger.
  3. The third hack will help the new students to learn their poomsae. It’s no surprise that new students struggle to learn poomsae, as most poomsae are 20 or more steps with defensive and offensive hand and foot techniques. The cool thing is that we can use brain science to help us better memorize our poomsae. Research on cognition and memory has shown that chunking material into smaller bits of information greatly increases our ability to memorize large amounts of data. So try this poomsae training tip: If your poomsae is 20 steps long, then break it into 4-step chunks and practice each 4-step chunk starting with the first 4 steps of the poomsae until you have memorized and mastered the technique. Try doing 5-10 repetitions of each chunk. Chunking can also help advanced students perfect their poomsae by drilling the chunk they want to improve. This type of practice is called deliberate practice.

What tips do you have for new Taekwondo students?

Let us know in the comment section below.

TKD Wellness teaches olympic sport Taekwondo in NW Tucson, AZ and is a member club of USATaekwondo. Our goal is to have fun while getting fit and empowering our students through Taekwondo.

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

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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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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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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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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














3’ 4”

3’ 9”

4’ 2”

4’ 8”

5’ 2”

5’ 6”

5’ 8”

5’ 10”

6’ 0”

6’ 2”

6’ 4”

WEIGHT (lbs)












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.