Taekwondo is widely recognised as a sport that not only improves people’s physical abilities, but also their mental health and social wellbeing.
But it doesn’t just make you a more disciplined, confident and capable person. It also provides an athletic base that can help you to succeed in many other sports.
Here are some of the sports where Taekwondo skills give you a huge advantage.
These sports can be dangerous and physically demanding, but they require a lot of composure under fire and split-second decision-making. For example, NFL players may look like human battering rams on the field, but they carry out complex set-plays and gameplans under significant pressure. Former New York Jets star, D’Brickshaw Ferguson, said his brown belt in Taekwondo “really helped with the discipline” side of the game, while former Heisman Trophy winner and 5th Dan Black Belt, Herschel Walker, attributes much of his success to his Martial Arts background.
AFL and Rugby players don’t have the same level of padding and protection as NFL athletes, which means their ability to sidestep and evade their opponents is vital, and for those who end up getting tackled or absorbing huge bumps, the ability to anticipate danger, block attacks or fall safely, can be the difference between staying on the field or sustaining a serious injury. West Coast Eagles star Jack Darling exemplifies this in the clip below, showing that his Taekwondo Black Belt has many uses both on and off the mats.
The nifty footwork and foot-eye coordination that you develop in Taekwondo classes certainly comes in handy on the soccer pitch. Kicking pads, in particular, helps to improve your timing and accuracy, allowing you to strike the ball cleanly and powerfully.
One of soccer’s biggest stars, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is an excellent example of this. The Swedish player earned a Taekwondo black belt at 17 years of age, before becoming an honorary member of the Italian Taekwondo team during his time at AC Milan. As you’d expect, Ibrahimovic is no stranger to spectacular goals and acrobatic volleys.
When you think of sports where you could apply your Taekwondo skills, Golf isn’t usually top of the list. But the core strength and balance Taekwondo athletes develop from practicing important stances, moving your body (and especially your hips) correctly, and delivering single-leg strikes, is extremely beneficial for your golf swing. Just ask one of the sport’s all-time greats, Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson has been practicing Taekwondo for sixteen years, which is evident in the clip below. On top of the above attributes, he says the martial art has also helped him to slim down whilst chasing Major Championships.
Balance and core stability are extremely important factors in generating a fast serve or a heavy topspin forehand. The balance and flexibility Taekwondo athletes develop in the gym can also significantly reduce the risk of injuries on court.
Rising US College Tennis star, Cole Shoults, has stated that he “owe[s] a great deal of his physical and mental attributes in tennis to Taekwondo.”
"Tennis is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one, and the discipline I learned in Taekwondo has definitely helped me on the court. Skills like balance and stability certainly don't hurt either when it comes to tennis, both of which are major focuses in martial arts," Shoults said.
If you’d like to find out more about Taekwondo, check out the Australian Taekwondo site.