Our training is based on individual needs, capabilities, skill levels and age. Our students range in years from 3 to 88, and some of our instructors are over 70. Since our primary goals are to prevent or reduce illness and disease and to promote optimum health and longevity by minimizing degeneration of body and mind, we also welcome those with limitations, such as individuals who use wheelchairs, who are amputees, who are blind, and who have maladies such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.
Everyone is welcome at Choi Kwang Do. At Choi Kwang Do, individuals may train at any age and enjoy the benefits of fitness and longevity. Levels of intensity, frequency and duration are all systematically developed for wellness. We encourage all our students to exercise regularly and to live a wholesome lifestyle.
Children are the most important people in the world, and they need to be nurtured. When senior instructors help students become more honorable and trustworthy, the students begin to form and maintain nurturing relationships. Our instructor-to-student relationships help us improve our character and shape our future. Our students learn to support each other wholeheartedly with positive reinforcement, which creates a pleasurable environment to learn in. Our students receive no criticism or punishment. Rather than pointing out the wrong way, we show them a better way by redirecting or correcting the movements and techniques. We are a family and we trust each other in a spirit of faith, support and camaraderie.
We also downplay competition. Young children can't distinguish between winning/losing in a competition and winning/losing in real life. When children lose in a contest, they often feel like they have lost in life as well. Since the child is still forming his or her sense of self, this belief is negative reinforcement and detrimental to their growth. Even in school, children compete against each other for high grades and praise, and much of the curriculum involves abstract analytical skills and facts. At Choi Kwang Do, we understand that learning comes not only from the intellect, but also from interactions with other people and knowing that you really can achieve your goals.
Children at Choi Kwang Do learn to encourage others to grow, to support each other, to be patient, to share, to behave with decorum and to compassionately relate with, rather than compete against, each other. In our protective, affirming environment, children can relax, make friends, learn, enjoy their training, and develop pride with humility. They learn to keep a clear, strong mind; they learn about commitment and persistence; they learn that achievement takes time; and they learn to stay focused until they achieve their goals. There are no losers at Choi Kwang Do. Choi Kwang Do also teaches patience, and our students are rewarded for their patience with our progressive belt system. We start at White belt and go all the way up to high Black belt, offering children something to aim for. As they progress in rank, they gain more confidence because they learn higher skills and techniques. Each belt is a short-term goal, which motivates and positively reinforces further achievement. When students reach their goal, we reward them with their new belt and celebrate in a ceremony with all the other students and the instructors. Students feel very special when they receive their belt in this way. This goal-orientated system helps them gain a sense of accomplishment as they progress through the system.
Their Pil Sung spirit means that, even if they don't succeed, they will stand up and try again. At the start of every class, students recite a children's promise—a mission statement for them to follow, not just at Choi Kwang Do but also at home and at school.
Middle-Aged & Elderly Students
Choi Kwang Do is an ideal form of exercise for middle-aged and more elderly individuals, and it's an ideal activity after retirement. Anyone can enjoy the benefits of training, and even teaching, at a CKD school. We have instructors who are over 70, and many students are even older. Extensive research has shown that good lifestyle habits and exercise are critical to reducing the aging process. The choices you make daily can either speed up or slow down your aging process.
All aging, including premature aging, is biological— we age according to our genetic makeup—but this process is controllable and can be greatly influenced. Environment and lifestyle habits contribute greatly to the process. That's why some people fall apart by the time they're 35 and others are healthy, youthful and active into their senior years!
The primary factors that affect the aging process are:
- Mental Attitude
- Proper Exercise
- Healthy Diet
- Good rest
If we overeat, drink too much coffee or liquor, sleep poorly, or fail to exercise, we'll age faster. However, if we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly for health and longevity (not sports), and drink lots of water for cell hydration, we'll live longer.
As people age, their physical capabilities decrease. In fact, from age 25, the body degenerates approximately 1% per year. This obviously is not good for our self-esteem or our endurance. At the age of 60, heart and lung capabilities are usually 40% lower than they were in our early 20s. About 20% of muscle composition is also lost. Speed, flexibility and balance decrease, making it easy to fall. But after 3-4 months of regular low-moderate exercise, the body's metabolic rate can increase by 10-15%, even in people over 60—equivalent to that of a person 10 years younger! Muscle composition and overall physical ability can also increase by 10-15%. The human body has many complex systems that work together to generate life. As we age, we need to remain active and keep exercising so we can live longer.
Because Choi Kwang Do's concept is based on individual physical condition, ability and skill level, people can train regardless of age, physical limitations or disabilities. We're not interested in winning competitions. Ours is a goal-oriented program that helps you achieve increased mobility, better physical and mental health, and greater levels of dignity and pride. Psychologically and emotionally, achieving goals can be much more pleasurable and satisfying than training without a purpose. No matter your age, it's never too late for your body to respond to CKD training.
Adults quickly find that they can lessen their levels of stress, enhance their health, and grow as individuals by becoming a part of Choi Kwang Do. Adult students also make friendships with other students and instructors because of the openness and family spirit that Choi Kwang Do embodies. Adults who train at Choi Kwang Do have a common goal—self-improvement—and we aim to help them fulfill that goal.
Classes for People with Learning Disabilities
At Choi Kwang Do, we welcome children and adults with attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD/ADHD) and other learning disabilities. We are very concerned about the children of today, and believe they are the most important people in the world. We're also worried about the epidemic of learning disabilities in our country. Why is this happening? We believe it may be because so many children are spending so much time watching television and playing computer games, developing lifestyles with little or no regular exercise and an abundance of social pressure and stress. Stress alone can dramatically decrease a child's ability to learn. It is the root cause of many of the problems of those labeled as hyperactive, ADD/ADHD or learning disabled.
Scientific research at the University of Akron, Ohio, indicated that martial arts is an effective way to help children with ADD. Over a ten-week period, researchers studying a small group of children found that those who took martial arts lessons could control their compulsive behavior much better than children of the same age who did not receive training. Choi Kwang Do is the best martial arts and exercise program available to help these children (and adults).
At Choi Kwang Do, we also understand that people learn in different ways, and we adapt our teaching techniques to give them the best possible experience. Even the education system is beginning to use learning modalities such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Some people process information and learn visually (by seeing), some process and learn auditorally (by hearing), and some process and learn kinesthetically (by doing). Most people have a dominant method/modality, some people have a balance of two, and others use all three. There is no absolute.
Choi Kwang Do is taught in a multisensory way that supports all three learning types. Children at CKD follow and learn from an instructor at the front of the room who guides the class by telling them what to do and by demonstrating. Students quickly begin to think for themselves and learn by doing.
Although we are not rigid or unbending, Choi Kwang Do's youth classes are taught in a structured, methodical, disciplined manner. Students are constantly moving and being mentally challenged and positively reinforced as they progress through the system. We want their attention span and self-confidence to develop, but at the same time, we want them to have fun, make friends and interrelate. With competitions removed, everyone is a winner at Choi Kwang Do.
Andrew Ludlow is an inspiration. He was labeled as dyslexic at just 7 years old. Today, at 14, Andrew is already an outstanding Black belt and an ambassador for the art!
"Before I started Choi Kwang Do, I was very quiet. I hated school and, by the age of 7, I was told I was dyslexic. From that time, I thought I was dumb. I thought that I could not do anything. My dad asked if I wanted to do a martial art. He explained that our barber had a school and I was invited to go. I accepted this offer and went that same evening.
I found it very hard; this was due to my dyslexia. When I can't do things, I get very upset, and I was almost in tears. I found the class fun, but hard and frustrating, but at the end of the class, I had really enjoyed it. It was the best thing I had done in my life!
After more and more classes, I became more confident. Before I did Choi Kwang Do, I would normally go into a room and sit in a corner, but now I am making friends, in and out of Choi Kwang Do. I am doing better at school and my reading and writing is a lot better. As I said before, I would go into a room and sit in the corner, now I go into a room and stand right in the middle of the room and talk to whoever is there. I have even instructed adult White belts; after this, they all congratulated me for teaching them well.
I am now a Black belt! Next year I want to go to Atlanta to do my 2nd Degree Black belt in front of Grandmaster Choi. By the time I am 18, I am going to open a full-time academy for Choi Kwang Do."
- Andrew Ludlow, labeled as dyslexic, 1st Degree Black belt, age 14, UK
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