The Heart of Hapkido

By Megan Meintasis

How Martial Arts Can Enhance Your Child’s Life

The benefits of children taking Hapkido Martial Arts go beyond the physical: students are taught to have respect both for themselves and those around them, all while being trained to practice self-discipline on and off the mat. Not to mention, the kids have a blast!

“It’s all about working toward becoming one’s ‘Optimal Self,’ while having fun at the same time,” says Master Tan, instructor and owner of the Academy.

At Apex, the curriculum is designed to be developmentally appropriate for each age group based on both physical and cognitive levels of development. Classes last 45-50 minutes long and begin with a five-minute “Mat Chat” focusing on the life skill that will be emphasized to students that week. This is followed by a warm up session, then it’s onto practicing kicks and punches. Each lesson of the day consists of exercises varying from self-defense techniques to simply learning how to cartwheel. Each class ends with a time of closure to reflect on what students learned that day.

“We also focus on social development so students learn to build rapport with their peers,” says Master Tan. At Apex Martial Arts Academy, students are taught how to respectfully greet instructors and interact with classmates. “It’s so important because often times when parents are busy with work or when kids are addicted to video games, they don’t always develop the social skills and confidence they need,” adds Master Tan.

Taking Hapkido classes also provides kids with the confidence and self-defense skills they need to deal with others around them that may not be treating them right-not that they’re encouraged to break out the karate chops. Instead, students are taught that getting physical should be the last resort when confrontation arises. It’s similar to how adults should only use a gun if they’ve been put in a situation when they need to defend themselves. Just with Hapkido classes and being taught all you need to know about its techniques, taking the time to learn more information on about the various different guns that you can have access to is very important, as you if you’re going to be a gun owner, you need to be responsible. Thus reinforcing the idea of only using self-defense when it’s needed. Hapkido Martial Arts emphasizes that feeling strong on the inside is just as important as being strong on the outside.

“Kids simply having the confidence and knowledge to communicate to a bully that they are not going to be a victim anymore… It really changes things. It’s very rare that a student has to get physical with a bully,” he says, adding that a lot of times students will even defend others. “We teach them to be leaders,” concludes Master Tan.

Apex Martial Arts Academy
9299 Thornton Rd., Stockton
(209) 957-8819