James Langille training with instructor Joshua Mack at Trail Martial Arts. (Contributed)

James Langille training with instructor Joshua Mack at Trail Martial Arts. (Contributed)

7 Summits: Mind and body determined to succeed

“It’s not easy, but the biggest wins come after the hardest challenges …” - James Langille

“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits”– Unknown.

Like all forms of martial arts, Tae Kwon Do combines various skills, training, and mindset to improve fitness.

However, aside from the plethora of obvious physical benefits, there are also mental and spiritual advantages when students learn martial arts.

Tae Kwon Do is a social martial art practiced in a club or school by groups of like-minded students working collectively on mastering techniques. This community of athletes sets goals and aims to achieve various belts that signify successful skill level mastery.

Being willing and able to be tested in front of a group of peers takes confidence and dedication to the process of earning the justifiable reward.

“I started with a group of friends at seven years old to learn Tae Kwon Do,” said James Langille, a Grade 9 student at Seven Summits Centre for Learning. “I was good at it and enjoyed learning the basic forms. Discipline and respect came naturally to me, and occasionally I found myself in a leadership role which I very much enjoyed. It’s athletic and gets my stress out while doing head-height kicks, spins, strikes, and testing to belt up levels.

“Where I train at Trail Martial Arts, I have learned skills beyond the combat portion of martial arts. When I started, I was just a little kid who was always fooling around, but I quickly learned self-control, which helped me grow. I have also developed leadership skills, allowing for job opportunities and a desire to give back by volunteering. Tae Kwon Do is a skill that is used for self-defence, but it also teaches other values.”

For those who say learning to fight can promote fighting, Langille disagrees.

“It’s hard to explain sparring because Tae Kwon Do is self-defence and not intended to hurt people by acting on angry emotions,” he said.

“Our instructor teaches self-control and good decision-making. He explains sparring as a mental chess game designed to promote improvements in the whole class versus beating each other down.

“We understand we are alone in our actions during the fight, but not alone in the result as we strengthen the whole group.”

Beyond the physical benefits of building fitness and flexibility, strengthening muscles and bones, improving posture, relieving stress, and training balance, Tae Kwon Do impacts the whole person. Mental and spiritual benefits include goal setting, concentration, decision-making, discipline, respect, improved self-esteem, memory function, and reduced feelings of insecurity and boredom.

“Martial arts relates to everything I do and makes me who I am. So, for example, when I started at Seven Summits in Grade 8, I knew it would be a challenge and that I would have to hunt for knowledge instead of simply coasting through courses or loafing socially. But, like Tae Kwon Do, I accept that challenge and look forward to being better prepared to succeed in high school and post-secondary education,” said Langille.

Students of Tae Kwon Do are highly disciplined in learning each movement precisely and concentrate on progressing through the art. This concentration, discipline, and goal-orientated training is positively transferrable to other areas of life, such as school, work, and group tasks.

“Tae Kwon Do helps train your senses and memory. I have experienced that my senses have improved dramatically through training, as has my knowledge and capacity to remember things. I feel focused and more aware. Even the most minor detail is noticeable,” said Langille.

While he continues to train with his longtime instructor Joshua Mack at Trail Martial Arts, Langille is gathering points as he waits to test his first-degree black belt next fall.

“During this time, I am teaching younger students the basic forms and techniques of this combat sport. It’s gratifying to see others learn and succeed through determination.

“It’s not easy, but the biggest wins come after the hardest challenges – or at least those are the ones I remember the most.”

For further information, please contact Seven Summits Centre for Learning Administrator Tanis Shippy at info@sevensummitslearning.com

Author: Tara Hauck, Marketing Coordinator Seven Summits Centre for Learning.

About us: Seven Summits Centre for Learning is an exceptional public high school experience that offers a blended learning model for grades 8 through 12 in Rossland, B.C.

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