Champions Education Fund is the Official Charity of the US Open Taekwondo Hanmadang Championships
The Impact of Taekwondo on People with Special Needs
During my 40 years of teaching Taekwondo, I have witnessed a phenomenon that has an impact on everyone that practices Taekwondo. What follows is my description of that. In basic movement of Taekwondo both hemispheres of the brain are engaged. In many sports or activity only the dominant hemisphere is engaged. The basic sitting stance punch has one arm pushing and one arm pulling simultaneously. This results in dual hemisphere interaction. Because this is a learned response the brain creates a new neuro pathway. With repetition this pathway develops from a dirt road to a 4 lane freeway.
The Bill Bieber Story
In 1992, in Colorado Springs, a brain injured individual with severe disabilities, came into the Dojang (Taekwondo School) and told the front desk that he wanted to learn Taekwondo. I was asked to speak with him. He told me his name was Bill and he wanted to learn Taekwondo. Bill had paralysis on his left side and a significant speech impediment. I later understood that Bill had been shot 3 times in the face, then a long period of time in a coma and after 8 years of rehab, this was the man that stood before me. I knew none of this and was uncertain of Bill, so I told him if he wanted to learn Taekwondo come back tomorrow at 11:00 and I would teach him. 11:00 the next day Bill arrived, ready to begin.I had Bill do 30 minutes of sitting stance punch, down block - punch, high block - punch, inner forearm block. In one month Bill made big gains that resulted in greater range of motion, control and coordination and much more understandable speech.
I also learned that many head injured people came to Colorado Springs at the 4th of July to climb Pikes Peak. This was Bill’s goal as well. We continued the training and made extra preparations for our ascent on the mountain.
July 4th came around and because of Bill’s slow land speed, we were on the trail head at 6 am, hours before Bill’s teammates. The halfway point of 7 miles is Barr Camp. Bill and I arrived at 8:00. Bill’s speed was ½ a mile an hour. He only stopped to eat and stayed focused like a Champion. I was very proud of his accomplishment but Bill had his heart set on the top. A year later Bill, Heather and I tried again with the same results.
I had watched Bill’s confidence level grow from the fast gains he made in Taekwondo. Even though his land speed was not hugely improved his speech improved and with that confidence he began taking classes at Pikes Peak College.
The values and benefits of training Taekwondo are many. Champions Education Fund supports Para Taekwondo. Many Para Taekwondo athletes receive a variety of benefits but the most common and biggest is Confidence. Confidence is a powerful thing. Combine that with the comradery of belonging to something and the setting and accomplishing of goals and you have life changing ingredients.
Join with us and support the educational funding of these athletes.
National Director of Para Taekwondo Master Sterling Chase, Sr.
DuMyon Video 2018:
DuMyon Video 2016:
Global Para-Taekwondo University:
“2014 U.S. Open Hanmadang Highlight Reel” Hero Plate Studios Spotlight https://youtu.be/v3pvtjw-Z88