ADHD and Tae kwon do - A Gifted Child's Success Strategy

by Kalynn Amadio
(White Plains, New York, USA)

As a mother of an ADHD child, I want to relate our experiences with ADHD and our family activity of Taekwondo.

I would imagine nearly everyone visiting this website is aware that a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is gifted with spontaneity, creativeness and the ability to focus intensely on any task they take an interest in.

On the other hand, as parents, we are often faced with the difficulty of dealing with a child that is often impulsive, aggressive, hyper and easily distracted. The outside world uses these character traits to define him as "difficult", damaging his already fragile self-esteem.

All kids can be frequently distracted or inattentive and impulsive on occasion, but a child living with ADHD experiences these attributes most of the time. I know that as a parent I have a great deal of influence in helping him perceive these character traits as advantageous, instead of liabilities.

Regardless of the name, ADHD is not just a lack of the ability to be attentive, but it is the ability to deeply focus on a topic of choice. The ADHD child doesn't lack focus but tends to apply that focus in inappropriate ways. He has a low tolerance for idleness and gets bored easily.

I have found that sports can be either constructive or negative for all children but more so for my son. Expelling extra energy is a positive side to sports, but playing on a team is often frustrating to him, his coach and teammates. It can be difficult for him to learn to adhere to the rules and fulfill particular needs of the team.

Tae kwon do, a martial art, can be a tremendously beneficial for the ADHD child
as it permits controlled aggressive behavior in a safe environment. The instructor provides direction that is immediately followed so that it retains relevance and gives instant satisfaction.

A martial art like tae kwon do always emphasizes self-confidence, self-esteem and self-control as part of the curriculum. This is important for my child because it has helped him to build the confidence to believe what many consider negative character issues are actually positives.

In our taekwondo classes, children learn the "right action" at the right moment which tempers impulsiveness and turns it into a positive action. Boredom is negligible due to the fast active pace of the class that is full of jumping and spinning, punching and kicking; the hyperactive child can unleash behavior in an appropriate way and be praised for it.

Another aspect of his tae kwon do training is tolerance and respect for everyone no matter what label society might have imposed.

You can never outgrow ADHD, so we must help your children find ways to work with the negative aspects to build success. Giving him the chance to learn how to change negative traits into advantages to take into adulthood has been one the greatest experiences of our families participation in tae kwon do.

I try to remind myself that my ADHD child carries positive traits that are often cultivated by successful businesspeople, entrepreneurs and athletes. Spontaneity, creativity, fast thinking, intense concentration, tenacity and high energy describe the most successful in our history and make them "gifted" by any standard.

To learn more about how tae kwon do training can help your ADHD child, visit Kalynn Amadio's website and read more about the types of classes a reputable school offers for kids tae kwon do lessons.

Comments for ADHD and Tae kwon do - A Gifted Child's Success Strategy

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Jun 19, 2012
by: Anonymous

Is it possible that Kung fu will make children with ADHD more aggressive and dangerous to the environment?

Jul 29, 2011
Thank you-
by: A. Pearson

My 7 year old son, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, just started Taekwondo recently and I can tell you that it has already made a huge difference in his life. He has struggled with team sports in the past because he lacks the ability to focus and use his energy in positive ways. I was very skeptical of taekwondo because I thought it would be too "slow" for him, but a friend recommended that we try it and I am so glad that we did. His instructors are very calm, quiet, and patient. They also provide a tremendous amount of one on one instruction where they demonstrate and he follows--this allows him to constantly be engaged. They begin and end each 30 minute class by reciting words that remind them to be disciplined and responsible. If you have an ADHD child who is struggling, please consider trying this sport. --A. Pearson

Dec 24, 2010
Kids Tae Kwon Do
by: Kalynn Amadio

I'm so happy to hear more real stories from other parents. I have continued to see other children come into our school who benefit greatly from the disciplined yet positive approach that martial arts study provides.

It is absolutely important to do your homework when looking for a school. Find an instructor who understands these special children and you will have a wonderful experience. You may even decide to start training yourself!


Nov 12, 2010
Hoping Tae Kwon Do will help!
by: H&L's Mommy

My 5 yo son JUST started tae kwon do- he has SPD and ADHD and has been getting in a lot of trouble at school for his violence and aggression towards his peers. I was skeptical at first, but found a great instructor and did a lot of research on the topic. I am hoping we can be a tae kwon do success story soon!

Oct 11, 2010
I too am a mother of Tae Kwon Do success
by: Michelle Bleau

Back in the 1980's my child was diagnosed with ADHD. He had difficulty with other sports. I spoke with an Adult 18 year old ADHD child at the time who put ADHD in perspective. As I struggled to find answers against the only suggested alternative medication. I found Tae Kwon Do. Interestingly enough My middle son was in it. I was nervous about just another sport that my oldest with ADHD would struggle with just another sport. I can tell you he achieved his black belt and it helped in all aspects of his life. He is now a graduate with a Bachelors and is working on his masters. These children are often put in lower classes. I would lover to talk to this mother of this story. Together, I think we can help change the way ADHD is looked at. if your interested.

Oct 27, 2009
Mason Amadio ADHD child
by: Anonymous

My name is Mason Amadio and i am the child that has ADHD. I just wanted to tell you this because what my mother wrote is correct.

Aug 01, 2009
ADHD Information on this Website
by: TJ Chambers

Hi Mimi,

This article is not by me, the owner of the site.

Some people write their own information on my website but I am responsible for the majority of it.

Aug 01, 2009
I didn't know
by: Mimi

I've just been reading your article because my grandson has ADHD & I was looking up information abut it. I was very surprised when I came upon your article. It's very good and I have a question. Are you also responsible for all the ohther information available at this site?

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