Teaching Taekwondo through Mosston's Spectrum of Styles: The Spectrum Offers Flexibility in Teaching Various Aspects of Martial Arts Content

By Na, Jaekwon | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, February 2009 | Go to article overview

Teaching Taekwondo through Mosston's Spectrum of Styles: The Spectrum Offers Flexibility in Teaching Various Aspects of Martial Arts Content


Na, Jaekwon, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Over the past three decades, the martial arts have enjoyed increasing popularity in the United States due in part to action films, professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, and ultimate fighting (Skidmore, 1991). This increasing interest has led to the transformation of martial arts from a spectator sport to a viable recreational pastime in which people of all ages can participate (Kozub & Kozub, 2004). With this social change in mind, Winkle and Ozmun (2003) suggested that martial arts should become a regular activity in the physical education curriculum because they can enhance students' health-related fitness, performance-related fitness, self-concept and esteem, and cognitive ability.

Nevertheless, physical educators may have difficulty in teaching martial arts for two reasons: (1) they have little pedagogical content knowledge and experience in teaching martial arts because physical education teacher education programs rarely prepare teachers in them, and (2) there is the perception that martial arts can be dangerous and difficult to teach. Therefore, the purpose of this article is twofold: (1) to provide physical education teachers with a rationale and background for teaching taekwondo by focusing on the physical, psychological, and possible multicultural benefits of martial arts, and (2) to describe how Mosston's spectrum of styles (Mosston & Ashworth, 2002) can assist in teaching taekwondo.

Mosston's spectrum of teaching styles, which ranges from the command style to the self-teaching style, aims to make teachers competent in a comprehensive pedagogical structure, regardless of content, in order to increase teachers' conceptual and practical pedagogical knowledge (Mosston & Ashworth, 2002). Because the main purpose of this article is to connect this pedagogical tool, Mosston's spectrum of style, to its use in teaching taekwondo, content knowledge about taekwondo is considered prerequisite for teaching it. The author believes that this article will also help physical educators who are familiar with other martial arts to employ Mosston's spectrum of styles in teaching those forms.

Benefits of Taekwondo

Evidence suggests that practicing the martial arts has beneficial effects on health - and sport-related physical fitness, specifically on anaerobic power and capacity (Melhim, 2001), endurance (Pieter, Taaffe, & Heijmans, 1990), body composition (Toskovic, Blessing, & Williford, 2002), muscular strength (Falk & Mor, 1996), and children's flexibility and balance (Violan, Small, Zetaruk, & Micheli, 1997). The psychological benefits of martial arts have also been documented for managing anger and releasing pain (Focht, Bouchard, & Murphey, 2000); and for dealing with resistance, coping with aggregation and vulnerability, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, and decreasing sleep disturbance and depression (Weiser, Kutz, Kutz, & Weiser, 1995).

Other research on martial arts has concentrated on both cognitive and affective development. Cognitive benefits of martial arts include the learning of movement and physics concepts "such as directions of movement, proper striking surfaces, the advantages of leverage over muscle, and situational awareness" (Michaelson, 2000, p. 12). Some martial arts involve tactics that help maximize cognitive engagement when individuals know the inherent strategies in these sports; consequently, Kozub and Kozub (2004) suggested that the martial arts could be easily taught using the teaching games for understanding approach. The beneficial affective aspects of martial arts emphasize promoting respect, responsibility, and self-regulation (Lakes & Hoyt, 2004; Law, 2004). In addition, Banks (2006) proposed that a self-defense course can develop positive attitudes toward physical education.

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Learning a Different Culture Through Taekwondo

The national standards for physical education (National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2004) suggest that students need to understand the concept of physical activity as a microcosm of modern culture and society. …

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