HOW TO: CRANK UP YOUR CARDIO | McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy

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Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

Stacey Gregory reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
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My family has been with McDonough ATA for several years now and we love it! The staff here is very friendly and Ms. Johnson especially is very helpful and goes out of her way to answer questions and give help wherever and whenever needed.

Carey Klement Daughtry reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
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If you want your child to defend themselves against all the challenges that life will bring them as they grow and develop, you need to enroll in this school. I am especially impressed with their "Leadership Program". This school doesn't just teach students to "pass" which is what it seems our youth only cares about... this school raises the bar and tells it's students to go beyond "passing" and EXCEL.

Becca Nell reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
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The staff is highly qualified and makes a point to get to know every student individually. They are genuinely concerned that each student is achieving their maximum potential. They are very organized and the studio is kept clean. They also offer numerous other activities that are fun and even offer parent's night out.

Ashley Westphall-Carr reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

My kids have gained so much from going there. They are more respectful and have gained so much self-confidence. I would recommend ATA of McDonough to anyone wanting to take martial arts. My daughter just had her birthday party there in the staff was wonderful. They made her feel so special. Thanks ATA!!!

Stacey Coada reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

This place is a great place for kids of all ages and adults. Very family oriented even if you are just a parent not taking classes you are invited to watch and kept informed of all things going on. Very patient staff and teachers are phenomenal with the fact that all kids/people learn differently and they teach individually while still keeping the group learning as a whole. Walked into the building on a whim and ended up letting my daughter take classes for 4 years and becoming a 2nd degree black belt. She was strong willed stubborn and kinda hard to teach however all the teachers and staff were patient and kept calm helping her to learn respect and to follow rules and also respect to others who may not learn as quick as her so in the end she became a leader willing to help other struggling students. Highly recommend anyone thinking about taking classes to check this place out.

Nims Harris reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

We've been with McDonough ATA for a year now and the growth and positive changes we've seen are incredible. Our family have noticed the changes and have copied what we are doing in one way or another. Staff is great, friendly, and their families are a part of the Black Belt journey as well. Talk about putting your mouth where your money is. Gold Star

Callie Hamric reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

We absolutely adore this studio. My daughter is 4 and she loves her karate instructors and everything she learns! Today they learned about what to do if someone tries to kidnap them and I think it is absolutely wonderful that they teach this! The people are wonderful! I also am so happy that they are so accepting of all cultures. My daughter has two moms and they are more than welcoming of it!

Allison Knight Fedorowicz reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

My kids love ATA! My 7 year old is in the after-school program and begs to attend every camp and parents night out. A four-year-old has already told me he wants to join the after-school program next year when he starts kindergarten. They have both learned so much: martial arts, anti-bullying, self-defense, respect, discipline, and more. I love seeing the look of accomplishment on their faces every time they advance to the next belt. They love their instructors and the friends they have met along the way. What a great experience!

Krista Panick Crews reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

My son and I have been attending this school for about three years now. Great people, great curriculum, ATA rocks

Shelia Evans Gatlin reviewed McDonough ATA Black Belt Academy
via Facebook

My son is 7 years old and last month marked one year he has been enrolled in classes. McDonough ATA is about so much more than learning cool karate moves. For example, the oath they begin and end class with..."I promise to be a good person, to have knowledge in my mind, honesty in my heart, strength in my body, and make good friends." McDonough ATA and the wonderful instructors reinforce everything (and more) that we are teaching our son at home. Core values...honesty, loyalty, manners, tolerance, commitment, perseverance, discipline, self-confidence, encouragement, empathy, citizenship...I could go on! Not to mention the friendships and bonds he has formed with his classmates...priceless. ATA McDonough excels in molding and creating good people to be our country's future leaders.

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Raising the Heart Rate to Raise Performance

HOW_TO__CRANK_UP_YOUR_CARDIO_(11).pngRunners refer to it as “the kick.”  It’s the moment at the very end of a race when they burst out with everything they’ve got, pushing as hard as they can to reach the finish line ahead of their opponents.  After a long race a runner’s kick can make or break his results, and it all stems from endurance.

The same is true for martial artists.  Adrenaline can only get you so far; it’s your training that helps you accomplish your goals.  And if you’ve done martial arts for any length of time, you know just how important cardio- like running- is to lasting in those intense sparring matches and finishing that double ssahng jeol bong routine.

Cardiovascular exercise is any sort of activity that raises your heart rate and increases blood circulation for an extended period of time. It’s a critical part of any workout plan, particularly for its ability to burn fat and calories for weight loss.  For martial artists, however, cardio plays an even more important role as a key contributor to your overall performance.

Heart of the Matter

Despite whether you’re testing, training for competition or working toward your Mastership, cardio is crucial.  Your heart is a muscle that needs to be worked and trained just like any other, and this is where cardio comes in.  Increasing your heart rate not only strengthens the muscle, but it also increases lung capacity and builds endurance- the very thing that allows you to persevere in martial arts.

Grand Master In Ho Lee is always working out to stay more fit and he says, “Improving your cardio is essential to keeping your heart strong and increases your endurance during training.  The higher you get in rank, the more moves you have in your form.  You always want to look strong and not hit a point where your body gives out.”

Chief Master Todd Droege of Droege’s ATA in Marietta, Ga., agrees that cardio is important to a martial artist and said he sees an improvement in his endurance during sparring.  “It keeps your heart rate on track and improves your muscle response and reaction time for when you need it most,” Droege says.  Without cardio, you cannot perform at this high of an athletic level.”

His preferred method of enhancing Taekwondo training is through what he calls explosive cardio.  “It’s in quick bursts like doing two minutes high speed on a bike instead of a long endurance ride,” Droege says.  “Explosive cardio makes you more effective as a martial artist.”

A Good Fit

So what are the best ways to get your cardio?  One of the most efficient ways to achieve your cardio goals is practicing the ATA FIT test, a program designed to develop speed, flexibility, agility, power, accuracy, coordination and balance.  The program weaves those explosive bursts into your regular training with Taekwondo-based drills.

“There is a lot of benefit to incorporating Taekwondo workouts into your cardio training,” Grand Mater says.  “You get to practice your technique while building endurance so it’s a win-win.”

Many ATA licensed locations use the ATA FIT test in their classrooms as a strand for ATA black belts.  Each round is specially designed with sets of pushups, sit ups, kicking combinations utilizing both sides of the body, striking drills and designated foot and hand combos.  Different ages and abilities are given alternate requirements, but the important things is to always improve your cardio and endurance to challenge yourself even more.

Keep It Moving

When the weather allows, it’s nice to incorporate cardio outdoors in addition to your traditional Taekwondo workouts.  Running and hiking are popular among some Songahm Masters.  Whether you stick to outdoor activities, or indoor moves such as burpees or jumping jacks, the trick is to find a way to keep things fun while keeping your heart rate up.  That way, you’re more likely to develop a regular cardio schedule.

For Droege, that means mountain biking and weight training in his free time.  Even though he enjoys them, these activities serve a larger purpose; to help make him the best martial artist he can be.

“Not only are the y fun, but they build strength and endurance, adding another level of protection for when you are training,” he says.  “I do what I can outside of Taekwondo to prevent injury so that I can do Taekwondo twice as long.”

Corner that Cardio!

Cardio Benefits:

  • Boosts Your Mood
  • Helps You Sleep Better
  • Reduces Stress
  • Lowers Risk of Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Diabetes

Cardio Methods:


  • Jump Rope
  • Kettle Bells
  • High Knees
  • Burpees


  • Running
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Swimming

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