Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem

Dr. Michael W Deem is an award winning scientist.  He is currently a venture capitalist and CEO.  He was previously an Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures.  From 2002 to 2020 he was the John W Cox professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy at Rice University. His began his scientific endeavors at Caltech, where in 1991 he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.  Dr. Deem earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1994 from UC Berkeley.  He was a postdoctoral fellow in Physics at Harvard University from 1995 to 1996. Dr. Deem joined UCLA in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. 

Outside of Michael Deem’s academic pursuits, however, he holds a passion, and great skill, for the martial art Taekwondo.

Michael Deem enjoys practicing Taekwondo.

The world of Taekwondo is one that has been noticed by many people around the globe. The beautiful and flashy kicks leave spectators in awe.  Incredible lightning-fast techniques make this Korean martial art a fascinating Olympic sport watched by thousands. What does learning Taekwondo mean though? Does it live up to hype?  What are the Taekwondo pros and cons?  How is a Taekwondo class different from a karate class?  In this post, we’re going to learn the Taekwondo advantages and disadvantages, and you can make the decision for yourself whether it’s not only worth they hype, but if you want to learn it yourself.

The Advantages of Taekwondo

First, we’ll dive into the advantages of learning Taekwondo:

It’s a Great Stress Reliever

Ever go all out at the gym and then walk out feeling like you just hit the lottery? That’s what you could be experiencing after every Taekwondo lesson.

The sport is not only about self-defense or building muscles; it provides mental benefits as well! With each session spent working on perfecting your technique under pressure (stress), endorphins are released which help reduce pain while providing “feel good” emotions.

You know that feeling when your boss is such an A-hole? When all you want to do is unleash the anger and kick some serious ass?  Taekwondo could be a great way for you release those tensions! In Taekwondo class, we learn how strike with our limbs at different objects: punching bags, kicking pads OR even against your sparring partner! I can GUARANTEE it will make things better afterwards by beating something up!

It Teaches Discipline and Respect

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

In Taekwondo, discipline and respect for authority are integral to the student-teacher relationship, beginning at the first lesson and throughout the life of the student.  These Taekwondo teachings are integral to the art.  From day one students learn that they must follow what their instructors say without hesitation or argument. For if they don’t they will face consequences such as additional exercise before, during, or after class. They also learn to be humble and respectful to their fellow students and opponents, as well as their teacher.

At the beginning of every class, students learn to bow before their instructor and opponent. This teaches them discipline by showing respect for those in charge which is often helpful if you find yourself struggling with teaching a child or adult how be more respectful towards others. If you are in fact struggling with your child in teaching them respect, then you should enroll them in taekwondo school. As time goes on they may surprise even themselves, as what was once unruly behavior becomes disciplined.

It Increases Self-Confidence

In Taekwondo, you will be challenged to do things that are beyond your imagination. You’ll be able to do things that were previously thought impossible and building fitness at the same time, like performing beautiful spinning leg kicks in midair or breaking hard bone crushing objects such as wooden boards; all of which will make you into a stronger and more confident person and increase your self-esteem. Also, in relation to making you stronger, Taekwondo is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, helping your body have a healthier composition. With your healthier body and the knowledge and motor skills to defend yourself and others from confrontational situations, you’ll gain even more of a confidence boost.

It Teaches you Self-Defense

Wouldn’t it be cool to know and have the confidence that you could defend yourself in a real-life fight if need be? Provided that you picked the right school and put in the work, that’s exactly what you’ll know how to do should you take up Taekwondo. In learning this form, you’ll learn an assortment of punching, kicking, self-defense, and acrobatic techniques that could save yourself and others in a dangerous situation.

Great for Body Health and Exercise

Taekwondo is a sport that helps you lose weight and maintain your healthy body composition.  It is a great physical activity. In place of wasting time jogging or walking on the god-awful treadmill, why not just join a Taekwondo school? Not only will this help to drop pounds but also teach cool martial arts moves and techniques as well! 

Also, in terms of body health, Taekwondo training provides a lot of flexibility and mobility because you will need to be ultra-flexible in order for your kicks to work. There are static stretches during class, which is great if all day at the office isn’t enough movement; but also dynamic ones too so that we can actually use our muscles while moving around! The lack on stretching can lead to health issues like high blood pressure or chronic pain problems (or even just an unhealthy lifestyle). With this martial art form, people often see improvement not only physically, but mentally as well due their improved concentration levels, thanks to Taekwondo’s focus making them more productive than before they started practicing.

The Disadvantages of Taekwondo

Now, the advantages of taking Taekwondo may seem appealing enough to make you want to get started, but wait! You must know the disadvantages as well, so that you can be fully informed before diving right in:

Not Being Well Rounded

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

Taekwondo has always been criticized in the martial arts community due to its lack of emphasis on punching and being more well-rounded as a whole. Rather, you see lots of foot technique taught at times during classes. Furthermore, during competitions or sparring where someone might employ hand to hands techniques like punching, it becomes illegal and frowned upon! Lastly, there are hardly any grappling and throwing techniques being taught in taekwondo classes. This can be detrimental towards the student’s ability to defend themselves when they’re up against someone who has an advantage on close quarters fighting or even street fights that end up on the ground since most people don’t know how use leg kicks which is what these other martial arts rely heavily upon for self-defense purposes.

Not Enough Focus on Self-Defense

Taekwondo is a strong and powerful art form that has been around for centuries. As the sport side of things becomes more popular, some good old techniques are being abandoned in favor or competitive points-based training which takes away from its roots as an effective self-defense system – but if you’re not into competition then these changes may be difficult to find schools where they teach only traditional Taekwondo skills, thus not equipping you with skills to defend yourself in a life-or-death situation.

Lots of Taekwondo Schools Have Questionable Standards

It is a known fact that many Taekwondo schools are only focused on generating revenue and this often times means the students who were not qualified to meet certain belt testing standards get promoted. You may have seen these individuals around tournaments -the black belts without any spinning hook kicks, or proper sidekicks for that matter? Then there’s instructors withholding teaching techniques so as to make their student study under them longer amounts of time before being allowed access into those secrets themselves. Make sure to always do your research before even deciding to take beginner classes in this sport.

Cost Per Month for Classes Add Up

It’s easy to see why so many people are interested in martial arts forms like taekwondo. From the feeling you get when your belt is securely fastened around your waist, knowing that everything has been tested and approved by an expert… it’s almost enough motivation on its own!

But before signing up for any dojo or school out there be prepared because these things can quickly add up if not carefully monitored, especially with monthly membership dues adding another hefty expense into already tight budgets; some gyms will even use colored tape as their method of posterization (that’s what we call getting pulled over). And then protective gear like gloves/clothes really start costing more than they should after buying one set per person which means safety equipment needs come next.

On average, expect to pay $2200 yearly for this endeavor.

Major Risk of Body Injuries

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

Being that there will always be body contact in Taekwondo, prepare for the inherit risk of injury. Maybe you were tasked with splitting a board with your head, and next thing you know you wake up in the hospital with a head injury, or someone kicked you in the stomach so hard that you were about to throw up THEN pass out…

Unfortunately, pain is unavoidable when learning this martial arts form. However, as a result, your pain tolerance will be MUCH higher than if you never dealt with said pain.

The advantages and disadvantages of martial arts are widely discussed.  Like other martial art styles, Taekwondo advantages and disadvantages exist.   The pros and cons of Taekwondo mean that it may not be the perfect style, but the advantages of Taekwondo do outweigh the disadvantages. REMEMBER: you must do your research before choosing a school for a beginner or adult class, but regardless, give Taekwondo a try and experience the long-term benefits yourself!

Knowing the benefits of Taekwondo, it is no wonder why Michael W Deem is a successful scientist. By utilizing focus, Dr. Deem has had a successful career, receiving many honors: Fannie and John Hertz Fellow at UC Berkeley (1991-1994); NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry (1995-1996); Assistant and tenured Associate Professor, UCLA (1996-2002); NSF CAREER Award (1997-2001); Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam (1999); A Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT’s Technology Review (November 1999) (Profile and Original Profile); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002); John W. Cox Professor, Bioengineering and Physics & AstronomyRice University (2002-2020); Allan P. Colburn Award (2004); Editorial Board Member, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (2005-present); Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2005); Member, Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005-2008); Fellow, American Physical Society (2006); Member, Rice University Faculty Senate (2006-2009); Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology (2007); Member, Nominating Committee, Division of Biological Physics, American Physical Society (2007); Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (2007-present); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2009); BMES Representative on the FASEB Publications & Communications Committee (2009-2012); Professional Progress Award (2010) (Profile); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); External Scientific Advisor, Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (2010-present); Associate Editor, Physical Biology (2011-2018); Edith and Peter O’Donnell AwardThe Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (2012); Founding Director, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014, raised $0.5M seed funding); Phi Beta Kappa, Visiting Scholar (2012-2013); Chair, Department of Bioengineering (2014-2017, raised $12M in external startup funding for new faculty); Editorial Advisory Board, Bioengineering and Translational Medicine, (2016-2019); Donald W. Breck Award for zeolite science (2019); and NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Directorship Certification (2020). He was an entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures (2021-2022) and is a General Partner with Smart Health Catalyzer (2023 to present).  His name has been synonymous with innovation and thought-provoking research for three decades.  He enjoys mentorship, vaccine design, and helping others invent the future.

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