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Tae Kwon Do - First Degree Black Belt Essay

December 04, 2005

When I first decided to get involved in tae kwon do I did so for the physical training. I hadn’t played an organized sport in over four years and daily workouts at the gym became boring and uninteresting. I needed a different way to incorporate a daily workout that is important to me to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Tae kwon do became a refreshing change.

The classes in the beginning were physically intense. I got headaches often from thinking about the classes all day and having a tough physical workout looming over me throughout the day. There definitely were times I hesitated coming to class because I knew it would be a tough workout. I think that at the time I didn’t know, or better yet understand, that it wasn’t the physical workout I was dreading, it was more the mental workout. It wasn’t that my body wasn’t prepared for the class or that I couldn’t do all the sit-ups or push-ups, it was the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was mentally prepared. The only thing I had to go by was that no matter how unwilling and lazy I felt, as soon as the class was over I felt so much better, so relieved and satisfied that I forced myself to come to class and that if I finished the workout, that I would completely forget about not wanting to go.

This went on for almost a year. Feeling apprehensive about going, taking the class, and then the feeling of satisfaction. I guess at around yellow or purple belt I made up in my mind that I was sticking with tae kwon do and that I was in it for the long haul. Slowly over the next year my attitude changed from having to force myself to go to class to wanting and needing to go to class. It was at this point the mental training tae kwon do offers started to take over the physical training.

I think blue belt was probably the biggest jump for me. Getting to blue belt signified a jump in training. I was no longer a “low-belt” and more exercises, or a more intense workout was required and expected, not just from Master Vince, but from myself. I wanted to be able to do all the exercises, I wanted to perform all the more difficult techniques. Like I said before, this required more than just a strong body, it required a strong mind.

I believe now that the mental training of tae kwon do far outweighs the physical training. The physical training has to stop at some point in the long run, but the mental training lasts a lifetime. I am able to perform in class and do all the exercises and all the techniques because I believe that I can. I believe that tae kwon do is a mental exercise. It requires focus and concentration and a willingness to believe that you can do whatever it is you want to do. Getting to black-belt is a symbol that I have the ability to put my mind to anything to accomplish my goals. Tae kwon do has helped me get to this point using little steps. When I first started out it was believing that I could do 30 sit-ups, then it got to 40, then 50…I think now we’re up to about 100. But it’s the ability to believe that I can do it that sharpens my mind and gives me confidence that I can do whatever I want to do.

The results speak for themselves. Almost four years ago when I started I had stopped going to school, didn’t have a job and had a hard time feeling comfortable in social situations. Fast-forward to today and I’ve graduated college, have a good job doing what I want to do, and actually enjoy myself in social settings. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t feel as comfortable with myself and the direction my life is going without tae kwon do.

I hope to pass on everything I’ve learned to other people at the school. I’ve gone through everything they are going through and hopefully by looking at me and what I’ve accomplished, through dedication and hard work, it will inspire them to keep training and push forward. I hope to start helping out teaching some of the classes. In the few classes I have managed to teach, even if just doing the warm-ups, I’ve learned a lot about how different people react to various forms of teaching techniques. And by figuring out how to inspire people and get them to train as hard as they can, I’m learning at the same time.

Tae kwon do has inspired me to become a better person and has given me the discipline and confidence to accomplish any of my goals. The impact from my tae kwon do training has only been positive.

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