One class, and I was hooked.
In January 2001, I entered a Taekwon-Do do-jang and took my first class. Since then, I’ve trained with instructors from all over the world, met many wonderful people, competed in tournaments, sparred many opponents and broken hundreds of boards.
As the saying goes: thousands of hours of training, hundreds of classes, years of sweat, countless bumps and bruises, one black belt.
In 2021, I earned my 4th Degree Black Belt. 20 years have passed quickly, but I have learned a great deal from many generous instructors and teammates during that time.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:
I can push myself farther than my mind thinks it can go. Regular training helped to instill this lesson and is a daily opportunity to see how I can train my mind to go past its self-imposed limitations.
Teaching is a great way to learn. For example, it’s one thing to practice a pattern and try to perfect it. It’s another thing entirely to teach that pattern to someone else. Having to explain and demonstrate technique, use the correct terminology and break things down forces me to develop a deeper level of understanding . Once I understand something well enough to teach it, it’s very rewarding to share that knowledge with others and watch them grow.
Never tire of learning. A good student can learn anywhere, any time. This is the secret of knowledge.The Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do
Part of being a student is giving back. Whether that means teaching, assisting with tests, encouraging teammates, participating in demonstrations, supporting tournaments or just helping to clean and keep things in order, being a student is a two-way relationship. When we receive knowledge, we must be prepared to give something in return. It’s not just about time or resources, either. I also must give 100% of my effort and concentration.
Nothing worth having comes without a cost. In Taekwon-Do, we pay that cost in many ways – through sweat, pain, sometimes blood, and sometimes injured pride. The result is knowledge and incredible physical skill. To me, it’s worth it.
This was a demonstration of the ITF pattern SAM-IL, first as the pattern is designed, then with attackers and boards to demonstrate the application of technique.
Grand Master Robert Zang presenting me with my 4th Degree Black Belt. It has been a honor to train under a great instructor, and I credit him with having a resounding impact on my life.
7 Board Break
This is me breaking seven 1″ pine boards. In Taekwon-Do, we break boards to demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique. One board is considered the equivalent of one bone, which is why it’s so important to practice self-control.