Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Reflection of My Taekwondo Journey from the Perspective of a Brown Belt

by Sienna Lee

Taekwondo.  It’s not merely a hobby or a pastime, nor is it simply a sport.  Taekwondo is an art form: a way of life.  Over the course of my martial arts education, I’ve learned that fact.

              Everyone remembers what it was like in your first white belt class.  The “purest belt”, you were most likely intimidated by the other belts, staying quiet, doing as you’re told, and trying to absorb all of the wisdom and knowledge that you could in one enlightening
session.  However, one thing hasn’t changed since that first day in the dojang: you’ve never stopped learning.  By no means will you ever get to a point in your Taekwondo life where you sit back and say, ‘Ok. I’ve learned everything that there is to know about Taekwondo’.  No matter what dan you are, what belt…you will continue to learn.  Taekwondo is an
infinite teacher, and we are its eternal disciples. 
But do not let this discourage you, for even great masters are always perfecting a simple, yet at the same time, complex, middle punch.  This is what is so incredible about Taekwondo, it is a learning experience that can be a lifetime journey.   

              I never thought I would get to where I am today. On my first day as a Taekwondo student, I watched all the other pupils in awe, stunned by how coordinated and precise the dance-like moves were carried out.  I saw the other belts and thought, how will I ever get there? Will I be able to do it? Now, I see, that anything is possible when you have the right teachers, and the masters at Chosun Taekwondo Academy provide me with all the information and wisdom I need to become the best I can be.

         I remember when I was first being taught the basics of Taekwondo, one of the rudimentary things that you learn as a Taekwondo disciple is how to Kihap. When I was being instructed, the master very kindly told me to yell when I carry out a movement. “That’s called a Kihap. Eventually, you’ll get your own sound when you Kihap, but for now, it’s a yell to express strength.” When the master said that, I was thinking, “Wow. I’m going to get my own sound in Taekwondo”. For quite some time I thought  that one day I would Kihap in Taekwondo and a different new sound would come out. I now know that that was not what the master meant. What she meant, was not that I would one day sound different, but that one day I would achieve the confidence to yell as loudly and hard as I could, demonstrating my assertiveness in the art of Taekwondo. This progressive assurance in the craft makes it special.

              No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are, Taekwondo is always there for you.  It is a universal art.  From the moment you remove your shoes to the time you put them back on; once you step into the dojang, you know you’re at home.  But do not be fooled, Taekwondo is not for everyone.  It takes courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit, as stated in the Five Tenants of Taekwondo.  Let’s break these down, shall we?

Courtesy.  In other words, politeness.  Taekwondo is all about pride, and that comes with being polite and having respect towards others.  Remember, you represent your Taekwondo academy everywhere you go, so you want to be the best you can be, always.

Integrity. Having strong moral values and beliefs is important to be a good student at any Taekwondo academy.

Perseverance.  Rising through the ranks in Taekwondo doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes perseverance to stick with the art and not give up.

Self-control.  Taekwondo isn’t an excuse to go pick a fight with someone.  It shouldn’t be used to provoke an attack against anyone, self-control helps diffuse situations. 

Indomitable Spirit.  Tying in with perseverance, one must be brave, confident, and never give up.

              One of the best things about belonging to an academy or dojang, is that you’re never alone.  You will always have a family, you will always have someone there for you. To encourage, push, and test you to perform to the very best of your ability.  To see the other students train is an inspiration to me to train harder.  Whether I look to a white belt to observe how far I’ve come, or to a black belt to contemplate what I have to look forward to and work for, every student, Master, and Grandmaster inspires me.  This is what it’s like in the Taekwondo family, there is always someone to support you.

              When test day comes, a mixture of emotions punctures the air and creates a unique aura cloud floating above the heads of all the eager students. Anxious, nervous, excited, proud; adrenaline helps balance the uneven scale of feelings overtaking our already busy heads. When it finally comes to carry out our poomsae, perform our break…we’re ready. We know by heart what is expected of us, and this is evident by how we perform. There is no better feeling in the martial art of Taekwondo than knowing that you did your best and are rewarded with the esteemed promotion from belt to belt, dan to dan.                                                                                                        

         Looking back, I see that although I have learned a lot from the experienced masters at Chosun Taekwondo Academy, I still have much to learn. As long as I continue in Taekwondo, I will never stop learning. Each class brings new lessons on how to correctly carry out the art, acquiring new knowledge

         As a Brown Belt,  I look forward to being taught new techniques in Taekwondo. I hope to continue Taekwondo as long as possible, because I not only learn defensive techniques, but I also learn life skills that will help make me a successful person in the future.

         I’ve progressed a lot from that timid White Belt way back last November. 

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