I have been doing taekwondo for a little more than five years, and I am currently a second degree decided black belt. As someone who isn’t an extremely athletic person, I wanted to participate in a unique sport that I could do for the rest of my life.
When I moved to Texas in seventh grade from Fremont, Calif., my wish came true: I signed up for taekwondo classes at Valley Ranch Taekwondo. I felt a sense of community and a positive atmosphere from the moment my taekwondo journey began. I met instructors that push me beyond my capabilities, genuinely care about me, have high expectations for me and encourage me every step of the way.
It feels like home when I do taekwondo because of the artistic and aggressive nature of the martial art. Both of these aspects balance each other and make taekwondo exhilarating.
I am thankful for how taekwondo has influenced my mindset. When I am striking and blocking in forms, I aim for perfection. I apply this mentality in other interests like cooking and doing calculus problems.
Taekwondo gives me power as the workouts engage my entire body. Feeling out of breath when I push myself past my limits as I continue to do kicks, punches or sit-ups is uncomfortable. I can feel the tightness in every single muscle, but I just smile and keep going because enduring those sensations make me a better martial artist.
The snap, crackle and pop in my forms (a series of offensive and defensive movements and artsy part of martial arts), and the speed, intensity and thrill of sparring revive me.
The rich, ancient history behind taekwondo is fascinating and makes the inquisitive little kid in me happy. I love being able to learn about why certain moves exist, the meaning behind forms and connecting with a martial art that was utilized in wars long ago.
As an instructor, there is nothing more pleasing and satisfying than se
eing a tiny 5-year-old kid kicking and punching correctly and feeling proud of themselves. I love the dedication and curiosity of students willing to learn everything to the best of their ability.
The punching bags, the Korean and American flags, the tall black cabinet in the corner of the workout floor (which I need to stand on my tippy toes to reach) make the place special. Improving my techniques with the people I love makes the martial art fun. When I step inside my taekwondo school, it feels like I am unplugging the power cord from my brain as I forget about the rest of the world.
That feeling is unbelievable.
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