By Sri L., 4th Grade
Taekwondo is about strength and courage. At first, when I was a white belt, I did not understand this.
I was standing outside with my friend and both sets of our parents. We were out in the parking lot.
“ Our daughter, Shreya, is going to taekwondo,” Shreya’s mother said.
“I think our daughter would like to join taekwondo,” said my mom.
This is how I started taekwondo. When I first walked inside the building, I saw 6 huge wave master kick bags that were filled with water and were neatly aligned near the 3 windows. Next to the cooler was three closely touching bags which were smaller than the huge wave master kick bags. These were filled with bean bags till the rim. There were two crates on top of the bags which contained tape and some of the stretchy fitness equipment. There was a small corner near where they displayed the newest shirts. They also kept all the trophies won at tournaments. The floor had to be made of mats because if it were to be concrete, the students’ feet would be blistered since we could not wear shoes or socks.
The kids were kind and helpful on my first day. My second day the kids were starting to show off by kicking the bags. And on my third day those kids were whisper talking to me in class not to get in trouble with the master. They were still showing off. I kept calling them bullies under my breath. I cursed them so much each day due to their taunts.
I was weak and puny. That is true. I was not able to kick a small grocery store bag filled with water. One time our master told us to do ten planks on our own after he showed us how to do it. I couldn’t do the planks. I couldn’t keep my balance.
I felt so sad, angry, sorry, and I felt like a whole storybook of emotions battled inside of me. So I said to myself, “Calm down. Just calm down. Be patient,” several times, but it just made it worst. Because I was unhappy, I failed testing. They have a schedule: first form, next sparring, and finally board breaking. As a brown belt in the advanced group, I should have been able to defeat the plastic board, but I did not. Since I had failed, I cried all night. I felt like I was not strong, and I was not able to do anything right. The next day when I walked into the classroom, I felt sad. The master came up to me and asked about last night’s testing.
“I cried all night,” I said.
“You have another chance,” he said patiently.
“Really?” I could not believe his words. I filled with hope.
“Just go to makeup testing, problem solved,” said my master.
So I did, and I passed.
After testing I knew I had to work harder, so I did by asking people to hold the board in the right place while I break it. First, I setup the board at the angle I needed to hit the board right in the middle. Then, I had a little adjustment to hit in the middle. And I hit right in the middle of the board. Also, hitting harder broke the board easily. I tried exercising my hands and legs more by riding my bike or by playing on the monkey bars. Because of exercising, my muscles got stronger and stronger. When I couldn’t go out, I would go in the basement and play or do gym. Ever since failing my testing I have been trying to keep up with everyone. Now I am a red belt, the highest color belt in Taekwondo.
In Taekwondo I have learned a lesson from ATA magazines that I will now share with you. Taekwondo is not to show off but to learn to defend yourself. I personally learned life has its own up and downs, and we need to be prepared and fulfill our dreams till we succeed. Even if you fail, keep trying, and you will achieve your goal.