For the last sixteen years of my life I have been involved with Taekwondo. Over the course of this long period of time I have developed many friendships and connections both professional and non professional. As with any sport, the more you compete or train in your athletic sport the more knowledge you obtain about it. Eventually you may find yourself taking the knowledge you learned and teaching it to fresh new faces ready to take in what you know. I have been into the sparring side of Taekwondo ever since I have started and about two years ago I noticed a few important details.
Taekwondo competitions are not for everyone! Yes, some students are just not athletically qualified to compete in sparring nor poomsae. A few years ago I used to think there was a way to make all students good at sparring. As time progressed I sure found out I was wrong! Taekwondo has five main tenets (depending on who you ask). Those tenets are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Many students will grow in martial arts never learning how to execute the “proper” sparring round house kick or the “proper” poomsae style side kick but one thing is for sure, they will take in all the benefits that Taekwondo has to offer and turn them into a great human being. A lot of people forget that Taekwondo is not all about competition nor is it about who is the best athlete in the world. Only a small percentage will travel the world, compete in elite level tournaments and have the ability to represent their home country in a big tournament like the Olympic Games or the Summer Universiade. A lot of us look at a student and immediately judge him or her based on the style of kick they have or the way they present themselves based on their technique. We should still teach them proper technique. We shouldn’t always focus on technique rather focus more on life values and building up their confidence.
The older I get and the more students I teach I realize that my attitude as a martial arts teacher really affects the students mental growth. I really enjoy watching students grow as a person and become good people. With all the craziness going on in this world, changing a student one at a time into a better human being makes me extremely happy. There are four main things I want to leave you with: 1) Remember, martial arts has many benefits and values that anyone can learn but not everyone can be an olympic level athlete. 2) Focus on the positive parts of a student! 3) Be a role model, not just for olympic level up-and-comers but for any students who step onto the studio floor for the first time looking for what martial arts has to offer. 4) Take those values you have learned over your martial arts career and utilize those values on and off the studio floor!