Part of 1 of a 3-part series of my Taekwondo Story. Part 2: Why I Continued & Part 3: Why I’ll Keep Going – will be coming out later this month!
My story as to why I started Taekwondo isn’t your typical one. Most of my friends who are Black Belts would usually tell you they started because they wanted to be a Ninja Turtle or because they were bullied at school. This is also true for most kids that get signed up at our Martial Arts studio. There’s a regular rush of kids after a cool martial arts movie comes out and kids want to learn all the ‘cool karate moves.’ However, this wasn’t my situation. In fact, I didn’t have a choice or say in the whole decision process.
My parents started a martial arts studio 6 years before I was born. This led to me spending each day at the studio throughout my early years, including me learning how to walk by having a head gear on 🙂 I started karate classes as soon as I was old enough to. I don’t remember much about these classes, other than we practiced on hard concrete- no mats- and that I got up to my yellow belt.
Soon after this, we made a big move from Peru (where I was born) to the United States. This is when I officially began my Taekwondo journey. Once again, whether or not I did Taekwondo was not even a question. Both my older sisters were also highly involved, one being on the Peruvian National Team for both Karate & Taekwondo, and the other being a National Referee. The fact of whether I liked practicing Taekwondo didn’t weigh in to if I would do or not.
I attended classes at our studio every day. When I was younger, I don’t think I thought twice about whether I enjoyed it or not, it was just a fun activity that was inevitably a part of my life. As I grew older, Taekwondo got harder and I started deciding I didn’t like it for many reasons, but that’s to be continued in part 2 of this series… My Taekwondo Story: Why I Continued.
Looking back on this now, I’m so glad that my parents didn’t give me a choice about participating. At our studio, I often hear a lot of parents allowing their kids to quit after a short period of time because they want to try something else or they find it too difficult to get them to continue. For me, Taekwondo was as essential as going to school. Most kids complain about school and don’t want to go, but their parents don’t allow them to drop out just because they aren’t interested.
The values, techniques, and character that Taekwondo teaches you are invaluable and can make such a difference in someone’s life. Coming from someone who was pretty much ‘forced’ to do Taekwondo while growing up, I greatly recommend to parents do find a way to get their kids started & keep them going. Just like school, Martial Arts should be essential. It’s a great way to teach healthy fitness habits, provide instruction about self-defense, and develop a strong focused and confident character.
I didn’t start off Taekwondo planning on becoming an international competitor. That isn’t required for every person to do. However, Taekwondo did teach me to set high goals for myself and not let anything get in my way. I applied this to every single part of my life and love the success I’ve found so far and I’ll keep pursuing.
I really hope this helps you reflect on why you started and use that as motivation to keep going. Leave a comment below with YOUR Taekwondo story- I’d love to read 🙂 Best wishes in your training!