Taekwondo training starts out as a very physical process. You learn new techniques, the basics of blocking, kicking, and punching, and must delve into the tough physical workouts. After progressing through the belt levels, and especially after finally achieving a Black Belt, one is left to start reflecting on the training and accomplishments that have accompanied one's Taekwondo training.
When I first started Taekwondo, I did not know what was going on, my physical fitness was at a low and the learning curve was harsh. Some days I was apprehensive to attend training because I felt it might have been boring or I might have thought I had better things to do, I had lacked the drive, the motivation.
As blue belt approached, I realised I was beginning to have more signatures in my grading book then empty spaces and I reminisced back to when I was a lacklustre white belt, realising that we have all probably surpassed our own previous physical and mental expectations. I wanted to be able to do all the exercises; I wanted to perform all the more difficult techniques. This required more than just a strong body, it required a strong mind. I am now able to perform in class and do all the exercises and all the techniques because I believe that I can. I believe that Taekwondo is a mental exercise. It requires focus and concentration and a willingness to believe that you can do whatever it is you want to do. Getting to Black Belt is a symbol that I have the ability to put my mind to anything to accomplish my goals. I now attend training sessions followed by feelings of satisfaction and optimism instead of thoughts of dread and deterrence. Taekwondo was a religion, the master instructors were preachers and self-improvement was my bible.
Taekwondo is a way of life; there is no way around it. Once you commit to Taekwondo and get past the basics, you'll soon start associating everything you do while practicing Taekwondo to your life. Motivating yourself to go to class is the same as motivating yourself to go to work. Practicing push-us, sit-ups, and other exercises is like performing other day-to-day rituals. I've been training Taekwondo for about 3 or 4 years now, and everytime I practice I keep learning more. YES there are the repetitious hand movements, blocks, kicks, drills and warm up exercises, and performing those drills and exercises over and over and over again start to get mundane. But after you start to reflect on the intricacies of Taekwondo practice, you'll soon start to hone your body movements and take notice of the positions of your arms, legs, hands, feet, head etc while performing each movement. It's only after recognising and contemplating your body position that you'll realise why Taekwondo is a true martial art.