I began Tae Kwon Do in the fourth grade. I am now a second degree black belt and instructor, just beginning studies at the University of Virginia this fall. During those eight years in between, I involved myself academically at school, partaking in science research, where I qualified to compete in International competitions. I was a member of several high school clubs, including the National Honor Society, Concert Band, and Vice President to the Science Honor Society. Ultimately I graduated as Salutatorian, with my academic average ranked second out of the entire senior class. Outside of school, I divided my time between dance and Tae Kwon Do. Weekly lessons, annual performances and local demonstrations all kept me busy through the school year. However, I believe that it is Tae Kwon Do that allowed me to succeed in all aspects of my life and I know I will continue to benefit from it daily.
On a basic level, Tae Kwon Do has taught me many different universal principles that lead to happiness and success. Overcoming obstacles in my training has taught me perseverance, while working through the belt system has taught me how to set and achieve goals. It has helped me to discover what I believe in and created a set of ideals to live by. In addition, Tae Kwon do gives you the satisfaction of taking care of your body. By treating your own body with respect and pushing it past perceived limitations, you discover that anything is possible. The physical training will give you the confidence to succeed in whatever you may pursue.
On a deeper level, Tae Kwon Do gives you the power to control your energy, which channels into everything you do. This simply translates into happier moods with more positive energy. For example, schoolwork and upcoming tests would often busy my week, causing stress and anxiety. However, after just one class of Tae Kwon Do I would leave the dojang feeling refreshed and renewed. This clear, positive energy would not only alleviate stress, but also improve my studying. One hour of concentrated work after Tae Kwon Do reaped many more benefits than three hours of worried study. Even in day-to-day life, I found I was much happier and able to release tensions from my life. Tae Kwon Do not only improved my concentration, but also showed me how to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.
In the end Tae Kwon Do is much more than a sport; as the name implies, it is a way of life and its benefits will reach to every corner of your life. However, this does not mean that your whole life must be dedicated to training. By reserving only several hours a week for Tae Kwon Do, it can be balanced with school or other extra-curriculars. Personally, I know that it has helped me to succeed in both school and dance. I sincerely believe that you will find, as I did, that Tae Kwon Do has the power to change your life for the better.