What Taekwondo Has Done For Me

-Justin Stephen Teneyck – Age 12

When I was young, I had done Tangsoodo. It was one of the only sports that I had loved so much. To have the accomplishment to earn a black belt in that art was amazing. On one day, my teacher’s mother had gotten sick, and she had to leave. After that I had been out for 2 and a half years, and I wasn’t sure if I would ever do martial arts again. For awhile, I had not been doing many sports, and not trying to maintain my body, which thankfully, due to Taekwondo, it has been possible to get myself back on track. On one summer day, my dad told me he was going to take me somewhere special, so we rode down to the World Class Taekwondo center. I had never heard of it until he had taken me there. When we first came in, we were greeted by the owner of the school, Master Mark he was called. He had told us that this will be a great place to improve your skills in martial arts and help keep me in shape.

At the time I hadn’t realized that my body was weak because of not participating in any sport activities over my time not spent in Tangsoodo. When I had first started on my first class, my body felt so weak, I had felt so off balance and so tightened up. My muscles and flexibility were not very good, but I had kept going to classes and slowly started gaining it back. After about a month of being there, I had started experiencing seizures, which had scared me quite a bit. During that time I had thought about Taekwondo, and what I could become if I continued it. I had remembered one night when a girl named Shay had sparred me. She had hit me with a kick to the head, which had hurt me, and I couldn’t continue to keep sparring that night. It had made me feel so embarrassed. I felt as if I couldn’t accomplish anything. But as I thought back on it, I remembered that I should never give up, so I kept thinking and replaying that sparring match again and again. I saw some of the mistakes I made, and told myself, “If I keep fixing the mistakes I make, and keep trying, I can accomplish anything I work to”.

Once I was able to come back from my seizures, I started pushing myself harder to improve and learn the ways of Taekwondo. I had been in a completely different martial art, and because of that, I had a hard time adapting. some of the blocks, punches, combinations, and movements were familiar to me, But the stances, forms, one steps, and order of things were completely different. At first it had been hard on me, but I started to improve not only the stances and forms, but my technique. I had realized that once I was ready I could test, I would go for it. But I wanted to make sure I tested at a time when I was fully adapted to the techniques. Due to sickness, and school, I had sometimes not been able to participate on a normal basis. But every time I came back, I kept pushing myself to be better than I was last time I had come. I slowly was able to keep up with the classes speed and power.

During my time there I had met people and had made friends there, which made me a lot comfortable. They helped me improve my stances, speed, and technique. Once I was able to do the early classes on a regular basis, and keep up, or even do better than the class, Master mark told me to do late class. I had been nervous, because most of the people in the advanced classes were stronger, and tougher than me, and I also knew the classes were harder. But finally I had decided to start doing them. I slowly developed a pace with the late class, and along the way, I had been helped by some of the black belts or higher belts. They had taught me new forms and movements, which increased my rate to black belt testing a lot faster.

Master Mark had also done a one on one session with me for a few weeks, which I am very grateful for, he had made me stronger over that time and taught me new techniques. About half a year after starting, I was already so much better than I was when I started. I felt more fit, and I had felt much stronger. Over the next few months, I had gotten to know a kid named Brendon. He had gone to my school and I had knew him. He had also came from another Martial Art, Karate, and had also been a Black Belt there too. As I watched him he seemed to move at such a fast speed, and adapted very quickly. Before too long he had already mastered all the forms and one steps, I had been shocked. He was ready to test in after half a year of starting.

The moment he had achieved his Junior Black belt in Taekwondo, I had been inspired. I knew exactly what I was going to do. I started wanting to go to classes a lot more, and push myself a lot harder. I had gone to see a black belt testing, and as I watched, I realized that I had so much to learn and improve. I started practicing forms on a daily basis, and practiced one steps more. I had had really bad stamina, which had affected my speed and power. Every time I had gone to a sparring class, I felt as if I couldn’t keep up. I lost breath very easily, and had a hard time moving around. I had been taught tips and had practiced fighting for longer times, which had slowly gotten me better. Even now I still don’t have very good stamina. But my body strength has increased ten-fold since I had began.

After doing so many classes, and learning all my forms and one steps, I have gotten so much stronger. I have lost weight, and stayed fit, I am able to run and sprint for a much longer time. I also feel a craving to come back and keep doing classes, I guess that is just my craving for feeling good. I am much more flexible. I cant stretch my legs out much wider, I can also kick much higher. My balance has improved a lot, and I can keep up a lot more than I was able to a year and a half ago when I started. Every morning I wake up feeling great, and I know just what and who to thank for that, Master Mark and Taekwondo.

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