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Taekwondo Saved My Life: Learning to Live a Black Belt Life

Valuable lessons learned from Taekwondo which enable me to live a Black Belt Life and empowering and helping students accomplish their goals in the martial arts...and in life.

I didn’t have the best childhood. Before turning 13...I lost a brother (accident), parents divorced, mother remarried and ‘father’ developed a nasty temper and was difficult to tolerate, and two older siblings joined the military. I felt alone and lonely.

A Bruce Lee movie inspired my martial arts interest and I found a local martial arts school, met my two best friends, and peeled potatoes in a diner to save enough money for my first year tuition. Since age 13 I have studied, trained, and competed in Taekwondo. At 19 I won a bronze medal at a national competition and competing became my focus and passion. In 1988 I got a job teaching Taekwondo and then after 10 years I was let go. What a dark time that was!

In 1998 I opened my own school and was introduced to Master Ciarfella who opened my eyes to a new world of martial arts. He taught me respect and how proper bowing is an act of respect, showing recognition and appreciation to your student. I’d never experienced that before and it changed the way I approached teaching and the relationships I develop with my students. 

Master Ciarfella introduced me to Grand Master Byung Min Kim who has taught me the spiritual side of the martial arts and is my teacher. He has instilled selflessness in me which has also enhanced my approach with my students.

There is much more to being a martial artist. It’s not just hard kicks, blocks, and punches. It’s not about winning medals and trophies. It’s about living.

Living a Black Belt Life is about learning, sharing the lessons you learn, conducting yourself respectfully and treating others with respect, realizing what success is, and living selflessly.

Valuable lessons learned:

  • Perseverance - never give up, hard work pays off
  • Respect - yourself and everyone
  • Focus - goal setting
  • Confidence - self-image
  • Selflessness - willingly giving of your time and talent

“Life is learning and when you are learning, you are living”, Master Byung Min Kim

Taekwondo saved my life.

Taekwondo allows me to live a Black Belt Life, empowering others, helping them overcome obstacles to accomplish their goals...in the martial arts...and in life.

Look for my weekly blog every Monday providing insights on "Living a Black Belt Life" and please share this with your friends and family.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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