Taekwondo is an ancient martial art from South Korea. Taekwondo is based of the principles of body, eye and mind focus. I have been studying Taekwondo at Kim’s White Tiger in Chapel Hill for four years. Taekwondo is a huge part of my day-to-day life. I am at the doe-jahng five or six days a week.
Taekwondo has taught me to be punctual by enforcing that students get to class 10 minutes early. It has also taught me to be prepared because for classes you need your uniform and belt and be ready to learn. It teaches you how to show respect to the masters and higher-ranked classes by having you shake hands and bow to them at the beginning and end of every class. The instructors even have you do the same for parents – you have to bow then thank them for taking you to class. At Kim’s White Tiger I am also on the demo team, which has taught me how to work with a team and coordinate and synchronize all our movements during our performances. Taekwondo also includes sparring, or simulated fighting against an opponent. When you spar during taekwondo they teach you mercy by making you stop when you have a significant amount of more points than your partner and to be merciful to your partner if they are younger or a lower rank than you.
My doe-jahng Kim’s White Tiger, also rewards kids with student of the month awards if they get A’s and B’s. This reinforces my efforts to apply myself and makes me try harder in school. Taekwondo itself helps you work your brain by making you memorize forms (which are a bunch of kicking, punching and blocking put into a movement) and self-defense. I feel as if Taekwondo has really helped me become the person I am today by reinforcing these principles on me and teaching me to treat people with kindness and respect.
Nicole Davis, 13
Editor’s note: The writer is a candidate for a black belt in Taekwondo. Part of the initiation process is finding a way to share her experience.