Andrew is a provisional black belt candidate for 1st degree, but has also received his black belt in Arnis. Here is his essay on what it means to be a black belt!
Andrew with his brand new Arnis black belt!
“Black Belt: What It Is and What It Takes” by Andrew
I first went to Tae-Kwon-Do in September 2010. My parents took me there so I could get prepared for hockey. They wanted me to practice Tae-Kwon-Do so I could get prepared for hard hits and the roughness that hockey is known for. I did not know anything about Tae-Kwon-Do. The only martial arts, like Karate, I ever saw was from watching it on TV or at the movie. So when I started I loved the different forms and moves, and the fact I could protect myself. I also started to practice Arnis and loved the weapons forms, and stick manipulation. So I quit hockey and started practicing more Tae Kwon Do and Arnis.
A black belt to me is just not something that holds your pants up. It is a belt that shows you have respect, honor, courage, and integrity. All of these gave me strength to pursue and challenge my fears. Now I can face and conquer them.
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. I thank all the people that have helped me get to where I am now.
Tae-Kwon-Do is now part of my life. It will always be in my heart. Tae-Kwon-Do has taught me to take on challenges like school work, chores my Mom and Dad give me, as well as everyday living and to face it head on and not fear it but accept it.
Being a black belt is hard, but it is great being one. It is great helping others. Other students give you respect for being a black belt. You also have to give them respect too. Always encourage others to keep going. Like I said being a black belt is hard, but it’s also great being one.
I have been in Tae-Kwon-Do for 2 to 3 years. There have been times I wanted to quit. It was so hard or because I hated it. The reason mostly was it was getting boring to me same exercises over and over, repetivness, not realizing I was honing my skills to become better, stronger and faster. Now that I have my provisional black belt, I just want to keep going.
What does it take to be a black belt? You need to have respect for others. You need to honor your family, friends, and others. But what does it really take? Never giving up, never quitting what you are doing. Most importantly all the other challenges life gives you.
I would like to thank Kio-Bi-Nim Chris Apprecio for teaching me what I need to do to be where I am now. I would like to thank my family and friends for encouraging me to keep going on. I would also like to thank other instructors passing what they have learned down to me, my instructors, and everyone else.
Anthony Roberts (age 14)
Black Belt Essay
Tae Kwon Do has affected my life in so many ways. My name is Anthony Roberts. I started Tae Kwon Do on March 30, 2004 when I was six years old. Now I�m fourteen. In those almost eight years Tae Kwon Do has helped me in so many ways. This essay will show you how Tae Kwon Do has made my life so much better because of how it's changed me and what I've learned from it.
I do other sports besides Tae Kwon Do such as soccer and football and Tae Kwon Do helps me stay flexible and able to do more things than other people because of my flexibility. And it also allows me to improve my flexibility and my kicks every day.
Because Tae Kwon Do is something I can go to every day it helps my endurance, and I'm always in shape and can do a lot more than when I started.
When I had my black belt testings I had to run five miles nonstop, jump rope 500 times, and do 100 pushups and sit-ups, and I was able to do all of that because of the endurance I built up from all the classes I went to.
I've learned so much from Tae Kwon Do. I've learned how to speak some Korean, I've learned different kicks and punches, and ways to defend myself with weapons or with nothing. I've also learned 14 forms.
When I started Tae Kwon Do I was kind of scared of all the people that were there but as I kept doing Tae Kwon Do I made some great friends. And when I started my best friend from school had already been doing Tae Kwon Do so already had friends from Tae Kwon Do when I started. As I keep doing Tae Kwon Do I keep making new friends which make Tae Kwon Do a lot of fun.
Tae Kwon Do also makes me feel safer. When I was little and doing Tae Kwon Do and I would be home alone, I would think of how I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I could defend myself against any bad guy that might try to hurt me.
Tae Kwon Do has taught me all about respect. Every time I go to class we always say "Yes, sir!". And now that I have a second degree black belt and am hoping to get my third, the white belts ask for my help and all the other high belts and respect us which is a very nice feeling.
At Tae Kwon Do fun is one of the reasons that people join. I love going to Tae Kwon Do because every class is fun. Fun is the reason that most people do Tae Kwon Do and stay with it. If Tae Kwon Do wasn't fun then nobody would do it.
Now that I'm a black belt I have to be a leader. I'm even a junior instructor. Every class I have to be a leader and I learn more about leadership at Tae Kwon Do every day. That's how Tae Kwon do has affected my life because of how it's changed me and what I've learned.
Taekwondo has become an integral part of my life.
As a dedicated athlete during my younger years, I was programmed to achieve and continue to strive to be better. As a young adult, I lost my way. I found myself focused on work, family, friends, or anything as long I was not addressing my personal needs.
I just became unhappy. I didn�t look good, I didn�t feel good, and I wasn�t giving the best effort toward all aspects of my life. Essentially, I was coasting.
It was at this time during a reflection period that I was introduced to TKD and more specifically to Master Jung. I realized that although our backgrounds� are completely different, we have the same beliefs about life and sport. I was also ready to make a life commitment to my mind and body. For me, it was a relatively easy transition. I was accustomed to managing my time around sport and work so I fell into the routine quite easily. The key for me is that MJ truly understands the human body, but where he really excels is the understanding of the human spirit. He knows when to push and when to back off. That understanding, coupled with an amazing resume gives all of his students the ability to be as good as they are able to be.
TKD has given me an understanding of what I am capable of both physically and mentally. It�s not about what I can�t do, it�s about how can I do it. It�s the statement. I can and I will. That aspect gives perspective, builds patience, grows confidence, and the expectation to be better. That automatically trickles into other aspects of life. Master Jung calls it the �DO�, or the management of our minds to find �it� within ourselves to grow and be better at the things we do.
I can give credit to TKD and Master Jung for making my life better. I am supposed to be approaching middle age. I am supposed to be slowing down and watching my children or just coaching, but I am achieving and growing, now into my 40�s. I expect that TKD will be a part of my life and my regimen forever.
I began taking Tae Kwon Do last winter as a way of strengthening my relationship with my son, Nate. He had been wanting to find a Tai Chi class but no one in Concord would instruct children in Tai Chi. We found the Concord Recreation Tae Kwon Do class would allow for he and I to be in the same class and try it out for an 8 week session. That was enough to get us both hooked. We have enjoyed learning together and from each other.
I have found that I now get a great deal out of my Tae Kwon Do experience. Besides spending time with my son, which is reward in itself, I find the classes benefit me in three ways. First, it has improved my level of fitness. Although I have always been fairly fit as a runner, TKD has tremendously increased my strength. Second, I enjoy the other people in the classes especially Master Jung. He is both a master at his art as well as a master instructor. He possesses the rare quality of being able to find the right level of challenge for everyone in a class, even at different levels of experience. Finally, TKD is huge stress release for me. After starting a new, challenging job a few months ago, I need all the stress release I can get. I find that my time in class is about the only time that I am truly �in the moment� these days. I must say that I often feel like I am advancing too slowly, but starting such a completely new activity at 43 years of age should teach me to be patient (and humble) with myself. Someday I might actually be able to do a jumping back kick without falling down!
As I write this, I am just back from two weeks of vacation in Massachusetts and two weeks away from Tae Kwon Do. I found myself thinking about Poomse frequently and realized that I really missed the classes. Nate and I even practiced a little TKD on the beach on Cape Cod which was fun, especially when we found big mats of dried algae to break with our kicks. I look forward to getting back to class and improving my TKD skills. It has been and surely will continue to be a challenge of both the body and the Do.
I began attending family classes at NH Kicks with my oldest son Simon, who is 9. Simon soon moved on to kids classes, without adults present. I saw my son blossom in these classes, as he rapidly became more physically fit, and gained greater personal discipline, in an atmosphere that encourages moral and spiritual development. When he attends classes now, I see far less fidgeting and less distractibility, which are very wonderful achievements for Simon. Equally important, he loves attending the classes and becoming part of the studio community. Meanwhile, I joined adult classes, participated in martial arts for the first time in my lifetime, and have found these classes incredibly rewarding for two reasons: 1) the classes are an intense workout combining strength training, aerobic exercise and martial arts skill building, and 2) more importantly, Master Jung is a gifted teacher and personal trainer who challenges his students to work to their limits and achieve their potential while exhibiting great patience and inner peace. He is a role model for my entire family!
I have been a Taekwondo student for almost five months. As an adult, with regularly set patterns, it is refreshing to be engaged in a new activity. I have learned a lot, but if I had to sum it up I would tell you that Taekwondo has reinforced the concept of humility. We as Americans may not always admit it, but we�re often enamored by people who have big egos, they�re fun and entertaining, but they�re not always the type of people you want to be friends with.
Taekwondo has reminded me that the quietest person in the room may just be the one who has the most to share. Humility goes hand in hand with self-discipline, respect, honesty, integrity and perseverance it is a primary characteristic of a great leader and is something we should all exhibit more often.
Taekwondo has helped me stay healthy, strong and focused. I find that having strength and focus helps in other areas of my life such as in school work and the ability to keep up with responsibilities at home with family. As a result of Taekwondo, I feel confident that if ever an incident should occur, I will be prepared to the best of my ability to defend myself adequately.
Taekwondo has given me many things of which I�m thankful. It gives me a reason to train my hardest, and it gives me the opportunity to channel whatever emotions I may be having into an exhilarating and fulfilling art. It allows me to turn negative emotions into energy for good and enhances positive emotions.
It is a really good martial art to learn and practice. I just started taking Taekwondo lessons and I already feel like I have been doing it for a long time. I have to admit that it is helping me in my professional, personal, and student life. My patience with others, my interpersonal skills, and discipline have increased. I am really happy about my decision to learn Taekwondo.
I have found that TDK has helped me in many different ways in my life. I have found great improvements in the areas of self-discipline, focus, and self-esteem. It has also been a great way to be active, while having fun at the same time.
I have found that the discipline in Taekwondo carries over to my everyday life, and I am able to focus more on my objectives/tasks at hand. If I have to work on something I am able to put all my attention into that, whereas before I might loose focus more quickly. I also think that I am more determined in my other activities, like the half marathon I am training for. I am more disciplined in following the schedule that had been set up. This is just one example of how I have become more disciplined.
I have also found that I am more confident in my self, and I have a sense of pride from what I have learned in the class. I have become more able to take control of what is going on in my life. I have always been an indecisive person, and I think this has helped me become more decisive, and giving me the confidence that I needed.
I tend to focus more on what I have to do next, and what is on my to do list, but Taekwondo gives me that "me time" that I sometimes forget to give myself. When I first joined the class I thought that it was just a great form of exercise, but I have found that I have not only strengthened my body, but also my mind. I really enjoy the meditation aspect at the end of each class. Overall, I think this class has really helped me a ton, and this essay just shows a small part of how it has impacted me.
Taekwondo helped me in several ways � I became stronger physically and gained emotional balance. It is a great sport to stay strong, flexible, disciplined, and focused.
It helps give me more coordination and flexibility especially doing poomse and all the techniques.
It helped me focus.