63 Going on 19: Becoming Tae Kwon-Do


I haven’t worked in 39 years. 

On May 27 of this year, 2020, that’s how long I will have been in Tae Kwon-Do. I’m willing to bet that 39 years is probably longer than most people have done anything that they love and have had as a job. 

When you’ve been doing anything for 39 years, I think that at some point you stop doing it, and you start becoming it, for lack of a better word. 

So I am no longer doing Tae Kwon-Do, I am Tae Kwon-Do. 

What I mean is  that I can’t live any part of my life now without living it in a “Tae Kwon-Do way.” For instance, I recently caught myself bowing going into the drug store! There have also been several times when I will be in line at a store or at the mall, and one of my students will actually come up and bow to me while I’m talking to a sales clerk. 

That usually draws some interesting looks. But, we teach ourselves and our students to carry the dojang outside of the four walls here by answering “yes sir/no sir” to people. People don’t often expect that, but it tends to put a smile on their face. I don’t think people are used to being treated with that level of respect, unfortunately. 

39 years of Tae Kwon-Do has brought me a better, more positive attitude in life. It has made me more adaptable, and allowed me to appreciate things in different ways. 

As most people know, I was a musician earlier on in my life. If you walk up to a lot of my musician friends and say “hey, how’s it going?”, you might be met with a rather apathetic, “eh.. It’s going.” 

But, if you walk up to me and ask how it’s going, I’ll tell you things are fantastic!

I woke up this morning! 

I’m healthy enough to do Tae Kwon-Do again today! 

I have a beautiful son and a beautiful family!

I’m grateful for these things because of Tae Kwon-Do. It helps me experience life “in the moment,” as they say. Maybe that’s because it’s an “action art.” I’m moving, I’m blocking, punching, stepping, kicking, etc. I’m feeling my body as it moves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m feeling all of the aches and pains that go with it, too. But, I’m also thinking “hey man, I’m going to be 64 in June, and I’m moving around and feeling like a 19 year-old.” I’m able to do things now that I wasn’t able to do when I was 25.

There have been many unintended benefits of doing something as long as I have been doing Tae Kwon-Do as well. One of my favorites is all of the incredible friends that I have made over the years. In the musician world, I never really knew if anybody had my back, but in the Tae Kwon-Do world, I know that there are people out there that have my back, and vice versa. 

I have been able to stay relatively healthy-looking for my age as well. I think about other people in their early 60’s and whoa! Either they look older, or I look younger. I can’t tell which. Maybe I look like a 63 year-old is supposed to look and they don’t, or maybe I look younger than a 63 year-old, and they look every bit of 63. It’s hard to say. 

Throughout training, you’re meeting different people, you’re training with different people, and you’re learning about yourself. I always say there’s no lying in Tae Kwon-Do. You’re in the room with people and when you’re fighting or competing in a tournament, you either win or you lose. 

Sometimes it’s humbling and sometimes exhilarating, but it’s always educational. 

I met my wife, Martica, through Tae Kwon-Do. And now, with her, I now have my son Charlie. And he has helped to provide the most unintended benefit of all. 

Every day as I train, I watch him watching me and my instructors and students, and he’s picking up things and copying things from them. He’s doing amazing things now at only three and a half years old. I look at some of the things he is already able to do and I’m awestruck.

Watching his progression has breathed new life into my own training. I am rediscovering Tae Kwon-Do through his eyes and, even after 39 years, falling in love with it all over again. 

Through my son, I am reborn every single day. 

39 more years? Bring them on. 


Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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