Your Effort is Your Success. Your Struggle is Your Strength.


“Your Effort is Your Success.”

Grand Master Park used to have a poster in his dojang with that phrase on it. It became somewhat of a mantra; If you gave enough effort, you would have success. If you gave no effort, you would have no success. But though I agree with its sentiment, it is a bit of a misnomer. 

Unfortunately, the amount of effort you put in and the amount of success you see as a result, are not necessarily proportionate. 

You could put in tons of effort on something and have very little success. Because you are trying to master something that is wickedly difficult. 

On the flipside, you may find certain things that come more naturally to you. So in those cases, it doesn’t require you to put in as much effort to find success.

But one thing is for certain: if you put in no effort, you will have no success. Effort doesn’t guarantee success, but it does guarantee the opportunity for success. 

I keep this mantra simplified in my students’ minds by telling them that If they give me very little effort, I promise they will have very little success. But, if they give me their best effort, I will work to make sure they have success. 

We also tell our students that trying hard is not enough to pass. 

There is a bit of a trick question in the written part of our black belt test. We ask candidates why they deserve to earn their black belt. Many of them – particularly the younger ones – will respond that they tried their hardest. I have to tell them that, unfortunately, that isn’t good enough. If you “tried your hardest” on a math test, but you still wrote that 2 + 2 = 6, you still got it wrong. 

Likewise, if you try your hardest on a black belt test, but you still get it wrong, you’re not going to pass. If you get it right, you will. And that’s the correct answer to that question: I should earn my black belt, because I tried my hardest, and I got everything right. 

And getting it right doesn’t happen without effort. In my long career, I have never, ever had a student earn their black belt that did not put in a ton of effort. Even in the case of those who some would call “naturals,” which don’t exist in Tae Kwon-Do, in my opinion. What appears to come natural, is really the result of hard work in some other facet of their training. 

Over time, I have added to “Your Effort is Your Success”, that “Your Struggle is Your Strength.”

Effort is a struggle. The harder the struggle, the more effort required to overcome. The overcoming builds strength. And to build strength is success by any measure. 

There is a technique in one of our patterns called Choong-Moo Tul. It’s a jump 360-degree double knife hand block, and it goes from one stance to another. It’s a very difficult technique. I have seen many people absolutely blow their knees out trying to perform this move.

For some reason, the first time that I tried it, I got it right away. People got mad at me asking how I learned it so quickly, and I honestly had no answer for them. When I found myself having to try and teach it later on, I had to go back and figure out why other people struggled with it, so that when I saw my students struggling with it, I knew how to help them make it their strength. I ended up coming up with four or five different ways to teach the move because of how I observed other people struggling with it.

Getting that move quickly didn’t make me strong, though. The other things that I found to be much harder? Those are what made me strong.

For me, it was things like breaking multiple boards in the air with the same foot. I am a really good flying side kicker, but to break multiple boards, you have to be better jumping straight up and down, with decent hang time. That simply wasn’t my strength. So, I had to work extra hard at it. But the extra work made me that much stronger, mentally and physically.

Some look at struggle as a negative. I see it as a positive. That’s where the whole “Pil-Sung” attitude comes from. Again, “Pil-Sung” means “certain victory through indomitable spirit and courage.”

One can not be dominated if one does not give up. You’re going to win. And if you don’t win in the traditional sense, you derive victory through learning, or through the many other benefits you receive from simply putting in the effort.

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, visit the Contact Us page 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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