When Tae Kwon-Do Gets Tough

 

When you get to your blue stripe, there is a marked increase in difficulty. Students can feel overwhelmed at first. Seeing them struggle, some parents will pull their kids out, thinking they’ve had enough or lost interest.

But that isn’t the case. In reality, the only thing the student doesn’t like is that they’re having trouble with the curriculum at this particular belt level. What parents sometimes fail to realize is how instrumental they can be in which direction the kid goes from here. Sure, they can pull them out of Tae Kwon-Do and put them in little league or something. But they can also seize the moment to teach their child a vital life lesson: how to work through short-term adversity to achieve a long-term goal.

That is a crucial aspect of being a leader. You have to learn how to deal with adversity, rather than avoid it. 

When something gets too challenging for one of our students and they want to quit Tae Kwon-Do, it is the default response of many parents to want to pull them out. This is typically part of a pattern, and not a healthy one: when the going gets tough, they leave to try something new. 

Our society has evolved (devolved?) into one that prefers immediate gratification. Heck, it’s not even about the gratification, so much as the immediacy. People tend to believe that there is always something better they can be doing, someone better they can be in a relationship with, a cooler car, hipper clothes, etc. Social psychologists refer to this as the “Paradox of Choice.” When there are so many options out there, people have a tough time making a decision. And once they do, they are seldom satisfied with the choice they made, because they can’t stop thinking of all of the other choices they didn’t make.

It is understandable as a parent to want to protect your child. Clear the road for them as much as possible. But all that does is teach them to run away from adversity. It makes them soft. And leaders cannot be soft. 

Don’t prevent your child from learning how important it is to get out of their comfort zone. If they never learn how to stick with it, they’ll never get to experience the joy or feel the self-esteem of getting really good at something. That feeling of achievement is–to say the least–a feeling of satisfaction that goes beyond explanation. But too many parents deprive their children of that feeling.

When I taught music, I tried to impart upon my students how much joy I got out of knowing the music at the level I did. It was visible. When we would play, my body would twitch and contort as I was playing, and it was from the sheer excitement of doing something I loved at a very high level.

They were beginners, so they were only experiencing a fraction of the joy that I was And I would promise them that as much as they enjoyed it in the beginning, it was no match for how much they would enjoy themselves once they mastered their instrument. 

This is not an issue that only affects children. It used to be that a person worked at the same place for 10, 20, 30 years. It used to be an instant deal breaker for companies when they would see a job applicant’s employment history made up of short stints at places. These days, it is not uncommon for people to bounce around to multiple jobs; sometimes even in the same year!

They’re chasing something “better.” But, the reality is that there is nothing better than getting good at something. That’s not to say that you need to stay in a situation that is unhealthy, unfulfilling, or outright dangerous, just for the sake of staying. We don’t want to see anyone go through that. The point is that people, by and large, shouldn’t be so quick to give up.

Ironically, the best way to know when to stay and when to leave is by hanging in there. When you overcome the urge to quit at the first sign of adversity, you learn what true adversity is. And that informs you much better about what situations to get into in the first place, how to recognize when a situation is right for you, and how to recognize if things go that way. 

Or, as Kenny Rogers said, “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

That’s how you grow in Tae Kwon-Do, as a leader, and in life in general.

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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