Obstacles Are Not In The the Way…They ARE the Way


“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal, ” Henry Ford once said. 

In Tae Kwon-Do this is true physically and metaphorically.

When we are doing flying kicks, we’re typically jumping over objects and/or people to break boards. The beginner will often look at the object or person that they’re going to jump over, and not the board. By focusing only on the obstacle, they very often run into it!

You should be aware of where the obstacle is, of course, but you need to be focused entirely on your target.

In life, obstacles are things like school, work, family, projects around the home, vacations, etc. There are always things that will distract you from your training regimen. But if you keep your focus on your training, you will find that all you need to do is adjust your regimen.


People who experience changes or whose lives get crazy in some way tend to use that as an excuse to end their Tae Kwon-Do training. That’s the opposite of what you should do. Tae Kwon-Do centers you. It keeps you focused and, for some, it keeps you sane. When your life gets chaotic and busy, your Tae Kwon-Do training becomes more important than ever.

As an 8th degree black belt, I am not your average person. But I am no less susceptible to obstacles than anyone else. I have certainly had my share. The dojang, Tae Kwon-Do, and my training have always grounded me and gotten me through whatever life throws at me. The more chaotic life gets, the harder I train. Training gives me the strength, stamina, and focus to deal with those obstacles.

Illness and Injury

Illness is another life obstacle that will sometimes distract people from their training. But I have people training at our dojang who are battling cancer. There are people with Lupus, Dystonia, and other ailments. Now, I’m not here to tell you Tae Kwon-Do is a cure for any of these, but if you can keep up your training, it can help ease their negative effects. 

What about injuries? I have had some in my career. Some injuries have occurred within the dojang, and some outside of it. For the average student, most injuries take place outside of the dojang, doing something other than Tae Kwon-Do. In fact, we have funny stickers that say “Non Tae Kwon-Do Injury” on them, so if someone breaks their leg skiing or something, I slap one of those stickers on their cast.

But injuries don’t need to derail you from your training. In fact, injuries may even help your training!

Punching and Kicking

I once had to have hip replacement surgery. Naturally, I couldn’t kick. I couldn’t do a lot of stuff, actually. But I got so good at punching that I almost didn’t need to kick anymore. I found that I was beating people with just my hands! Eventually, I came back to centering though, and using my hands and feet equally. 

Some time later, I had to have hand surgery. The same thing happened, just in reverse. I couldn’t punch, but my kicks improved so much that I could win with just my feet. 

When life obstacles take a student away from their training, it tells me that they have not embraced Tae Kwon-Do as a part of their life. It was just another activity they did. That’s fine, but if you want to get the most out of martial arts training, it must become a part of your life. These benefits only come to the student who wants it. Our job is to show them why they should want it.

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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