Unpredictability: The Most Predictable Thing There Is


It’s late February.

We start hearing a little bit about this virus thing, but we’re being told that it’s not so bad.

At the dojang, we’re furthering our plans for 2020. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace is coming in, our annual tournament is coming together nicely, and we have full classes of students. 

Moreover, we know how many people are coming to see Bill Wallace, we know how many people will be attending the tournament, and I know how many students I have coming in and how frequently. 

All of this should allow me, to a certain extent, to be able to predict the future. 

But then… Coronavirus comes along. 

All of a sudden, Bill Wallace can’t happen. I’m also going to lose all of the time and money that we sunk into the tournament. And, the prospect of not being able to hold classes means I’m now having to worry about making a car payment, mortgage payment, etc.

What once was predictable, seemingly overnight, became unpredictable. It can make the unprepared mind swirl. 

Now, I wish I had all of the answers. But I, like everyone else, am living through an unpredictable time. Unlike everyone else, though, Tae Kwon-Do has prepared me for unpredictability.

As weird as it sounds, the one thing you can always count on is unpredictability. So in a way, unpredictability is the most predictable thing there is.

So, how do you plan for unpredictability? 

You don’t. You plan for everything.

When something is unpredictable, it is natural for you to try to make it predictable. You can not do that. You will just have to rely on your ability to react quickly. 

As I talked about in my previous post, it’s a lot like sparring. Before a fight, people will sometimes ask: “what’s your plan?”

My only plan is to do what I do, better than they do what they do. I don’t really plan on how I’m going to beat my opponent. I have to read the situation in real time, then adjust. If my opponent is punching more than I thought, maybe I’ll shift to throwing more kicks. If they’re throwing more kicks, maybe I’ll try to jam them up by getting in close. 

And that is the only real advice I can give. When things get unpredictable, you have to adjust quickly and effectively. 

Off the mat, it is no different. 

When I was a school teacher, if I taught 6th grade, I got 6th grade students. No surprises there. But as a Tae Kwon-Do instructor, I get all sorts of students. Right now, I have students ages 3-75, and who come to us from every level of coordination, athleticism, and confidence. 

With all of that, there can be a lot of unpredictability in your class. The way that I have learned to adapt to that is by relying on a time-tested, solid foundation of teaching and practice. 

Too many schools, especially in the early 2000’s, started teaching everything. Karate schools began teaching Tae Kwon-Do, Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, etc., all because they wanted to just get people through the door. In my opinion, there is no way anyone is ever going to be that good at any of those things, if they’re trying to learn all of them. 

In a way, they’re creating their own unpredictability. Which is something I try to always teach against.

Instead, I train students to handle unpredictability by relying on solid basics that have stood the test of time.

Maybe there’s a better response to unpredictability out there, but as long as it’s just “maybe,” I’ll stick with what is.


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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