Tonight I hurt. I can be honest with myself about that. I have several bruises, my head aches and yet I couldn’t be happier. This past weekend I was participating in the AAU National Championships for TaeKwonDo, and not only was it a whole lot of fun just getting out of town for a couple days but I find such events good for both myself and my boys.
I am an active person in general and I love playing sports. I love putting it all out on the field, beach, floor, ice or mat (take your pick). I play to the final buzzer. I don’t give up. I enjoy the competition and the adrenaline that comes from it. I also enjoy competing as part of a team, getting encouragement and criticism from those working towards the same goal. Makes me push myself further not wanting to let the team down. I find this attitude is good in life. It pushes me at work, it pushes me at home, and it pushes me in life.
Failure tells me I have more to learn, success tells me I can still do it, and the pain tells me I am still alive.
Yet, it is not just for me that I do these events. For, I am getting older and the hips don’t work as they once did. I do these competitions for my boys even though they don’t participate as they once did, they feel the pressure and they just want to play. I understand that, they are young, and I feel that the lessons and experiences can still be passed on as long as I continue.
Training for martial arts is a long process that takes sacrifice. We get together several times a week and that can sometimes really cramp life’s flow. So I want them to see that we are training for a purpose, an event that stands alone. We train for self-defense, we train to build confidence, we train for fitness – but often those are intangible to the children as they don’t have the life experiences yet to see the value. So I like the crescendo of these competitions; the build up, the anxiety, the nervousness, and the result of the moment. You are judged only by what you put out when it matters. There are times you need to focus and go all-in.
I also want them to see that I am a person too. I want them to watch as I struggle. I want them to see me get anxious, frustrated, and mad. I want them to see that I don’t always win, that sometimes I fall down. Because that happens. Yet it is critically important that they see that when I fail I learn, when I fall I get back up and when I get hit I keep on going. My theory is that in watching me they will be better situated to tackle their own disappointments, frustrations, and anger. I am not just telling them how to get through life – they see me living it.
This past weekend we experienced failure, pain, resilience, and success. They watched as I made a major mistake during forms, one I had been making repeatedly in class leading up to the event. They watched as it ate at me, they saw the emotions involved. They were filming as I took a shot to the head during sparring, giving me a bloody nose. They saw the intensity of battle. Yet they also saw that I stayed calm, I didn’t give up, and I didn’t back down. They then got to watch as I fought back, held on and won gold. I got to see their pride. We then turned and together cheered on our teammates, gave tips and talked strategies. We were together, supporting each our team in both failure and success. They experienced what it was like to be part of a a team in both competition and play. They saw how we can have fun while also taking the necessary moments to focus and perform.
They experienced a weekend of team spirit, perseverance and respect. They also got to see their Dad stand tall. Doesn’t get much better than that.