Learning Taekwondo

I used to accompany my nephew to his Taekwondo lessons every week. It’s a kiddie class, so it’s quite amusing to see these highly energetic and bouncy little ones running around the hall before the class and being taught about some martial arts by an instructor who had a hard time getting their full attention. In every class, they would do some stretching exercises as warm-ups, then proceed with learning some new moves –- stances, blocks, kicks and punches.

So there was I, just another bored creature in the corner, along with the other proud parents and doting yayas who waited patiently while the class was going on. Who would have thought I was to learn some lessons that day too?

Their instructor is a black belter from Argentina. He’s a bit matured and I do admire his patience with his young students. He’s not really that strict with them. After the warm-ups, he let them sit on the floor. Finally they were silent and behaved and he got their attention. He taught them some wise stuff for their young minds to digest. First, he reminded them of the precepts of Taekwondo. And then he told them a true story, one that I would never forget every time this sport would come to mind.

A student in one of his Taekwondo classes was really good but, unfortunately, he got proud about the skills he learned. He began to bully another boy in school who was physically smaller and weaker than him. “Don’t bully others.” This is one of the teachings of Taekwondo. But the proud boy was confident of his strength over the weaker boy. He harassed him, bullied him and said terrible insults against the boy’s parents. The weaker boy, though physically not strong, now got so angry at this show of disrespect. Even when he was already down and bruised, he suddenly hit the arrogant Taekwondo student very hard in the nose.

Guess what? The proud brat’s nose bled and he landed in the hospital. Well, the instructor didn’t say how badly damaged his nose was, though I hope the incident didn’t make him a candidate for rhinoplasty nose surgery. You bet his ego was badly bruised, so much more than his wounded and bleeding nose.

Then he concluded his story with these:

“Do not think of others as below you. Never look down on others.

Do not bully others.

Never say bad things against the parents of others. Parents are worthy of respect and have to be given importance.

When you do wrong, you lose your moral strength, then you become weak.

On the other hand, when you do the right thing, you gain moral strength, and then you can easily defeat your opponent.”

They were plain and simple life lessons which he purposely aimed for his kiddie students, but I’m sure they were also good reminders for us grown-ups who were there that afternoon.


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