When I came to Master Khechen’s I was pretty much a broken person. I had lost my self-worth and self-confidence, from being a victim of workplace bullying. That all changed, with the first class of Tae Kwon-do I had taken.
Before my first class, Master Khechen said to me “I guarantee you will be smiling after the class”. I replied, “I don’t know about that… I haven’t smiled in four years”. As it turned out my instructor, Master Biesik, had the class punching the bags that day. Four years of bottled up emotional stress and pain came out on that poor punching bag. I not only was smiling when I walked out of the dojo, I signed myself up for six more months. After that I signed up for the three-year Black Belt club program, and then joined the Masters club.
One of the biggest ways Tae Kwon-do has changed my life is that it gave me a way to de-stress. I didn’t have that before. I would binge on comfort foods, or take out my stress on loved ones, which wasn’t healthy. Now, I either go to Tae Kwon-do class or use my punching bag in my basement. All my stress just fades away and is left at the door.
Being a martial artist has also helped me strengthen my body. I truly believe that the conditioning I had, from Tae Kwon-do, helped me recover from a serious car accident and herniated disk. I would have never been as regimented about stretching my back as much as I did, if I hadn’t been a martial artist. Both my spine doctor and chiropractor were amazed at how quickly I had recovered.
Doing Tae Kwon-do also helped me do the one thing I struggled with for years, which was to become a healthy weight and develop a good mindset about my body. I became a Martial Artist at 38, I’m now in my 40’s, and I feel stronger and more healthy than I did in my 20’s. I feel good about myself when I look in the mirror, which is something I’ve never done before. Tae Kwon-do has been the only form of exercise that’s ever gotten me excited about working out and being healthy.
It was an overall transformation, including with my mindset. As time had gone on, and I was able to do the kicks, moves and forms, and help mentor my lower belt classmates, I gained a tremendous amount of self-confidence. It wasn’t about getting applause or pats on the back, it was simply about the fact that I could do things I was never able to do before. I earned every belt on my own, and that in itself gave me my self-worth back.
Tae Kwon-do has changed my life for the better, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s helped me persevere through hard times, and take more pleasure in my daily life. It’s something that I recommend to anyone that wants to better their way of life.