Friday, October 26, 2007

Think Like An Olympian

One of the reasons we decided to go with the whole Taekwondo program was to build some self-confidence in our children. My youngest child is pretty self-confident most of the time but we have noticed some underpinnings of a lack of self-image at times. My oldest child is actually pretty meek. She's the one on the outside looking in when doing athletics or even just socializing. I'm not looking to change her personality. Biased opinion of course but she's the coolest 6th grader I know. I do see that she could use more confidence in her own abilities to "succeed" in life.

The dojang teaches us to be assertive during class. This includes talking with authority when reciting the creed, answering questions, and presenting ourselves. In other words, we have to act like we know what we are doing. That is how I would define confidence. I suffer from a lack of confidence myself as evidenced in my last test.

Master Lee chastised us in class one time. Specifically, in a self-defense related portion of the class he gave the instructions "kicking stance joon-bi". Well, it wasn't accompanied by many confident kihaps or stances so he halted what we were doing and gave us the speech: Be assertive. Hold up your fists. Give a loud kihap. Get in a nice low stance. Then he gave the half-hearted imitation of what we were doing vs. the confident version of it. "Who are you going to be afraid of....this (wimpy stance) or THIS (confidence stance)?"

Master Lee got a bronze medal the first time TKD was in the Olympics as a demonstration sport in 88. He was also the US team coach for 2 of the when it was an official sport. He calls himself an Olympian and I'm not arguing that point. He's a bad-ass and knows it. His exhortation to us is that the TKD Olympians are all great. In any given match, any one of them can beat another. However, the difference is "attitude". The one who wants it more will be the one who wins. The one who is more assertive and shows more confidence will sway the judges in his/her favor. As future black belts, we are supposed to acquire this attitude ourselves. We need to "Think Like An Olympian".

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