I stood to the side of the room, hydrating after not taking a break for the duration of class, when he walked up to me and asked “How’s your taekwondo life”? I froze for a moment while the past 9 months flashed before my eyes. Not knowing if he was fishing for a particular response, I said “Fine, Sir” with a smile. Master Choi replied “Good” with his own smile and turned to speak to some others.

I have been taking taekwondo classes since the end of October last year. It started out by participating during the Parent Appreciation time: parents/guardians can purchase a uniform and take classes for free with their child from October through the end of the year. USTA is very big on honoring your family – your primary support system and worthy of respect. I agree. This 3-month period is their way of thanking families for their support. I had been watching Abby from the sidelines for the past year and a half or so, and she badly wanted me to participate with her. My plan was to just do the Parent Appreciation, but at the end of that period she asked me to continue with her. I thought about it and decided “why not?” I have been wanting to do a “thing” for me, and I figured this was a way to do my “thing” while doing something worthwhile with my daughter.

Watching Abby progress, learning her routines and techniques, is inspiring to me, especially now that I am going through the same process. I am in awe of how seemingly effortless it was for her to learn everything she needed to learn. And now I am owning it, too. My mind is sharpening as I memorize the steps and knowledge questions. This is more than a hobby; it’s become a lifestyle and a passion. Right now I am double testing, which means I am learning two belt levels at one time. The more I learn, the easier it is becoming for me to continue to learn what is required of me. I am SO proud of her (she’s now a black belt) and proud of myself!

Master Choi isn’t normally in class with us. He is helping our instructor sharpen his own skills as well as assisting with instructing the surge in attendance we’ve had due to recruiting efforts. I have watched him instruct and spoken with him briefly at events, and it was an honor to be instructed with him as well as by him. Grand Master Uoon Choi – Grand Master in the world of USTA – who started this region of USTA schools. He is kind and wise, but disciplined and expects much. I can’t describe the feeling that came over me when he asked me how my taekwondo life is. I felt like I had much to say because I have learned so much – in class and out – in how to apply Taekwondo Chung Shin to every aspect of my life. I felt a sense of pride that I could respond with a strong answer if “fine” wasn’t enough, and to have Master Choi inquire assured me that being ready to respond with more than “fine” should be a lofty goal.

I am slowly re-acclimating to organized church life. I stopped attending at the end of 2011 for various reasons, and within the past year I have been drawn back in. It has been a very long time since I had a mentor or a companion ask me “how’s your walk with Christ?” While our relationship and journey with Jesus is highly personal, I believe there are those who are led to call us out in a way that causes to reflect and think and proclaim. We need only share what we feel we need to (i.e., “fine”), or it might be an opportunity to share even more. Thinking about how to answer the taekwondo question made realize how lacking my walk with Jesus has been. I haven’t stepped out in faith as much. I haven’t studied scripture as much. My quiet time has been inconsistent. I love God and have been walking with Him for 20 years. He has not abandoned me because of my shortcomings. In fact, He has done the opposite. He has been regularly knocking on the door of my heart to remind me of whose He is: love, compassion, rest, forgiveness, truth. The least I can do is honor that by being prepared to tell someone how my relationship with Him is.

I’ll share one aspect that ties both of these subjects together: perseverance. It’s the third core value we recite at the beginning of class. It’s also an action we are called to by God through the apostles Paul, James and Peter. Perseverance has recently given me strength, encouragement, motivation and focus to get through some incredibly difficult times, overwhelming tasks. When I want to give up, I am reminded that I’ll never get to the mountaintop if I don’t keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ll never see the end result. I’ll never get to celebrate an accomplishment. I’ll never resolve a conflict. Unless I keep going.

So, Master Choi, my taekwondo life is currently persevering and I am fully embracing each step of the way.


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