The other day,somebody asked me “how are you still a martial artist , if you dont train currently?” This ticked me off and my immediate response was ” yes , because I eventually plan on training again”. It also got me thinking, ” am i really a martial artist still ?” So these are some reasons why I believe I am still a martial artist.
First , let me give you a little background . I started training in the Korean martial art of Taekwondo at age 4 and a half in a little dojang called ” Ju-jitsu Concepts” on Mosholu Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. I loved my sabumnim , Tom McGuyver , because he was great with kids. Tom would set up “games” for us to play but teach us valuable skills at the same time , such as ” dont get hit by the lobster claw” that taught how to block and ” jump rope” which taught us how to roll and land from a standup position. I trained at ” Ju-Jitsu Concepts” and eventually Tom’s new school from age 4 until around age 8, or from white belt to blue belt . After Tom’s , I switched to a more local school , Tony’s Taekwondo on 231st street. Before and after each class at Tony’s, the students would recite a pledge to always keep a good atittude, to never use what you’ve learned in class to hurt someone, etc. It was a basic pledge, but it ended with the Five Tenets of Taekwondo : Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self- Control, and Indomitable Spirit. I have come to live by these tenets. After I got my black belt at Tony’s at age 10, I trained off and on throughout my teen years at various schools in the New York City area.
Although I have taken a break during my teen years to pursue other hobbies, I am still deeply in love with the martial arts and constantly seek knowledge through them. Like I said above, I try to live by the Five Tenets of Taekwondo and try to apply them in everyday life. There is not a day that goes my that I dont try to be courteous to others or persevere with a given task. I try to have self-control and live life with integrity. I know that if I have Spirit , I can achieve anything.
I have been reading and collecting “Black Belt” , “Taekwondo Times”, and “Martial Arts and Combat Sports” (before it went out of print) magazines since age 8 or 9. The magazines teach me new techniques , learn about other styles and masters, and unfortunately the tell the readers who the martial arts community has lost. Reading martial arts magazines has been my way of keeping up with the martial arts community for the a very long time, especially since I am really the only martial artist I know. So even when I am not physically training, I am always learning and thinking about the martial arts.
So yeah, I might not be doing the martial arts physically but I am always thinking about them. Taekwondo is really the only thing I know for sure that I am good at and I even process thoughts and situations in terms of what I would do in the dojang. The martial arts are my passion and I will never be able to repay them for what they have taught me, on and off the mat.