Taekwondo. A sport that has become a part of my identity, personality and understanding of life. I spent 11 years of my life perfecting my craft, not knowing I would gain so much out of it. I spent countless hours working out, eating healthy and focusing on finishing high school. My day would consist of a never ending cycle of getting up early, working out, eating, completing school work, then repeat.
Each week I would spend at least 20 hours of my week working out (that's if I didn't have three sessions in a day). The rest of my hours in the week would be dedicated to sleeping, recovering, eating and completing assignments in my virtual classes. This seems like a nightmare to some people due to the lack of free time I had to see friends or go out for a good time, but for me it was completely normal. I had a goal to be the best. It was that simple, but by no means was it easy.
At the end of my Taekwondo journey I was proudly able to say I was number one in the nation for the -44kg junior category. The journey to the number one spot in the country included lots of failures, discipline, hard work, and literal blood, sweat and tears. Every single day I had to be uncomfortable in training by pushing myself harder and harder. I had to train with people who were better than me, bigger than me and I even trained with the boys! As much as training was physical, it was mental.
There were many days where I did not want to train. I had no motivation, I was tired, I was sore, or something along those lines. Those reasons were never enough to say "I shouldn't train today." Unless I was injured or sick, I'm going to training regardless of how I feel. I learned the importance of discipline over motivation. In anything you do, you should always create good habits so that when you do lose motivation, you can fall back on the habits you made which creates the discipline you have in your character.
My coaches would always say something meaningful after a training session. It would be something about courage or grit and how we should be thinking about the importance of these qualities through our sessions. One of the very first quotes I heard was "Hustle beats talent, if talent doesn't hustle." Many people think that successful people are talented or really gifted and that's how they became really successful. NO! The amount of hours you put in and working smart within those hours lead to greater results. In every training session I had, there was a certain stimulus that was being worked. Talent can only take you so far, but hustle will get you to success.
When it came to training and even competition, I have faced more failure than one would like to admit. Unfortunately, failure has a negative connotation attached to it. Without the failures that I have endured, I wouldn't have learned from them and become the athlete that I was when I ended my Taekwondo career. When you fail, embrace it. It is a time to learn and be better.
Overall, Taekwondo has taught me a lot about myself and my potential in life. I have been the most confident I've ever been, the most ambitious and the most grateful for the experience of living the life like a professional athlete.