Finishing Strong

This week in class, Master Ricardo has been speaking to students about the idea of “finishing twice as strong as you started.”

We’ve noticed that the energy in class lately has been a bit low. Students are lining up at the start of class with the facial expression and body posture of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. We can probably chalk most of it up to a new school year beginning, and everyone getting used to their new routine. But we’d like to get everybody thinking about the energy and attitude they bring to class, and see what we can do to take it up a few notches!

We want everybody to make an effort to “finish twice as strong as you start”! Maybe you do come into class feeling a bit tired or unmotivated. Maybe you start out just doing “okay” work. But by the end of class, we want everybody to have shaken that rust off and be doing their very best work and bringing their best energy.

If you were in class, you might have seen Master Ricardo demonstrate this idea with a roundhouse kick. He started off doing a “good” roundhouse. All the students agreed that it was a perfectly fine, acceptable roundhouse. He hit the target; bottom foot was turned over; he yelled when he kicked. That was a pretty good starting roundhouse. As class continues, what we DON’T want to have happen is for that roundhouse to get softer and lazier, and the yells to get quieter. Instead, we want you to strive to do each roundhouse just a little bit better than the last one. Master Ricardo demonstrated an “end of class” roundhouse: super fast, bottom foot turned a full 180 degrees, using the knee, big loud yell. He even scared his holder a little bit, and made their arm with the paddle go flying. That’s what we want!

Our students are lucky: you are training at the best Taekwondo school in the state. We have the best mats, the best equipment, and (obviously!) the best instructor. You have the opportunity to learn the very best martial arts here. But you won’t get the best out of this program if you don’t bring YOUR best to class every day.

We want every kick to be just a little bit faster and stronger than the previous one, so that by the end of class, you are finishing twice as strong as you started. If you’re doing sit-ups, maybe your first sit-up is a perfectly good, okay sit-up. But by the last one, you are doing awesome situps. Touching your elbows to your knees, keeping your hands on your head, banging them out nice and quick. We want your yells by the end of class to be twice as loud. Your pushups to go twice as low, and the boards to break twice as easy. This attitude is what will help you constantly improve, and become your very best.

If you work like this everyday in Taekwondo class, you start forming the habit of working like this in every aspect of life. At school, you’re concentrating twice as hard on your math problems at the end of class as you were when class started. Adult students, at the end of the day when you’re tired and you just want to go home, you are still pushing to do even better work than you did when you got to your job in the morning. In school, this makes for better grades and better learning. At work, that attitude can make for raises and promotions.

Not only that, but it’s more fun! If you were in class for Master Ricardo’s roundhouse demo, you saw that when he did his first “pretty good” roundhouse, all the students in line just stood and watched, didn’t say much. But when he did his “finish twice as strong” really awesome roundhouse, with his twice as strong yell, everybody was smiling and excited. That energy makes class more fun, helps you learn, makes working with you more fun for your classmates, and makes the gym a better place to be. It’s fun to push yourself, and it’s a great feeling to do your best work.

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