Hitting the Wall

Last week, Master Ricardo spoke to the kids’ classes about the idea of pushing through when you “hit a wall.” Below is a recap of that discussion. While it was directed at our younger students, there is some good stuff in here for adults (and parents!) as well. Please read on…

Master Ricardo recently ran into a former student of his from a long time ago. The student is an adult now, but trained for about a year as a child before losing interest, as kids of course sometimes do. He gradually stopped showing up to class, and eventually quit altogether. Now as an adult, he looks back on that decision with regret. He told Master Ricardo that he wished his parents had not allowed him to quit when his interest started to flag. He remembers that there were so many things he wanted to learn and do when he first started, but after a while he lost sight of those things. He wishes his parents had made him stick with it in the long run.

When Master Ricardo asks a class, “How many of you really like Taekwondo?” of course all the students’ hands shoot up. That’s great, because you are learning a lot of really important things here. And it’s awesome to be excited to come to class, and to look forward to learning new things, and to set goals.

But we want to warn you that someday, there will come a time when you start to lose excitement. Maybe you get busy, or bored, or frustrated, or just start to feel more interested in something new. It happens to everybody. Just look at any of the black belts you see at the gym – it has happened to all of us too. For some of us it may even be happening right now. We call it “hitting the wall.” When you hit the wall, you lose sight of your goals and you just want to quit.

Right now, you’re really excited about Taekwondo and you have some great goals in mind. Maybe you want to learn a bunch of cool new kicks; maybe you want to break boards; maybe you want to be a black belt! Those are all awesome things that you will be able to do if you stick with this. But if you quit once you “hit the wall,” you will miss out on those things.

For our kid and teen students, we’d like you to do two things. First, go home and tell your parents “Thank You!” for signing you up for Taekwondo and bringing you to class everyday. Because that means your parents care about you and want good things for you. Tell your parents that you’re excited to learn new things, and talk to them about your goals.

Then, tell your parents about “hitting the wall.” And tell them, “Okay Mom and Dad, sooner or later I’m going to want to quit. Please don’t let me.” Because if I can just get past that, and work through it, then I will be able to get back to the excitement I feel right now, and I will be able to achieve all the goals I’m setting for myself. (Not to mention the goals Mom and Dad have for their kids…. be it fitness, self-defense, focus, discipline, etc.)

Everyone we have ever talked to who has quit when they “hit the wall” has regretted it. They wish they had pushed through and kept working toward their goals. And those of us who are still training all remember those periods of wanting to quit, and are all so glad in retrospect that we did not. If you know ahead of time that you’ll probably feel that way one day, it can help you prepare yourself to push through and stay focused on your goals, and set up your family support system to help you when you need that extra push.

Think about going to school. A lot of you as kids have probably felt like you didn’t want to get up and go to school in the morning, whether it was a hard class or a long homework assignment, or you just felt bored. But of course your parents didn’t let you quit. Because they know that in order to achieve the big goals in your life, you need all the things you’re learning at school. So you just have to push through. And in the long run, you’ll be glad that you did.

For our parents, realize that it’s the same with Taekwondo. The goals that our students are working towards – getting ready for their next test, working on a particular break, eventually earning their black belts – are great goals. In working towards them, they are learning all kind of important things even apart from the physical benefits. Things that all parents want for their kids. They are learning to focus, to follow directions, to work hard for something they want, to be a good partner and work as a team, to have confidence in themselves, to control their behavior, and most importantly to persevere when things are hard. Taekwondo can give them all these benefits, but sometimes they need some help to keep their eyes on their goal.

For our adult students, you need to be aware of “hitting the wall” too. All of you have enough life experience to know what hitting the wall feels like in other areas, like school or work. And even though Taekwondo is something you have chosen to do in your free time, that doesn’t make it any less important. When you started, you had goals. You started for a reason. Maybe you want to get in better physical shape or lose weight; maybe you want to learn self-defense; maybe you are looking for stress relief and balance in your life; maybe you wanted to set an example for your kids; maybe you always wanted to be a black belt. You can still do all these things, even though sometimes it may feel impossible. Our younger students look to their parents to give them that extra push or reminder when those times come. We are more than happy to play that role for our adult students. If you feel like you are hitting a wall, please come talk to us for some perspective and motivation.

Remember that nothing worth having comes without effort.

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