by Stuart Anslow III
Many students reach a period in their training where they feel they are not doing as well as they used to. Some feel that others are catching up or even over taking them in certain areas. My old instructor, Mr Pepper used to call this the Taekwon-do Blues. There will always be certain periods in training where you reach plateaus, where advancement doesn't seem to come as quickly as before, where things seem harder, suddenly you have difficulty breaking or a lower grades sparring seems equal or better than yours. There are some important things to remember here.
1. Everybody comes across these plateaus, there are what make the winners from the quitters & are very character developing, seeing them through will give you eternal strength that is very important in your every day life. The important thing to remember is that even though it may feel like it sometimes, you never go backwards if you train regularly, never, you are always getting better, it just doesn't feel like it sometimes.
2. Sparring is just one part of Taekwon-do, it is not the be all & end all & certainly doesn't mean a good sparer is necessarily an excellent Taekwon-do person. A skilful Taekwon-doist is good in all areas. In addition, those that he/she is not are practiced until they are.
3. You get out what you put in. If you come to class & put in little effort, then you will not get much out of it & your overall advancement will be slower.
4. Nothing is impossible. Everyone who is higher than yourself has been there & done it & if they can, so can you.
5. In order to advance you need to be consistant in your training. Things get harder as you advance in grade as you become more skilful & are able to absorb more & take on bigger challenges.
6. In the dojang there is no such sentence as I can't. Such a sentence should always be said & thought of as "I can't yet".
7. Whatever the mind can see, you can achieve (in time with practice).
8. Repetition is what makes good techniques. It may seem boring but it is essential.
9. Training is not a competition. It's a personal journey that you all win at because you are better now then when you started. Moreover, in six months time you will be better than you are now.
10. Finally remember why you started & what you set out to achieve. In fact I want you all to write it/them down & put it in your folders. It may be to get fit & be able to defend yourself, to gain your black belt, to win a gold medal or to become an instructor or even a world champion. Set goals, short & long term & don't give up until you achieve them. Take a look at what you wrote when the going gets tough to remind yourself why you train so hard.
"Even when you fall flat on your face, you`re still moving forward"
- Indian Folklore