As part of our Taekwon-Do grading syllabus, to grade from Red belt to Black tip students are required to do a speech on anything relating to Taekwon-Do. Three of my students successfully graded to Black tip recently. I will share each of their short speeches over the next few days as I get them in type. Even though these are Taekwon-Do oriented, I believe any traditional martial artist can relate to them.
This one is by Nicolas Gonatas, age 16.
I understand that I am in a precarious phase of my life. The lessons I learn today, will show you the man I will be tomorrow. Ever since I started watching movies (which was as far back as I can remember, quite frankly) I have always wanted to be able to do a triple somersault in the air, jumping off a wall into a reverse turning kick to destroy my evil opponent. I understand that I have learnt much more from Taekwon-Do than that. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and indomitable spirit are by far more valuable than the kick I mentioned earlier, despite being able to do it now.
One of the biggest downfalls to my character is the lack of self-confidence. It is an issue that I have always toiled with. Slowly but surely I have come to terms with the fact that no one is perfect. This means that every single person on Earth has weaknesses of their own just like me. Realizing this through taekwondo has given me the upper hand when I am up against the odds. I see that every opponent is as strong as their weakness and therefore I am able to beat whatever kind or obstacle that stands in my path. This being said, I have also taken cognizance of the fact that without the correct preparation, be it physical or mental, my success is unlikely. These have been realized through my time in Taekwon-Do, albeit short, and have spurred me on to never second guess myself, as I am flesh and blood, and conditioned bone of course.
Taekwon-Do is not merely a sport, or martial art, it is a way of life, a discipline that provokes the correct morals and values that are to be implemented in everyday life. Taekwon-Do has awakened me to a horizon of multifarious benefits, benefits such as the brotherhood of friends that I will have for the rest of my life, discipline and structure which I have acquired through my years of practice. As the Greek saying goes, a healthy body is a healthy mind, this proves to me, that the ancient Greeks had obviously never heard of taekwondo, as is conditions both the mind and body, giving the practitioner the perfect balance of health throughout all aspects of his/her life. As my only girlfriend, I promise to be loyal to Taekwon-Do, as she has been to me.