Ghostwood Farm

Your control.
September 20, 2019, 2:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


One of the requirements to test for a black belt at our school is a 500 word paper on what martial arts means to me. I don’t yet know when I am testing (I’m still holding out hope for 12 October), but I’ve written this twice, sat with this version for a couple of weeks, and this will be what I submit. Thanks for reading.


I have settled on explaining some of the things I have learned through training. By doing so, I hope that I am able to paint a picture of what my training has meant to me in a way I am having trouble doing directly. I hope that it meets your expectations.

In my tae kwon do training, I have learned that one’s mind wants to quit well before one’s body is actually incapable of continuing. Once one comes to that realization, what is physically possible expands a great deal.

I have learned that forms are the grammar of the art. They do not teach us the only ways techniques can be combined, but they construct a list of examples that the martial artist can call on to create their own unique combinations. They open our eyes to how techniques flow together. They teach us to put words into sentences.

I have learned that I am a good teacher, and that I love teaching. I hope I can contribute in that way to our school. I am keeping a notebook on different aspects of different instructional techniques that I like, and new ideas that I want to incorporate when teaching my own classes.

I have learned that teaching someone else how to execute a complex technique or a form makes my own stronger, as I must drill down and take apart how I do it before I can teach it. I have also learned that, once a student has the technique broken down, repetition is the key to learning, to ingraining technique into muscle memory. I have learned, therefore, that teaching is a critical component of being a martial artist.

I have learned that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

I have learned that I can collaborate with higher belts, and we can both learn something. I have learned that I can collaborate with lower belts, and we can both learn something. Humility and confidence are two equally important sides of this coin: One can learn from those of lower rank as well as from those of higher rank, and each student has something to offer other students.

I have learned that training one’s body to perform in ways that were not thought possible does amazing things for one’s confidence. I have learned that there are techniques that I will likely never be able to do well. I have learned that even these extremely demanding techniques improve with repetition. I have learned that maybe the most important way that tae kwon do assists with self-defense is by developing confidence. That confidence lets one stand up for one’s self. It is also obvious and seen by others, so it can prevent conflict before it starts.

I have learned that the stress of pushing one’s mind and body can cause unexpected emotional responses. I expect that this happens more often than we realize (or maybe just more often than we admit).

I have learned that respect goes both ways: A black belt must respect lower belts just as lower belts must respect those who outrank them.  

I have learned that control is one of our most important tenets. Control prevents the student from injuring others. Control prevents the student from injuring themselves. Control is integral to proper technique: Control of body (movement), control of mind (tenacity, temper).

I have learned how gratifying it is to share an interest with my family. I have learned how gratifying it is to make new friends based on this shared interest. I have learned that the support of other students helps all of us excel, makes it easier to excel, and makes me want to excel. One of my favorite aspects of participating in martial arts is watching my fellow students improve and excel.

I look forward to the opportunity to be a leader in our school. Thank you.

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