by Kindra Cerrone
The five tenants of Tae Kwon Do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. For me, perseverance stands out as the most valuable of these tenants. Through perseverance I have fought past scheduling conflicts, injuries, my parents, and switching from ITF to WTF in order to achieve my goals.
The first challenge I faced was overcoming scheduling conflicts such as sports and school work. As soon as I began attending D’Evelyn the homework load increased substantially. On top of three to four hours of homework each night, I have an additional two to three hours of sports practices every day after school. On game days, heavy homework nights, and finals, I was unable to attend class. During these times of scheduling conflicts I had to be diligent about practicing on my own and attending a Saturday class.
Within a week of testing for my red belt with a double stripe, I sustained a serious volleyball injury. I injured my left ankle and right knee, rendering me unable to bear weight on either leg. My dad had to carry me and I had to get a wheelchair to use for school. Weeks later, I was able to hobble around on crutches. The next several months were filled with physical therapy and rehab. My progression in Tae Kwon Do came to a screeching halt. It was during this time that perseverance was key. As with anything that you’ve been away from for a long time, it becomes hard to go back. As I became fully healed, the high school volleyball season started and once again I was facing such a demanding load. I had to buckle down and keep my eye on the prize; acquiring my black belt.
Both my parents encouraged me to continue with Tae Kwon Do. Although they were coming at it from different perspectives, they shared the same goal: to give me the skills I need to protect myself. I honestly admit, I haven’t always shared their view point. There were several times I figured it was more important to them then it was to me. However, now that I’m close to getting my black belt, I realize they were just looking out for me. Even when I felt like giving up and quitting was the easiest, my parents encouraged me to continue.
The most frustrating point of all was when my former instructors moved away months before my black belt test. It forced me to learn an entire new curriculum through MAMA. As I was learning the new material it was like taking one step forward and two steps back. I was becoming very discouraged and my goal seemed to be further and further away. I’ve had to be so persistent in order to get this done.
Looking back in retrospect of the last 8 years, I have a sense of both relief and disbelief. I’m relieved and proud of myself for making this happen. On the other hand, it all seems to surreal knowing all that I’ve overcome and persevered through to get to this point. Not only have I acquired the self-defense skills, I’ve realized how much else Tae Kwon Do has taught me. I have learned the importance of tenacity and determination in order to achieve a goal.