Strength isn’t everything

October 4, 2012
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
My world was spinning, I could not tell which way was up, down, left, right. My body screamed in pain as I was launched through the air, leg shaking like a tremor from mortar fire. As I landed on the ground the world around me began to fade away, becoming engulfed in darkness. I could feel my consciousness beginning to fade as I saw an image of myself training at the dojo. I saw all my hard work and effort and became enraged. “Why did I lose?” I asked myself.

It has been a little over three years since I started learning Tae Kwon Do and I was one of the top three students at my dojo. I started off as a mere white belt, but by the time I acquired the rank of blue belt I was better than most of my fellow students. I was so good, in fact, that my master either made me spar with them handicapped or against black belt opponents. After awhile even the black belts were no match for me and my master had me fighting the instructors. I quickly became one of the top three at my dojo and was even the best for a time. I had quite the reputation, fighting opponents who no one else would dare to challenge and many were afraid of me. However, this quickly got to my head and made me feel unstoppable. Sure I would lose every now and then, but my losses were due to fourth and fifth degree black belts. Who had many years of experience over me and even then I gave them a hard time. I believe that I could beat anyone, I boasted about my skills and it made my master very unhappy. No matter how hard I trained or how many opponents I defeated he grew ever more disappointed in me. But I didn’t know why, no matter how hard I tried to please him with my accomplishments he didn’t seem to care. Then one day he told me that I should take a break from Tae Kwon Do until I learned what it really meant to learn this art. This infuriated me but I had no choice for he was my master and I had to listen.

After a few weeks my dad noticed that I was not going to Tae Kwon Do anymore and he asked me why. I told him that I wasn’t allowed to until I learned what it really meant to learn the art of Tae Kwon Do. My dad didn’t answer right away but when he did he surprised me with a challenge, he said he wanted to fight me, a real fight not a rough house playing around fight like we usually do, but an actual real fight. I didn’t understand why but I accepted his challenge, he said he would give me two weeks to get back into shape since it had been a while since I had been to the dojo. I spent the following few weeks training, but also telling him how badly he was going to lose because I knew I would defeat him. But as the days went on I began to ponder on why my dad would challenge me so. My dad raised me to be tough from the very beginning.
He would hit me and say “Don’t cry, real men don’t cry in front of others.” He toughened me up for the real world and for anything that might happen. My father and I have always roughed house, from as far back as I could remember, but we never actually fought. We would wrestle and hit each other, leaving bruises and marks, but it was all in good will. We never tried to hurt each other; we always followed our unspoken rules of no face shots, biting, scratching, pinching and face shots. But this time it would be different, this time it was real. But I wasn’t worried because I knew I could beat him.
The day finally came; my father and I entered the ring at LA boxing and took our fighting stances. I brought my hands up close to my face and was ready for anything. While my dad just stood there.
“Come on son, what are you waiting for?” he said smiling. I moved around a little and threw a quick roundhouse kick and made contact on his ribs. “Got him!” I thought.
But then he laughed and said “Is that all you got? Looks like I wasted my money for nothing.” I got mad so I faked a kicked to his left side but quickly shifted it to the right side for a hook kick to his face. My dad only smiled as he caught my leg threw and elbow to my joint sending a shockwave of pain threw my leg and body. He then pulled my leg inward forcing me to lose my balance. When I hit the ground I hit it hard, it hurt like hell, I couldn’t even see straight. As I got up I stumbled across the ring trying to regain my vision and balance. Everything was blurred and spinning my head was aching but I tried to focus and eventually regained my senses. I had goose bumps all over my body, I felt cold, I felt afraid, I didn’t want to lose, how could I lose? All of my training, all of my hard work was going down the drain. I looked up at my dad with anger in my eyes as I unleashed my best combo. Fake a low roundhouse kick in order to block a probable counter kick, gain speed as well as spin and make my opponent flinch. Then use the spin from the kick to jump up and deliver a finishing jump turn side kick. I made contact but for some reason I couldn’t bring my leg down and reset my fighting stance. I looked over to see my dad; he had caught the kick. Before I realized it, he was using the spin along with the velocity of my jump and kick to swing me over his head and launching me through the air. When I landed my body felt like lead, I could no longer move my arms or legs. I felt helpless; I could not believe that I lost to my father. Broken and defeated, I lied there on the verge of tears.
“What’s wrong with you? What did I tell you? Never cry in front of others.”
“I know Papi, I know.”
“You know what your problem is? You think you’re the best, just because you have never lost before doesn’t prove that you’re the best. Winning isn’t everything, because it is when you lose that you learn the most. You need to learn to be humble, accept the fact there will always be someone who is better that you. Most of all you need to learn that strength is not everything. There is also speed and thought that are key factors in a fight. You’re an aggressive fighter and that’s good, but if you’re fighting against someone who knows what he is doing, like me for example, you will always lose. You need to use your mind in a fight, read your opponent, instead of blindingly attacking them and trying to overpower them. I know that you love to play chess, so use those skills in fighting. Try using your mind, instead of brute force. Have a reason to fight, whether it is to protect your honor or someone you care about. To realize this you must make fighting a way of life and once you do that you will finally achieve the true meaning of strength. Now go back to your master and tell him what you learned here today, and I am sure he will let you train at the dojo again.”
I thought about my father’s words long and hard over the following week, and I realized that what he said was true. I have become cocky, believing that I could take on the world, believing that my strength made me invincible. I believed that strength was everything, but in reality, it is not. Strength is nothing without reason; I also learned the error of my ways. In order to be a good fighter I must use my mind as well as my body to fight. I learned that what I learn in Tae Kwon Do is essential but is essentially basics. It is up to me to decide how to use what I learned in a real fight because if I fight in the exact way I’m, taught then I will always get my butt kicked. However, if I use what I learned as the foundation of my fighting techniques and moves and use them in my own style then I would have a better chance of winning. With this in mind, I decided to return to my dojo and confront my master.
I returned to my master the next day and I told him that I was wrong to be cocky and boast about my skills. That I know realize that there is someone out there who is better than me, that I am to aggressive and must use my mind more often instead of my brute strength. I told him that I must be humble and I want to continue my training, not o become stronger but in order to protect myself and others in case of anything. My master smiled and said:
“Welcome back Nick.”





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback