I was on top of the world. I was a two-time grand champion, I was on the demonstration team, I was training to be an instructor, and I was a third degree black belt. What more could I ask for? A few years ago, I thought the answer to that question was: nothing. Little did I know that that answer would be changing very soon.
I loved taekwondo. I pursued taekwondo for about seven years and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I started when I was in kindergarten; I was a little white belt in the peewee class. At the time, I didn’t think that taekwondo would be such a major part of my life. I thought that taekwondo would be another one of my sports that I tried and eventually would quit because I wasn’t interested. Boy, was I wrong.
Right away I fell in love with the sport. I loved learning new things, and I couldn't wait to go to practices. As I got older, my white belt turned into a deputy belt, and I was able to move into the adult class. I became a rockstar. I won almost all of the tournaments that I participated in, and I was put on my school’s demonstration team. My practice schedule went from one day a week to three to four days a week. I went from taking regular classes to sparring classes, weapons classes, demonstration team practices, and eventually student teaching.
It was around the time I had my second degree black belt that I began to feel different about the sport. I felt bored during practices, and I didn’t know if I still loved the sport the way I used to. One night after practice, I told my mom, “I don’t know if I still want to do taekwondo anymore.” I was hesitant because I didn’t want my mom to be mad at me for saying that I wanted to quit the sport she paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars for me to do.
“Why do you not want to do it anymore?” she asked calmly.
“I’m really bored, and I don’t know if I love it anymore,” I responded.
“What if you keep it up a little longer and then we will see what happens after that? You don’t want to make a decision that you will regret,” she said. I agreed with her and pretty soon, taekwondo didn’t seem boring to me anymore. I went back to loving it just as much as I originally did.
Meanwhile, another hobby of mine was slowly growing into a new passion. Dancing had always been a huge part of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved dancing whether it was alone in my room or just watching videos online. When I was younger, I took a few dance classes, but I hated them. At that point, I never thought that I would even be wanting to take a dance class.
One day, I walked into taekwondo practice; little did I know that that would be my last time at taekwondo. It was at demonstration team practice that I realized something: I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I didn’t feel like taekwondo was giving me anything useful. I once again grew bored; my boredom felt different this time than the last time I felt bored. I knew that this time, it was for real.
“Are you sure?” my parents asked me.`
“Yes, I am sure,” I responded confidently. Although, I didn’t know how confident I actually was. I thought of all of the things that I would be leaving behind: my friends, and the sport I used to love. I also thought of the one thing that would have possibly came to me: the feeling of regret.
At first, I did have regret. I missed taekwondo. I missed going to practice every week, and I missed my friends. I began to research dance classes but nothing caught my eye, and I wanted to go back to taekwondo.
I finally joined a hip hop dance class to get me started. It was then that I decided that I made the right decision to leave taekwondo; I realized that I loved dancing. I joined my middle school poms team in seventh and eighth grade. I knew that I wanted to join the high school dance team, so I joined the poms team to get used to dancing on a team. I soon became a leader on the poms team, and I knew I was ready to try out for the high school team.
Dance team tryouts were challenging and I didn’t know how well I would do. I never had any formal training; the only “training” I had was watching people dancing online and copying their moves, so when I made the varsity dance team, I was ecstatic.
Being on the dance team has been my favorite part of high school. Dancing at halftime of football and basketball games is super fun, but competing is my favorite. I have already decided that I will be trying out for the team for the rest of my years in high school.
I haven’t had a single regret of leaving taekwondo ever since I started dance, but joining taekwondo in the first place was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. Taekwondo taught me many skills including confidence, determination, leadership, and teamwork. These skills not only help me in dance, but they also help me in my life in general. My two passions have been large parts of my life and they have both shaped me into who I am today.