This may sound simple at first - “because I want to” - but as you begin to spend significant amount of time in your martial art you will find that you have moments when you feel like you are going to class simply through the motions. Having been in Tae Kwon Do since I was 6 years old or so, my reasons have definitely changed for being on the mat. Sometimes I failed to adjust and dropped out for a while.
|My awesome Uncle (sans gi) using me as a support|
beam for stretching before a run along the Trinity River.
My mother stuck with Tae Kwon Do (we started around the same time) and eventually opened our school in 2003 (10 years after we started together). I found my way back to martial arts when I was about 14. After I aged out of youth baseball I sat around and did nothing but TV and video games all Summer for a couple years. I had put on a lot of weight. My best friend was the starting QB of the school football team, so when I went to swimming parties with him I felt horribly self-conscious. All the girls there were cheerleaders and all the guys were football ripped. I may be exaggerating, but it was enough pressure to draw me back into martial arts for fitness. Getting in shape was now my motivator.
I dropped out again after my red/black belt test when I was about 19 or 20. I had started college and played in a band, having then developed an addiction to cigarettes – as well as a crappy lifestyle in general. I stuck around the school and attended our fitness classes, but was out of Tae Kwon Do again.
During college, there was a lot of on-and-off at this point and I started to develop an interest in boxing. My motivator this time was testosterone. I felt the need to prove to myself that I am “game” and eventually kicked the cigarette habit when I started training with a 3-time WBC world champion (Boxing).
Right out of college my training picked up immensely. I was talked into preparing for my Black Belt test and in that year I had taken a complete hold on my Tae Kwon Do training again. This eventually combined training for the black belt test, boxing, running, and Jiu Jitsu. I was probably spending 3-4 hours a day on martial arts. My motivator this time was the Black Belt test and being an active part of our school. I had always helped out at the school, but never to that level. I felt a need to be a part of things, my family was my motivator.
|My fiance’ and I at the latest Half Marathon|
I plan to get back into it full-swing after the wedding. My “why” is my family. My Mother, Brother and Father are becoming greater martial artists every single day and it hurts me that I am not a part of it completely right now.
I guess the point of this article is to remind you that sometimes the “why” gets lost when we step on the mat. If you are unable to answer the question of “why” then it is a good sign that burn-out is setting in. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, I suggest looking for something new to keep you on the mat. Compete in tournaments / competitions, attend seminars, take part in demos, try to test for your next rank… really anything that gives you a clear-cut goal to focus towards.
Troy Seeling is a 1st degree black belt and instructor in Tae Kwon Do, with 5 years experience in Boxing and a two-year white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Troy also instructs a strength and fitness class, and helps to manage his families' dojo, North Texas Karate Academy In his spare time, he enjoys trying different forms of physical fitness, including Olympic weight lifting and distance running. He also enjoys film photography with antique cameras. You can contact Troy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed note: Opinions in "Troy-Kwon-Do" posts are those of Troy Seeling, and I don't always agree. My motivator for training right now is to be a short, fat version of "Xena, Warrior Princess." -The Stick Chick