On October 3, 1998 - I stood before a group of fellow students, family, and friends receiving one of the greatest things I could think of at 18 years old: a solid black belt with my name embroidered in gold thread. I'd seen my name affixed to many certificates with gold seals, but NONE compared to the achievement of reaching 1st degree Black belt. This moment memorialized hours of training, sacrifice, and study. For me, this was the moment of a life time.
However, after leaving for college - my training in TaekwonDo came to an end. For the next 10 years, I would secretly (for fear of looking like a goon) kick and punch just to see if I still had it in me. The desire to one day train again remained, and the love of the art never died.
In early September of 2008, my desires came true as I signed up to begin my training again. All the memories came flooding back: the smells, the feel; watching and listening. Certainly, aspirations of being healthy, flexible and strong were fueling me; however, one even stronger dream directed my decisions and focus: one day I wanted to have a school of my own; to influence children and adults alike - giving them the tools to do better, be stronger and healther, and reach further than ever.
This journey has been and will continue to be dotted with smaller goals. I liken it to a rock wall - in order to reach the top, you must place your hand and feet on strategicly placed notches, each one building on the position of your last. The same applies here.
Nearly 2 years later, on August 18, 2010 - I stood before a group of fellow students, family and friends receiving one of the greatest things I can think of at 29 years old: a solid black belt with my name embroidered in gold thread. I'd seen my name affixed to another black belt before, but NOTHING compared to reaching 1st degree black belt...again. This moment memorialized hours of training, sacrifice and study - and years of dreaming, struggling and missing that which I'd left behind.
There is nothing sweeter than reaching an intended destination. But for me, the journey has only just begun. There are many more goals to be made and reached, and I have no doubt that each one will be sweeter than the one before. "Hello Goal, it is so nice to finally meet you. Your family is very large, but I have every intention of meeting you all."