Thank you for your advice on my previous questions. I have been reading about General Choi on your web site and I find him to have been a very inspiring person. I need advice on a few other things. (1) I am a yellow belt and my instructor says I have a perfect build and height for Taekwondo and that I do great kicks, but that I need to concentrate more on the basics. However, I get bored doing basics all the time. (2) One of the reasons I started Taekwondo was to learn discipline and control and to incorporate it into my everyday life. At college, I find it hard to sit down and do written work and homework; I want to be doing something practical all the time. I am a performing arts student and hope to go into doing fight choreography in films. How can I learn to be more patient? (3) My main concern with flexibility is that, when I watch high rank black belts doing patterns where they hold a kick leg in the air, I want to be able to do that. I apologize for any spelling mistakes; I am not that good a speller.
So many people go though their lives thinking that merely being alive and having babies is the purpose of life. Thankfully, there are people who think life is not a gift but an obligation. They do not simply exist, they try to make a positive impact on the world. Even through some people may not agree with General Choi’s politics or his views on Taekwondo, he achieved a lot during his lifetime, and he had a positive impact on the world. Here is some advice on your listed concerns.
- It appears that you have a good Taekwondo instructor. While it appears you want to be a great Taekwondo performer, he wants you to be a great Taekwondo martial artist. If you rely on your athleticism to achieve greatness, you may achieve it, but as the athleticism fades, so will your greatness; then, at some point in your life, probably too early, you will become another “has been.” However, if you strive to become a great martial artist, your greatness will never fade; it will just evolve. As your physical abilities fade, your experience, knowledge, and lifelong training for perfection will take up the slack and you will still be able to maintain your greatness. In Genera Choi’s last years, his physical ability faded, but he was still sought for his wisdom and knowledge.
- You do not reach greatness; it comes to you as you work to be the best you can be. The more you work and the closer you come to greatness, the less that reaching it means to you. It is not reaching the destination that means the most in life, it is how you live your life during the journey.
- As I said in my answer to one of the questions in your last correspondence, you have to decide what you want to do: be a martial artist, or be something else. If you want to be a martial artist, it takes lots of practice; if you want to be a great martial artist, it takes lots and lots of long tedious practice. Tiger Woods still spends hours on the putting green practicing his putt. Great musicians still practice their scales. They realize the importance of practicing the basics,
- If you want to do tricks, there are martial art schools that teach tricks. If you want to be a martial arts choreographer, you do not need to be a great martial artist. Choreography is nothing like combat, it more similar to dancing. There are schools that teach fighting choreography if that is what you want to do.
- Patience is not something you can take a class to learn; you either have it or you do not have it. If you do not have it, no amount of wanting it or hounding by others will help you get it. You may improve it, but it is just not part of your personality. If you are an impatient person, you just learn to live with it, and others that want to get along with you will have to accept it. You will have to do things that do not require patience; otherwise, even if you do find success, you will not be able to enjoy it.
- I too am an impatient person. I have to be doing something all the time; I consider the need for sleep to be a nuisance. I find that I am most impatient when doing something that I do not enjoy doing. When I enjoy doing something, hours pass without my realizing it. People wonder how and why I spend so much time on the web site; it is because I am creating and I enjoy it. I enjoy Taekwondo, so I train on perfecting the basics everyday.
- When you reach black belt rank, you will probably be able to hold an extended kick that way. However, that is not the way General Choi envisioned Taekwondo kicks. Taekwondo was formed by a group of masters who were mostly ex or current military. It was created as a Korean way of hand-to-hand combat, not as a way of performing.
Flexibility and power are not necessarily complementary. I have seen highly flexible people who could not kick high, especially with any power, because they did not have the overall muscular strength required to lift the leg quickly and with power. I have seen very powerful kickers who did not have the flexibility to kick high. Sport Taekwondo fighters kick to head, not just because it gives them more points, but mainly because the rules make it easy for them to kick high. Mixed martial artists rarely use high kicks. When an opponent can punch, grab, and use takedowns, high kicks are dangerous. In the street, high kicks will get you killed. Quick, powerful, focused, and accurate kicks that may be fired without any warning are more important than high kicks.
Do not be so concerned with flexibility. When doing conventional stretching exercises, my instructor is not very flexible. I am more flexible than he is and I am 30 years older than he is. However, he can perform high, near perfect kicks (I cannot). His flexibility comes from years of trying to perform perfect kicks. He is only flexible where he needs to be flexible to perform proper kicks. His philosophy appears to be, “I am a professional Taekwondo instructor; that is what I do. Therefore, I do that which makes me a better at what I do. I do not have the time to do, nor do I see a need to do, things that do not make me better at what I do.”
As to your apology for your spelling errors, it appears your misspelling and poor grammar are a reflection of your impatience. Dictionaries and spell checkers make everyone a good speller, as long as they take the time to use them.