Learning versus Seasons
A lifetime sometimes seems as but a year, and a year has four seasons. Therefore, the lifetime of a Taekwondo student may be compared to the lifespan of an annual plant as it lives through the four seasons.
The lifespan of an annual plant begins with spring when fields are tilled, fertilized, and planted with new seeds. The new seeds bud, and begin to grow. Under the intense sun, some plants will wilt and die, some will thrive, and some will even begin to bear early fruit. If a fruit is picked too early, it will not fully ripen in time for market; instead, it will begin to rot.
In the spring of the lives of Taekwondo students, their preconceived ideas about the martial arts are tilled so they are ready for the planting of new ideas that are then fertilized through constant training in the basics. Some of the new students will wilt under the intense training and quit; others will start blooming and show potential; and a few will show great promise. Similar to the fruit that was picked too early, sometimes these promising students are rushed in their training so they may compete. Similar to the early fruit, on the outside they appear ready, but inside, they are immature and underdeveloped. They may achieve early victories but as they progress, they are unable to maintain their intense level of training. These students will be more prone to injury, will probably get frustrated, and some will eventually burnout.
During the summer, with plenty of water and sun, the plants continue to grow and mature. They weather the wind and rain and their fruit grows larger and begins to ripen.
In the summer of the lives of Taekwondo students, with proper instruction and training, the students begin to mature in Taekwondo. They develop flexibility, stamina, and strength, and their techniques gain speed and power. Some students get injuries but they learn to adapt and work through them. Students suffer losses in competition, but the losses make them stronger.
Autumn is harvest time. Ripened fruit is picked and sent to market where it draws great acclaim. The air begins to turn cold, the leaves of the plants began to change colors, wilt, and fall.
At the beginning of the autumn the lives of Taekwondo students, the students are at their peak. All they have learned and practiced begins to come together and they win most of their competitions. More than that, they have come to understand how much Taekwondo has meant in their lives and how they are better persons for the training. Toward the end of autumn, students begin to lose some of their edge; they are not as quick and not as strong. They begin have a sense of foreboding. Their physical powers are fading, injuries become more frequent, illnesses become a problem, and the physical expressions of age become more prevalent. However, a lifetime of Taekwondo training helps slow the pace of aging and gives students the strength to accept aging as process that must be endured if one is to achieve final victory.
As winter progresses, plants complete their lifespan and die. They prepare for their inevitable death by insuring that new seeds are available for the next spring.
During the winter of the lives of Taekwondo students, the process of aging results in decreased flexibility and physical strength, and training becomes more difficult if not impossible. Students began to spend more of their time insuring a new crop of students is available to carry on the art. As the aged students die, their legacies live on in the hearts of the younger students whose lives they touched.