By Brian Jensen, purple belt
It probably comes as no surprise that kids, like most adults, have numerous demands on their time and energy. For example, my kids participate in baseball, basketball, soccer, student leadership, the school store, orchestra, and gymnastics (don’t worry, we don’t do all these in the same day). Not to mention actually going to school and having homework and special projects to do at home.
At first glance you might wonder how anyone could possibly fit in another activity, like Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo. Well, to those who try, the benefits speak for themselves. In addition to the obvious health benefits of flexibility, strength, balance, and cardiovascular health; kids learn discipline,manners, self-esteem, and perseverance. They also learn how to handle pressure, pay attention, focus even when tired, and how to handle defeat as well as victory.
But the most amazing benefit to me is how MSK Taekwondo actually prepares kids to handle the demands of life and get everything else done. By taking on another “responsibility” in MSK Taekwondo, you actually give yourself a BETTER chance of accomplishing everything on your plate.
It reminds me of the story of the college professor who demonstrates this theory to his class. He has a jar into which he wants to put some sand, some pebbles, and a few large rocks. After placing the sand and pebbles into the jar, he is unable to fit all of the larger rocks into the jar; there isn’t enough room left for them. He then empties out the jar and tries again. However, this time, he puts the large rocks into the jar first. Then he puts in the progressively smaller rocks until he finishes with pouring in the sand. An amazing thing happens…he can actually fit everything into the jar this time. Nothing has changed. The size of the jar is the same. The size and quantity of the rocks, pebbles, and sand is the same. The only thing he changes is the order in which he puts the items into the jar.
You see, the jar represents your life (your time) and the large rocks represent the truly important things in your life, like your goals, dreams, and your family and close friends. The pebbles represent things that matter, but aren’t really that important in the big picture of life. These are things like your car and issues that dominate your thinking, but that you won’t even remember in six months. The sand represents the small stuff, like playing video games, menial tasks and being mad at people for silly reasons. When we fill up our lives with the small, unimportant things, we don’t have room for the things that really matter, the things that move the needle. But when we prioritize the important things, we somehow find a way to make room for it all. I believe that Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo at the CTI is one of those important things that somehow creates space to handle the other demands of life.
One of my mentors often talks about “the big domino.” When I feel overwhelmed and like I don’t have enough time to get everything done, he challenges me to ask myself the question, what is the one big thing that I can do that would either “knock down many smaller dominoes” or make them irrelevant. What is the thing I can do that would take care of my to do list (or make some items irrelevant)?MSK Taekwondo is a big domino. It teaches kids the traits, habits and attitudes it takes to be successful in other areas of life. Not to mention it releases endorphins that improve your mood and get your mind working to help you to accomplish more in less time.
And I couldn’t leave out one of my favorite side benefits… my 2-year-old can count to 10 in Korean! I’m not sure she can even do that in English yet.
The benefits of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo? There are probably too many to list in an article. But do yourself a favor and try it. You’ll be amazed and how much you can get done when you prioritize the right things!