This I Believe

Mark - Chandler, Arizona
Entered on May 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, legacy, sports
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I have gone through hours of training, intense workouts and grueling exercises. Normally your body is not meant to get hurt, biologically engrained to avoid danger at all costs but I believe that martial arts expresses feelings that words cannot describe. It can be called madness, irrationality to engage in a sport that puts the body in situations where the primary goal is to hurt others, but there is an artistic side to it.

Within every punch I throw, kick and counterattack is not only the expression of me but of the person who taught me that technique, of the person that encourages me every day and of every person I fight for.

My master was a traditionalist from Korea. He brought over the unconditional love for all that he learned from growing up in South Korea and in-turn passed on to me. He was my teacher and I was his apprentice. I competed not only to defend myself physically, but my honor, his pride and the respect of the school.

We held a strong bond until he tragically lost the fight to cancer. Now I had something more to battle for. The way I see it is even though a person may be gone, it is who they raised, and the actions that a person does that really defines who they are. I have encouraged this philosophy both on and off the sparring mat.

As I walk every day I think back upon the philosophies my master taught me not only from the lessons I learned from him but also the life he led. Pass yourself onto others, leave a mark on this earth, have a trace for others to remember you by and make sure that your name is kept in mind by somebody, somewhere.

As I strap on my protective padding and step into the ring, I face another opponent that spars for his own respective reasons. Perhaps he fights for family or friends or maybe not so honorable reasons but I know one thing, and that is with every kick that makes contact to his body is every word my master has said to me and every word his teachers told him. Every connecting punch is a word that left an impact upon me.