We just had a belt testing at Jung SuWon Martial Arts Academy. The testing group was quite large and most of the students were 10 years old or younger.
At testings, Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim gives each student the opportunity to announce their names, their age, their school and to state their goals. I know when I was 10 years old, the only thing close to a goal that I had was to get a high score in a video game – definitely nothing that was aimed toward my future or growth.
Students as young as 5 years old set goals about their future. Even though most children will go through many interests in their lives before they get to high school or college, they are learning about setting goals and following through from their training at Jung SuWon. They also gain experience speaking in front of others, something that doesn’t come easy to many people.
As just one example, one of the 6-year-old girls that tested for her orange belt really showed a lot of improvement since her prior testing a few months ago. At that time, she was 5 years old and was very scared to announce herself and her goals. Now, just a few months later, she spoke firmly and sounded like she had never had any fears about speaking in front of people.
Several students set goals to “Be the Master of My Life.” There has been a lot of stories about children being bullied. Great Grandmaster is talking about this a lot in classes and encouraging our students to come forward to talk about their experiences. As students train more and gain more confidence, they are better equipped to not be pressured or influenced by bullies. Even though the words still hurt, students know that they are just words and aren’t true.
By saying they want to “Be the Master of My Life”, students are stating that they will stand up for who they are and not let anyone else tear them down. I truly see that Jung SuWon, and other programs that teach children to have confidence and believe in who they are, are what our society needs to help our children to be strong.
We can’t be with our kids every second of the day to watch over them, but we can help them by teaching them a good foundation: Confidence, belief and being the master of their lives.