What We Value Most
What we value most
By Mathiam Mbow, owner / instructor at Silver Lining Taekwon-Do
One thing we are very proud of at Silver Lining Taekwon-Do is that this is a place where everyone is welcome. My mother-in-law calls the school the “United Nations” because all races, cultures and backgrounds are represented and welcomed. In addition to the diverse cultures, we are also very proud that we have students of all ages and of various skill levels. For us, TaekwonDo training is not only for the athletic and gifted people, but it is for everyone. As a matter of fact, less than one percent of Taekwon-Do practitioners are world level competitors and athletes. If we set the standards to the one percent who are the gifted and talented then we will fail the art and fail the vision the founder of the art had for the discipline. General Hong Hi Choi understood early on that he was developing a very solid art with very complex movements, but he explained the purpose of each movement so clearly that anybody who studies the art can perform regardless of age, gender, and physical abilities. He wanted Taekwon-Do to be an art for the masses and not for the few.
He also promoted several people to higher ranks that to an untrained observer they may not have earned. The general warns against that kind of judgement because one may not know the history or challenges a student had to overcome to be promoted to a higher rank. Simply put, the general’s words echo the saying: “don’t judge a book by its cover.” If you don’t know a person’s history or life story, the prudent and wise thing to do is hold judgement. Learn to know them first and perhaps you will have a better appreciation for who they are.
I want to take this opportunity to remind our students of the general’s warning against judging other students. We have several students with physical limitations and students who struggle in other parts of their lives, and we are honored and proud to serve them as well. In many cases these students are some of the hardest working students in the school because they have to work twice as hard as a student with all physical aptitudes and may not perform at the same level as them. To witness a moment of their training on testing day and question the validity of their promotion is an insult to them and to the instructors who promoted them because you don’t know the work they put in and obstacles they had to overcome in the months leading up to the performance you witnessed on test day. So please, if your fellow student isn’t performing as you think they should, don’t judge them. Instead, cheer them on, support them and try to motivate them to be their best because you do not know what challenges they are facing. As a family, we need to be there for one another and support one another. This is one of the many reasons why I love Taekwon-Do.
There are only a few requirements to be a part of our martial arts family and they are:
- Be a good person
- Be willing to learn
- Be respectful and kind to others
- Be willing to push yourself and get outside your comfort zone because we will push you
- Be supportive and don’t judge others
- Accept everyone for who they are
Our goal is to build an environment that fosters learning and encourages people to be a better version of themselves each day. We are here to help our students be successful in Taekwon-Do and in life, but success isn’t the same for everyone. For some, being an Olympic champion is success while for others making it to black belt is their version of success. The journey is the same in that one needs to put in the work, be dedicated and disciplined to achieving their goal.
And remember, what might look like failure to you is achievement to others beyond measure.