Taekwondo Belt Colors

1. Dedication Has Its Rewards

This one is pretty self explanatory, but the thing to keep in mind when something gets difficult or tiresome, is that in the end, the reward will usually be worth the fight.

Taekwondo Master Yun, Azel, Valerie and Griffin

Taekwondo Master Yun, Azel, Valerie and Griffin

2. Sometimes the Rewards are Not What You Expect

When we first started training in Taekwondo, we thought the reward at the end would be that we could say we were black belts and that we would know how to defend ourselves better. In the end, both of those things are true, but we have found that the more rewarding part of the journey is the friendships we have built with the people we attended class with, and our instructor.

We have learned so much about each other and there are things that can be learned through struggling together towards a common goal, that cannot be easily learned in other circumstances. We will always have a special place in our heart for our Taekwondo instructor and the friends who have taken this journey with us. Those are our biggest rewards.

3. Learning is 90% Mental and 10% Physical

Our bodies are capable of doing amazing things, but many times, the reason we rarely reach those levels is because we allow our minds to tell our bodies we can’t do it. Whether it is going a whole class without a rest, doing those last few push ups, or practicing that kick one more time even though your hips feel like they are about to fall out of socket, the attitude to keep going is important. One of the things Taekwondo has reiterated is that success is an attitude, thought process and work ethic more than anything else.

4. The More Challenging Something is, the More Rewarding the Outcome

No one feels a lot of reward from completing an easy task or quitting when something gets difficult. As humans, we seek challenging things out as we intuitively know that accomplishing those things holds the greatest reward. In a society that seems to value mediocrity, people who stand out need to push beyond the norm and accomplish that which is not easily aquired.

5. Good Traits Require no Common Language to See and Appreciate

Our Taekwondo instructor does not speak English and we do not speak Korean, but over the last 12 months of training, we have come to realize more and more that common language is not a necessity for sharing kindness, respect, understanding and friendship. Paulo Coelho so beautifully captures this idea in his book, The Alchemist, in which he talks about the universal language. This is not some mystical new age thing, but rather a realization of the fact that we are all humans made by the same Creator and He has put in us the ability to see, understand and relate to the humanness of those around us. If people show genuine happiness, kindness, thoughtfulness and friendship, no language is needed to recognize, appreciate and reciprocate those traits.
On the other hand, bad traits share the same ability. If you are lazy, mean, rude, impatient or otherwise not enjoyable to be around, that too can be easily seen by people of other languages, cultures and beliefs. We should all strive to show the love that is in us to others and be ready to explain where it comes from if asked.

Here is a video of our test so you can see what it was like. Big thanks to our good friends Trinh and Eugene for coming over on a Saturday and filming it for us.

BONUS: Accountability Is Key

For any difficult or challenging task, having an accountability partner is possibly one of the most important things you can do.  Valerie and I started Taekwondo together and took our black belt test together.  Over the last twelve months of training, there were many times when I wanted to quit as I often found Taekwondo very boring due to the amount of repetition in practicing forms, kicks and punches. However, with Valerie by my side and knowing she also wanted me by her side, it helped me get through the tough times and finish my training.  Without Valerie’s accountability and encouragement I would probably not be a black belt.


Thank you Valerie for being a loving and supporting wife and for encouraging me in Taekwondo and in life when times get tough. I love you so much and am so excited to live the rest of my life together at each others side. — Griffin


Taekwondo Belt Colors