DOBOK SQUAWK Deconstructing Taekwon-Do Study. Be curious. Question why. Practice diligently. Strive for perfection. Learn that there may be more than one answer. Work out (not just in taekwon-do class). Observe closely. Strengthen your weaknesses. Accept that you will always have weaknesses. Teach (your own technique will get better for it). Find new sources of information. Love taekwon-do. Question why you even like taekwon-do in the first place. Pick one thing and practice it to death. Then pick something else. Repeat. Be a mentor. Watch yourself on video. Find new ways to train. Don’t take things too seriously. Set goals. Stick to them. Don’t just pay lip service to the tenets of taekwon-do; genuinely try to be a better person. Drill, baby, drill. Know that there is more to life than taekwon-do. Don’t pretend to be an expert when you’re not. Learn something new. Learn your history. Dare to innovate. Find your taekwon-do. Let others find their taekwon-do. Yours is not theirs. Get over it: you are not a ninja. Realize that just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way. But know that sometimes something has always been done a certain way specifically because it’s right. Train somewhere new, just for a little while. Learn from junior belts. Check your ego. Know your strengths and be confident in them. Try other martial arts. Know that taekwon-do isn’t a perfect martial art. Find its flaws and accept them. Understand that taekwon-do isn’t for everyone. Help others reach their goals. Don’t set goals for other people. Help them set their own. Be a perpetual student. Accept that everyone has different reasons for training in taekwon-do. Don’t make claims that just aren’t true. Get over it: taekwon-do is a sport (as well as other things). Understand that sparring and self-defence are not the same thing. Read more Dobok Squawk (yes, that’s a shameless plug). Understand that rank is not a measure of skill. Find a hobby besides taekwon-do. Learn a little about karate. It’s where TKD came from. Foster a positive learning environment. Know your limits and when it’s OK to try to exceed them. If it’s not OK to try to exceed them, stay within your limits. Stay healthy. Don’t push yourself through injury. Celebrate others’ successes. Be proud of other people when they become better than you. Never settle for good enough. Sweat. Stretch regularly and properly. (I recommend yoga.) Have fun. Don’t train to please others. Train to please yourself. Learn to like getting hit. But still avoid it as much as you can. Know that strength training is your friend. Study grappling, at least for a little while. Get over it: taekwon-do is not the best way to learn to defend yourself. Be a leader. Don’t stop training. Black belt is just the beginning. Don’t just do. Understand. Go hard. Know when to go easy. Share your little epiphanies when you have them. Learn how to explain everything you know. Other people can’t benefit from your skills if you can’t explain them well. Look outside the borders of taekwon-do to improve your taekwon-do. Compete, at least once. Be the black belt that you want to be.