Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Post Black Belt test speech

"Of those who start Taekwondo training, only about 5% stick to it until they achieve their Black Belt. ”  Congratulations!!  You are a minority of affluence!!

As most of you know I didn’t come to Canada until I was 11.  And before we immigrated to this beautiful land I use to browse through books, magazines and watch movies in the hopes of viewing some cool kicks.  Aside from these things, we had a family album with pictures of my brother Adib, doing Taekwondo, as they used to train Martial arts at some park.  As a requirement for his black belt test I read in his essay, that they were kicked out of the training facilities, which was at his English school.  They were kicked out because the neighbours were complaining that they were yelling too loud.   

Now reflecting back on those pictures it seems that with bare minimum, torn up uniforms and no protective equipment they were practicing with so much intensity and pride.  In either case, I must’ve gone through that album a 1000 times thinking how wonderful was that, and hoping that one day I could be just like that.  I strongly believe it was the combination of little moments like that that allowed and encouraged me to be in Taekwondo… and today it gives me great pride to honor Adib for his 1st degree black belt.

Now in the next phase of my life as an instructor, each one of you remind me the beauty of my job and inspire me to become better day after day and drive the passion in my journey.  Watching you develop has given me moments of pride and satisfaction.  I want to take this moment to mention Rob Nadler, who trains regularly, and puts in 100% every single time.  And his persistence and dedication not only showed today in his test but also during a recent tournament where he delivered the perfect back kick in the finals seconds of his match.  What a great example of understanding the moment, planning and executing what he had practiced for hours, days and months.  He not only sets the example for his children who train and compete but for all of us here at Authentic Taekwondo.  Congratulations Rob on this milestone and thank you for your contributions toward our school.

One of the Joys of this job is watching young individuals grow into responsible people, those who begin to understand their own capabilities and the effects that their actions have on others.  Who understand their leadership in the community and act accordingly.  Jamie continues to the betterment of our school both in his leadership at Trillium Montessori school but also in cadets and Taekwondo.  Congratulations Jamie, a well deserved black belt. 

Speaking of leadership and responsibility, Jesse has been our competitor for a few years now.  He’s training to compete at local and organized levels.  This year he has decided to compete once again at Nationals.  We think that that is a noble cause but also understand that there are tremendous responsibilities with it.  You have a lot of support around you and we are proud of your performance today.  Congratulations.

Watching Emily grow and develop over the years has been a great delight.  Working with these kids has taught me that being serious and dedicated is not a matter of age but of maturity.  Those who work hard reap the rewards of their success and enjoy the fruits of their labor.  When things are just handed to you, you don’t appreciate it as much.  At the same time when you win it becomes a lot harder to stay on top.  But I believe in us and that we can continue the tradition of most sought after Taekwondo school in the country.  Congratulations Emily, you’re on a great journey.  Enjoy every moment of it.

Our people determines the level of success for our club and when I look around me, I see so much talent… for example Damian – I first saw his two older siblings and I thought they were pretty good and fast, then I saw Damian and I thought ok, even though, he’s younger, Julian and Christian have some serious competition.    

Armen, you have come a long way from your tough first days at Authentic and grown into a young confident martial artist.  Continue to push yourself and share your experience with the next generation.

Aaron, this black belt proves that you are no longer a baby, but a young boy capable of doing anything you want.

Zekria, you’ve improved a lot from your days of lazy movements and every instance you make me proud of your accomplishments. 

Naweed, we have a lot in common, we’re both the youngest of our siblings but a lot to prove.  This black belt is a great first step, but understand that real bravery is not in fighting with those around you but deciding to walk away from it.

Cassandra, you are a great student and full of life, take your 2nd poom also as an encouragement to be a leader and share your knowledge. 

Benafsha, you never cease to surprise me with your performances.  Every time when faced with adversity you pull through and not only survive but achieve great results. 
Congratulations to you all.

In the end, you are all the future of this school.  And remember that where ever you go, you represent us, your family and your community and most importantly you represent yourself.  Be the best person you can… and always be yourself.

Thank you!!