Thursday, 9 March 2017

15 Year Taekwondo Anniversary Speech

Let's give credit to our amazing MC’s. I had given Dylan and Belinda this responsibility to be the Master of Ceremony and despite exams and training they certainly have not disappointed.   
So young and so talented.

It’s a real privilege and an honour to be with you all tonight.  Thank you for coming.  We have so many friends and family here today.  I am truly grateful. Master Matt Ross, from All Star Martial arts, Mr. Jason Phinney from Chu’s martial arts, Master Shekib Foroughi from Master Foroughi’s Tiger Kims and all the members and friends of Authentic Taekwondo.  

Authentic Taekwondo is a special place of learning and sharing, butwhat is "Taekwondo" and what does it teach us? Perhaps because we have been in it for so long, Taekwondo is a journey of self discovery and it challenges to figure out who are we and how we respond to things.  How is Taekwondo symbolic of life?  Maybe the real question is how can we find our purpose through taekwondo? 

Before I attempt to answer some of these questions, I’d like to say that, I feel blessed to be working with such a talented group of individuals by teaching something that I am so passionate about.  I must admit it’s really easy to teach Taekwondo at the same time it’s really hard.  It’s easy because I teach exactly what I learned as a high performance athlete.  I loved the trainings, the competitions and all that came with it.  My family is here and they can attest to the fact that I trained daily for many years.  So now I teach that same sense of dedication to these guys and they’ve happily accepted.  Teaching Taekwondo is also easy because watching my students grow into fine young men and women is truly a pleasure and incredibly rewarding.  

Teaching Taekwondo is also really hard because it requires great discipline because you have to go against some of your inner most desires, like saying no to ice-cream on a hot sunny summer afternoon because you have competition coming up and you have to make weight.  I also have to teach people to be kicked, by accepting that bumps and bruises and sometimes broken bones are a normal way of life.  That by trying you have a high probably of being hurt and perhaps it will require great effort and it will not be easy but in the end it will be worth it.

So as teachers we have a choice, we can teach them the Authentic way of what the martial arts was meant to be or we can water it down and pretend like we’re kicking and punching but we’re really not. 

So now going back to the main question… what is our purpose and the truth is our purpose redefines itself over time.  As we dig deeper we find out we are capable of so much more and so our purpose either changes or it becomes even clearer.   As many of you may know, I got married in this very same hall a little more than a month ago. My beautiful wife, Megan is now pregnant with our first child.  With all that’s happening in the world today, the question, I ask myself is what kind of a world do I want my child to live in?  

Since working at Authentic and teaching Taekwondo, I realize I have the power to influence people in many ways.  I can make a difference in a few individuals lives and as time moves forward, perhaps  make a difference in our little community, and as we travel, maybe we can make a difference in the world.  We certainly live in a country that gives us that opportunity to be the example for the world to follow.  To quote Viktor Frankl, “when we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourself”.  So by going through hardship, the constant struggles, the ups and downs of competition and failures, the bumps and bruises and possible broken bones, we realize that life isn’t meant to be easy, but we can face our fears, despite the pressure and anxiety and know that we’ve felt this way before and overcome it and we can certainly do it once again.

These are tough lessons and we are progressing because the fruits of our labour is right here in this room.  But I cannot take all the credit because I have a great support system.  So I would like to take the next few minutes and just thank all the people who have been incredibly supportive throughout my endeavours...

I’d like to thank my wife who is incredibly supportive of my desire to teach and I would like to thank my family who has always stood by me and backed me up every time I’ve needed them.

I would like to acknowledge a few individuals who teach at Authentic and shape the future generation of martial artists.