The second tenet of Tae Kwon Do that we will look at is Perseverance (In Nae).
Perseverance, like self control, is a relatively simple principle to understand; it means to continue, to keep going, to not give up. Yet perseverance is a difficult thing to accomplish.
Inside the dojang
New students to Tae Kwon Do, when they venture through the door of the training hall for the very first time, can feel a variety of emotions: some may be nervous, some embarrassed, some confident, others excited. Hopefully, as training gets underway and students’ skills and fitness develop, they will come to class with a positive attitude, a confidence that they are progressing and the desire to improve.
Yet it is almost inevitable that at some point a student will require greater willpower than usual to attend class; perhaps they have had a hard week at work or school, perhaps they are struggling to find the motivation to exercise or perhaps they are struggling with a certain technique or pattern. This is natural and understandable. However, a committed student will not let such obstacles affect their training in the long run. A committed student will have a goal and will not give up their intention of achieving this goal, whether it is to perfect that jump back kick, to better that new pattern or to achieve their black belt. Perseverance is what is required to continue training, even when the going gets tough.
“Fall seven times and stand up eight”- Japanese proverb
Beginning students show perseverance by coming back again after that first class. It is easy to look at more advanced students and instructors and think “I’ll never be able to do that!” Yet it is worth remembering that a black belt is just a white belt that never gave up. Perseverance demands a more positive frame of mind than an “I can’t” mentality.
Beginning is easy- continuing hard- Japanese proverb
Outside the dojang
The following short story sums up the idea of perseverance and not giving up, even when the outlook is bleak...
Shake It Off and Step Up
by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown
by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown
A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathised with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbours together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbours continued shovelling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow.
"Shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!
You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him. All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
Sometimes it is easy to feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel (or no way out of the well). If you are looking for inspiration take time to read about or get to know inspirational people. Their success stories might just inspire you to persevere. Here are some people that have inspired us...