March 7, 2020
My journey with Tae Kwon Do started 40 years ago in a small refugee camp in the Philippines. My master
was a refugee himself and was offering free class for anyone who’s willing to wake up at 6am and attend. As a
9 year old child, waking up at 6am to practice forms and kicks on a hot concrete airport runway is not my
favorite thing to do. To say that I hated Tae Kwon Do is an understatement. I remembered my master was
particularly hard on me and my brother because we didn’t do what was expected of us. One morning about 3
months after we started, master was yelling at us about something I can’t remembered, we told him we quit
and ran off. I thought we also mooned him as we ran off but I’m not 100% sure. That was one of the happiest
day of my life.
When we got home and explained everything to my dad and told him how it was all master’s fault that we
quit. He dragged us back to the concrete runway that was our class, made us apologized and begged master
to take us back. The happiest day of my life is also the most embarrassing. Little did I know, Tae Kwon Do
taught me a valuable lesion that day. Never burn your bridges because you’ll never know when you’ll cross it
As much as I hated Tae Won Do when I was a kid, I’m loving it 100 times more as an adult. If I don’t
have to work some evenings, I’d be in class 6 days a week (and Master Daniel would be so sick and tire of
seeing me). Maybe that’s a good thing because it gives this old body a chance to recover. Tae Kwon Do is
more than kicking or practicing forms, it’s a way of life for me. I’ve learned to control my breathing when doing
long kicking sessions, and strategize when I sparred and that often translate into real life practiced. I
automatically take deep breaths and control my breathing when stressed or finding non conventional ways
around difficult situations. In short, Tae Kwon Do keeps me physically and mentally alert. My only regret is I
didn’t restarted this earlier when my body is younger and can take more punishments. But will I love the sport
as much as I do now? I think so!
I would like to thank my family, most of all my wife for putting up with me cutting dinners short and putting the
kids to sleep so I can make it to class on time.
I’d like to thank Mrs. Paula for helping me with tournaments and just be there when I needed something.
I’d like to thank Grand Master Park for helping refine my forms and straighten my side kicks the past couple of
And most of all, I’d like to thank Master Daniel for his dedication, being patience with me, answer all my
questions and making this journey so much fun.