Discipline and Commitment

The Saturday before Father’s Day 2017 was intense. He was nervous – breathing through his diaphragm and out his mouth, checking his watch every thirty seconds to see how much closer to 11:00AM the small hand crept, then beaming with excitement. After six long years of incredibly hard work and dedication, my son (whom I affectionately name, “The Lad” in my writings) was finally testing to achieve one of his greatest accomplishments, yet.

This day happened through trial and error. Several years prior, I, like any other mother, signed my little boy up for sports. Baseball and basketball were the two I thought he’d gravitate towards. Sure, they were enriching. But, he wasn’t playing for the same motive as everyone else on the team. The Lad played out of sheer fun while the rest of his mates played for competition. When the teams lost games, he would attempt to cheer them up, but they were unbothered by his encouragement. Win or lose, or not making a basket or cracking a bat did not faze him.
It later dawned on me that he may be a better fit for individualized sports. So we visited a nearby dojo, Draco Academy of Martial Arts, to see how he would react. As soon as we walked in, The Lad was mesmerized. I knew after the first class that I had finally found something in alignment with his destiny. And with it brought other pertinent principles he learned, which were added bonuses!
Wanting to keep him fulfilled, I sacrificed evenings, ran around to juggle errands, rearranged my time to accommodate his classes, and saved for the monthly fee to make sure my little boy kept a smile on his face. He knew it would be hard work and sacrifice, and he was committed.
Over time, my scrawny little boy became a brick house. His body transformed into cut muscles and veins running down his arms, hands, legs and feet. His reflexes were sharper and his decision making was wiser. He was more disciplined. A leader.
At one point he tested his strength on a punching bag machine in the middle of the floor at an arcade. Just like he had practiced before breaking a board, he checked it. Once. Twice. Then, he went in for the strike. The Lad hit the bag so hard that it broke, registering in the 900’s. My son became a force to be reckoned with.
During those long six years it was my job to make sure he stayed focused and diligent. He began to see himself wearing that black belt of honor with his name on it. With every belt The Lad achieved, he looked on the board to count how many more belts away he was from his target. I’d hear him say, “Only 7 more”, then, “Only 6 more”. He practiced day in and day out. When he was tired from wrestling practice, he would come home, finish his homework, then we would head to the dojo for him to take double classes, two days a week. Even when he injured himself twice, he recuperated through physical therapy then got back in the dojo to get extra classes with his sensei. He was tired, but committed.
Black belt testing day was grueling, but The Lad knew what was at stake. If he didn’t succeed, he’d have to practice six more months to wait until the next black belt test. With the exception of a couple of five minute breaks to hydrate, testing was more than two intense hours – completing fitness requirements, sparring, forms, breaking boards, self-defense, kick combinations with blocks and punches, and running a mile in ninety degree weather. Then at 1:15pm, through great discipline and commitment, The Lad attained his 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He told me that it was his biggest accomplishment and was looking forward to training for the 2nd Degree. It should go without saying that I am one proud mom!
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