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Student Articles

Leadership

A good leader is social, focused, confident, humble, and courageous. A leader has to be social to be able to help others instead of helping only a few. They have to be focused so they don’t  go off task and not give someone the proper help they need. They need to be confident in their decisions so that they show they have what it takes to be a leader. They need to be humble in order to show that even a more experienced person can still learn and expand their knowledge. They need to be courageous to show that nothing will stop them from assisting and helping someone in need.

             You can be a leader in school and work by doing your work and turning in assignments on time and showing others how to act properly. You can be a leader in sports by showing up to practice and listening to the coach and assisting anyone struggling or lacking behind. You can be a leader at your home, church, and community by always doing the right thing and living with a positive attitude.

                     
MTI students can be leaders in their communities by helping others, being positive, showing others how they can improve themselves, and by always being the one to stand up when someone is needed. 

- Justin Keith, Blue Belt

EDUCATION

Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo is unique in that it does an absolutely amazing job of emphasizing the importance of education in the lives of its students. Not only do we educate ourselves in all things MSK Taekwondo related through our classes, events, written tests, and monthly homework, but we strive to make it known to all students that education is a significant aspect that extends beyond the walls of our campus. We want our students attending school to take their studies seriously. And for the adults not in school anymore? We want them to understand that education is still just as important for them. Even when the work may seem hard, tedious, or even pointless, our desire to educate ourselves should never waver because learning and gaining more knowledge will only help us to become better people.

A big misconception is that education can only be found in schools, but what is education? It’s knowledge gain. It’s learning. And that’s something that you can find anywhere, anytime, in any situation. The opportunity to learn is always obtainable. We can learn by listening, watching, and applying our knowledge in specific ways. It’s important we take advantage of these everyday chances and use them to our benefit.

Time and time again, we hear that knowledge is power. The civilizations and societies that have historically flourished and prospered are those that live by this motto. The more people educate themselves, the better they can serve their communities, helping them grow and advance. If people settle for minimal knowledge and don’t challenge themselves to expand their learning, they plateau. The world around us is continually changing and it’s our responsibility to positively foster that change. To do so, it’s necessary we understand what is around us, and with the insane abundance of information out there, our pursuit of learning should be constant.

 

It makes sense that I may be a little biased towards promoting the importance of education considering my career as an English teacher, but this is a concept I wrestle with everyday. I repeatedly see and experience the good education can do for students. When my students take their studies seriously-- when they try and try and keep trying-- they truly do boost their chances of success beyond the walls of our high school. Learning goes beyond math problems and writing essays and it certainly goes beyond the classroom setting. Everyday, I remind myself that my main focus is not to teach students how to craft the perfect argumentative essay or how to analyze a short story for theme (although that is all part of my job description). My main focus is to teach them to value their learning, to seek the best for themselves, and to never settle for less than what they are capable of. THAT’S what education teaches us, THAT’S what education does for us, and THAT’S why education is important.

Hope Morgan, 3rd Dan

MODESTY

Modesty, the quality of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of your abilities, is an underrated trait for success.  Being modest, while doing your best, sets you up for success and advancement.  A person who calmly goes about their job, or daily activities, and gets things done is more often the hardest worker; especially if compared to those who talk about how good they are.  Modesty is recognized by supervisors, since the work gets done by those who aren't talking about it; but doing it.

Modesty is "walking the walk", and letting your accomplishments and deadlines met speak for themselves.  Being proud of what you do goes in line with being modest.  In my opinion, modest people are often working harder and smarter than those who are bragging.  In my experience, those students who work hard, pay attention, and don't compare themselves to others, are the students who achieve more and faster.

Being a modest person, while striving internally to be the best person you can, feeds that drive.  Your modesty can often lead you to push harder, do more classes, arrive earlier, and stay later - all because you are moderate in your estimation of your abilities, so you want to be better.  You won't brag about it when you get better - you may not even notice the improvement within yourself; but others will see it, and you will be better - even if you don't think so.  That will continue to drive you forward, as it truly has for me.  I've not been able to notice or point out my improvements, until I look at where I started - at the same time, I see how far I want to go, so I just keep pushing, quietly and calmly.

- Eileen Lindner, 3rd dan, Chief instructor, Conifer Campus

MSK Taekwondo as, and with a Teen!

MSK Taekwondo as a teen

Being a teenager while doing Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo is important now and later in life.  Being a teenager, I have learned in class to use self control before self defense, we call this Ho Shin.  It means not to hurt anybody outside or inside of class unless you are being threatened.  It means not to hurt them if they are being rude but always ask what the problem is first and don’t go straight to punching and kicking.  If they were about to start hurting you a lot that is the time to start using what you learned in MSK Taekwondo to protect yourself.  Defending yourself is important. P arents want their kids to be safe and not be scared.  MSK Taekwondo is a way to defend yourself in dangerous situations.  MSK Taekwondo has helped me stretch my body to kick higher, punch harder, and to have a good stance which requires lots of practice.  In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, practice is important, both mentally and physically. If your goal is to become a better kicker practice at home, outside, or in class because practicing makes you better at doing it.  MSK Taekwondo helps teenagers learn how to better deal with pain and struggle. In class pain and struggling is temporary but has a big impact on you later in life, and sometimes necessary in order to reach your life goals.

MSK Taekwondo with a teen

Everyone has a problem that you know nothing about, this is especially true when you are a teen.  Who are your friends, what crowd to fit in with, which grades are more important, why am I in trouble again? Issues that seem trivial as adults take center stage as a teen, yet chances are you had the same issues growing up.  How easy it is to forget the challenges of adolescence,  I certainly have either forgotten or suppressed most of mine.  Often while watching my teenage son struggle I find myself poking around in the dusty corners of my brain looking for remnants of my young feelings.  All parents do this at some time, wanting and hoping to give their child some kernel of information that they did not have. One piece that I had as a teen was Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo,  I am hoping to pass along some of my my growth and experiences through this training to my son.  School and the pressures that go along with it can be hard, especially in the middle school years, nothing seems to make sense. Friends change, teachers can be good or bad depending on the day and don't get me started on parents.  There is no consistency at a time when a sane and simple, predictable routine should exist.  The Missouri Taekwondo Institute  provides our family this stable platform.  Everyone is equal, at least in the dojang.  It doesn't matter the color of your hair, eyes or your belt.  Your uniform is the same, your basic training is the same and so is your sweat.  The most difficult challenger you will encounter is the one you see in the mirror, this reflection will also become your biggest critic and your most steadfast ally.  There are no subgroups based on fashion, looks or intelligence, we are all working to better ourselves.  Advancement in rank is set by your instructor, it is up to you to set your own individual goals.  You may choose advancement to the next belt, breaking more boards, learning to protect yourself or becoming fit.  It doesn't matter what you choose as your assignment so long as you are true to yourself.  What you learn in addition to your training may not be initially seem important. It is the side lessons that when planted require time to take root.  Listening, timing, self confidence, spacial awareness are some of these skills. You and your teen may not see the benefits of this alternate training initially but they do show up in your attitude, which ultimately enhances your personal and family skills. 

- Scott (father)and Alex (teen) Hancey, blue belts

Self - Directed Learner

In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo classes I tend to be rather self-directed in my learning.  Whether I’m doing basics, poomse, or one steps, I’m constantly looking for something that I can improve upon and then practice it repeatedly until I have it down consistently.  I find this greatly helps me in class, not just by actively improving my skills but also by helping me maintain better focus and concentration in class by keeping me engaged in what I am doing.  By being actively engaged in class, I become more motivated to push my limits and become an even stronger martial artist.  As an assistant instructor, I try to encourage my students to do the same.

When assistant-teaching junior classes, sometimes I’ll have a student come in after a long day and they just go through the motions because they’re tired.  Instead of trying to ask them to fix the same thing repeatedly, such as paying attention, getting lower in their stances, or using power, I’ll ask them how they think they’re doing and pick one thing that they can do better.  Asking the student to evaluate their own performance can cause them to switch gears and think about what they just did.  Actively working on a goal they set for themselves can motivate them to work harder in class, striving to do their best.

Asking the student to process what they just did and develop their own solution for improvement encourages them to practice not only their critical thinking skills, but self-awareness as well.  These skills are very important and are used all throughout life, whether inside or outside of class, at work or school, at a young age, or as an adult.  Self-awareness and critical thinking are very necessary in being a self-directed learner to be able to evaluate what needs to be improved upon and how to improve it.  By being a self-directed learner, one can advance further ahead in anything they do because not only are they paying attention to what is going on, but they are also giving 100% towards improvement.

 - Lauren Smith, red belt

Integrity

Being a person of integrity is a life quality to strive for because it means you are an honest and honorable person that people can depend on to be a good example. I am nearing the end of my college career and will soon be a full-time engineer. Integrity is extremely important in all that I do, from my school work to my current and future work projects.

In school, it can sometimes be easier to copy down my friend’s homework rather than doing it myself. In doing so I don’t learn the material for myself which hurts me when it comes time for an exam, and it’s also being dishonest to my teacher about putting in the work for the grade I get. In work, I need to focus in on all the details of a project to make sure I miss nothing that could lead to significant extra expenditure or worse risk the safety of other employees. If I ever purposefully leave information out or miss something important in my proposals that I then blame on someone else, then my integrity with the company can be hurt which can cost me greatly when trying to further my career.

I always strive to have my work leave a good example of who I am as a person whether it’s at school, work, or in my everyday life. Maybe it is the perfectionist in me but making sure my work is done honestly and correctly the first time couldn’t be more important to me.


- Leanne Bissinger, White Belt

GOOD HABITS

Good habits are a necessity if you want to succeed in life. Good habits include things such as brushing your teeth every day and doing all of your homework.  They can help build self esteem as the better you take care of yourself the better you feel overall.  Confidence can also be built through good habits.  For example, let's say you do your homework every day; when you get to school the next day you're going to know the material better, which allows you to answer questions the teacher might have which makes you feel better about yourself.

Good habits build confidence in your personal and social life as well. If you make it a habit of not lying and being truthful then people will trust you more.  Not only that but people will want to be around you more because your honest when they ask you hard things.  Also when you're on social media, not posting ridiculous things will get you more followers and/or likes.  It helps you believe that people like you and are actually interested in what you have to say.  

Lastly good habits just make you a better human.  There are so many bas people in this world who say mean or hurtful things with no regard of how it makes others feel.  If you do good things and you treat others right it makes everyone happier.  If everyone in a city had bad habits and no one 's polite and nice then that city will fall to pieces.  But if people in a town are polite, make good choices, and have good habits then it makes the town thrive.  When you know that what you do brings good things into the world, then it just makes you feel better and more confident that our population will continue to succeed!

- Jacob Hill, Jr. 1st Dan

Courage

                  To me, courage is having the strength to do something even though it might be a scary situation.

                  My father is an electrician and contractors hire them to work on houses. On a job he was offered, the contractors told him that they wanted him to cut corners for them to make more money. He refused because it is against the morals of his company. He ended up losing the job, but he wouldn’t have done it differently.

              My mother had a similar experience, except this time it was her company that asked her to cut corners. The company she was working for told her to misreport income and she refused. She was fired for not doing what they said. To me this is incredible to find out. She made the decision to follow her morals and summoned the courage even though her job and family was at stake. 

                  At one of the previous excursions, one of the students was picking on another student. I don’t believe in bullying and never have. Even though the bully was older belt than me, I decided to stand against this act.

             Another instance is when I was hanging out with some friends. I knew they were using drugs, but I didn’t expect them to use drugs around me. As the night went on they offered several times, but I refused for I didn’t think it was right. I ended up leaving because I didn’t feel comfortable around them anymore. To this day I don’t believe I have hung out with them again. 

             Courage is used in several ways through everyday life. The main one that comes to mind is answering questions or throwing out ideas that I have at work. To me this is scary because I could be drastically wrong and look bad in front of my boss. Another way is when I go out and meet new people. I know coming from me this might sound weird, but I struggle talking to others in a casual setting. For me, I really must dig deep into my storage of courage to not just sit back and stay out of the conversations around me.

- Matt Gibson, Red Belt