Failure is not the last thing which happens

My taekwondo school had a breaking day on Saturday. I went into it ready to redeem myself with concrete. You see, on mylast test the concrete beat me. I was determined to win this time. Said a little prayer and everything. Thought of Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ" and then came down on that cement ready to bust through it, hoping I actually would. And then I tried again. And then again. And then my heart broke a little.

The cement won again, but the question remained what would I do now?

Regroup and work through the emotions of failing.

I had to regroup. My disappointment and grief were overwhelming and I went to the locker room and was by myself for a bit. Tears fell. My heart was a little broken because the cement didn't break. I have done it before, twice. What was holding me back? And my thoughts ran to my upcoming test when I have a certain amount of breaks I have to do. How would I ever do them? I knew in that instant I needed to postpone my test, and my heart broke a little more, and a few more tears fell. As I sat there, however, I knew I had to leave the locker room. I didn't know how I would face everyone, but one step at a time I headed out.

I was greeted by a few who encouraged me and told me it would be okay. My sensei came over to talk to me because he didn't want me to be defeated. I told him my test had to be postponed, but he was not so quick to agree. He said he knew I could do it, told me I shouldn't have used the same cement from the test, and explained what I should look for when I buy new cement. My friends, classmates, and instructors all understood and encouraged me. But I still was discouraged and frustrated, and I didn't want to try to break anything again. I was done.

Encourage someone else and move out of your own feelings

As everyone went back to their own breaking I watched a blue belt in our class working on the step behind side kick break. I knew he could do it, but he was struggling. I stepped in, guided him, gave him advice on where to stand, and how his foot should hit the board. His mother stood behind the board holders telling him to aim for her, and then he broke the board. I knew what a relief that was. I was so happy for him.

Try, try again, with knowledge from lessons learned

And I knew. If I am going to test I have to accomplish certain breaks, and this was an opportunity to try to do the others even if I didn't attempt cement again. I couldn't stop for the day. I had to try again. Cement is a choice. So, I worked on another choice, and set up a hammer fist with two boards. I was nervous. When everyone is staring at me I feel I'm going to let them down if I don't do it. I didn't accomplish this break on my last test either. I took a deep breath, and went to the floor. I was thrilled I broke those boards. I also stated I was ending on a good note, and not trying anything else.

But. You see, if I don't do cement I have to do two techniques with two boards each. I've only ever done the hammer fist. I had to try something else. So, I asked if two boards could be held for me to drive an elbow through. I was determined. If I could do this break, then the test could still be on without a doubt. But I only got through the first board. It cracked; the second board didn't budge. I wasn't quite as heartbroken anymore, but instead the determination continued. I learned my biggest issue is my follow through. While I hit the floor with the hammer fist, I'm not doing that on all my breaks which is why I'm not always breaking.

Give yourself the time you need to accomplish what needs to be accomplished

I have given myself until December to work hard on my breaks and get them accomplished so that when March comes around I will be confident of the breaks and not have to stress about them. I'm aware each day is its own, and every breaking attempt can be a win or a fail, but I need to go into it confidently.

So, I failed. But the failure wasn't the end. Something always comes after a failure, and that's what is important. Regroup, refocus, learn, and try again. Philippians 4:13 is still true. "I can do all things through Christ." And right now he is giving me the strength to continue forward. Even if my test is postponed it wont be cancelled, but I haven't given up on the March test yet. I just know I have work to do, but that's not really a surprise. It's simply time to do the work.

PS. Captain took pictures of the class, including the two above, and you can see some more at his site.

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  1. Way to go Stacey, much love and belief.
    So proud of you pushing through your hurdles, life is full of them.
    You got this Stacey.

  2. Stacey- I appreciate you so much. Thank you for sharing your story- the successes and the failures. This is courage. Can't wait to see your successes this year, because I have NO doubt that you will accomplish your goals. Thank you for helping the other student. That is one of my favorite things about you!!
    Love you!

    1. Thank you, dear. You are too kind. Sometimes it's easier to help someone else than yourself, though by helping another you can help yourself. Not sure that makes sense. I may have acted more selfishly than I wanted, but I have to move on from that as well.


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