When I tested for my black belt in June, one requirement was to try to break a brick. I did try, and I failed, and while I still got my black belt, that failure hung over my head.
I’ll admit, I didn’t go in with the best of attitudes. You may or may not remember my post on Commit to the Kick. When trying to break a brick (or a board), commitment is one of the key parts of the technique. If you don’t go all in–think it’s the board or the hand–then the thing’s not gonna break.
I didn’t go all in. I was scared, I’ll admit it. I have issues with my joints in my hands and my elbows, and I was terrified to risk damage. I need my hands for my job. So I psyched myself out. I used a technique that wasn’t a good technique for me (but was safer for my hand), and I did my damnedest, but it did not work.
Master Yun told us that he’d give us another chance, do a brick breaking workshop later in the summer. That workshop was last night.
I was terrified. I was in tears (which is embarrassing as hell, to be in tears on the TKD mats, I DID NOT LIKE). But I thought I had to use a hand. I wanted to use a foot. Because I can go all in with my feet. They don’t scare me. I’m more than willing to go with all the power and break my foot if I need to.
If I tried with a hand, it was never going to happen. I’d psyched myself out. I knew I couldn’t risk injury. I knew I wouldn’t put all the possible power behind it because I didn’t trust myself.
But I rerouted, talked technique, and I found the right technique for me. During black belt testing I had done a break through 2 boards with a step-up side kick. This was significant because they very first break I ever attempted as a yellow belt was a step-up side and I had never done one on the first try before black belt testing. In fact, I was known for stating I hated the side kick. So I chose that break very much on purpose, as a rite of passage and a way of coming full circle and blowing past the first thing that blocked me in my TKD career. And those two boards shattered easily.
So last night I went after that brick with a step-up side kick.
And it broke.
So, here’s the next lesson from TKD: Know yourself, and if one technique doesn’t work, try another. In fact, learn what your go-to techniques are and keep those waiting, in case you need to be pulled out of a corner you’ve written yourself into.
This doesn’t mean don’t take risks. DO take risks. Try new things. Test your limits. But sometimes, if you can’t get past a block, retreat back into the toolbox and find that thing that works and use it. Get your confidence back, then start taking risks again.
Because remember, that thing in your toolbox was once something new to you… it was once a risk you took until you made it yours. Just like my side kick was once a failure and is now my go-to killer kick, that technique might surprise you and become that thing you always want to use.
Don’t give up. You’ll find your killer technique too, and you’ll break your brick (whether it’s physical or metaphorical).
P.S. I can’t seem to upload the video here, so I’ll try to post it on my FB page later today!