Jung SuWon Martial Art‘s training provided me with tools I use and apply in my everyday life. Before each martial arts class begins, we read through the school’s creed and statements. All of the students must learn and memorize what we call the “Code of Ethics”, “Principles of Mental Conduct” and the “Silent Master Images”. My focus will be on “Principle of Mental Conduct #1” which is “Conquer your own weaknesses and fears rather than others.”

For me, this principle is all about self-awareness. In today’s modern world, everything is changing so rapidly. Technologies are changing and the way of life is changing. Trends and technology quickly become obsolete and things are changing at a much more rapid pace than ever before. As everything is changing, people are left wondering where do I fit in the big picture? What am I good at and where will I be when I grow up or 5 years down the line? Through it all, I find it absolutely critical that we recognize and accept our strengths and our weaknesses. Focus and dial in on your strengths while working and improving on your weaknesses. Don’t let your weaknesses override you and dictate how you feel about yourself ever. Let your strengths dictate who you are and where you want to go in your life to achieve your goals. I find this aspect to be so important since the world is moving at such a rapid pace. If we can’t learn to be self-aware, we will be left wondering about ourselves and becoming more and more self-conscious.

Through martial arts training and learning from my mentor Dr. Tae Yun Kim, I’ve come to learn that life is all about self-awareness: recognizing where we feel confident and strong at while working on where we feel weak at. I used to have an arrogant mind thinking that I was good at everything. When it was time to put in the work or practice, I never put in the time or effort to do so. When I realized I was not as good as I thought, I moved onto the next thing and told myself that what I was doing was boring anyways. I always made an excuse for my shortcomings. This applied to sports I played and my studies at school. I never had the focus or discipline to apply and practice and become good at something. I always looked at the short term and never saw the end game or the finish line. I was lacking self-awareness at that time and I only chased what I thought was fun and enjoyable at a given moment. Training in the martial arts helped reverse that mentality and mindset. Putting in time and energy into martial arts helped me to hone in and become more self-aware about myself. I’ve been able to dial in on my focus, discipline and determination and apply that to my daily life of relationships and career.

Self-awareness is about learning about myself. What makes me happy and puts me in a cheerful mood? What strengths do I have and how can I develop those strengths rather than focus so much on my weaknesses?

Now more than ever, I feel like self-awareness applies in my life. I’ve learn to become more comfortable with who I am rather than putting up a facade of who I want to be. I’ve grown to accept who I am and be willing to accept that I am not perfect and I make mistakes. My mentor Dr. Tae Yun Kim reminds me to accept who I am and don’t run away from who we were meant to be. Rather than fight it or turn my back to it, I need to embrace it.