Happy New Year!! Let’s be consistent and persistent this year.

With the New Year come New Year’s resolutions.  The new year usually brings a new resolve to improve ourselves.  Some hit the gym hard, some practice their martial arts more at home, some resolve to lose that weight they gained the previous year.  Whatever you may resolve to do, make a realistic plan.  It took us a while to get out of shape, gain those extra pounds, or fill our schedules with other activities.  Pick a realistic goal and start.  It is better to be consistent and persistent that to burn yourself out and dread going to the gym, or what your eat, or practicing at home.  Start slow, let your body accommodate to the changes and then continue, consistent and persistent.

“Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

I’ve been listening to a lot of retired SEAL Commander Jocko Willink lately and he has great things to say on discipline.  To quote Jocko “discipline equals freedom.” He says that you cannot rely on your motivation to get you up early in the morning, to go to class/gym and train, to do something that needs to be done but seems difficult or impossible, to not eat that doughnut.  Instead, you must rely on your discipline, your personal will power.  Abraham Lincoln said “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”  So, even if you do not feel like training, studying, writing that paper, it does not matter – you do it anyways!  Having that discipline ensures you continue to grow and improve and gives you freedom by being achieving your goals.

The Five Tenets of Tae Kwon-do

COURTESY (Ye-Ui) in a broader sense is kindness, humility, good manners, politeness, and respect.

INTEGRITY (Yom-Chi) generally speaking, is honesty, straight dealing, purity, moral soundness, and uprightness. To have integrity means to be honest with everyone and with yourself at all times.

PERSEVERANCE (In-Nae) is persistence, a steadfast pursuit of and an understanding of the aim, continuation in the practice of Tae Kwon Do regardless of the amount of obstacles, hindering circumstances, difficulties, or occasional “let downs” which are only temporary situations. The strong will to hold on, regardless of obstacles. Loyalty.

SELF-CONTROL (Guk-Gi) is a double edged sword: on the one hand, it is the physical control with regard to motions, precision of execution, prevention of unnecessary injuries (as opposed to acting wildly) or killing, due to lack of control. Experience is the best teacher, but all the physical reactions are based on the psychological makeup, maturity, and moral, ethical, and religious codes. Emotions are usually involved, to a certain degree, in the majority of situations, hence the need for emotional self control. The degree of controlling the particularly strong emotions such as love, hate, anger, surprise, joy, sadness, etc., show the level of achievement of each practitioner of Tae Kwon Do.
Emotions should be governed by a strong and conscious reason and aided by experience in principles. The success of application of this tenet in practical everyday life should result in creating the indomitable spirit.

INDOMITABLE SPIRIT (Baekjul-Bool Gool) Indomitable means unconquerable, unbreakable, unquenchable. To put it simply, it means that one has such strong unshakeable beliefs and principles that even sacrificing the most precious possession one has, one’s own life, is not too high a price to pay in defending them.

Have you seen your Student Guide lately?

Have you seen your Student Guide lately?  I expect that question has several answers from, “Yes, I carry it with me everywhere.” to, “What’s a Student Guide?”

While we do not expect you to carry it with you everywhere, we do expect you to be familiar with it and know how to find it.  The easiest way to find it is to download a PDF copy from the Member Section of this website.  If you are not familiar with the Member Section, then you should be.  It is where you can also find videos of your forms, a copy of the forms guide, and other documents.   If you have an accout, then download it to your computer, phone, or tablet and you can review it wherever you may be.  If you do not have an account, here is the link to get one:  http://www.leesbloomington.com/members-area/

Simply follow the directions and if you do that successfully, your account will be approved in a day or two.

Now that you have the Guide, read through it.  Note the parts that apply directly to you.  Review those parts.  Find the requirements section for you next rank.  Review it and make sure you know everything in there.  Practice it.  Then, when test time comes around, you will be prepared to shine.  Being prepared will make you less nervous, perform better, and make the test much more enjoyable.  If you have questions about the techniques/requirements listed, ask your instructor.  They will be happy to help you.

So if anyone asks, “Have you seen your Student Guide lately?”  You should be prepared with a positive answer.

How to practice one-steps at home.

One steps.  They are oft times neglected in class.  At Lee’s we have designed one steps to be very similar to forms.  For the white belts and above there is Yellow 1 and Yellow 2.  Then for yellow and above, Orange 1 and Orange 2, and so on.

If you have not heard or discovered, you can practice these at home by yourself by simply imagining a partner is punching you and applying the defense.  Doing this over and over, repetitively, you will improve.  Then the next time in class, when we call a one step by name, you will instantly be able to perform it versus having to raise you hand and ask the instructor or your partner.  Do not neglect the formality of one steps and practice the offense of stepping back into a front stance with a low block both to the left and right.

As you progress in one steps beyond Purple 2, to the blue belt one steps, I recommend you go back to Yellow 1 and Yellow 2 and build off of those basic movements.  Simply move out of the way from the punch into a stance, and throw a punch or a snap kick.  Simple.  Two steps and three steps are working from a back stance apply a block or two and then countering.  Practice these by imagining a partner is punching two or three times at you as you defend.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” — Abraham Lincoln

What does this quote mean to you?  To me it is simply all about having priorities and setting them.  We all have priorities; things that must be done in life.  Having fun and enjoying life should certainly be a priority in life.  Playing video games is a priority for some.  Shopping could be a priority for others.  Getting a black belt is probably a priority we all can agree upon.  However, choosing to play video games instead of practicing your forms, attending class, or doing homework is not going to get you to your longer term goals.  It is easy.  Just sit on the couch in front of the TV screen and play for hours.  So in order to choose what you want most, for example to be a black belt, you must set goals towards achieving black belt and work towards those goals.  You must attend classes regularly, stay focused in class, you must practice at home, study you student guide, and do this consistently over a period of time.  You will start with that white belt that we all have.  Then, progress through the ranking system and over time and diligent work using your discipline you will be that black belt in no time.

Spring is almost here.

Spring is almost here.  Spring is a time for rebirth.  The early Crocus and Lilies begin to push up through the ground, birds begin to sing, and the weather begins to warm.  It is a time to also think about your own rebirth.  What are your goals for this Spring?  Maybe losing weight, gaining muscle, attending classes more often, doing 10, 20, 30 pushups, etc.  These are all things the marital arts can help you improve.

Start you rebirth by writing those goals down and setting a date for achievement, and making a plan to achieve.  Use the discipline you have learned in martial arts to choose between what you want now and what you want most.

Our next test is Saturday, 9 April at 10am, which is a date for achievement.  Make it a goal to attend classes, work hard at home, and be ready for that test in 5 weeks.  If you are a higher rank and the time between belts gets longer, figure out when you are eligible for your next test and write out a detailed plan to get yourself ready for that date.  As always our student guide is an excellent resource to let you know what you should know and what you need to know for that next test for rank.  Work daily towards that goal.  These are the small achievements that add up to success in martial arts and life in general.  Before you know it, you will be testing for your black belt and that’s when the learning really begins.

December Promotion Test Results

We held two promotion test at Lee’s in December.  On Saturday, 12 December we held a promotion test for the Lee’s students.  Mr. Nguyen was promoted to 2nd dan in Tae Kwon-do and others were promoted in Tae Kwon-do and Hapkido as well.  1st row:  Daniele, Octavia, Mr. Nguyen, Riley, Kadyn.  back row:  Jerin, Scott, Steven, Brian, Jaala, Salem.


On Sunday, 13 December we held a test for our YMCA students.  We promoted 26 students to their next rank.