Should she, or shouldn’t she

I find myself in a dilemma, in a situation where I have a choice between what I want to do and what I probably should do.

It’s been like Old Home Week around here lately. I’ve reconnected with old friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Even better, these reunions have all been good, and that’s where some of my indecision lies.

For about 10 years, I studied taekwondo. It became not only a sport I excelled in, it became an obsession (if you listen to my peeps.) I trained 5-6 times a week, for hours a day. I rose to 3rd degree Black Belt, and was ranked in the Top Ten in both state and national competitions. I was also nationally recognized for my tournament judging.

The people I trained with, and competed with, were my friends, they were my second family. If I wasn’t taking a class, I was teaching one. If there was a tournament within driving distance I was there. I was in the best shape of my life while training – strong, confident, disciplined.

That all changed about four years ago… when I abruptly quit. I had completed the required training to test for my Fourth Degree. I was two months away from attaining that goal, and I simply walked way. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and one of the very few things I have ever regretted.

But, it was something I had to do.

That was then…

One of my former training partners called me this week. She and I came up through the ranks and even competed in the same division at tournaments. I admired her skill, and dreaded taking a punch from her.

She now owns two schools and invited me to return to the fold.

When I left taekwondo in 2008, it was because I had a falling out with our instructor. He had done something that I thought was not only unbelievably disrespectful, but also jeopardized the job I had at the time. He acted as if it was nothing for me to be angry about. Instead, it was the last of many such insults and I simply couldn’t continue at his school.

My friend was only told I quit, but not why. I found out many things during our afternoon together. Other ways that we both were deceived and taken for granted.

The dilemma now is whether to return. She’s offered me a chance to just workout at one of her schools, or to begin training again. She wants to help me remaster the forms, re-establish my status as a competitor and even be an instructor again if I want. I could be ready to test for my next rank within six months.

I just don’t know if I can do it all again. Leaving was incredibly painful. I would have to basically start over again. Not only re-learning everything I’ve forgotten, and but also taking on new material. It could easily become overwhelming. I’m also afraid my family won’t want me to go back, knowing how badly I was treated before.

The idea is still very tempting. I kept my tournament uniform. I wonder if it still fits.

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20 replies »

  1. You need to do this. It’s your “thing”… that thing you loved and excelled at. Clearly it gave you joy. You need to find your way around the hurdles that have kept you away and get back to this on your own terms.

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  2. Tara, you write so lovingly of the art, of your physical and mental abilities, and the friendships you built through your exposure. Those are such meaningful things in this life…don’t let another person’s behavior steal those from you! I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but you must forgive the instructor! He has moved on. He probably doesn’t give to shakes about you. He doesn’t carry the baggage of what he did to you in the past. But by not forgiving, YOU are suffering. You are doing without something that means so much to you. Don’t let him take one more moment of joy from you life! Get back in there, do it for YOU, but know that one day sweet revenge will be yours when you show the instructors that he has no power over your life or your choices!!!

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  3. Good luck with your decision Tara, but I think your heart WANTS to and I don’t mess with my heart, I just Go. That said, I think a little at a time and you’ll be able to know if it’s something you will do OFTEN or WHENEVER. either way, YOU WIN.

    love that picture of you.

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  4. You should definitely give it a chance. Start slow and build upon it as the flame is rekindled, if it is. Only one way to find out and that is to give it a shot. Do it while the body is able to do so and really try to enjoy yourself. Also, I’m going to hire you into my secret ninja group.

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  5. Tara, only you can decide what is best for you, but if I were to take a stab at it, I would encourage you to return. In returning, you take back your power, and let the past dwindle into the space it belongs. Reclaim your training, reclaim yourself.

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  6. Do it!!! You’ll be in a totally different situation, and even if you don’t go “whole hog”, it might feel really nice to dip your toes in again!

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  7. Do it! Please!

    In a book I read once, one character lost his soulmate. He decided that since his soulmate was gone, he would never have another relationship ever again. Partly because he’d never have that relationship back, that experience. Nothing, he felt, would ever be at that level, so why experience pain?

    Another character looked at him and laughed, and said to him: That’s like saying because you’ve been to one fabulous banquet, you’ll never eat again.

    And of course, put that way, it sounds like it’s silly to agonize over a choice like that character had, or that you have. The truth, of course, is more complicated. But if we don’t open ourselves to the things we truly love, we’re cutting out so much joy from our lives, not just the pain that may or may not happen.

    Do what you love. It won’t be easy. It won’t always be fun. But if you loved it once, don’t let it slip away.

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  8. Your bad experience came from that instructor, Tara, not taekwondo or the the discipline it took to achieve so much. The instructor is gone, you obviously loved the sport, and there’s no question about the discipline.If it’s something you think you want, go for it! You know you’ll regret it if you don’t.

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  9. maybe as a birthday present to yourself you could see what it would be like to throw some punches and round off some kicks?

    I remember you talking about this with me a few months ago. My 9-year-old has been taking judo for about 20 months and is a blue belt. The change in her demeanor, discipline, and drive has been amazing.

    Good luck with a difficult decision.

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  10. Could you ease back into it? See how you feel if you just take it slowly? It seems you really loved it and it’s sad that you had to give it up b/c of someone else’s mistake. I wish you luck no matter what you decide!

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  11. Wow, 3rd degree black belt, I love learning new things about blogging friends. You have quite a challenge ahead of you. Like an unfinished story, or a new beginning, really. Either way, I’m rooting for you…from way over here…not for nothing, but that pic of you is fierce!

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  12. I think if it is something you really loved, you should consider it. Do you have the time, the dedication, the motivation? It sounds like one bad egg ruined something that you truly enjoyed. If you can get past that, you might find yourself loving it again. If not, don’t stress out about it. Leave it in the past and find something new to love.

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    • I would love to get back into it, and I have plenty of time to train. I am so tempted, but the last experience was so hurtful. I’m thinking I’ll try out a few classes after my birthday in October. That will give me time to review the forms on my own too.

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