TaeKwondo is and always will be my Savior

by Alan Cech
(Maple Ridge BC)

A long long time ago when I was a young boy not more than just ten years old a much larger and older boy saw fit to beat me. I was bullied often in school and my mama had taught me not to fight so most of the time I just stood there and took it.

I'd get repeated punches to the face and I would not defend myself, I did not know how. I had no older brothers or sisters to protect me, so often I came home with torn clothing cuts and bruises.

My mama tried to teach me how to defend myself in school but it was to no avail. I lacked the confidence to fight back and usually just stood still frozen by my own fear.

On this last occasion when a much older, bigger and stronger boy had beaten me so badly that my face was covered with lumps and bruises as result of him bashing my face into the sidewalk over and over again was too much for my mother to bare.

I was beaten so badly that i could hardly walk and when I finally arrived home and my mama saw what a bloody mess I was, she became hysterical.

I refused to go to school anymore out of fear of being beaten again and my mama no longer knew what to do until... a friend of hers gave her a phone number. The phone number was for JJ LEE TaeKwon Do School on Gladstone RD in Calgary Alberta.

Soon after that no one beat me anymore but that is another story.

When we first arrived at Master Lee's he was in his office upstairs and Mrs. Lee as usual was at the front desk in the lobby area. She greeted us and my mama began to tell her the story about how I acquired all the bruising. Mrs.Lee picked up the phone and called Master Lee and asked him to come downstairs.

When Master Lee came downstairs and saw me, he showed no expression , there was no hysteria, no emotion. His confidence was so evident by his mannerism there was little need for him to use many words.

He knelt down on one knee, looked me straight in the eye and said to me "make 2 fists like this" and showed me his clenched fist. So I did as he asked, clenched both my hands and he began to examine them.

He took both my fists in his hands examined my wrists, stood up and turned toward my mother and said "no, not good enough". He smiled at her and went back upstairs.

My mother began to go irate in my defense and Mrs. Lee was able to calm her down and explained to her that what Master lee was doing is instilling in me a desire to be the best I can be. I had not yet even joined and he was teaching me already...the martial arts way.

My mama did not know what to think, desperate and nowhere to turn to she kneeled down close to me and said " Alan, it is up to you, if you want to go here, I will pay for it".

I looked around and saw the other children playing, excited at the chance of making some new friends I wanted to join. By the end of the day I had my new uniform and was about to embark on a journey that would change my life time and time again.

After about my 3rd class i had learned many dojang rules and one day at the beginning of class Keith Black, our Black Belt Instructor, told me that Master Lee wanted to see me in his office. Mr Black walked me over to the office door and knocked on it and let me in.

He told me to sit quietly in the pew across from Master Lees's desk. Master Lee appeared to be in some sort of meditation and after Mr Black left, Master Lee looked up at me and from his desk he pulled out two certificates.

One was an ITF Certificate and the other was a WTF certificate. Than he asked me which I liked better. I pointed at the one that contained the big fist. He smiled and asked me why ? I told him that the two men who were kicking in the other had much to skinny a legs.

He seemed to be amused by what I had said and than he slowly looked downward and closed his eyes. I just sat there swinging my feet gazing at all the medals and trophies that decorated his office.

Shortly afterwards he looked up at me again and said " Go back to class ". " But Master Lee" I responded, "I am now late for class " ! He looked at me with a stern look and said " you are with Master" ! and i knew exactly what he meant.

I jumped up off the pew and left his office, and as i entered back onto the dojang floor a young girl student walked over to me and asked "what happened ". "Awww we were just talking" I replied.

No, she said " it's your face, it's all better now".
What I did not know was that Master Lee had not called me into his office that day to talk about taekwondo federations and their significant emblems.

What had in fact happened was that the members of our dojang were so concerned about how I acquired all the bruising that Master Lee decided to take it upon himself to heal me.

He healed my bruises, dont ask me how , to this day I still don't know but when I got home that night my mama noticed it too...the brusises had nearly completely disappeared and my mother marvelled at how it had come about so suddenly and by morning they were all gone.

I will never forget him for that, not ever. And I swear on this holy Easter day that what I have just written, is the truth and Taekwondo has been my salvation ever since.

I am afraid that I cannot share my photo with you today but will another day. I have many more taekwon do stories I will share but for now I must go for I have another battle facing me which I must win and I want everyone who reads this story to know and understand that being a taekwondo Black Belt means many things and with it comes many responsibilities.

A true Taekwondo Black Belt is a champion of Truth, Freedom and Justice. Its about more than just fighting, its about self improvement.

Linda's reply

That's a fascinating story Alan!

We're so happy you found your way to Master Lee and his practice. Sounds like its the perfect dojang for your life long journey in taekwondo.

It must have been horrible to be bullied and beaten so badly but now you will have incredible empathy for the student that comes after you. As you become high ranked and start working on your leadership, you will have a positive effect on others that have struggled as you did.

Good luck!

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