I am a proud Korean American. I am a fighter. I am an athlete. I am a competitor. I am a teacher. I am a student. I am all of these things, and at the same time none of them.
When I was young, I was a chameleon. Who I was would change based on who I was around, or where I was in order to be accepted. I lived in constant fear of being judged and rejected by my peers. I felt like most of these feelings came from being an overachiever, inciting the envy of other children as I was the bar other parents compared them to. It came from being one of the only Asian kids in school. It came from wearing glasses. From being smaller.
My coping started off as laughing off other's pokes, to fighting with my parents on why I had to move to Wyoming, to blaming others, and despising that I was different - resulting in further feelings of being alone. I then went down the route of excellence and success, disregarding others opinions. Feeling less and less, and just driving harder and harder.
It wasn't until I had been accepted to Cornell Universty, and stumbled upon the Sport Tae Kwon Do team, that I found a home. Where I could work hard, be accepted, and learn about myself. To feel my fears, let them go, think on my feet. Where I could allow myself to feel. Where I could be accepted. Surrounded by my peers, feeling safe, protecting each other, working hard, teaching, learning. I had learned to love something, and slowly learned to be proud and love myself for who I am.
A Photo of a young Mo attending Saturday Academy classes.
Having that community and support really allowed me to flourish. Learning to protect myself gave me the confidence to stand up for myself, share my opinions, and be proud of my identity. Tae Kwon Do provided me a state of meditative calm, of presence, and of inner peace. It is this state of pride, confidence, capability, and of composure that I would like to share with others.
Mo Kwon Do exists to give others the tools to build our inner strength to lift ourselves and our neighbors up. We understand that everyone can be our teacher, and we can learn most when listening fully with an open mind. We teach our best when we understand ourselves and others. We reach our potential together. We teach our values through sparring Tae Kwon Do.