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It was a while ago now, feels like a lifetime, when I completed my Black Belt grading and was given my coveted black belt. My instructor had asked that we write a small essay on 'What does it mean to you to achieve your Black Belt?' This was a part of the grading process. So I sat down and started typing...

And this is what I wrote;



"My journey into the martial arts world begun around 4 years ago, when I was first introduced to the Maiolo Freestyle Tae Kwon Do martial art, and to be honest, there was no real intention of achieving a Black Belt. I had only a long time interest in martial arts itself, and the fact that I was searching for something in order to keep fit, exercise, and a martial art that taught a useful and practical form of self-defence. Also being a person who is very much into self-improvement, I believed this would be perfect for me. But what I never thought was how, being part of the Maiolo Club, it would help me grow, develop and evolve, as a martial artist and as a person in ways beyond what I imagined.

I suppose when I first started here, I felt like I lacked a little confidence, self-esteem and focus, and definitely fitness. These areas were conscious to me at the time. I can see now, how they have improved, but along the way, I began to understand more about commitment and self-discipline and how important they are in achieving the goals I set myself. On how not to hesitate, either in a street situation or in life in general. To follow through and go for it. To think positively and to be enthusiastic about all endeavours I choose to participate in, and that includes my job. To always give it my best.

A very important lesson I learnt, was that the best form of self-defence is 'Awareness' (to be alert to any dangerous situation) and 'Avoidance', (to stay clear of any situation you know or feel is dangerous).

But wait there’s more…

I’ve also gained knowledge and experience on how to teach, in a way that shows enthusiasm, confidence and skill. To be able to teach different individuals and understanding their own learning styles and habits, while taking into account each person’s capabilities, with patience and without discrimination. A challenge for me has always been to be able to stand in front of a crowd, "public speaking", and there I was in front of 20 people or so, taking class after class, something I could never do, and now feel quite comfortable with. As the saying goes, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. In the future I would also enjoy helping with the children’s program, but work commitments make it difficult at this time.

In other ways, this martial arts has been terrific for balance; balancing the mind, the body and soul. A positive way to direct unwanted aggression. And after a stressful day, I'd pack pack my bag, get into my gi and off to training I went. When training had ended, so did the stress.

I feel great again.

At other times, it’s been meditative. A way of getting in touch with myself once more.

Besides the very hard work I’ve had to put in to achieve the Black Belt level, for example; the pain, the perspiration, the combinations, the patterns, the bag work, the sparring, the extra training at home and at the gym, the swimming, the running, the skipping, the stretches and the constant struggle of mind over matter, I’ve done it all with a great group of people, who have now become friends, and who have helped and supported me all the way. To them I am thankful.

The past 4 years has been this journey for me. So what does it mean to achieve the Black Belt? It means all these things and more. So to put it in a nutshell, the Maiolo Freestyle Tae Kwon Do Black Belt, is not just a belt with my name on it, it is a symbol of this journey and this experience.’

- Pil Sung"

So thats what I wrote many eons ago, when I had hair on my head and less wrinkles. As I've grown many of these thoughts still resonate, while so much more come to mind as my journey continues to the present day and beyond. But that's another story...until then...

See you at training...


Pil Sung (Certain Victory)

Vince Serra (First 2 Strike Freestyle Martial Arts)

11 Princes hwy, Figtree, Wollongong 2525 NSW


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