When I was eight or nine years old, while all my peers were choosing cheerleading and dance as extracurricular activities, I begged my mom to let me take Tae Kwon Do lessons. Shortly after starting, I found myself participating in my very first tournament where I was the only female in my age group. During the sparring (fighting) portion of the tournament I was matched up with a little boy that was my height and size and we both were white belt-yellow tips (beginners). After bowing and getting into our fighting stances we were given the okay to fight.
And then it happened…
Friends, I wish I could say what happened next was similar to one of those old epic Kung Fu movie fight scenes from the late 70s & 80s or even that I came out victorious like Jaden Smith did in the remake of the 80s classic “The Karate Kid”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me. The match pretty much ended before we even got started. I lost my first fight, not because my opponent came out with a steady stream of punches and kicks to my head and chest and it wasn’t that he was more advanced than me either. I lost my first match because of my mindset. I had stepped up to the mat very unsure of myself, while my opponent had been determined, aggressive and confident. Upset and disappointed, I told myself that I would never lose like that again.
As I progressed through the next stages, my confidence grew and I became a pretty formidable fighter. Unbeknownst to me, my next big challenge would be during a sparring exercise against an unlikely source, an older boy named Joe. Once again the only female student in the class and now limited on opponents I could spar with because of my skill set, I was matched with Joe. Friends… truth be told, Joe was built like a linebacker and was almost twice my size. He had to have weighed every bit of 120 lbs., while I on the other hand was petite in stature and weighed at best 80 lbs.
Even though he was bigger than me I remember getting into my fighting stance ready to take him on. As soon as the fight started I moved about easily raining a series of kicks to his head and chest. Although Joe was bigger than me, he was also much slower than me and in my mind I had the perfect advantage because of my speed. Well, after a series of pretty hard kicks, old Joe must have had enough, because within a blink of an eye he found an open opportunity to deliver a massive right hand, dead smack into my chest. This one punch literally sent me sailing across the room and knocked the wind completely out of me. I had been caught off guard and knocked down. Even though it took me a second (I was indeed shaken a bit), I gathered myself and got back up. I didn’t lose my confidence and I didn’t allow my moment of defeat to take root. In fact, I came back more focused and aggressive than ever.
Sometimes life catches us when we are least expecting it and delivers a series of blows (or maybe like my match with Joe one massive blow), that knocks us down and shakes us up. During these times we lose our confidence and think we can’t get back up or we can’t possibly come back bigger and stronger. My friends, you can and you will! You just have to believe in yourself and believe through hard work and perseverance you can get back up and make it through whatever life has thrown at you. Life isn’t always fair and unfortunately good people do finish last sometimes but, it’s not how you start the race or how strong you are at the beginning of the match, it’s the will to get back up and fight again after being knocked down, that really matters.
To be honest, my greatest moment sparring with Joe wasn’t when I was showering him with kicks and punches, it was when I stood back up with tears streaming down my face and took my fighting stance again, ready to face off with an opponent twice my size. And even though I didn’t win that match, I showed myself and everyone else in that class that night, that just because you get knocked down it doesn’t mean you’re out!
My blog, Knocked Down But Not Out, is all about being repeatedly knocked down by life but finding the strength and determination to get back up and try again no matter the obstacle or challenge ahead. My hope is that this blog serves as a source of encouragement for someone who maybe going through a difficult time and it seems as if life has gotten the best of you. Although you may find yourself down at times, be encouraged and know that it’s just a temporary setback.
Life sometimes knocks us down, but that doesn’t mean it’s knocked us out! ~Tashauna
Knocked Down-But Not Out!