The Intersection of Passion and Persistence: My Journey with Running and Taekwondo

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Endurance Training: Balancing Running and Taekwondo

I’ve always loved running alongside practicing Taekwondo, but it wasn’t until recently that I truly began to appreciate the dedication it takes to excel at both. This journey is a prime example of endurance training in action. Last December, I found myself lacing up my running shoes more regularly. Despite the cold and the early dark evenings, I hit the pavement once or twice a week, aiming to push past that elusive 5K mark. It’s funny how those initial runs can feel like a battle, not just against the physical distance but against every breath.

Running is as much a mental game as it is physical. A crucial aspect of endurance training involves maintaining a steady focus on your breathing and pace, especially when aiming for longer distances. It took a lot of perseverance, but I finally did it—I broke past 5 kilometres. And let me tell you, it wasn’t any easier after that; the challenge just shifted. The real test in endurance training is convincing yourself to keep going when everything in you wants to stop. Today, I proudly say I didn’t just stop at 5K; I doubled that and hit the 10K mark.

Beyond 5K: A Mental and Physical Journey

Reaching that 10K was a turning point. The initial kilometres always seem the hardest, but there’s a shift that happens around the sixth kilometre—it gets more bearable. This is where the mental training in Taekwondo comes into play. Like mastering a complex poomsae, you tell yourself to push through, to keep going, and before you know it, you’re not just running; you’re flying. And that’s exactly what happened—I even picked up my pace past the halfway mark, embracing the rhythm and the strength I’ve built over these months.

But let’s be real, balancing this passion for running with a full-time job, parenting, and my commitment to Taekwondo hasn’t been a walk in the park. Since moving to Slovakia from the UK, finding a Taekwondo club that resonated with my love for the traditional form of martial arts has been tough. The focus here seems more on competition and less on the discipline and form that I cherish. This lack of alignment pushed me to contemplate starting my school, rooted deeply in the traditional values I hold precious.

Navigating New Challenges: The Business Side of Passion

Setting up a business in Slovakia, or getting a ‘živnosť’ as they call it here, is a whole adventure on its own, especially for an expat like me. But before diving into that, remember that this journey is just a part of my broader story which blends my love for running and Taekwondo—a true test of both passion and persistence.

First up, moving to our new place is crucial. That’s ground zero. After settling in, the real challenge begins: tackling the bureaucracy to start my own Taekwondo school. It’s been over two years of trying to secure a local license through official channels. However, the support hasn’t been as forthcoming as I had hoped, which is why I’m now paving my path with the credentials I hold from the Independent Taekwondo Organization (ITO), based out of Germany.

The ITO has been incredibly successful, far outpacing other associations in size and scope, with about three times more affiliations. This isn’t just a number—it’s a testament to the innovative approach we’ve been pushing since 2016. It underscores the community’s trust in our vision, which has only grown stronger over the years.

Regarding the nitty-gritty of setting up a business here, it involves navigating a labyrinth of local regulations and registrations. This includes registering with the local business registry, tackling tax registrations, and sorting out social security and health insurance. Let’s not forget the importance of having all your documents properly translated and possibly notarized to meet local standards. Oh, and a good accountant is worth their weight in gold—seriously, they’re essential.

It’s a hefty load to manage, especially when you’re already balancing training schedules and personal commitments. But hey, who said chasing your dreams was going to be a walk in the park? With years of experience and a robust background with the ITO, I’m geared up to make this happen. It’s about taking control and not just waiting around for things to possibly move forward.

Here’s to rolling up your sleeves and diving into the business landscape of Slovakia. As we move forward, I aim to not only establish a new dojang but to foster a space where passion for Taekwondo and personal growth can flourish. This isn’t just about overcoming bureaucratic hurdles—it’s about building a legacy and strengthening our community, one step at a time.

So, as we look at the broader picture of blending passion with persistence, remember that every challenge is a stepping stone towards achieving greater things. Whether it’s pushing past the 5K mark in a run or setting up a dojang where I can pass on my love for Taekwondo, it’s all about moving forward, no matter the obstacles.

Rekindling Flexibility and Family Ties Through Taekwondo

Endurance Training

Speaking of flexibility, not just in terms of business but physical flexibility, it’s been a bit of a struggle. Regular stretching and maintaining the ability to perform splits have been challenging, especially with the increased tightness that comes without consistent practice. It’s a reminder that flexibility, both in life and in your limbs, requires persistent effort. You can’t force it; you have to ease into it, respecting your body’s limits and gradually extending them.

Let’s not forget the silver lining. Soon, I’ll introduce my son to the world of Taekwondo as he approaches his third birthday. It’s not just about passing on a legacy; it’s about building a community here in Košice, starting with my family. My wife, Gabriela, is also gearing up to rejoin the classes, which adds to the excitement.

Building a Foundation for the Future

The beauty of teaching Taekwondo to my son and seeing Gabriela back in action isn’t just in the techniques we practice but in the values we share. It’s about more than kicks and blocks; it’s about building character, discipline, and a sense of community. As we lay down the mats in our new dojang, we’re not just creating a space for physical training but a haven where locals can discover their strength and spirit through traditional Taekwondo.

The Road to Another Half Marathon

Turning back to my running journey, my recent triumph with the 10K has reignited a bigger flame – the half marathon. It’s been a while since I ran one back in October 2019. Although I’m hitting 10Ks more consistently now, the thought of doubling that distance again is daunting yet thrilling. The road to another half marathon is not just about logging miles but building up endurance, both mentally and physically. Running, much like Taekwondo, is not merely about the distance you cover but the resilience you build along the way.

Consistency is Key: Maintaining Flexibility and Health

This journey has also been a stark reminder of the importance of consistency – in running, Taekwondo, and life. The gaps in my stretching routine showed me just how quickly we can lose our edge. Getting back to my previous flexibility levels is a slow and steady process that requires regular attention. Just like we train our minds to keep pushing past the physical pain while running, we train our bodies to maintain suppleness through consistent practice.

Conclusion: Embracing the Challenge

So here I am, a runner, a Taekwondo enthusiast, a father, a husband, and soon, a dojang owner. Each role comes with its challenges, but they all drive me towards the same goal – better health, deeper discipline, and a connected community. Whether I’m tying my running shoes or my Taekwondo belt, I’m reminded of the journey’s worth. It’s about the little victories, the lessons learned, and the shared experiences. As I look forward to building something meaningful here in Košice, I’m grateful for every step, every kick, and every breath that brings me closer to these goals. Remember, it’s not about how fast you get there but how much you grow along the way. Whether it’s a 10K run or a new Taekwondo move, embrace the challenge – because that’s where you’ll find your true strength.

And to everyone who finds themselves navigating their paths of personal and physical challenges – keep going. The rewards are worth every bit of the effort.

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