Performing – Robert Frankovich

I had a student ask if he could learn the next section of a pattern that he had for his next test. I asked him if his other four patterns were test ready. He replied that they were, so I told him to use them as a warm-up before going further on the current pattern. About half way into the second pattern, he stopped. “I don’t remember what’s next.” was his comment as he walked away. I told him “I guess it needs more work.” If the previous patterns are truly test ready (no pauses, no glitches, no forgetting), then more could be worked on. When he heard that, he chose to get a drink and sit at the table. As this was all prior to class, I left it alone.

Just the other week, I had a student tell me that he doesn’t like when certain students are in class. When I asked why, he responded that they don’t work enough even when told to. When asked how it affected him, which he said it bothers me when they’re standing around. He seems to think that he gets more work done when they aren’t in class. Does that mean he needs people to follow? Maybe his discipline and focus are lacking.

I was watching the forms divisions at a tournament and noticed that many of the competitors appeared to be merely performing the movements in their patterns. Their eyes had no focus, the strikes and kicks moved to places instead of targets, their Kiaps (yells) were timed but without energy and intensity. The precision over intensity and focus that these local athletes have learned shows in international events.

I’m not a competition person, so just performing seems odd to me. I’ve been influenced but the practical side of training that has more focus and intensity. So this isn’t Taekwondo but notice a difference?

The acceptance of rewards for performing has lead to the lack of actually seeking to learn. It is not different from receiving participation medals because you showed up. When more is required than just doing, many lack the discipline and focus to continue. The necessity of working on your own is becoming a lost concept.

There has been a growing trend toward thinking that today’s educational system is based on preparing students to take tests that are irrelevant for their future in any career. The pressure to perform well seems to have driven out the idea of studying for knowledge. The idea of “do it this many times” outweighs the “look inside what you’re doing as you practice”. Once they understand what studying and knowledge can offer them in the way of finding enjoyment and careers, knowing how to study and learn should be able to cross over into many subjects for the same reasons.

This can come down to having a positive purpose. If you are doing something or avoiding something solely for the outcome, then you are missing a great deal! What do you want and why? If the answer is based on an internal purpose, you can have great success. If it based on an external purpose (wanting attention, wanting money, avoiding debt), then you may be missing a good portion of your life. Yes, I very much shake my head when I hear someone say that they don’t care what their job is as long as they can afford to rent a bedroom and aren’t in debt to play video games when they aren’t working. The purpose in life is to play video games? I must be old!

From Your Heart! Passion is a must. – Robert Frankovich

When students perform their techniques, whether in drills or patterns, it is very easy to tell if they are actually trying or merely dancing around. This is one of the tricky parts within training…or any education.

I had a student tell me that the way to fix that is to make them work harder. How does that get accomplished? Make the drills longer? Count louder? Stand over them the whole time? Nope. Never going to make their training better that way. If their passion hasn’t developed yet, no external factor will change the behavior.

Does training actually fit their goals? Are they looking for physical improvement? Maybe they just want the socialization in a subject matter that interests them. The only way that a student will improve and develop skill is when they choose to. This is a deceiving point, too, though. I’ve asked students to adjust technique to make them more effective and have gotten “That’s what I’m doing!” as a response. (We won’t discuss the respect issue now) But since it makes no sense that I would waste my time asking for things to be adjusted/corrected for no reason, they still haven’t chosen to learn the technique past what they “think” it is.

Now, I’ll give credit to those putting in effort and working but poor technique can only be helped so much by strength and commitment. There is some passion there, although needing direction. I came across a saying the other day which is very accurate. It stated “If you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it right.” which fits the piece above. The idea of being able to go slow would mean that your mind is in the work as well and that will show in your hands (and legs).

I would wager that, if you are able to put your mind into the focus of the work, your heart is involved also. This changes the fear and anxiety and nervousness into enjoyment. Those feelings and emotions fade as the passion grows. The development of your passion is seen in the performance of your techniques. You start to see deeper and understand more. The desire to see others succeed rises and helps create the desire in you to work harder and learn more. It brings students together as a community…family…who supports each other off the floor as well as on. You are now building your passion.

The activities that are physical can easily illustrate how passion grows the skills and knowledge. You can find many YouTube videos of a 13 year old playing an awesome guitar piece. Another can be seen with the number of 16 and 17 year olds performing on “The Voice” talent show.

Physical talents are not all, though. Recently, our high school junior son had a classmate over. The discussion turned to the plant on the kitchen window ledge. Once he saw it, his eyes lit up and he started commenting about the leaves and their size. That lead him to the 20 plants that he has and their growth cycle including blooms and developing offshoots. This was not knowledge repeated from a book. It was the knowledge born from his passion for plants. It kind of makes sense, then, that he’s focusing on chemistry and biology among his AP & Honors classes. He stated that it would probably be his best route to get into a career field that will let him work toward a botany position.

These factors to improve your training are the same as those you need to develop your career, regardless of the field. If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, how can people believe that you are knowledgeable and competent? Make sure your heart is in your training.

Understanding how to direct passions into jobs that pay the bills is an important point. If you can spend your time earning money while learning and developing your passion, then you have success and will enjoy more of your life.