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Confucius once stated, “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” This quotation has inspired me to strive for and accomplish all the goals to which I set my mind. My continual endeavor to attain my fullest potential, better my life, and stretch the possibilities of my future has led me to accomplish one of my greatest feats, one that helped transition me from a naive child into a mature adult.
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Since the age of three, I have participated in Taekwondo. This martial art has been a large part of shaping and forming the person I am today. Taekwondo has taught me valuable life lessons, ranging from the respect I show for others to the dedication and self-discipline I use to succeed. One of the most influential moments in my life was my competition in Korea. After years of experience in local, state, and national competitions, and months of intense training, I competed in the 5th World Taekwondo Culture Expo, an international tournament taking place in Korea. At the age of fourteen, I sparred in the seventeen to twenty-five year old black belt division. In the end, I defeated a twenty-two year old Korean master and achieved first place in the competition.
My triumph in Korea was not only significant to me because of the tremendous adversity I faced, but also because I chose to be in that division, rather than sparring in a subordinate grouping. I had the choice of competing in my regular division, where I would be sparring against someone from my own Taekwondo school (defeating the purpose of flying overseas to participate in the event), competing in a division of a lower rank, or competing in an older age division. I figured that I would rather compete in the more challenging division and lose than spar in a lower division and win, simply because I would feel accomplished by having tried the more difficult competition. This feat helped me to realize my potential and was one of the first times I recognized that I could accomplish anything with hard work and a dedicated mindset. With this in mind, I then went on to earn my Fourth Dan Black Belt and Master Certification in Taekwondo.
Throughout high school I have used the mature outlook that I learned from my experiences in Taekwondo and applied them to my academic life. I have consistently pushed myself to achieve more and stretch my potential by challenging myself with rigorous schedules and courses. As the years went on, I took more advanced placement courses, continued to improve upon my grades, and raised my standards beyond what I have already achieved. I worked hard and dedicated myself to school by setting schoolwork as a priority in my life.
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In Taekwondo I also learned the value of sharing my knowledge with others and aiding those who need it most. I have contributed to my community by sharing and expressing the principles I find valuable to success. By volunteering my time in the South Shore of Long Island after the immense emotional and physical burdens caused by Hurricane Sandy, I attempted to show the victims that the hard work of people rushing to aid those in need will make the healing process much easier for them, hopefully inspiring those people to do good deeds themselves. I also take part in my high school’s Peer Leadership Program, where I encourage struggling students to dedicate themselves to doing well in school, along with aiding their studies and providing friendship through their tough transitions.
In my physical, intellectual and community pursuits, I am always keeping Confucius’ words in mind.
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