First Academy Jr. Black Belt: Brayden Jenson

Imported From The Original Academy Blog 2011-2016
Re-Release 14 of 14 -- First Posted - June 26, 2015
"First Academy Jr. Black Belt: Brayden Jenson"

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Join me in congratulating Brayden Jenson, our academy's first youth black belt.  Brayden has been training with me consistently for roughly seven years.  His training has included personal practice, assistant teaching, competition, coaching, charity work and more.  I pushed him hard and his journey so far has been a challenging one.  He exceeded my expectation at testing and we are all really proud of him.  This was definitely a team effort and his family, all of his peers and their families deserve congratulating as well.

Brayden was required to write a 600 word essay, and in it, explains his story best.  The essay is included below for your reference... enjoy.  I hope his story and accomplishment helps to inspire all those in our youth program.

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Brayden Jenson – Black Belt Essay

I have spent 6 1/2 years training for my black belt, which has been very difficult yet very rewarding.  Training at Cho’s Academy has been an amazing experience and has impacted my life for the better. It  has shaped and defined me into the person I am today. In addition to all that I have mentally and  physically gained through training, I feel as though I have gained a life-long family. 

I have developed many skills throughout the course of my years of training, both physically and mentally.  My physical strength has increased greatly, as well as my endurance from the countless hours of repetitions and sparring. Mr. Cho has always been there to make sure I put forth every last ounce of effort I had and when I didn't think I could push any harder, Mr. Cho urged me to work harder. It was difficult at the time but I realize this made me that much better. There have been countless times where I chose not hang out with my friends after school because of my Taekwondo training. It was hard at the time but I knew if I did, it would make my overall skill better. I am very glad that I made these choices because not only has my technique improved, but I have learned what is most important and to set priorities in my life.

Training in the art of Taekwondo has helped me to develop patience, confidence, self-discipline, a positive mental attitude and respect for myself, my school, my training, and for those around me. My training has helped me overcome fear, self-doubt, weakness, laziness, and bad habits. Through hard work, discipline, persistence and dedication, training has strengthened my mind and my body. I have been able to test these traits on many different occasions. For example, attending many tournaments has tested my physical, and mental strength. Being put on the spot at belt testings has tested my technique, memory and confidence, while many onlookers watched my every move.

Another great thing that has come with the process of training is many leadership positions, including being part of the Youth Outreach Initiative (YOI). Being able to participate in YOI and fundraise for the chosen charity has allowed me to give back to our local community. What a great feeling knowing a small group of kids can make such a big difference when we put our minds and effort together!

In addition to YOI, I have also been given the opportunity to assist with teaching beginner classes which has improved my teaching abilities and leadership skills. Another great thing that provided me with many leadership skills is being the senior student. It has taught me that how important it is to be a great example to the other students in the academy. Through this, I have also developed many of the friendships that I have with other students today. Before, I was competing for the rank of senior with Dolce Sara but after she moved, I had to step up into the position of senior. As much as I miss her and the example she set for the other students, I know this was a good position for me to undertake because of the responsibilities involved and I am very glad that I did. I have learned to be much more disciplined than I was before stepping up into the rank of senior student. These responsibilities are ones that I have also been able to apply to my everyday life, which has made me a better person, overall.

Over the course of watching everybody progress, both beginners and advanced students, it has promoted me to strive to work my hardest during every class and want to be better It has been an amazing experience watching all the students progress, especially among those students, my closest friends. To have developed such a special bond with them has really impacted my life. Most importantly, to have developed such a great bond with my instructor, Mr. Cho, has been the best experience of my years of training. I am very grateful for everyone accompanying me on my journey, and being there for me, thick and thin. It has been the best feeling having to compete, and hearing my friends on the sidelines cheering me on, supporting me me whether I win or lose. I have learned that it’s not about winning or losing, but about how hard I tried. These competitions have really created a bond between all the students who have competed and I am grateful to have been a part of that.

Other great memories I have are of the family movie nights, holiday parties, senior student movie and lunch outings, summer camps, award banquets, tournaments and so much more. These experiences have brought me closer to other students I have trained with. The students are all such great kids and the adults have been such great mentors and examples to me. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than to have had such a great instructor always being by my side! I can’t begin to express my full gratitude to everybody, especially my instructor, and to others, such as Mr. Kappas, who have helped me get to where I am today. I think of everyone as my second family. This testing opportunity is a huge achievement and I am very proud of myself making it this far. Looking back, I am proud of my ability to put forth consistent effort in every class, especially knowing how young I was when I started and how long it took me to get where I am today. I appreciate my amazing mother who continues to drive me all the way from San Clemente to train, while waiting in the car. I appreciate my amazing instructor for believing in me, pushing me, teaching me and for being a great role model when I needed it the most. I will never be able to express my full gratitude to everybody for helping me on my journey. This is my biggest accomplishment and what I am most proud of in my life! These skills and experiences I have gained are invaluable!

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At the time of this post re-release, April 2018, Brayden continues to train, coach and teach at the academy.