6-High school (3 years) - Year 1
My attitude had changed.
This year is the most crucial year of my life. Not only for badminton but my life as a whole.
Between middle school 3rd year and just before I start high school 1st year, I was beginning to wondering about life and death as well as the purpose and meaning of life.
I was interested in reading books about the topic, and I found out philosophical writings. I liked the philosopher “Socrates” at that time. I did not read many books, but a few and the book about Socrates was the one I enjoyed most.
I think that I have a straightforward and extreme personality. During this time, two things are apparent in my mind. The first, soon or late, I will die like everyone else. Second, before I came to die, I must achieve something.
I strongly felt that I must not just live my life day by day without knowing and having the purpose of my life and not achieving something. Also, I think that if I live day by day without having the reason why I live, it is no different to if I am already dead. That idea was so bright and sharp at that time.
I went to a high school in the same city. The school did not have a badminton team, but as a few other badminton players and I were going to the same school, the school did establish the badminton team.
I met the coach
My badminton life had changed by meeting the coach, who came to my high school badminton team. He was the youngest person to win the Korean national singles title. When I saw him hitting shuttlecock and his movement, it was merely an art to me.
I can say that the way he hits shuttlecock was Beautiful, and the way he moves on the court was so light and smooth. After I serve high to him in singles, I never able to return his first shot for a while. I challenged and challenged again, but I could not return the first shot. He was so deceptive. He became my badminton, GOD. If he asks me to do 24 hours of continuous training, I will do it. If he asks me to smash 1,000,000 times, I will do it without any question. At this time, two things happened the same time. I was looking for the reasons and purpose of living my life, and at the same time, I found someone who could take me to achieve it.
The Meaning of Training Badminton
Since I met him, I eat and sleep only to train badminton but nothing else. Badminton became the purpose of why I live. Achieving something in badminton was the purpose of my life at the time. There was nothing else existed other than training badminton.
I remember that I put everything, my body and soul in every single training session I did with him. Every training session was pure joy and happiness to me. There was no incident that I told my self that I have to do it, or I must do it; instead, I wanted to do it, and I was waiting for every single session. The training sessions these days were no different from worshiping. I was not just doing badminton training, but it was so much more meaning to me.
My intention, desire, willingness, and focus on training was much more profound and higher than life and death. I think I have a kind of personality that whatever I do, I do it all or nothing approach. As I got older, it changes a bit, but I feel it is still the same now.
I also remember I did more than what the coach asked me to do. If he said do it 20 times, I did 21 or 22. The quality, effort, and concentration I did put into every single session was absolutely 100% or more.
A Special Experience
In my life, I only experienced that I was in the zone once, and it was a footwork training session with the coach. I was doing a footwork session, and I was putting deep concentration on what I was doing. The intensity I did put into the training was so high and deep, and there was time I did not feel I was breathing, and I did not feel anything else, nor I feel my body was on the floor, but I feel that I am in the air. I thought I was an indifferent time zone and a different world. It was an extraordinary feeling, but I very much liked the atmosphere. It lasted a minute, or so I think but not sue it was a short moment. Since then, I never had the same experience again. One day I very much would like to be in the same zone again some how.
I was 100% changed to become the hardest and most seriously training player from one of the most seriously lazy players. Three things changed me in such a way. The first, I was growing up, second, the book I read and 3rd, I met the coach.
I am nearly 60 years old, if someone asks me which year I did live the best I can, then I can say the 1st and 2nd year of my high school time when I was training badminton with the coach. If I give a score for those two years, I can provide 1,000, and all other years I can provide a score 10. So you can see the significant difference. There were other years I worked very hard but they can not be compared with those two years.
My essential movement skills, hitting skills, and fitness were well developed. Most mornings, I got up 5:30 am, and I did running and other training by my self during this time. At the time, there was no weight jacket available. I wanted to use a weight jacket, so I ask my mother to make one. I did use sand and made one. I did use the weight jacket when I was doing my training in the mornings and evenings.
Became the captain
When I was 3rd year of middle school, I became the captain of the badminton team. Also, when I was 1st year in high school, I became the captain. In Korean culture, the role of the captain is vital. Sometime captain acts as a coach and must look after the team members. Be able to motivate the team members and lead the team.
The experience that I had as a captain from middle school, high school, and the university was very beneficial to me. When things go wrong, the captain must take responsibility. Whatever the team is doing, the captain must be able to lead the team members. I was fortunate to be the captain during my badminton training time.
Having the dream to go abroad
From this year, I had a huge desire to go to a foreign country in my coming days. The country I had in my mind was England. I can see that badminton developed from England, England is the mother country of speaking English. I wanted to go to England in the future in my life.
When I was walking on a street in my city, I can imagine that one day I walk in the street in England. I wanted to experience a different way of living. I would like to know what they think. Why they feel a particular way and what made them think that way. I wanted the feel and experienced a different culture. This wish and desire to go to England stared this year.