By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

Here’s what Mandy Wittschen, Haley Marketing’s Content Manager, is into:

HIT: Tae Kwon Do

Back Story

When my daughter, Lauren, turned four, she started Tae Kwon Do at a local dojang. I began taking the kickboxing classes offered there, because I thought they’d be a great way to get in shape. I was right – and I was addicted.

Lauren earned her 1st degree black belt five years later, and I basically ran out of excuses for not starting TKD myself. I decided to face my proverbial fears and took my first TKD class in 2009. I’m now training for my 3rd degree black belt, which I hope to earn in September 2016.

What do I love most about TKD?

Where do I start? The variety. The discipline. The continual challenge. The weapons training. The fact that it’s an activity I share with my two kids.

Lessons learned…

TKD definitely gives you back as much as you put into it. For me, it’s more than a workout; it’s a way of life.

Sure, there are injuries and embarrassing mistakes (see below) when you study a martial art. It’s all part of the journey, and it’s entirely worth it. Tae Kwon Do has taught me so much about respect, focus, discipline, humility and perseverance. The lessons I’ve learned in the dojang have helped me grow personally and professionally, too.

Along the way, I’ve made great friends, kept myself in pretty good shape, and tried to set an example for my children about respecting one’s body and achieving personal goals. I’m not the youngest or best athlete in our school, but I am the absolute best I can be (and that’s all that matters).

Most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to fail – as long as you get back up and try again.

Yeah, that didn’t count…

For my 2nd degree test, I had to break a board with a spinning hook kick. I struggled to learn the technique for months and went into the test unsure of whether or not I’d even hit the target – let alone break the board.

At the test, the assistant holding boards for me told me to try a practice kick so I could check my mechanics (mind you, a few hundred people were watching us). I must’ve been really nervous, because I unintentionally broke the board (awkward).

No, the break didn’t count; I had to do it again. But, everyone at the test had a good laugh and it definitely took the pressure off.

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