Yesterday I finished the last pre-test before my black belt test.
Usually at this point the black belts are ready and tied to a post in our dojan. It is an extra push - motivation to make it through the last stretch of testing.
Yet, our Grandmaster is in Korea and the belts are not there. Instead, I picture it in my head. The black belt with my name embroidered on it. It helps knowing I am so close. Yet, the closer I get the more my body seems to be falling apart. At least I know this is normal. You are pushing yourself harder and past your normal limits. It is worth it, even knowing I will not be able to walk the day after the test.
The next two weeks I need to push some more. I need to practice and perfect everything I need to know so I can preform it without thought. So, when the pressure hits I will not blank out and forget everything.
We have to create a binder for our black belt test. It is a collection of our training to this point, along with an essay detailing it all. The above picture is what I put on my title page. I think it is very fitting of my journey to black belt. I may not be the best, but I have kept on my journey. I know how much more room there is to grow.
At the same time I am feeling frustrated. There has been a lot of turn over in our dojan with Master's. It has allowed me to work with some amazing people, yet now, when I need it most, we have a Master who is less helpful, less disciplined, and extremely frustrating. He has been with us for a while now, but he has always been offset by a more disciplined Master.
Not only do I have to struggle to work hard for my black belt, I have to work hard to make it through is classes. I cannot wait until our Grandmaster is back from Korea.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now are aware that there is a part of my life apart from book. Ok, there are actually many parts of my life apart from books. There are my kids. There is my work. There is taekwondo.
Many people are taken back when I tell them that I study teakwondo. I am not a typical student. I am a women. Most of the adult students at our dojan are male. I am a mom. I am also not the picture of athleticism.
I have been studying taekwondo for almost four years now. I started with all three of my children with the aim of giving them the support that I knew taekwondo could give them. There is ample research on the benefits of martial arts with ADHD, autism, and aggression. I also knew that I would love it. This was actually my third time studying taekwondo.
I first found taekwondo when I was 18 years old. A master was offering free classes at a church I attended. I did not stay long due as I moved out of state shortly after starting, yet the love had been created.
The second time I started I was a mom of three young children. My youngest daughter was two and had to watch from the sidelines as I did class. Thankfully it was a military friendly area that let her watch from the sidelines. My older children were just five and six and rotated between children and family classes. I was only a few belts from obtaining my black belt before we had to leave. Life happened.
It took six years to get to a position before we could go back. At this time I was a single mother to an emerging teenage boy and preteen girl. I enrolled us all.
Is it ironic that four years later it is just me and my youngest daughter? My older two children studies for three years. The benefit to them is immeasurable, but they both declined to continue. My youngest became a black belt six months ago, just after her thirteenth birthday.
Now it is my turn. In about a month I will be testing for black belt. In truth my test has already started as we have to pass of many items long before the five hour test. As I approach this goal, that I have had since I was 18, I have started thinking about the future. Black Belt is only the beginning.
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