Thursday, March 9, 2006

w00t Green Belt

I am so stoked. Tonight was our quarterly belt test at my dojang, North Austin Tae Kwon Do, and I was invited to test for my senior orange belt. I arrived early to practice while the kids belt test was still going on. I felt really strong, confident going into the test—I knew I knew my stuff.

I was called forward by Master Thomas to test with the yellow belt. We went through basic moves, kicks and strikes we're supposed to know. The only thing I messed up on was that he told us to do side block and I sort of blanked out and started doing low block. Anyway, then we did our forms. Mine was Dan Gun, a 21 step form named for the Holy Dangun, legendary founder of Korea in 2333 b.c. Next was self-defense and sparring demonstrations. We are also required to know some academic knowledge; I was asked what "Dan Gun" meant; what Ku Ki Bey Ray means (face the flags, which we do before and after class in respect); and lastly who General Choi Hong Hi was to TKD.

Once finished, we were instructed to sit back down in line. But then the three judges (Master Thomas and the Jo Kyo Chads) started talking back and fourth amongst themselves. To my delight, Master Thomas asked me if I wanted to take the green belt test too! I said, "Yes,sir." and stood up to take my place in line to test along side the blue belts as green is the first Gup of the intermediate levels.

Sliding kicks, falls, rolls, I did it all but was a little nervous that my performance was weak. I did feel pretty good about my form, Do-San, seeing as how I learned it only three weeks ago. But I've been practicing diligently! I think maybe the fact that I held the last step, a horse stance/knife-hand strike, for quite awhile as the blue belts finished their forms probably helped me a lot. We then did the sparring and self-defense required and I got to fall for the blue belt. :D

In the end, I was triumphant, "skipping" a belt in essence and going from Orange to Green. I love TKD so much. It's really the first thing I've learned and practiced that has felt like it's mine. That is, none of my friends or family got me into it—they all ask me about it. Afterwards at dinner, I was asked if I plan to go all the way to black belt. That would be a "yes"!