This is NOT the post I was hoping to write today. The headline was supposed to read: “I earned my black belt!” instead of the existing one. Although I’m not certain, I suspect I did not pass my black belt test today and if I did, I question if I really deserve it as I didn’t break 2 required board breaks despite the fact that I have done them many times. An official test has a way of raising the stakes and you really have to rise to the challenge and today I did not deliver.
For those that know nothing about requirements for a first degree black belt testing in taekwondo there are 4 parts: the form containing about 24 moves in a certain order; required board breaks; sparring with 2 partners; and a brutal 5 minute fit test at the end involving 300 moves. Let’s just say the black belt test is not an easy one.
I’ve been training now for 3 years for two times a week every week whether I’ve wanted to or not, and believe me there were many days where I did not want to go. I’ve been bruised up or injured a more than a handful of times – most notably once on the top of the foot in my first year training when learning my round kick (I had a nice big bruise on the top of my right foot and a major dent in my confidence which I needed to work though…and DID) and recently a foot injury while attempting a board break with a front kick – the board bent back at an angle that wasn’t good for my foot. This last injury caused me not to be able to walk correctly for a couple of weeks and I seriously thought about quitting at that point but then decided I was simply too close to earning my black belt to quit so with permission from my Master I substituted out the front kick for a round kick and decided to persevere.
If it weren’t for the board breaks today, I’m sure I’d be boasting my grand accomplishment for all to see on on Facebook. But this was not meant to be. Instead huge tears of disappointment were shed. I know I’m going to have to dig deep to really want this for myself so that I keep going and get this done. It takes a lot to put yourself out there especially after failure.
The thing is, it was never my goal to become a black belt in the first place. Taking taekwondo has been something I have done primarily to support my son and show him that you don’t quit when things get hard – and by doing this class I have been sticking to my word and leading by example. It all started when my husband signed us up 3 years ago when my then 5-year-old son expressed interest in taekwondo. My husband thought it would be fun to train with him so together we sought out taekwondo schools and agreed to have them train at Victory because we really liked their discipline and structure which we felt would be a good fit for our son. Since two people training in a family is the same cost as a family membership I was handed a uniform, much to my dismay. This was not MY plan! (I growled at my husband.) But I am athletic and not one to sit on the sidelines so I quickly joined into class since I might as well participate and learn something instead of just sitting on the bench and watching. Victory Martial Arts encourages families to train together and teaches people not to quit when things get hard. (Brilliant marketing strategy if you ask me!) The good student that I am took these lessons to heart and so once I began training it wasn’t really an option for me to quit until I reached my black belt, no matter how many times I complained to my husband, “Why am I doing this again?”
Perhaps this is why today’s blow of not breaking my boards hit me especially hard. In my mind, it wasn’t just a test – it was my way out! My ticket to freedom. My ticket to CHOOSE freely if I want to continue taekwondo or not. I don’t feel that I earned that ticket yet.
My husband and son were there to support me today and both of them told me how I looked really good and did great and I SO appreciated and needed that positive feedback. I’m grateful I have them to help me through this. My son even made tea for me on his own when I got home and showered me with love. I must keep things in perspective and not let this one setback get in the way. I will go forth and persevere, just allow me one more cry first.