Monday, February 21, 2005


Did I tell you all that I passed that test? My uniform now includes a yellow belt--and as my classmate Brian says, I no longer look like "a marshmallow in a snowstorm."

Our school (and perhaps all schools) has a belt ceremony after the exam where students are awarded their new belts in front of everyone. Robbie and I went to ours (Eli was sick that day) and got our new belts tied on by Master Hughes. Everyone applauded, and before the ceremony, a black belt, who'd been on the judging panel congratulated me in the dressing room. "I think my first test was as scary as my black belt test," she said. It's an important milestone.

I had been a bit worried about passing, considering I didn't even know the answer to that question about Palgwe. But, according to my new fun Tae Kwon Do book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tae Kwon Do, "just between you and me, it is nearly impossible to flunk your very first test. Most instructors understand that you are very nervous and have not been training very long."

By the way, I really like this Tae Kwon Do book--the lively and informal writing style, the helpful advice, and the approach that Tae Kwon Do is more than just a bunch of physical moves. There's a lot in this book about focus, concenteration, etiquette, and even how to deal with odd classroom situations, like the "big bull" males in class who show off their strength.

Anyway, the first day back to class after the ceremony, Mr. Houtz was so pleased to see us with our new belts. "Hey, look at all my colored belts!" he exclaimed. I know that feeling--when those I've mentored succeed at their craft. It's a great feeling. We had a quiet day in class, spent mostly learning our new forms. I'm working on one called Dan Gun now, an exciting form with high punches, C-blocks, and a knife-hand strike or two. And of course this time I'll learn Palgwe 2!

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