Isaac has been taking taekwondo for several months now and the other night, after class, he took his yellow belt test. He has been studying Korean terms and practicing his forms (the pattern of moves he needs to know for each belt). He had it all under his “belt” as test night came. I took him to the dojang and he was cool as can be for his normal training session. After class, most people headed out until only black belts and the 5 people being tested remained.
Each student had to do two of their forms and answer Grand Master Kang as he asked them questions about Korean terminology. Isaac did great on the items as he had studied so much. I knew that he would also have to break a board with a kick but I figured there was no way to safely practice that at home. So, the moment of truth came and it was Isaac’s turn. He lined up and positioned the poor guys who had to hold the board and took a practice kick to make sure his aim was right. And then, my poor helpless son kicked the board so hard that it cracked perfectly. In fact, I heard the board, long since dead, come back to life, just so it could scream in pain. His eyes lit up and I have never seen him more proud. I think I was also as proud as I have ever been. He didn’t know what exactly to expect so he just jumped in with both feet…well, really with one foot..but he went for it!
Each student got to keep their board pieces but had to line back up for another round of questions…this time the hard ones about family life and respect and helping one’s parents by doing chores and obeying, etc. This was probably the toughest part of the whole test, especially for the kids. Kids had to think on their feet and speak extemporaneously. He answered every question (though, now I have some leverage!) and was passed with no hesitation. Grand Master Kang awarded him a yellow belt with a green tip.
The last few evenings since that night, Isaac has done almost nothing but practice his forms and think “taekwondo”. His pride is warranted and I am delighted that he has found something he enjoys so much. I think I may have to toughen up some for his teenage years though…