Eighteen months ago CootieBoy began taking taekwondo lessons. This week he tested for his red belt, which was momentous for several reasons.
First, it represented a commitment to TKD that has lasted much longer than I thought it would. Truly, when we first signed up, I figured he would keep his interest for a few months and then he’d want to quit. Then a year ago when his favorite instructor moved to Texas I thought he’d want to quit. But here we are, eighteen months later, and he is now just three belts away from reaching Black Belt. I’m so proud of him, and the hard work he puts into achieving each belt. No, he isn’t excited about going to every class (there are times when I practically drag him there), but the fact is he does go, and when he’s there he does his best to learn and grow.
Second, at our TKD gym, the belt colors are pictured on the walls, and between red stripe and red belt, there is a giant column that separates the lower belts from red belt and higher. There is a long-standing joke that when you "cross the column" you have really achieved something. So for him to cross the column was a good moment for him.
Third, during his testing yesterday, there were only two kids at his level testing, and so the room was very quiet (for some reason the general room noise is louder when 4-5 are testing at the same time versus 1-2). Yesterday, because it was just CB and one other boy, the room was quiet enough that you could really hear the movements of the boys as they did their poomse form. One highly sought-after sound is the "snap" of the uniform when you kick and punch during your form. That snap means you are doing the form well.
Yesterday, CootieBoy’s uniform snapped, not just once, but half a dozen times. When I heard the first snap, I was so excited, because in previous tests his uniform has never snapped. Then when the second snap occurred, even the Master there to watch testing nodded his head in approval. After the third and fourth snap, the Master turned to his fellow Master and whispered in his ear. By the fifth snap he was openly smiling and continuously nodding his head.
When completed, I turned to Denis and whispered, "That’s the best CB has ever done – his uniform snapped!" Sure enough, when the interview portion of the testing arrived, the Master congratulated CB on his form and spoke highly of it. You could tell CB was so proud that his hard work and discipline paid off.
After the belt ceremony, they gave out awards. Not every kid gets a trophy – they usually just single out 5-6 students during big testing groups of 25-30 kids. For CB’s upper belt testing group, they gave out three. Yesterday, for "Best Improvement in Form," CB got a trophy. The last trophy he earned was over a year ago, when he won "Best Focus" during his very first test to go from beginner’s white belt to yellow belt.
If he continues on schedule, in another 18 months or so he’ll be testing for his black belt But that is only if he continues to persevere, which I absolutely think he will.