Black Belt Dreams

November 11, 2011
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“Hey, let’s go for a ride,” my dad instructed five days before my birthday. We jumped in the truck, and I did not expect anything exciting until I saw the large sign that read “Christian Karate.” I was scared out of my mind when I first walked in the door, but as the weeks gradually progressed, I became used to the routine. Every day I walked into the open room and high on the far wall was every belt. I told myself that one day I wouldn’t wear any other color than black. Sadly, it shut down after two months of my attending. I was relieved that I didn’t have to do it anymore, but I still wanted to wear a black belt. My father, being the persistent man he is, urged me to try another style of self-defense called Tae Kwon Do. He had heard about it from my uncle who used to participate in it. My father decided to check it out, but this style scared me to death because this form used harder techniques, and students actually fought each other in padded armor.

In summer, the workouts were brutal, while we froze in the long winters. I always had that one belt color in the back of my mind: black. As the years progressed and ranks of belts increased, I could just feel the thick, dark belt around my waist. Five years had passed since I had started, and I was one belt away from the pitch black one. I went up to Michigan to go test for my black belt, all the while I had mixed feelings like: nervousness, excitement, and being afraid. I was happy I was finally getting it but so nervous that I was going to mess something up and not go up a belt level.

When I walked into the gym where the testing was taking place, it all hit me that all those years of training prepared me for this moment. Close to one hundred students were participating in the testing, and as they called off the people’s numbers, I kept getting more and more nervous. After about an hour and a half, my number was finally called off, and all the nervous feelings disappeared. I did my form with full strength; I fought the best I could, but I faulted near the end of my test. Part of me becoming a black belt was that I had to do a board breaking demonstration. I had to do something called a jumping spinning side kick and break two boards. Then I had to take off running, jump over three people, and break three boards with a flying side kick. My instructor and I had practiced that technique over and over and over again, long before this moment. I did my jumping spinning side kick, and the board didn’t break. I kicked it again and again and again for about six times before it finally broke. I was so mad that I just ran full speed, jumped in the air, curled up, and at the last second, lunged my foot out as hard as I could, and flew through those three boards. I was so angry at myself for not being able to break the first two boards because I had that move down and memorized like the back of my hand.

When the whole testing was over, the master instructors called me up, told me my test scores, and presented me with handshakes from all of them, which is a great honor because I had become a first degree black belt. I had the title, but I needed to wait another few weeks to get my actual belt. It was worth the wait, for I didn’t just get a belt; my master instructor also presented me with three beautiful Chinese swords called katanas. I still regret not being able to bust those boards, but in the end, all my training made it worth it. I am now and always will be a black belt.

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mikayla.afusia said...
Feb. 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm
The same thing happened to me on my black belt test, but during sparring. I practiced a whole bunch on sparring before my test, and when it came to that part of the test, I didn't do as well as I had intended. But in the end, it was worth it!
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