Monday, May 3, 2010

Tenets at Testing

The 5 tenets of Taekwondo are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit.  Over the testing weekend, I saw several examples of each.

Two weeks ago, an adult red belt student who was a member of the leadership program passed away from a heart attack.  At the end of the belt demonstration on Sunday (just prior to the belt ceremony), Master Lee presented the family (a wife and a son who also takes Taekwondo) with a lifetime membership and also the promise of starting a scholarship fund in his name with our upcoming kick-a-thon fundraiser. This of course brought tears to the eyes of the family and darn near everyone in the room.  After the award and subsequent clapping, as the family was leaving the room, darn near every student shook the hand and bowed toward one family member or the other (the took different routes leaving the room).  Did I mention that there were 148 total students testing?

Our testing is on the "honor system".  If you make a mistake during the curriculum, you are to stop, exit toward the side, and stand on the edge raising your hand.  After everyone else has completed the current technique, you then get a chance to perform the curriculum again in front of the whole class as if it were your first time.  Depending on how many make a mistake, you may be up there on your own or with a group of about 5 or 6 people.  In my belt level alone, we had 47 students testing. I believe it would have been easy to make a small mistake and NOT raise your hand and get away with it.  However, I don't believe that happened at all. From the students who are nearly always perfect down to the students who have a tendency to struggle, anyone who appeared to make a mistake, no matter how small, looked like they went up to the front to repeat.

During sparring, one of my classmates dislocated (or perhaps even broke) one of her toes.  The next morning, she was wearing sandals and large amount of tape.  She then proceeded to join us on our 40 minutes run.  She wasn't running of course.  However, she exhibited that black belt attitude and did the best she could under the circumstances God had given her.  (other examples: 2 other students in my belt level tested despite one having a shoulder issue and the other having re-constructive ACL surgery about 5 months ago)

Self Control:
I had the "privilege" of sparring against a black belt.  Our sparring was without pads of any sort.  (Couldn't find a helmet big enough for my fat head!).  Our sparring was supposed to be "promise sparring" where we don't hit each other.  Light contact is allowed.  Right when the match started, I knew I was outclassed. My sparring partner got in a few solid kicks right to my chest.  The amazing thing was that there was no pain whatsoever.  My partner knew enough to hit me very solidly yet stay in control of his kicks to not cause any pain or damage. It was quite impressive.  The kicks were solid "sounding" enough that the "people ring" were chiding him on it being promise sparring.   Afterwards, he came up to me and at first apologized thinking he came on a little strong.  I had to correct him and tell him that I was actually impressed by his control. He offered to spend some time with me at the next sparring class to teach me some techniques.

Indomitable Spirit:
Saturday afternoon was the most difficult time I ever had performing Taekwondo. It started with kicking combinations and then we went into kicking techniques.  Part of the kicking techniques were drills where we kicked for 1 minute straight at a time with only about 30 seconds of downtime between each drill.  This was AFTER we had spent most of the afternoon and all morning doing our curriculum. After we had completed our kicking techniques, I was both mentally and physically exhausted. Completely wiped out.   However, this story isn't about me. A young middle school aged girl testing for her black belt was doing her kicking techniques.  When she finished, she came off the mat unable to catch her breath. She was in tears from the mental and physical effort that she put out. However, what was amazing was that she did them all better than I did. She wouldn't give up. Later that afternoon, I saw her sparring and she was putting out more energy than anyone else on the floor.

No comments: