Saturday, July 31, 2010

3 weeks in....stripe time

We are three weeks into our sixteen week physical requirements cycle. Four times through this period, we're going to be tested for "stripes".  I've written about stripes before, and the concept is still the same for black belt. You test for a stripe in each area of the curriculum and then once you have them all, you test again over everything for the black recommended stripe. If you don't have the black recommended stripe, you do not get to test for your black belt. The decision maker on stripes is Kwan-ja-nim. He takes input from his instructors but he's the man. The buck starts and stops with him.

For black belt, we're tested for four different stripes: forms, kicking combinations, weapons, and one step sparring. During each testing weekend, we have two chances to get each stripe because our black belt training classes are held on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons with stripe testing each class. We have to perform four forms, 16 kicking combinations, 15 different escrima patterns (weapons), and 5 different one step sparring routines.

Last night, I only got one stripe for my forms. I hadn't practiced the weapons or kicking combinations in over a week and I just wasn't prepared. We ran out of time before we could be tested on the one step sparring. To be completely honest, I was a little surprised on how well I did on my forms. I even got a compliment from one of the instructors afterward on my "power". Note that is an area I've been working on improving. All I could do was utter a "Thank you sir".

My daughter didn't get any of her stripes last night. She had little mistakes throughout. Additionally, I noticed as she was performing, that she looked like she was following other people. She was not showing that self-confidence that she would exhibit by performing on her own. That translates to looking like she doesn't know what she is doing. Additionally, when she follows, if other people made mistakes, she would make the same mistake. In short, she was doubting herself. When we left, I could tell she was lacking a bit of self-confidence in general despite the fact that there were many students who didn't get any stripes. I had to give her a pep-talk on the way home.

As a result of our "performance" last night, we decided we would go over our curriculum this morning before class. My daughter specifically went over the areas where she got confused. I also had a discussion with my daughter on being a leader rather than a follower. To not pay attention to other people and focus on what she knows. To have confidence in herself because she knows what to do. I've seen her practice all the curriculum at home with much fewer mistakes than when she is in a group of people and I told her as much.

The whole practice time and discussion this morning paid off. I received my three other stripes but really messed up on the forms because I didn't pay attention to what I was doing! My daughter got three of her four stripes. She had an issue with the most difficult of the escrima patterns but other than that, she really had her A game on. I really, really poured on the praise on the way home. She worked very hard and exhibited that black belt attitude. I pray this is a lesson she learns from and carries this attitude on to other aspects of her life.

As we were leaving, Kwan-ja-nim made the comment that even though we have our stripes, that doesn't mean we are ready. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. I think my mess up on the forms this morning demonstrates that! We also have to test through everything again. I'm really going to buckle down before the next stripe test to make sure I have it all down pat. I would love to get that black recommendation stripe next time.


Bil said...

So how has this entire experience affected your life? Self defense? Greater view of life? ...?

shaggydoug said...

I have to write a 500 word essay on what Taekwondo means to me. I'll let you know.