Bruised and swollen but i have black to show for it

I had my Bodan Belt testing this afternoon. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Tae Kwon Do, the Bodan Belt is half red and half black. It is considered a black belt even though it is not all black. It is the belt before you test for your 1st degree black belt. In a sense it’s a jr. black belt, but don’t let the jr. fool you. It still takes a lot of work and as Grandmaster said today as I began my combination kicks, ‘this is a black belt, these need to be good’. Yep no pressure thanks 😉

I’m always extremely nervous about testing because I have performance anxiety. I completely blank out sometimes. Since I was technically black belt testing I tested seperate from the 10 other students. They did their warmups, 13 exercises, blocking sets, answered questions, performed poomsaes and broke boards all while I sat and waited.

I was taking deep breaths trying to stay calm and after their promotion to their next colored belts I took the floor for warmups. Most of the kids and their parents left, a few stuck around to watch my testing. I tried to block them out and surprisingly enough I did.

I ran through my poomsaes that I was asked to do. Then I was told to do 100 pushups. Have you ever done 100 pushups? And not the girly kind. I had to stop after 60 and take a break. Though it really wasn’t a break since they were telling me I had 40 more to go. 40 more! I was afraid I wasn’t goin to make it. But I did and when I stood up I was told to go into the next requirement.

I ran through 10 blocking sets, 9 1-steps (I realize that you probably don’t know what these are but it’s ok), self-defense, combination kicks and finally board breaking. Oh board breaking. I had a routine all planned out. 10 boards in all. I had practiced and was confident that when the time came Grandmaster would toss my routine out and tell me what to do. I wasn’t disappointed.

5 spinning hook kicks, 2 hand chops (right hand) and a punch (right hand). I got through the spinning hook kicks and hand chops. The punch…oh the punch it didn’t break the board. Grandmaster told me to snap kick so I did and I broke the board, it was a piece of cake. But he wasn’t satisfied, he was determined I’d break the board with a punch. So he picked another one up and gave it to my dad and one of the other black belts that was helping judge. I tried with all my might to break that board and I didn’t think about the pain in my hand. No such luck, my punch didn’t break the board.

I thought I was off the hook. Grandmaster walked away saying that was enough, ‘I tried twice, now I’m afraid’. But instead of walking off the mat he picked up another board and turned around, ‘one more time’. I had no choice. One more try. This time I broke it. But I paid a price. My right hand is swollen and quite bruised. Luckily the adrenaline was pumping so I barely felt it.

And now I am a black belt. Grandmaster predicted in 6 months I will be testing for my first degree black belt. The full black one where I will have my name embroidered on it. The one where my paperwork will be sent to Korea and my picture will be given to the police station, because I will be considered a weapon. Cool huh?

I will have some video up (maybe) or some pictures up sometime next week. This is a huge accomplishment. Not just the black belt but the fact that I didn’t let my performance anxiety get the best of me. Wow, what a rush.

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