It has been a very long road building up to this point.
This past weekend I passed my final test as a Deputy Black Belt earning a fifth belt tip. At the end of testing, Master Ko handed me a large envelope with my name on it. I have been invited to test for my Black Belt, officially making me a Black Belt Candidate.
|Deputy Black Belt, five tips; Black Belt Candidate|
Inside the envelope is a schedule full of extra classes and pre-test sessions I’m required to take over the next few months. My test day will be November 3rd, 2018.
A brief glance over the testing requirements shows me I’ll be testing on all my poomsae, kicking techniques, 5 board-breaking techniques, sparring, physical endurance/strength tests, as well as Korean terminology and a written essay.
The judges may also ask for other random things during the test.
As the large letters indicate in our Do Jang, “A Black Belt is not purchased, it is earned.” I’ve been told by my friend (and 3rd Dan Black Belt), "This test is grueling, at the end you’ll know you earned your Black Belt.”
The next two and a half months are going to be busy ones to say the least, as I prepare for this test.
Although I have been working toward this test for the past three years or more, I find when I think about the test, I’m a bit intimidated. It’s one thing to perform all these things, and yet another to have to perform them in front of the watchful eyes of the judges.
Two and a half months feel like a very short time.
It’s funny how the mind works. Part of me sees the amount of tasks I’ll have to perform and thinks, “Why on earth did you sign up for this? Why did you choose to put yourself into this situation? You must be crazy to invite stress like this into your life.”
But then another voice says to me, “Keep your eye on the prize, you are almost there, don’t give up.”
I guess there are two ways of living life. One is to avoid anything truly difficult to minimize discomfort and chance of failure. I’ve lived long enough to see people who keep to this philosophy. They are not all that fun to be around, and are usually the first to voice objections when I bring up Taekwondo or riding motorcycles.
I don’t judge, to each their own, live and let live and all that.
But for me, to embrace life is to embrace risk. That is how we live a life fully alive.
I love the movie “Point Break” (both the new one and the remake). I know I’m supposed to root for the good guy FBI agent, but in this movie I find myself identifying more with the criminals.
Or at the very least, agreeing with their way of life.
Their philosophy can be summed up in one quote by the character Bodhi, “If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love. “
So here I go, pushing myself a little bit more each day. I am not taking my eyes off that prize.
Or, I die trying.