Monday, March 15, 2010

My fourth belt test

It's been almost a year since I joined World Champion Taekwondo in Scappoose, Oregon. Friday night (03/12/2010), my seven-year-old daughter and I had our fourth belt test. We leveled up from yellow belts with orange stripes to orange belts. We have eight more belt tests before we get to black belt.

I was really nervous for this test. I don't know why, maybe because I invited people. My friend Terra came to run my video recorder which was very nice of her. My daughter invited her first-grade teacher, but she wasn't able to make it.

Our test was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night. The white belts tested at 4:30 and the yellow stripes and yellow belts tested at 5:30, so we were the evening finale. While the masters readied themselves, our instructor told us to practice our forms, self-defense and one-step sparring one more time. Then we warmed up with some leg lifts and some push-ups. I couldn’t keep up with all the push-ups (again). I've been trying and trying to build up my upper body strength, but I've still got a long way to go.

We started with blocks and punches. Our instructor called out a lot of interesting combinations this time. Dominic, a fifteen-year-old black belt candidate, assisted the instructor by demonstrating the combinations. I did fine with the blocks and punches, but then we demonstrated our kicking techniques. I did okay with the roundhouse kicks, but I thought that my back kick was totally weak. The back kick was our new kick for this test.

When it was time to do forms, self-defense and one-step sparring, our instructor began with the higher belts. Jared was testing for his brown stripe and Elsie was testing for her blue belt. Their forms, self-defense and one-step sparring techniques always look so cool. Jared's form had a hop in it.

The name of our form was tae guk il jung. It's the first form in the tae guk series. It was a little more complicated than our basic forms. It included unusual combinations new turns (slides) and multiple stances. All the orange stripes did our form perfect the first time.

Our self defense move started with a choke hold. We put our hand on the attackers face and pushed them back over our shin until they fell on their back. I think maybe our instructor was tired of letting students throw him to floor. He would have been thrown to the floor SEVERAL times during the earlier belt tests. A couple of the new orange stripes from the earlier class stayed behind to watch our test. He asked them to pair up with us to demonstrate our self defense techniques. They were really good sports.

Our one-step sparring was pretty simple: when our attacker punched at us, we slid back, performed circle kick to the fist and then a hook kick to the ear. The circle kick was pretty easy, but the hook kick was a little tricky to learn.

Just before we demonstrated our breaking technique, we read off a bad habit that we wanted to break. My daughter admitted that she yells at me. She got a lot of attention for that. When another student promised to be nicer to his little brother, and his little brother made a sarcastic remark, our instructor put them both in push-up position. Eventually, he had all the kids in push-up position. He had them do three push-ups before he let them all stand up and we started breaking our boards.

We used the roundhouse kick to break the board which is a little tricky because we practice the roundhouse kick in class with the top of our foot, but when we break we need to use the ball of our foot. Everyone was able to break their board in one try except for one young boy. He must have kicked that board a dozen times before it finally broke. I'm sure it was because he was using the top of his foot, and kicking softly so as not to hurt himself because as soon as he actually kicked it hard enough to break it, he hopped up and down like he had hurt his foot, poor kid.

The next day we celebrated our new belts with a bar-b-que.

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