Sunday, February 28, 2010

Black Belt!

This was amazing. It's like childbirth; all the griping and moaning I've done over the last 3+ years disappeared and I wanted to do it again. C'mon Mae, take TKD! It was a fabulous night. Ted was incredible. He was strong, confident, serious, respectful and full of JOY. Awesome.

He and Daniel did Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who got to be High Rank (the first in line). Ted won and for only the 3rd time EVER, bowed the whole school in. His voice was strong and confident "All students stand and face the flag!" (Yes, Sir!) "Chareut!" (attention) "Kyung nae" (bow). "Songham Spirit of TaeKwonDo! See jut!" (Begin). And then they all said the opening creed. It was so neat to hear his voice so strong - no wavering!

Then they all sat down in ranks and then he and Daniel had to pop up again to come out to the floor to do Songham 1. At our (small) school, the classes go through a rotation, since there aren't enough students to offer a class for each of the 10 belts. So the 3 lower ranks (white through yellow) all learned Songham 2 this rotation. Ted and Daniel tested out of Songham 1,2, and 3 and chose Songham 1 to perform for testing, to show their mastery of their low rank material. They were almost totally in sync, which looked cool. Ted's kiyaps (yells) were so strong (sometimes he is rather half-hearted about them) and he was very precise in his movements. So cool.

Then they sat for a LOOOOONG time while the color belts tested. Finally it was their turn and they did their form. They both did such a great job- so confident and sharp. Then they did their self-defense (scary, how quickly a 7 year old can bring a grown man to the floor!) Mr. D. asked Ted, "How old are you, Sir?" and Ted replied (in a very good yell, military style) "Seven, Sir!" "When is your birthday, Sir?" "March 5th, Sir!" Hee hee. Daniel just turned 8 a week or so ago, and they've been together since they were just 5 (thus the cute pic above.)

Then all the high ranks (Purple and up) broke their boards. Ted and Daniel had both a hand and foot break, first the palm heel and then a spin into a front kick. POW! Broke them the first time, no problem. Phew!

Next came sparring. Color belts spar without contact, meaning you can connect with your opponent but you're not meant to use any force - it's more for show. At Black Belt you move to contact sparring (i.e. let 'em have it!) The boys were so good! They both used lots of combinations and both had some great jump side kicks to the head. I was glad that they had all the gear on - it got rather rowdy!

Next the color belts received their belts and then everyone did the clap while Ted and then Daniel got their black belts tied. Ted yelled "I'm going to be a 2nd degree!" (you are supposed to yell "I'm a black belt" but he was inspired. Hee.) Then everyone backed up and he and Daniel had their candle ceremony. I've been to many and they are long, but this one was magical, as I'm sure it is to each black belt when it's their time. They receive their candle, bow to each of the judges (standing in for masters) and walk around the mat (slowly! fire!) while a tape of Master Lee, the founder of the American TaeKwonDo Association (ATA) plays, describing the beginning of Songham TKD and how it all evolved into what it is now. It's so neat.

Then we had a party! Laura (Daniel's mother) and I wanted to have a cake and we got a great one and lots of people stayed to chat and munch. It was a fabulous, wonderful night that I hope Ted will never forget. I hope the pride and confidence that came with this night will be with him for the rest of his life. Pics to come (courtesy of our dear friend Josh - it was sooo nice to not have to worry about taking pictures!).

Congratulations, Ted. We are SO proud of you!

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