|Sparring during testing today. Photo courtesy of Stephen Strouss|
I'm now a second degree black belt in Taekwondo!! Those words still feel a bit foreign in my mind and mouth. This news is about 12 hours fresh.
I tested this morning at my school and it went well. It's funny though, as excited as I am about this new chapter of my Taekwondo journey, I've been pensive about it all day. It wasn't my best test as I felt like some of what I did was a little sloppy. I broke all three of my boards and I did my pattern correctly. But some of my techniques could have been smoother. (Sparring was super awesome, I think, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)
I now feel this grave sense of responsibility toward my fellow classmates and particularly toward those who are still coming through the color belt ranks behind me. I want the way I train and improve my skills to challenge and encourage them to do the same. When they look at me as a 2nd degree, I want them to think, "that's how I want my patterns and kicks to look!"
When I passed the test for my 1st degree black belt 14 months ago, I was so overwhelmed. Attaining 1st degree black belt felt like the holy grail of martial arts. But I quickly realized the journey had really just begun. I had been learning and adding building blocks to the basics of Taekwondo during the three years before 1st degree.
Now in my fourth year of training and a 2nd degree black belt, I recognize that I'm still very much a learner, not an expert. And I love it. I always want to be teachable and I look forward to continued growth. I am so grateful for my master instructor James Rich and the other instructors at our school who are helping me along in the journey.
I also want to give a special shout out to my friend Kristen who traveled from Franklin to spend the weekend with me and attend my testing to cheer me on.