For those of you that don’t know what Tae Kwon Do is it’s a self defence martial art from Korea. Literally meaning hand and foot. For more information and see where your nearest class is (UK) follow this link:
Saturday just gone I graded for my blue belt. In the sweltering heat. Britain was having one of its rare heat waves and in the middle of the afternoon in a school gym hall I was wearing my full dobok (training suit) doing patterns and sparring. Sweaty Betty comes to mind.
To help you guys understand the belt system in Tae Kwon Do the order is below
White with Yellow Tag
Yellow with Green Tag
Green with Blue Tag
Blue with Red Tag
Red with Black Tag
So I am already over half way to get my black belt – yay! But I do need to knuckle down to achieve my black belt before I am 30. I’ve worked it out I will be hopefully be grading for my black belt in October 2019.
This grading has meant more than most. I was introduced to the Art back when I was 13/14 and a few friends I knew did it. I enjoyed it and got up to Green with Blue Tag. However as a teenager, more exciting things were available to me like trampolining and rugby. So I gave up.
My dad was very proud that I learnt to do a martial art as it teaches people how to be courteous, respectful and how to defend yourself. So when I stopped skiing and I got back my evenings from work, dad reminded me of how Tae Kwon Do could help me become more flexible by regularly stretching whilst gaining something out of it.
After putting it off for a good few months, I found my old club and sent off an email (heaven forbid I had to speak to a stranger straight away) to request me joining. My parents were impressed as I was going through a spell of depression and anxiety so pushing myself to go into a room full of strangers was a big step. However I knew the location and I knew the basics so in a way I covered my back to not have too many things to be anxious about.
I was told if I could prove my certificates from my previous training I could come back as the same belt I left on. Unfortunately I couldn’t. Thinking of all the places they could be and frantically making a mess trying to find them I decided I must have been frivolous and thrown them away. All I had were my belts – damn.
But this meant I could relearn the basics and not have to worry too much about the grading’s as I had a good understanding already of what would be waiting for me.
So like I said, this grading was more important than the rest. It meant that I have now come further than my previous time. I was at a point of giving up again as I was getting a little bored to doing the stuff I already knew. But I didn’t. I graded for my blue belt.
Pupils have to do all their set line work, patterns and sparring in front of Master Dew. (second in from the right)
Here he doesn’t look that scary as he is smiling and has his dobok on like me. But pop him in a suit and a serious face I could easily crap my pants. It also doesn’t help that he could kick my ass at 73 years of age! He is 8th Dan black belt – one off of the top belt. So I get a little nervous when it comes to grading days. It did show this time around as I made a few mistakes however I passed!
As a student of Tae Kwon Do you also have to learn Korean. Mostly for body parts, numbers 1-10 plus kicks and blocks. For example:
Elbow = Palkup
Knee = Moorup
Side Kick = Yop Chagi
Double Punch = Doo Jirugi
We then also have to remember certain dates for when Tae Kwon Do started in Britain and Korea. Don’t forget the meaning of your belts and patterns, how many moves they have plus a 63 word oath! The higher the grade the more you have to remember as you’re expected to still be able to recall anything from previous grading’s. A massive game of pot luck but I managed to get 3.5 out of 5.
Next grading is not until 6 months time. I can rest easy for now.