Saturday, November 10, 2012

Black Belt Test

I am one proud mama and wife! My handsome husband and two amazing kids tested today for their black belts and They. Did. Awesome!

I'll try to paint a picture for you of what it was like. I was manning both the video camera and the regular camera, while trying to take it all in, too.

First off, there was a HUGE audience. They generally test for the belt promotions in their Thursday morning class (set up for homeschoolers and 3rd-shift workers), but since black belt promotion tests are a much bigger deal and since there was this special Saturday black belt promotion today, the Master of the studio asked them to test today instead. They aren't used to such a huge crowd, but they all did FANTASTIC!

Warming up in the practice room
Seven people tested today. Four tested for 1st degree black belts (my crew as well as one other kid) and three tested for their 4th degree black belts (a brother-sister duo as well as our regular teacher, who we all really love!). The way the "degrees" work is, once you get your black belt, it's two years until your 2nd degree belt, then three years until your 3rd degree belt, then four years until your 4th degree belt, and so on . . . the Master of the studio is a 6th degree black belt.

The black belts all there to help assist in the test
Everyone was nervous, but also excited. They've worked really hard for this! They go to class 2-3 times a week. Thing 2 started taking Tae Kwon Do two-and-a-half years ago (around March 2010) and then Thing 1 and Mark joined six months later (around September 2010). He was ranked ahead of them for quite some time, but eventually, it all evened out and they pretty much tested together for all their belts.

I love this picture - Mr. Derr, Thing 2, Thing 1 and Mark
all getting ready for their big test!
 I think it's REALLY cool they got to test 
at the same time as their beloved teacher.

So, testing began at 2pm. The Master of the studio called everyone out by name, while telling a little history about each family. Essentially there were 4 families testing (my 3, a brother-sister team, 1 kid, and 1 teacher). Here are Mark, Thing 1, and Thing 2 in their high brown belts getting ready to test for their black belts!
Mark, Thing 1, and Thing 2 facing the audience
Huge audience

I've never seen such a big crowd there for a test! Being that there were 4 families testing and I was the lone cheerleader for our family, you can tell there was a lot of support there for the other 3 families especially. It was a pretty big deal that there were 3 testing for their 4th degree belts and one of them is a VERY loved and respected teacher, so I am guessing that most people were there for that. We very rarely feel lonely out here - we have a lot of friends, but yeah, times like this we feel it a bit. Over 100 people in attendance and I'm the lone person cheering on our family and working the two cameras. :/

All lined up in preparation for the test
My 3, seated and ready (and nervous)

The 4 judges - three 4th-degree black belts and one 6th-degree black belt
The Master of the studio is a SUPER nice guy. Always smiling, always encouraging. They do a great job there making you feel like part of the studio "family." He is the unfortunate doppelganger of Jerry Sandusky and that has tripped me out a couple of times since all the media surrounding that trial. But really, he is a great guy and so good to everyone who attends and visits there. They do a really nice job there! Class acts.

And these classes teach more than self defense and forms. There are great character-building aspects of the training as well -- respect, self-confidence, patience, discipline, persistence, etc. They incorporate the lessons in the classroom to life application in general, both physically and emotionally.

So, the test began with those testing for their 4th-degree belts. Then it was our turn. Here are Mark and our kids doing their forms. They had to do 3 forms, then 3 more forms, then the black belt form.

After the forms portion, they did a couple different kinds of sparring and push-ups as part of their testing. While they did that, the other 3 suited up for their light contact sparring. I got a picture of that so you could see what that's like.

Then, the really fun part - breaking boards (and for the black belt tests, cinder blocks, too). I've got all of this on video, but for now, I've got pictures of the three of them breaking three boards each.

Thing 2 did three different hand breaks.

Thing 1 did three different hand breaks.

Mark did three different foot breaks.

They then did their cement block breaks (our kids did a foot break technique and Mark did a hand break technique). That part is on video. I couldn't manage both cameras and take in all they were doing at the same time very easily. I wanted to focus and cheer them on. We're uploading videos as I type this.

Here's the video. Below it, I'll give you highlights and where to find them. Feel free to watch the whole thing if you'd like - there's some interesting stuff on there and I got some of their teacher's test on there, too. He's a bundle of energy, that one. Plus, he busts through 4 cinder blocks.

Also, with regard to breaking boards and blocks, it is more important to determinedly try than it is to actually complete the task. After a few unsuccessful tries, they usually stop you so you don't injure yourself. The fact that you go after it and do your best is what counts.

00:38 Master of studio introduces our family
5:38 They do their forms
11:42 One-step Sparring Long Way
15:40 Sparring
23:38 Breaking Boards and Cinder Blocks (This is really fun to watch!)
31:20 A scan of the audience -- A LOT of people were there!!

Paying their respects to the judges

Wrapping up the testing with some punches
I am SO proud of them. Next week, they'll be presented with their black belts. Thing 2 is especially excited to be a black belt and help the lower belts learn their forms. He loves to teach and encourage others and he has, from day 1 of his training, talked about teaching Tae Kwon Do someday.

When they receive their belts, they are asked to say a few words to everyone there -- whatever they'd like to share. I'm looking forward to that. Speaking in front of everyone doesn't bother any of them -- they do that fairly regularly, whether at work through lectures and presentations (Mark) or in their clubs and classes (the kids).

I am SO proud of them. They have worked VERY hard. Their persistence and hard work is paying off.

Mark, Thing 1, Thing 2 . . . I love you!


Lindsay said...

How fun! Good job guys. I will keep in mind not to mess with you next time i see you

Dr. Mark said...

Stacy, thank you for being the lone supporter! It means a lot to have you there. And I'm so proud of our Things. They work really hard and they did such a great job.

Lindsay, we'll go easy on you. But yeah, don't mess with us.

Jillo said...

Fabulous! Way to go, guys!

Zelia said...

Wow! Great photos. I cannot wait for theceremony this week. There will be 2 more to cheer for them. I am so peoud of the three of them. See you Tuesdayor should I say tomorrow.

Jagged Rocks said...

That is awesome!! Congrats!

Jagged Rocks said...

That is awesome!! Congrats!

Jimmy said...

Looks like fun. And have to admit, I thought my 5'6" of sinewy muscle would not stand a chance against Mark. ;)

Dave said...

Congratulations! I feel totally gyped that when I watched your class last year I didn't get to see you guys break stuff.

Emily Foley said...

That is SO cool you guys!! I love how fast the breaking boards was, you guys are ROCK STARS.

And for some reason I cried through the whole thing. I honestly don't know why, but maybe it's because I know how hard it is to be away from extended family during these kinds of things? It's so nice to have family support.

Boquinha said...

Thanks, everyone!

Emily, your comment is so sweet. Yeah, it's hard at times. We haven't ever really had that kind of extended family support nearby, so we're used to it really. And while it totally DOES make us stronger as a family, it is kind of sad at times like this. I can kind of get in a funk about it, mostly when we go to baseball games/recitals/etc. and see grandparents, cousins, and the like for other people there while we're by ourselves.