Taekwondo "A new beginning" pt3

by Lee
(Morecambe, England)

Hi again folks,

Last time I shared my experiences on here I was talking about my injuries. This time will be no different, but will show what a bit of determination and a little suffering can culminate in.

For the past 3 weeks I have been gearing myself up for my first grading, practicing at home daily as well as twice a week in class.

Going through the basics ,blocks, stances, kicks and punches and knife-hand strikes, all great fun but still hard work too.

From my perspective all was going great and I was looking forward to my test though not really knowing what to expect, but the unknown for me is an exciting place to be.

As I said for the past 3 weeks I had been training daily , including fitness with plenty of stretching too as my old overweight body needs lots of that to take the stresses it gets put under.

But at last I was feeling more confident and prepared for it now.

When the day came for my belt test it was such a letdown. I was all psyched up to perform what was to be required of me and the woman with the keys for the hall we were doing it at, didn't turn up!

Me and my fellow students were gutted! All dressed up and nowhere to go.

Thankfully our teacher said we would be doing our belt tests the following day instead of our usual class. Yippee!

I finished work a little early to get home and prepare and to pick my daughter up, who was regrading for her green belt, she also has started blogging on here.

We arrived early to get warmed up. As others started to arrive I started to feel a little nervous mixed with excitement.

We then took our lines to start our warm up routine and stretching exercises, from there we didn't have time to get anymore nervous as all other belts apart from the whites were sent out of the hall as we were about to start.

Firstly we had to go through basic blocks, punches ,kicks and stances including some we had never done , just to see if we had the ability to adapt and learn quickly.

From there we went onto our pattern of 17 basic moves, which if I'm being honest and not big-headed , I had that down to almost perfection. We went through it twice with our black-belt counting the moves, then twice in our own time. I felt I had done a fairly good job of it.

Next came the sparring part of our test, this is where my moaning about my continual injury list comes into it. I had been sparring for about 30 seconds and was on the offensive when I thought my opponent was going to counter. I soon realized I was wrong and while I was on a backward motion i sprung back on the attack again just to feel my calf muscle and my Achilles tendon seem to pass each other. The pain was agonizing as I crumpled to the floor.

My teacher had me go find a first aider to get ice-packs and all I could think of was, I had failed. I was pretty dejected by then. After receiving some treatment I hobbled back to watch the others and my daughter do their tests and was very impressed by them all.

At the end of the tests our teacher had us make our lines again to let us know how we all got on, starting with the white belts. There was 6 of us grading from white belt and my dejection grew further as the names of the other 5 were read out and congratulated on reaching yellow tag. I was pleased for them but still very down about myself.

When the teacher went onto say that although one name wasn't read out ,it wasn't because he didn't grade or because he failed to finish his sparring through injury but because he had proved to be of a high standard that he had been double graded to yellow belt!

Well imagine my elation! I almost fell to the ground for different reasons. My smile was huge and i just couldn't believe it. Me almost 45yrs old very overweight who only started my taekwondo journey around 10 weeks ago and I had been told I was of a very high standard and double graded.

This brings me to the 2 morals of this particular story one for me to learn.

"Not to train quite so hard", and the other for everyone else reading this "if I can do it anyone can.

Till the next installment , have fun and happy kicking.


Deb's Reply

Hi Lee

Thanks for another great installment and congratulations on the double grade.

I'm sure everyone who has trained a while will identify with the ups and downs of emotion you felt during your belt test.

Here's my advice to you...

I've seen lots of people start out training really, really hard. Often they double grade. And then they quit because they can't sustain that pace. I think you are right. Train less. Give your body time to adapt. Be a tortoise and not a hare. Do this and combine it with the determination you clearly have in bucket loads and you will succeed.

Congratulations again.

(PS can you send us a new photo of you in your yellow belt? We'd love to see that. :-))

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Apr 03, 2010
by: Lee

Thanks Tiago for your very kind comments , i have read similar stories on here to mine and some much more inspirational.
It amazes me how people from different backgrounds and of course the different ages don't seem to matter within taekwondo, i have found it to be like an extended family although i have only been involved around 10 weeks.I am learning from my master and from children as young as 8 , giving me pointers on where i'm going wrong etc, that is what inspires me the most.
I hope your belt test to start at black tag after 7 years goes well.
Happy kicking.


Mar 31, 2010
by: Tiago

Hi Lee!
Congratulations! I imagine the big suprise but I guess that is what Taekwondo is all about. You gave it your best, you overcame all difficulties and despite you were struck down (by the injury) you succeeded, and were an example for all to follow. Right now I'm feeling the soreness of my body because of the my first Taekwondo class in 7 years. I was told that despite the fact that I need to remember and relearn a lot of stuff I am allowed to my grade (in my previous school was Brown Belt, but it's equivalent is Red with a black tag) and after it I can only grade up to black belt. It will be perhaps harder for me than for my colleagues but I'm glad I read your story because you have inspired me on giving beyond my best. You are a true example for everyone. So once again congratulations and keep up the good work!
Happy kicks and occasional punches!

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