What a good taekwondo black belt is to me.

by Sevastian Campos
(Carlsbad, NM, USA)

At my school there is a taekwondo black belt that I look up to.

He is Senior Instructor Ryan. He is a 2nd Dan black belt and is about 1 year younger than me. Placing him at 17, going on 18.

During school he was on the Cross Country team as well as the swimming team. He actively participated in French Club. And he was still at tkd class everyday that he could be.

He helped instruct class all the time even though he was clearly exhausted from all his other activities. He often takes students aside and helps them individually if they need it.

He understands that some students learn slower than others and that they may need some extra help to get going. Even though he knows much much more than the rest of us he ever acts arrogant towards us. He does not talk down to us or act as if we are inferior to him.

The only time he expresses a temper is whenever we give up on ourselves. Then we get a lovely little lecture. He tells us of how he was a green belt for almost 3 years. And how he felt like giving up. He felt cheated and worthless. But he kept on pushing hard for his next belt and he succeeded. He got past his green belt and has since gone on to get his black belt.

He always tells us that whenever we feel like giving up or giving in and when we feel we need a little push to get going again, all we need to do is tell him. He will give us a pep talk if we need it. Stay after class to help with a certain form or kick. He will do whatever it takes to help us.

That is what I think a good black belt is. I see a black belt as a teaching permit of sorts. You work hard to get there. You learn and learn and learn. And after you get your black belt you keep on learning, but you also teach. You help other students. Teach them what you know. Help them obtain their black belts.

And while teaching you don't talk down to others or treat them as less than you are. Because you know that essentially, we are all the same.

Regardless of rank we are all students. We are all learning. And we all have the ability to help others. Black belts are guides to help others achieve black belts...at least, that is what I think.

Deb's Reply:

Hi Sevastian. Thanks so much for a brilliant and personal review of what makes a good taekwondo black belt.

I couldn't agree more with what you are saying. :-)

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May 29, 2010
That's the way
by: Tiago

Hi Sevastian.
It seems that you and your classmates are very lucky to have such a person. I remember my early days of TKD, we had one person like that that pushed us to the limit (though he wasn't a black belt yet, but he was certainly black belt material), now he is my master. And there's also another one, the Pajanim (he's a red belt like me), though our instructor said that at any other shcool he would already be a black belt, because he has great knowledge of TKD, and always helps us out with a smile. And do I need help... there's still so much to remember and new things to learn, plus he helps everyone. Practicing with people like that is what makes it trully great.

Best wishes

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