Saturday, August 18, 2007

Black (and Blue) Belt

Wow! Busy couple of weeks.

1 of 2 was promoted to 1st Dan Junior Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do on August 3rd.

The whole summer has been very stressful for 1 as we've been preparing. To be honest, he's been kind of tired of the whole Karate thing for the last year. But we've put so much time (and money) into it that we wouldn't let him quit. Years from now he'll be able to look at that belt and have some real self esteem from having sucked it up and pushed through to the end, including a truly grueling Black Belt exam.

The two weeks preceding the exam were the toughest as we tried to polish up not only his technique, but his presentation. The worst, for me, was the one-steps and three-steps. These are mini sparring exercises and are designed, I think, to teach you how to deal with an attack and end it quickly.

One-steps start with the attacker throwing either a left or right punch. The "victim" dodges, blocks, or parries the punch and then delivers a series of blows designed to end the fight immediately.

Three-steps are like one-steps, except the victim doesn't try to kill until they've dodged, blocked, or parried the third punch, while stepping back from the onrushing attacker. I think the idea is convince witnesses that you really don't want to fight; you're not provoking the attacker; but you had no choice but to maim them.

When you start out in Tae Kwon Do they introduce one-steps as simple little things that involve a couple of punches or a kick, and they're all laid out and numbered for you. But by the time you test for Black Belt you have to make up your own (or copy someone else's) and most of them involve take-downs (so you can deliver a flying suplex? (sp?)).

My knees are still not completely right, but they are getting better. You see, in the final two weeks I was the attacker, so I was the guy getting his arm ripped off or his knee broken or his legs just knocked out from under him.

We need thicker padding under our carpet.

So we get to the test and everyone survived. Stress levels couldn't have been higher. 6/10ths is still upset about what they put 1 of 2 through. But he survived. He got his belt.

In the immediate euphoria of it being over he chatted about how he'd like to pursue a Black Belt in weapons. In the calm of the following day he said that he never wants to go within a mile of the dojo again.

Oh, and as we're driving away into the sunset, 1 of 2 tells us that he forgot his cup.

No, not his water. His protective cup — for the (future) family jewels.

At home.

He sparred I-don't-know-how-many matches, most against adult Black Belts, and even a 7-against-1 match (or was it two 7-against-1 matches?), without a very important piece of protective gear.

Somehow he didn't get kicked there the entire day. You're not supposed to kick anyone there, but it happens anyway from time to time.

So we're done. We survived. He survived. 6/10ths is still touch-and-go.

Contratulations, 1. I'm proud of you.

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