Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ramblings of a TaeKwonDo mom

this boy I have... he's always been our smiley likable bubbly child whose older brother has always wondered what the return policy is for younger siblings, sorry kiddo, you're "stuck" with him.  this boy came into this world the normal way... round pink bald, very typical but for us he was different since he is our second child... born a full inch shorter yet 6 oz more than he was our little butterball. I've always said he was a day late as my birthday is the 23rd of my month, older son is the 23rd of his month, this boy was due on the 23rd of his month but he had to do it his way coming out a few hours late just to have his own special day number. As a baby he really did nothing spectacular except to just be a part of us, we went from 3 to 4 and time-wise that made all the difference in the world... less hours in our day for sure.  As he grew, he just smiled and smiled... the happiest little man you'd ever seen, but strangers were not allow to come near him.  He started walking & talking later than our oldest which we were actually relieved at as the oldest always did everything early and in a rush, this boy had his own time table but happy all the way.  Temper tantrums were just not his style, he left those to older brother, the most talented temper tantrum thrower ever.

when he was 10.5 months old, we moved out of our little starter home and into a travel trailer while we built our house. we celebrated his first birthday, played in the mud while the foundation was being dug, and discovered a love of bold sharpies on furniture.

he raced BMX (bicycle motocross) when he was 5 which lasted about a year. Of course we got all excited & bought him (and his older brother) an expensive race bike.  Joke on us and we learned a lesson.

in October 2009, when this boy was 8, our family attended this great Athletics day put on at the University just down the road from us.  both boys got to do many fun things; ride giant bicycle, "surf" on a mechanical surfboard atop a blow mat, play gladiator atop puffy pedestals while wielding padded sticks at one another, watch a BMX show, met Master Edwards and got to break a board!  That was THE best thing of the entire day. he begged and begged and begged for TaeKwonDo lessons but we were still coming off the BMX bike burn.  Just not gonna happen until we knew he'd stick to it.  For Chirstmas, he begged. For Birthday, he begged.  repeat for almost 2 full years.... constant begging for TaeKwonDo lessons and they HAD to be with Master Edwards. yes we did finally break.  end of August 2011, when this boy was ten years old just before school started we decided to let him give it a try. and boy did he ever!  he showed us what dedication meant.

as a White belt, so shiny and new, not knowing a thing. at his first classes he looked so awkward and uncoordinated. but he learn and he practiced, daily he practiced. He became a Yellow belt. not as awkward and not as uncoordinated but still wet behind the ears. and he practiced, daily.  He practiced so much that he was able to skip his senior yellow belt and go straight to Junior Green.  now he was something and nothing was going to stop this boy. he had the TaeKwonDo bug and mom racked up the miles on her Jeep (here's a little breakdown of my day: get up at 5:30, go to work by 7:00, get off work at 4:00, dash home to our little town, the boy jumps into the Jeep and zoom back to town for class... usually four days a week, then there were Saturdays too...I get tired just remembering it).  back to the Junior Green belt, he's actually looking pretty good at this point.  now came a tournament... a nervous mom & dad, excited grandparents, along with bored brother all the in the stands cheering him on and he cleaned house!  he took first place in patterns (aka forms) and second place in sparing... did I mention that there is no stopping this boy?  it's true. and zipped right up to Green belt at the very next testing  his next feat was to skip the Senior Green belt and go right to the  Junior Blue, the Blue, then again skipping the Senior belt and going to the next. hanging on his bedroom wall, the row of belts... there isn't a single Senior Belt in the collection. I know that most people will not know what this means in the years to come, having less colored belts than others, but to me and to him it will always show this boys spirit for the sport of TaeKwonDo

this boy got his first degree black belt months ahead of schedule!

a few months after receiving his Black Belt, he received a very high honor at TKD school... he received a plaque for his determination and persistence, his refusal to give up or to let obstacles get in his way.  Master Edwards held him up for others to see just how he with his constant class attendance and willingness to practice at home has paid off for him.  he was on cloud 9!

First degree Black belts must wait one year to test for Second but in the mean time, they must do what is called "confirmation" testing where there is no pass/fail but they do get a report on how well they performed their patterns and how well they are sparring. and they break boards. his latest confirmation test was in December 2013. he ran thru his patterns with an audiences attention plus he had a 7th Degree judging him. next he went thru sparring while his fellow junior students, same judge still has eyes glued to this boy. last was board breaking, he has to do four different set-ups. bow to judge panel: hand technique single board, boom - break; running foot technique single board, boom - break;  harder hand technique double board, no break; simple foot technique triple boards, no break. Reset, bow to judge panel: hand technique double board, boom - break. simple foot technique triple boards, no break. Reset and drop a board, bow to judge panel: simple foot technique double boards, no break. bow to judges and he's done.  If this had been a belt test, he would not have passed. now it is time to wait and watch the adults finish up, when I see him out of the corner of my eye with one of our instructors, and then she asks me if I have a band-aid. hummmm, so I go look. this boy had tears streaming down his very red face, I learn just how determined this boy is... the first time he attempted the triple board break, he had skinned the entire arch of his foot, no gushing blood but no skin left either... it was all rolled up to one side. I made a mad dash out to the car for our emergency kit and taped his foot up using four band-aids. he finished out the testing, suffered thru a picture taken by me :-)  later when we got home, I had to cut the skin off before bandaging him up for the night.

this boy is now working on transitioning into the adult TKD classes. as I type this post I am watching him spar not only other kids just a couple of years his senior, but full grown adult men as well.  some are fellow black belts, others are lowly yellow belts.  he is amazing to watch.  bring him a tougher opponent and he steps up to that plate. and they know he's young yet they know he's tough.

in April, just one month after his 13th birthday, he will be testing for his second degree black belt and I have no doubt in my mind that he WILL make it just fine. this boy

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