It was around three years ago that I attended my first Tang Soo Do grading. I’d been practicing for around 3 months and thought that it was cool to learn a martial art. Though with only 3 months under my belt I wasn’t exactly taken to it – I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t exactly part of my way of life, yet.
My first grading was difficult, having no idea what to expect and the fact that the past 3 months of exercise was probably the first time I’d exercised since PE in primary school, it quickly killed me. Soon after my grading another group were up; Green Belts. They looked like they were being tortured with their work out. Kihaps quickly became moans of pain, I had no idea why they were doing it, they were masochists.
During that groups grading the Green Belts stepped aside, leaving just one left, a Green Belt with a tag. They began to perform a form/hyung with a bo staff. Part way through the form the person calmly put the staff down, casually bowed to the panel of blackbelts, ran to the edge of the do jang, bowed again and ran to the toilet to throw up. After a few minutes of throwing up they bowed back into the do jang and the panel. They picked up their staff and performed the hyung and then finished their grading.
After being a little terrified I realised that’s what I wanted – that’s a commitment I want to have for Tang Soo Do, I didn’t have it at that point but I wanted it. I wanted a passion for something that was the same as willingly going through an intense grading, being beaten up and throwing up from it, and then carrying on doing it.
In June of last year I had that exact grading; I was a Green Belt, I’d been through the warm up, been beaten up and then bowed out to throw up, the bowed back and carried on fighting. While I was throwing up I remembered my first grading and realised that I now had that dedication and passion.
|the face of somebody enjoying what's happening to them|
It’s just over a fortnight since my last grading, the bruising on my shins and arms haven’t completely gone. Every time I reach for something off a high shelf I feel a little twinge in my arm and remember my grading and that I earned being sore for a few weeks. I also earned my 3rd gup (red belt).