Sunday, February 11, 2007

What a way to spend a Saturday

Today Sarah and I traveled to Shawnee, America to watch my brother and nephew (her uncle and cousin) test for their Tae Kwon Do Black Belts


To warm up, they had to perform "the wall" six times. 

I don't remember all of the pieces of the wall, but I think one cycle of the wall consists of 30 jumping jacks, then 30 squats, 15 push-ups, 30 crunch sit-ups, 10 reverse sit-ups (?) and several leg extensions.  Needless to say, six cycles of this took a while, and tons of energy.


After completing "the wall", they started demonstrating all the various punches, kicks and routines that they have been learning since starting just 3.5 years ago.  My brother and his son signed up together as a way of not only getting in shape, but as a way of spending quality time together.  Both advanced quickly and have earned the respect of their instructors and fellow students.  Dee (my brother) has been instructing a "Boot Camp" (martial arts based fitness class) and Matt (my nephew) has been helping out with several classes with younger students.


Both have practiced hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in preparation for today.  Both were prepared, but Dee did show some signs of nerves during some of the routines they were required to perform.  There were eight separate instructors there all pushing them as hard as they possibly could. 


About mid-way through, they had to spar a three minute round with each instructor.  It took all they had to last the time, but I am proud to say they didn't quit and both finished strong.


Time was getting short for Sarah and I to get back home, but we were able to stay long enough to watch the presentation of their black belts.  It was a very emotional experience, to hear the wonderful comments from each of the instructors.


Being that Matt is only 14, the black belt presented to him was a 'Jr' level, even though he performed just as well as anyone there.  He will have to re-test when he is 16, but he will be wearing his black belt when he does it.  The instructors discussed the option of presenting the full black belt level to Matt, but the head instructor (owner of the school) recognizes the fact that being below the age of 16 means the jr level needs to be awarded.  (In short, he isn't running a McDojo ... one just out to 'sell' belt levels)


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