by Natalie Ryburn
Tae Kwon Do has been a huge part of my life for more than three years; in fact, I not only love going to class, but if I have to miss class for any reason, I feel a little bit guilty. I feel like I missed out on something.
It is one of my favorite activities because if I did get into a real fight I would know what to do because of our sparring training and self-defense techniques.
My father has been participating with me and we practice each week in class in addition to practicing at home. We have finally achieved the rank of 1st Kyp.
When I started at White Belt, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information given to me by the instructors. For example, three-step sparring seemed incredibly easy, however once I learned about the proper stances, proper blocks, and many other smaller details, I quickly realized that there is much more to this than I thought. As another example, when I was informed about the requirement of learning a weapons form, I decided to pick the Bo staff because I thought it would be the easiest weapon. But, I quickly realized that it was much more difficult than I thought. Once again, everything is not as easy as it seems when you take into account the proper techniques and methods, it becomes more difficult than first imagined.
However, I decided to take it one day and one rank at a time and concentrate on each skill as much as I could. When I was figuring out my creative step-sparring, it took me a while to create and memorize all twenty-five of them in preparation for my black belt. However, they weren’t as hard as I thought they would be because I had a permanent partner and I started preparing at single red stripe (2nd Kyp) in preparation for my black belt.
Achieving the rank of 1st Dan seems very important because you are like an “adult” in Tae Kwon Do. From what I understand about 1st Dan is that you get much more respect as compared to a Red (Single or Double) stripe.
My favorite thing to do is self-defense, but at testing I like to break boards because it tests my strength in each type of break. When I was testing for 1st Kyp I broke my first board doing a front kick.
Tae Kwon Do has improved my life because it makes me feel more confident that I can protect myself in certain situations. For example, if I did get into to a real fight I would have enough confidence to protect myself using only the Tae Kwon Do techniques.
Being a Black Belt would be important to me because I would have even more confidence than I do now, also I would have accomplished my goal of achieving 1st Dan.
When I was a white belt I looked up to the black belts, but now that I am going to be one is extraordinary. One day, I hope to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a Grand Master.