I turned 18 a few weeks ago and it’s a really big deal for me not only in life but as a martial artist but as a competitor as well. I am no longer in the junior division (ages 14-17). I am now in the adult division which is ages 18-34.
That is a huge jump for me but I am ready for the challenge. Qualifying for the National Team, I will be competing against my fellow team mates who I have looked up to and who have been on the National team for several years.
I started teakwon-do when I was 3 years old and it completely took over my life in the best way possible. I earned my first degree black belt at a young age so my Instructor at the time, Master Kou made my test extra challenging to prove to others that I deserved it. I exceeded all the physical requirements, wrote a thesis and memorized everything that was required perfectly.
When I was 14 years old I earned my 2nd degree under my current Instructor Mr. LeGrow (also a former student of Master Kou). That is when I won my first world championship for 2nd degree patterns (silver for sparring and silver for team power breaking) in New Zealand, 2011.
At 16 1/2 I earned my 3rd degree. I recently won gold in both 3rd degree patterns and sparring and silver for team power at the last World Championship in Spain, 2013.
For years, I have worn and competed with a white stripe through my belt. It distinguishes the Juniors from Seniors. Now that I’m 18 it feels awesome to earn my SOLID black belt. I will wear it with pride for the years to come.
Wearing a solid belt comes with symbolism; For more responsibility giving back to your dojang, your Instructor and your community, leadership, and being an adult in the Martial Art. I think your peers in Taekwon-do take you more seriously as a martial artist once you become an adult. It’s amazing to think, I have been a black belt for 10 years already and I am still just beginning to learn and understand the depth of this Martial Art.