Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Yellow Piece of Tape

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I was a bundle of nerves as the hour approached for my very first belt test. I was well prepared and confident in my ability but I was still freaking out. I knew after attending my fair share of belt tests for J what was going to happen, but I still couldn't get out of my own head.

Random thoughts run through my head while my palms begin to sweat. What am I doing?? I'm too old, I'm too fat, I'm too insecure and I'm wearing it like a highway road sign for all to see. My stomach is huge and my ass is even bigger and the Do Bak (uniform) is very unforgiving. What if I'm the only one who doesn't pass?

What the hell am I thinking? I feel raw and exposed in front of this gymnasium full of strangers who are sure to be thinking all the same things, though in my heart I know they're too busy watching their son's and daughter's to even notice I'm there. It took me a couple of classes to ignore the parents who sit in on class and this is different, and different is uncomfortable.

As the testing instructor starts with the warm up exercises I start to relax a little because this is familer. I wonder what the other instructors are whispering as they bend their heads tward each other and scrutinize every move.

As we begin with kicks I panic a little because the one leading us is using the Korean words for the kicks and though I've heard them a million times in class it still takes a while for my brain to process it into: down kick, front snap, side, round...

When it's time for combinations he starts calling on us one at a time to tell him what kicks we are about to do and my mind is screaming, "please don't call on me...please."

Of course he did, and I got the last of the combination of three wrong. Imagine my horror as he asks the 10 year old standing to my left to correct me LOL

Shake it off....

Combinations are over and I look over to the table of instructors in the front of the room and our assistant instructor gives me a big smile and shakes his head in approval. Ok, so maybe I'm not doing so bad after all.

We move on to the forms portion of the test and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We do Basic Form One and Chungi all together, and then he asks all of the yellow tips to sit down. The table of instructors laugh, as well as everyone else in the gym, when the last one standing is little ol me.

Chungi form, no count. Which means the instructor doesn't set the pace with a count, it's your job to keep it smooth and fluent without hesitation between moves. I try to quiet my mind, because I know that thinking too much during this is form suicide. I know the movements and I just let my body take over.

Not to brag but I did Chungi like I've NEVER done Chungi before. Every movement was precise. My stance was wide, wrists were straight with elbows slightly bent, belly button facing the right direction. My sleeves and pant legs even snapped with every was golden.

When I'm finished I sneak peek at the instuctors table again, and the two that are my very own have smiles plastered across their faces and I knew I had done good. The leading instructor then says, "I think that deserves a round of applause." I try to hide my grin as I breath a sigh of relief and take my seat as the others rise to the sound of MY applause still ringing through the gym....OK so I liked that part a little bit LOL

I get to watch as they do Taegeuk Il Chang, the next form I will learn. I'm thinking, "OK, I'm good. The only thing left is one steps and I don't have to do that"...or so said my instructor who didn't teach me one steps said.

Once they are done we are then instructed to make two lines facing each other and I panic because I know what's coming and he's not pulling me from the line! I look over to the table and my instructor is not there to rescue me...people have to take phone calls at the MOST inoppertune times!

I see my A.I. making his way to the back side of my line, breaking the cardinal rule because they are not allowed to instruct us. Yet he stands well away from me and makes believe he's checking out the other students, not really sure what to do himself since this is beyond his reach as an assistant. He keeps glancing over at me...smiling and shaking his head for moral support. I LOVE that guy!

When the T.I comes close enough to me I confess that I don't know one steps, thinking he will then pull me from the line.

"Who's your instructor?" he asks as he rolls his eyes a little. When I tell him he just chuckles because my instructor is the head of our association and basically is his boss so he then says," Just do the best you can and we'll forgive you." I stumble through the one steps and THEN we have to test terminolgy....

O come on! My nerves can't take anymore! Give me my tape already!

Finally the much anticipated moment arrives and I stand alone, in my line of one, while I wait or my tape.

I will always remember my first peice of tape fondly. After years of teasing J over his expensive tape every time he earned a tip I finally get it. It's so much more than just a piece of tape. It's a badge of honer and for me a personal accomplishment as well as a Tae Kwan Do one. Someone I know said it best when he said, "The degree on my wall is just a piece of paper but look at what it represents."

One day I'll be able to look back and shake my head at myself for not believing in me as much as everyone else. Hopefully, I'll be about 50 pounds lighter with a black belt around my waist.

For now the pride of not allowing my insecurities to be my brick wall, keeping me from attaining my goal is enough.

I hated every second of it, yet loved it with every ounce of my being, all wrapped into one crazy mess which is me.


Viv said...

OMFG Paige I totally forgot to wish you luck or anything.
Congratulations sweetie!!!
WTG, supah happy for you! You stuck it through and I know it will not be too long b4 your kicking my but while wearing a black belt..hehehe

Al's CL Reviews said...

Awesome Paige! And you description...I felt like I was right there with your nerves.


Carly said...

WTG PAIGE!!!! I am so impressed that you do TKD! Your kiddos must be so proud of you. Congratulations on earning your tape. You earned it. Great Post.