Black Belt Test

Haidong Gumdo Black Belt medal - Korean sideToday I had my black belt test.

I am somewhat ambivalent about the result. Yes, I did pass, but not to my satisfaction.
As mentioned in a previous post there are three things I had to do to pass.

  1. Shimsang Gumbap
  2. 20 Finger pushups
  3. Breaking a piece of wood with my wooden sword (mokgum)

Part 2 and 3 were easy, no problems. Since I did the test with some young women (why aren’t they in my Dojang!) I could look quite macho b/c of my deep masculine voice 🙂

But I totally screwed up on the Shimsang Gumbap.

The process of the black test works as follows. A group of about six people are called up and as a group they do the six activities needed to pass. Naturally I was nervous. So what did I do?
Halfway through the gumbap I completely forgot where I was and just stood there like a deer in a spotlight trying to remember what to do next … and failing. Fortunately I was given another chance. One of the instructors pulled me to the side and told me to start again. I did and no problems !. In fact the audience liked my tumble rolls because they were much higher then anyone else’s.

So I was feeling a little disappointed for making the mistake, but at least the second time I did the job right.
Later I learnt that this was when I passed the test. Most of the judges passed me on my second try. But some of the older and more traditional judges held the view that you should get one chance and one chance only. I must admit I tend to agree somewhat with that view, especially for adults.

But wait there’s more

After the gumbap I did the pushups and wood breaking. Then we all sat down and watched the black belts test. They were very impressive. Then some numbers were called out in Korean, including mine, not that I noticed b/c I was daydreaming.
So I get up, rush to the centre of the training area and listen to someone say something in Korea

WTF does this mean ? Then he says “Shimsang Gumbap” and I understand

It a retest of all the students who screwed up the first time. This time I completely screwed it up, multiple times, although I at least completed the gumbap. At this point I was quite depressed and angry at myself b/c I had practiced this hundreds of times with no problems and now …..

Anyway, we were all told to sit down. Then about 10 students were called up and handed medals which signify they passed the test. I was not among them. About 20 minutes later they gave me a medal.

Haidong Gumdo Black Belt medal - English side

– the end –

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