Monday, June 4, 2012

A little bragging

B and his Grand Master,
8th degree Yong Woo Kim.
I'm going to brag on my boy today.

My 12YO, First-Class Scout son achieved a major milestone on Saturday.  He completed his Tae Kwon Do black belt.  After three years of hard work, with his levels of interest and dedication waxing and waning throughout, he did it.

Tae Kwon Do is the Martial Art of Korea.  It has really only existed in its current form since after WWII, and is one of only two* martial arts represented in the Olympics.

To earn his black belt, B had to learn the skills of the progressively harder colored belt rank system: punching, roundhouse kicks, leaping kicks, muscle control, self-defense techniques, meditation, physical fitness; and once he'd mastered them, then as a Deputy, his responsibility changed from learning it himself to teaching those same skills to newer students, all while adding more complicated techniques and becoming more proficient in the basics.

His instructors always used positive remarks in teaching, whether correcting poor form or pushing him to the next level. There was no yelling, though there were times when the whole class was sternly corrected.  There was never any doubt that his Grand Master and the other instructors wanted them to succeed, and their demeanor always showed that, never frustration at showing the right way to punch again...for the 29th time tonight. Success is built into the program, even at testing time.  Plenty of opportunity is given to complete each step, at each participant's own rate of progress.

In spite of his preparation, he'd spent a good while fearfully anticipating the event, almost to the point of inaction.  Some parental pushing got him over the hump, and he finally realized that he could do the hard things, even if they weren't the fun things. (To add to this accomplishment, at his 6th grade graduation the previous day, he also received a slew of academic awards, one of which bears the signature of the President of the USA.)

He also had to learn and live the philosophies and creed of Tae Kwon Do which are:


  1. Be loyal to your country, loyal sir.
  2. Be obedient to your parents, obedience sir.
  3. Be loving to your family, loving sir.
  4. Be cooperative with others, cooperation sir.
  5. Be faithful to your friends, faithful sir.
  6. Be respectful to your masters, respect sir.
  7. Be honest in personal matters, honest sir.
  8. Show concern for others, compassion sir.
  9. Never attack without reason, mercy sir.
  10. Finish what you start, persistence sir.


  1. To build true confidence through knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body, sir.
  2. To keep friendship with one another and build a strong and happy community, sir.
  3. Never fight to achieve a selfish end but develop might for right, sir.

Does that process sound like anything else you know?

*Two, unless you count boxing, wrestling, fencing, shooting...

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