New Black Belts!

We had six, count 'em, six, students test for either recommended black belt, junior black belt or 1st Degree black belt tonight! Since they all deserve an individual recognition, here's my breakdown of each candidate's test:

1) Dylan (1st Degree): Above standards, as always. He's a talented kid of (almost) 16 who enjoys TKD, HKD & Arnis. Not only were all of his techniques better than I'd expect of someone testing for 1st degree, his knowledge of all required terminology was perfect! Add to that a student who shows respect to every person in class & you have a young man who earned his black belt in every way.

2) Broc (Junior Black Belt): Because he's under 16, Broc wasn't eligible to receive his 1st Degree belt. In some ways that's a shame because Broc, whom I graded, knocked it out of the park! Not only did he impress me with much-improved kicks & strikes, he also managed to answer every question but one when I tested him on terminology. For anyone who's ever had to endure my form of inquisition, they'll tell you it's not easy.

3) Zach (Junior Black Belt): Another solid test. He does need to work on forms - his only weak point - but the rest of his test was excellent. He's never one to hesitate when sparring or practicing self-defense & that's where he really shined.

4) Michael (Junior Black Belt): Michael is a student at the Cedar Rapids school. He's well-balanced in most aspects of the art & tonight was no disappointment. His forms, one-steps & sparring were all respectable. Where he needs to improve is reaction time for self-defense. There were a couple spots where he hesitated. Still, that's why we work on these things in class.

5) Josh (Recommended Black): Josh holds himself to very high standards. This was evident in the test where he did very well in every part - no exceptions. He broke one of two boards & you could see the disappointment on his face. I explained to him that wanting to improve is fine - feeling disappointed because you earned a 99 out of 100 on a test isn't. He did a good job & he should believe that - I'm not an easy judge.

6) Katie (Recommended Black): Other than Dylan, Katie is the one for whom I had the highest expectations. Though just a young teenager, she was in gymnastics before TKD & her natural flexibility & endurance as a gymnast show. That being said, I'm happy to see she doesn't take that ability for granted & puts effort into every part of class. Focused is how I'd best describe her when in class or testing.

Again, congratulations to all the new black belts! You all earned every bit of the black belts you can now wear.


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