Mikey: Month 2-4 Competitions & Yellow Stripe Grading

In the past 4 months we have been hard at work learning Korean, our patterns and competitions, in this entry I will catch you up with everything that has happened ready for the new year! This period was a really good introduction to Martial arts and has inspired me to bring my best to every lesson, from becoming a part of the SDMA family to winning my first gold medal at the EMAP competition, I feel like I learn something more every lesson and will continue to strive for more knowledge.

Month Two:

Month two was a good month and was mostly spent learning the theory that I needed for my grading and working on perfecting my form to a good standard. In these lessons, I focused on breaking down my training exercises into each move so that I could work on transitions, Signwave and power. For me, every lesson is a chance to learn something new and continue to develop my skills. My flexibility is more consistent now, my balance has also drastically improved since I started, and My coordination with my left leg has improved since I started.

This month was the month of my grading so it was spent working on my knowledge and perfecting my form. Everyone was serious and full of nerves and worried about forgetting important information. While the questions we could have asked were about the basics, it was all new to me. The hardest part about preparing for it all was learning Korean, while it’s a great language I’ve never personally had any experience with it (unlike Japanese).

Month Three:

The Questions they could have asked us:

  • What Does ITF Stand For?
  • When Was Tae Kwon Do Founded? (ITF Tae Kwon Do)
  • What Does White Belt Signify?
  • Who Was the Founder Of Tae Kwon Do?
  • Name 4 Stances (Bonus points if you name them in Korean as well)

All of these questions were rehearsed so many different times that I can’t count them on my hands.

The Grading:

I was nervous at first but that’s a good sign as it shows I care, and I used it to my advantage I knew the amount of effort and time I put into my studies so I knew that I could pass.

The Line Work:

We started with some line work, doing sitting stance punches walking ready stances into leg raises. These were things that we had rehearsed before so it was all familiar to me, everything was good – apart from my legs uncontrollably shaking.

The Patterns:

We did all three patterns and all went well, it was a bit different from what I was expecting as the master who was grading us was telling us every move to do, I’m not sure why but it was not what I was expecting.

The Theory:

After the patterns the only thing that was left to do for us was the theory questions, they asked me three questions these were:

  1. Who founded Tae Kwon Do?
  2. What Does White Belt Signify?
  3. What’s the meaning of Tae Kwon Do?

I got all of these correct thanks to practising every day for the past 3 weeks leading up to it.

The Results:

I got everything correct, not just correct but nailed A* (A star) was my final grade the highest you can get. So with the grading out of the way I have become a Yellow Stripe while it’s not much, it’s the start of a great and hard journey. Now I can learn my first pattern Chon-Ji.

The EMAP Competition:

This competition was going to be hard for me to win based on how many people would be attending it but I was confident in my ability to handle the inexperience that I had. There were three events that I could take part in, these were High Kick, Long Kick, and Patterns. I choose not to take part in Sparing for lack of experience and not having any gear. To me I was more worried about winning the patterns than I was in any other event as to me those were just relaxing fun events.

The High Kick:

In this event I was put with two other people as that’s all that was in our size/age category, however, the two people who I was put with were both black belts and seeing as how I had just started, beating them was not an option. I was the first to go out and as they only rewarded gold for the high kick I left that event with nothing (I knew this was going to happen anyway as my flexibility for my age is terrible)

The Long Kick:

This was more of a fun one for me as you had to run and jump sidekick a blue mat before you hit the mat below you, I enjoyed this one the most as I didn’t care if I won or was out first. I came second in this event and was once again against two black belts.

The Patterns:

This one was a bit different but that’s only because I was the only one in my grade in my age bracket, so I was guaranteed a gold medal, but went against a black belt who was the European champion in Sparing. It was a great experience not only being able to build stronger bonds with other students in my club and getting to see the wide majority of people and clubs alike.

Overall the past 4 months have been jam-packed with learning, failures and competitions. This has been a great end to the Year and I look forward to what challenges I may face in future years to come. If you looking for something to start your New Year’s resolutions, then I urge that you come and join the SDMA family and start your Tae Kwon Do Journey Next year.

Adam Reeves

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