The topic of choice today is not my strong suit because I’m easily a forgetful person. I do retain information well but more than usual, I would forget a handful of things such as a doctor’s appointment or plans made in the future. I’m sitting here, thinking, and wondering what my earliest memory is.
After thinking about it for a while, I can only remember bits and pieces from my elementary and junior high days. I can restate the general picture but not a vivid, detailed memory. My earliest memory that I can think of was when I received my black belt back in my freshman year of high school. That was definitely one of the proudest moments in my life. It was in the spring of 2006, and the week prior I had my examination. The way that my grandmaster placed examinations and results was one Saturday would have only examinations. Then, a week later, was the results and belt presentations. This memory took place on the belt presentation day. I remember being so nervous because there was a chance that I didn’t pass. My mom, dad, and my aunt Diane all came to see me and I wanted to make them proud. At the start of the presentation, my grandmaster made some announcements (I forget what they were XD) and was ready to announce the examination results. The way he formats it is he’ll start with the students that tested for yellow belt. He’ll tell each student to stand, announce the grade they got in each category such as form, breaking, terminology, etc., and read the parents comments on how their child is doing at home and school. On a side note, it always terrified me when he got to the parents comments section because he’ll read those out loud for every student. Some kids do pretty well at home and some do not. It’s just an embarrassing feeling because now everyone knows how I’m doing. He also expects a copy of your report card and he would read those out loud too. If a student didn’t do well at home or at school, he wouldn’t yell or anything…he would give a short speech for you to change your ways and do better. Anyways, after he would get through every student, then he would tell them to come up all together and they would receive their yellow belt. Then, he would go to the next group of students that tested for green, blue, etc.
However, since me and another guy tested for black belt, my grandmaster told our results first. Being in that rank is such a high honor and it’s a privilege to be in that rank. Of course, my grandmaster told my results first. Him, along with the other masters, were sitting across from me and told me to stand. My grandmaster then announced the grades I got in terminology, breaking, forms, sparring, one step sparring, and basics. I didn’t do so well in sparring, my partner was a tough opponent but I did make some easy open shots. My breaking grade wasn’t too bad. I had to do a spinning wheel kick which was not easy to do. It took me a couple tries, but I got that sucker. The best grade I got was an A in forms. The crazy thing about it is that, the judge who gave me the A in forms, I was the first person he’s ever gave an A to a student testing for a black belt in forms. Forms is not an easy section when testing for black belt. You must do every form that you learned ever since the days of a yellow belt. A total of 12 forms to present. My grandmaster shouts the title of the form in Korean and you just go. You get no help of the commands in English. It’s either you know it or you don’t. To get an A in that category was just an awesome feeling. My grandmaster even said that’s crazy you got an A in forms because no one is perfect, but well done. After he read through the results, another grandmaster read my parents comments and my report card. I had nothing to worry about my report card since I had all A’s. When he read what my parents said, I almost dropped dead because I had no idea what my parents wrote. They said some overall nice things about me but areas I could improve in. My grandmaster said to be a black belt is very serious. Not only were we joining his ranks but the ranks of black belts all across the world. He is a very good communicator, he gave me goosebumps with his little speech and I couldn’t wait to be one myself. After the results were read, he told me and the other student to come up and take off our belts. He then tied my newly, fresh black belt around my waist, shook my hand and told me “Congratulations.” He did the same for the other student. He then told us both to turn around to face our peers and audience and said “Please welcome 2 of our new black belts in Chung’s academy of Martial Arts, bow.” We bowed and the whole place erupted with applause. I went back to my spot on the mat and looked at my belt, happy. I think I almost cried because I worked so hard for that long term goal and it came. I think I smiled that entire day. After class, I hugged my parents and my aunt, they were both so proud of me. I took pictures with my grandmaster and as well as some of the instructors that helped along the way. We went out to eat with my family and a couple of my friends afterwards. Words can’t describe how I was that day. It’s definitely a memory I will never forget.