Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yellow Stripe!

On Friday Elise had her first taekwondo "test". This was to advance from white belt (full novice) to a yellow stripe, which is the stage before gaining a full yellow belt. She's done about two months of classes now and has shown good progress in the basic techniques. A big part of the process is just gaining the know-how and coordination to do the various manoeuvres and exercises, and at this she's definitely excelled. The instructors told us they thought she was doing very well and should take the yellow-stripe test.

Since Elise was unavailable on Saturday (typical test day), we went in at lunchtime on Friday with one other student. She was visibly excited about "getting her yellow stripe", but I warned her she'd have to earn it so not to count her chickens before they'd hatched. The test started with her teacher, "Sir", leading them through a few routines. The first was a series of kicks and punches, the second was a conditioning exercise (pushups, sit-ups, etc) and the third was kicking a board in half. I was impressed with how well Elise did and how focused she was. All told it took about half an hour.

When complete, the teacher presented them with their new belts and then explained the five tenets of taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. I found this the most interesting of all as he explained each tenet with relevant examples. To be honest, I gained a whole new level of respect for the idea behind martial arts. There's much more to it than I first realized and I see many benefits to Elise being involved. I'm glad she likes it...

Elise was absolutely thrilled afterward - I don't know when I've seen her that excited after an achievement. She couldn't wait to get back to school to tell her friends and wore her outfit with belt into class! I spoke to "Sir" afterward and he said she's a good student, and I think he meant it. Plus he said he'd not seen many girls her age belt out 10 push-ups the way she did! 

(Click on each picture for a larger view.)

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