Middle son, aged 11, and I spent three and a half hours at the dojang this evening. (That's a Korean training hall to you uninitiated.) Taekwondo testing had come around again and there were quite a few students aiming to move up a gup on their path to black belt.
We needn't have arrived so early, as a testing session always starts with the lowest ranks and works up to the highest. K and I, and one other boy, are red belts going for black stripe, and therefore had to wait for everyone else to go first. It was interesting to watch the others do their stuff, and I didn't really get nervous until the last minute.
When it was our turn, we had to perform three patterns. Hwa Rang is our current pattern, and as that is the one that I performed at the tournament, I know it well. We also had to do Toi Gye, which was the previous pattern learned. The third pattern was one that the instructor chose during the test, so of course we had to make sure we had practised all eight of them.
We had to spar, one to one and two on one, we had to demonstrate various hand and foot techniques such as 360 flying hook kicks and dodging spinning back kicks, we had to answer questions on the theory, and we had to break boards. The two boys weren't expecting to do it, as they are under 13, but the instructor gave them a chance to break a board with a sidekick, and they both did it. K proudly brought home his broken board! I had to break one board with an inward knife hand strike (check), two boards with a side kick (check) and one board with a flying side kick over a pile of pads (two attempts, smooshed a guy's fingers but unfortunately didn't break the board). Actually I was just pleased that I executed the flying kicks without doing myself or anyone else any serious injury. I should have asked someone to take some photographs!
It is so empowering to feel those boards crack and you want to jump for joy when they do, but you have to control yourself and remember to step back and bow appropriately!
I have no doubt that K and I passed the test. Our instructor will be in Castlegar testing more students tomorrow so he won't be there to confirm that we passed and apply the black tape to our red belts - boo hoo. I don't know whether we'll go to class tomorrow night as it promises to be a hot day and we'll be on the beach with our homeschool support group friends and we may not feel like going. I think we have earned a night off!
Next stop - black belt!