I just looked at our office wall. The one that has all my TaeKwonDo certificates on display. In March, I will have been a 3rd Degree Black Belt for 10 years. Why does that warrant a blog post? Perseverance. I have been an active 3rd Degree – I have not set aside my teaching of the art. You can also see my activity, as in that time I have cultivated over 2 dozen 3rd Degree Black Belts, and several dozen instructors. Also, I currently have 2 students that are preparing to test for 4th Degree Black Belt.
In 10 years, I should be in the middle of 5th Degree Black Belt study right now. Disappointing? Yes, to some degree (no intentional pun there, but it works). However, as much as I love TaeKwonDo, I have other obligations in my life that have taken precedence over rank advancement. And then there was that incident back in 2000, that totally rocked my physical world. Concusion, mid back and low back low-grade crush. I was working on my board breaks for 3rd Degree testing, and I fell flat on my back while horizontal – not part of what it was supposed to be, it just was. Now, it is hard for me to do anything physical without pain. Not complaining, just sharing.
I have tested for 4th Degree 4 times. Each time I got a ‘no change.’ The first time I was furious … until I saw the video. The last 3 times were less dramatic, but still disappointing.
Have I given up? Not yet. Don’t plan to. I have too much time, effort, energy, emotion, and money invested to ever give up. And that doesn’t even count the most important reasons why I will never voluntarily give up TKD…my students. Each and every one of them is special, each and every one of them deserves me to give them my best.
So, Master Dolan, if you are reading this .. Thank you, sir. Thank you for giving me the gift of TaeKwonDo, and for investing in me. I hope you see the return on that investment in the lives changed by what you gave me and what I am giving them.