Saturday, August 29, 2015


by Julie Cheshire-Gluckstein

     I am amazed that in a few weeks I will be at the halfway point between the white and black belt. I still feel so new. In fact, I am still adjusting to not being in the last row.

      There is comfort in that last row. Comfort in knowing you are the newbie and can make mistakes.  Not that you feel that way at the time, but just as a child fears the expectations of the next grade, there is the anxiety that comes with the added responsibilities of a higher belt. 
     On the other hand, many things come easier. When I tried and failed to do a front kick with a ball of foot as a lower belt, I was told not to worry - that would come later. What do you know?  I did a front kick with a ball of foot last week. Today Instructor Garrett
Steps to the Stone Buddha at Golgulsa
emphasized the importance of a reaching stretch we were doing; he noted that it helps with the ball of foot kicks.  Amazing.  The stretches in class must have enabled my body to make the move.  Slow and steady. Patience. Progress.
     I have also gained confidence in my ability to meet each belt requirement. I now have overcome enough obstacles that I have faith that with hard work, I can and will achieve the next belt. This self-efficacy has allowed me to relax more when I struggle with new movements. It is my hope that as I continue in rank, I will also be able to approach the belt tests with less anxiety.
     The more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. But isn’t that true of all the most valuable pursuits? Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge to be mastered, I have gained an appreciation for the endless amount of lessons to be learned (I must admit the Korean language component is still daunting; foreign language has always been my worst academic area).
     I am enjoying blue belt. Besides the fact that it is the most striking color (my favorite), it has also been a time to reflect. Moves are coming a little easier. Connections between previous and present learning are beginning to become apparent. And the poomsaes are relatively short and fun. While I look ahead with trepidation, I also know that is part of the process for moving forward. 

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