Bodan Essay by Thomas Lennon October, 2015
When I first heard the essay assignment we were tasked to do, I thought to myself, BODAN ESSAY? A Retrospective of training through the color belts? WOW, I could not believe how fast my training through the color belts has gone! Master Cook was absolutely right when he instructed us to enjoy the color belts while we are in the moment. It goes fast, and before you know it you will all be Black Belts! I guess the old saying holds true, time does fly when you are having fun.
When I first started training as a White belt, the road looked long and complicated ahead. I could barely stand in a good front stance. I remember being so proud of my new Dobok that my wife and I stopped at a beautiful scene in Waywayanda State Park to take pictures. I look at those pictures now and we both kind of chuckle and pick out all the deficiencies in the block and stance. Those pictures were taken only a few short years ago. Now we are performing Poomsae with cat stances that we throw front kicks from. It is simply amazing to me the progress we have achieved at Chosun!
Master Cook tells a story about how proud he was when he first got his yellow belt. He would walk down the street with his head held high and his chest out. I have the same feeling he described every time I advance, even a little bit, in Taekwondo. That’s what Taekwondo training does for me. It keeps me humble, trying to learn new techniques and it rewards me with a sense of pride and accomplishment when I perform well, never mastering always learning to perfect my performance. Taekwondo never lets me down. The Poomsae are always teaching me something I can do better.
As far as a retrospective of my training here at Chosun, it goes without saying, I would not have advanced even from the first step of Alle Makki Ap Koobi without the hard work and dedication from Master Cook and the sincere training that his instructors give to every one of the students that cross the Dojang door. I can make a case that if it weren’t for the patience of instructors like Mr. Garrett and the “coaching techniques” of Master Klugman I may not have made it passed Orange belt. I owe a great deal to all the instructors at Chosun, and of course Master Cook for giving my wife and I a new life in Taekwondo!
Only a few short weeks ago I was questioning myself, “was I ready to become a Black belt … was I worthy?” I was a color belt and proud of it. “Is it too soon to advance?” I thought about this for some time and realized the curriculum at Chosun was designed by much higher powers than myself, and if I am being told I’m ready by the experts, who am I to doubt their judgment. So here I am at the end of one more important lesson from Taekwondo, ready to take another humble step! Kamsahamnida Chosun!