What current rank are you in Tiger Rock TaeKwonDo? I am a 4th Degree Black Belt.
When you first Tested in TaeKwonDo did you ever envision yourself as a 4th Degree Black Belt? Not at all, I did not have a long term plan for it when I first started. I just needed the stress relief gained from the training. The enjoyment of being tested, pushing myself to improve, and then being a new level having to learn new infomation, was more adictive and fun than I ever knew it would be. It was something different than going to the gym and doing aerobics , running on a treadmill or playing raquette ball.
How does it make you feel that you have been able to be so successful in your TaeKwonDo journey? Very Proud of myself but then also humbled to realize what it takes to keep advancing...That's its not just registering for the test and then showing up. There is consistent work required leading up for every testing. So its a humbling experience as well because you cannot just cram for it, like you could do for some other types of tests."
About How many times have you tested for TaeKwonDo Rank? I believe it is about 23 times to date!
When you tested the first time for TaeKwonDo rank, were you scared? Yes, I was petrified!! As a 30 something year old adult it can be really strange to stand in front of a group of people that, some you know and some you dont, and know that they are going to test you side by side with people of all ages and body types and that was very scary.
What were some of your fears about testing? Having people stare at me, performing things in front of a group, and the potential of not passing. It was scary but very rewarding to know that I was able to conquer those fears and get through the test despite them.
Have you overcome them? I still get nervous but I actually like that nervousness now and I am no longer afraid of it.
How do you face those fears when you continue to test in the future? Now I understand the testing process more as a higher rank and a Testing Judge for others, I can spend more time in a focused way preparing for the test so that when I show up I feel that I am ready before the test even begins. This way no matter what happens after the test starts I am not worried about the outcome.
Have you ever "No Changed” during a testing? Yes, I have. That was one of the biggest learning experiences I have had in testing. I did not pass testing from L4 2nd Degree to L1 3rd Degree Black Belt because I did not break one of my required board breaks. That was tough...that was a hard experience, but a good one because I learned a lot from it.
Did recieving a No Change make you want to quit trying or did it help push you to work harder to reach your goal? Absolutely not want to quit!! But to do my best to never let it happen again!
Have you learned anything from the TaeKwonDo testing experience that has helped you in other parts of life? I am shy by nature, as far as being in front of people. So, it has helped me to not worry when I need to perform in front of others. It made me realized something about myself, that I need to put a lot of work in before I show up for whatever the other occassion may be. So I do not feel as nervous. Overall it has helped me approach public engagments with less fear than I did before I began testing in TaeKwonDo.
What suggestions from your own experiences do you have for students testing to perform at their best? I would suggest consistency in your preparation. You do not know what will happen the day before, the week before, and etc. You do not know if you are going to get sick, you do not know if something is going to come that will prevent you from attending. So do not wait and try to cram it all in at the end of the cycle. Start at the beginning of every cycle, right after each Awards Ceremony, by attending regularly. You are getting prepared the entire cycle not just at the last minute. I would also suggest knowing what is expected of you, and walking in the day of testing, knowing that you have done everything you could to be prepared.
Has any testing experience ever been a hard experience to prepare for? and was the test it's self hard? I feel my next test is going to be very difficult and my last testing to 4th Degree was very challenging to prepare for. The test itself was challenging because I did not know the people who I was going to be testing with and who I would be judged by. I believe my upcoming Sr. 4th Degree Testing will be my most challenging physically because of the increased expectation on physical fitness for High rank testings. More is expected and it should be! It has helped me on a personal level, by forcing me to take my own fitness level ato its highest, knowing that this high rank testing requires that of me. With human nature, most of us only work as hard as we need to in order to accomplish most tasks. Without the high levels of fitness expected of me for this next testing I probabbly would not have pushed myself to be in the same physical shape that I am in at the moment.
Was it worth the hard work? Absolutely, because you know that you have earned it. It's more than just a piece of paper with a new rank on it or a new belt. It is the accomplishment of successfully achieving something that was very challenging.
When you recieved your 1st Degree Black belt….did you feel like your TaeKwonDo training was completed? No, never, nada, no way...it was just beginning!!! Why? What helped me personally was going to the World Championships lining up as a newer black belt, originally thinking I was hot stuff, and then seeing how far down I really was. Seeing the thousands of more experienced black belts around me and the physical skill level most of them possessed helped me to realize how much more I could achieve and develop throughout my TaeKwonDo Journey.
Do you plan on continuing to test as long as you are able? Absolutely, I plan to test for as long as I am physically able. I would test using a cane in my 80's if they would let me. lol
Do you have any other experiences you would like to share about your personal experiences with testing for rank in TaeKwonDo? I really believe there is a huge value in continuing to test at every opportunity available to you. So I guess commitment sums it up the best! I do not suggest that you always wait until you feel perfectly ready because that moment will never come...you will never feel completely ready! The moment you tell yourself "I will just wait until next time" is the same moment you loose your motivation to try. Just comitting early in the process that you are going to test no matter what...setting those smaller goals that lead up to the larger goals, is the only way I can keep moving forward. Otherwise I would come up with so many good reasons to not keep advancing. And then it would eventually become like a gym membership where really...what is the point? So without that constant goal of testing and the attitude of I am going to test no matter what. I would most likely loose my drive to get better.