… but not in the environmental sense. Kayla earned her blue belt in Taekwondo last week. And she did it in a particularly interesting way.
She was pretty well-prepared for her belt test, although both our family and the TKD school had lots going on in the weeks leading up to the test. The school was concentrating on preparing for their annual tournament (Kayla did well there too!). As a family we’ve been focused on selecting next year’s school for Kayla. So – while important, the belt test didn’t get the focus it normally would have.
She did well warming up, and running through the first few form basics. Then while out on the floor with a group of blue and green belts, she blanked on the second or third of her form basics. That stinks when you’ve been working hard towards a goal and you forget something important in front of everyone. You could see disappointment on her face, and could tell that she was wracking her brain for the missing form basic.
Instead of letting this sink her chances, she toughed it out, making it through to nail her forms and sparring tests. In the car on the way home that evening, she verbally ran through every last mistake she made during the test. Obviously it’s disappointing when you don’t do as well as you want to.
Of course the parent’s and Taekwondo teacher’s perspectives are different. We knew she knew her stuff. She just had one of those moments we all have, when your mind goes blank, and you have to figure out how to move past the fear of failure. And so she did. And according to her instructors, she did quite well. Naturally they had feedback on some things for her to work on (as she’d expect), but they had a lot positive to say.
And this is exactly why we like this particular martial arts school. They focus on mutual respect and learning the forms, rather than winning your sparring matches (which is apparently more of the norm). The instructors also manage to challenge the kids while keeping them in a safe place emotionally. It’s tough to get up in front of parents and instructors to perform for the test. But capable teachers know how to get the best out of their students, and keep them coming back.
Kayla – we’re very proud of you!