Black Belt Grading Candidate Essay

What being a Black Belt means to you, how has Tang Soo Do influenced your life?

I joined Snow Herons Martial Arts Tang Soo Do Academy in 2017. My teacher Master Carmichael has inspired, guided and given me the confidence to further my development in Tang Soo Do.

I started at a young age at ____  primary school. I joined because a very good friend of mine ___, was also doing Tang Soo Do and encouraged me to join the lessons. Although I was very nervous at first, I started to learn basic Tang Soo Do techniques and really enjoyed each lesson.

The more I got into the lessons, the more confident I became and wanted to do more. So in addition to the after-school lessons, I also joined the Saturday Snow Herons Tang Soo Do class which required extra dedication. Not only did I learn multiple aspects of Tang Soo Do, I also learnt a different language, Korean which although hard to pick up initially became easier after repeating the words and practising at every lesson until I could memorise them off by heart.

The importance of the skills that I have learnt has given me a sense of achievement, knowing that I was able to apply different skills and techniques was very rewarding to me and receiving different colour belts after taking my testing exams gave me the incentive to keep going through to my end goal of eventually obtaining my black belt.

I loved learning the different kicks and hand techniques along with Ho Sin Sul and Hapkido and how if required, the use of these would enable me to have the upper hand in order to be able to defend myself in difficult situations.

I also liked the rhythm of the Hyung’s because I did not realise you could use them in a systematic form such as line work and at each stage, learning another Hyung, gave me further confidence and the enthusiasm that I could eventually achieve my black belt.

The beginner skills are fundamental in order to further advance and build on your techniques. This then helps at each stage of your development. It’s important to understand that the basics and repetition are there to help you progress through the grades and that you know the key differences of the moves. Being confident in the basic techniques gave me a base to further advance and realise how important it is to improve at each stage.

I was excited when I reached my intermediate levels because you gain your first weapon, the Bo Staff. At green belt which in the cycle of season means “The green belt represents the new plant that has begun to grow as summer arrives,” I believe I have grown and become stronger, more respectful, more enthusiastic and more mature as a person. 

By the time I obtained my blue belt, which in the cycle of seasons means “The blue belt represents the nourishment received from the sky and water as the plant prepares to flower in late summer” I believe that I have been moulded by the people around me, I feel supported not only by Master Carmichael but by my family, giving me even more incentive to achieve my black belt.

Advanced skills are very fundamental because you are on the final stride to becoming a black belt. The first stages of being an advanced student is the red belt, which in the cycle of seasons means “The red belt represents life’s energy as the plant begins to bloom and ripen in early fall” this for me means that you start to show what you can really do, you are stronger and more resilient, it gets harder but your maturity means that you never give up, even if you make a mistake you correct it and this maturity helps you through your testing’s. 

By the time you make it to Cho Dan Bo if we are following the cycle of seasons, you would have made it to late fall, but it gets harder from there since winter is coming. The Cho Dan Bo in the cycle of season means “the Cho Dan Bo belt represents the mature plant the Cho Dan Bo student is a candidate for black belt and now must prepare for the final step in the first life circle” which means that you have to be even more mature, strong, focused and resilient so you don’t give up, keep learning and practice in order to achieve a black belt.

Teaching is a fundamental skill because it makes you think about how to teach others, how to get the best out of them whether they are younger or older than you and remember that people’s abilities are different so you have to adjust your teaching methods when explaining a specific technique to further advance them and mould them to be the best they can be giving them confidence to also progress though the grades and hopefully achieve their black belt.

Tang Soo Do has influenced the way I think about people. Most importantly my family and what they mean to me because they are the most important thing to me. This also coincides with one of the codes of Tang Soo Do, be respectful of parents. My family have supported me throughout my Tang Soo Do endeavour fantastically and emotionally, they have encouraged me to keep going, giving me discipline and the mental awareness to be able to control my body and mind. Self-awareness, discipline and cooperation are all necessary to improve and develop greater techniques, skills, accuracy, speed and power.

In addition to this it improves the thought that hard work always pays off which is important to me because I want people to know to never give up. Tang Soo Do has influenced my life for the better due to the fact that my resilience levels have exponentially increased as a result of me joining Snow Herons Martial Arts in addition to this I have learnt to be respectful to everyone no matter who and what they are.

What being a black belt would mean to me is feeling like I would have accomplished a great feat in my life and that all the hard work and dedication has paid off.

Thank you, Master Carmichael, for teaching me, I have enjoyed every minute and so grateful to have had the opportunity to be where I am today, a positive determined boy who wants to be a Tang Soo Do black belt.