Category Archives: Journey to a Black Belt (!)

So, my son requested Tae Kwon Do (TKD) lessons. Since the dojang offered a 2 for 1 special at the time we signed up, he asked ME to take lessons with him! Yikes! So here I am, at 50 years of age, doing something I never thought about doing, and finding it rewarding. And great to have something fun to do with my son!

Bumps in the Road

I’m sure everyone knows that the journey towards any big goal, such as a black belt, is usually not a straight, easy path.  I’ve been finding that while my spirit is willing and excited about the progress I’ve made, my body has limits that “speak” loudly from time to time.  Two weeks ago, I wrenched my knee, I think while executing a roundhouse kick improperly.  I quickly figured out how to walk, stand, and sit so my knee didn’t hurt.  Stairs took a little longer.  Eventually, I discovered that my injured knee could bear weight while straight, but that it hurt to bend it with weight on.  So I moved like an elderly, fragile woman when it came to stairs (an exercise in humility…).  Bend the good knee, move the injured knee to the appropriate step, bend the good knee again…..

I also found “the proper form” to execute squats and lunges, as well as to hold a specific standing position, which made my knee feel stronger (thank you T Tapp!).  I chose to push my next testing date back, so I could concentrate on getting strong, and on having more time to practice, so I could show mastery of proper form during the test itself.

How to get back on track?  I had to do a couple of things.

First, I took time to reevaluate the goal.  To me, the goal of a black belt symbolizes a measurable way of getting more physically fit. I know the goal of being healthier and stronger is a good one!  Any worthwhile goal deserves my best effort, no matter how many challenges and setbacks I encounter.  Thank you Churchill for the simple words:  “Never, never, never give up.” 

Second, I found it important to try to figure out how I hit that bump (roundhouse kick), so I don’t have to make that mistake again. Proper form helps. Turn that grounded foot before throwing the kick! One very cool part of Tae Kwon Do lessons has been that I’ve been getting better acquainted with my body, and finding out that I can do more than I thought. I just need to challenge myself! And be careful to use proper technique and form…

Third, I had to modify my game plan a bit, to figure how to navigate around or through the soreness to prevent injuring the knee again, through trial and error.  I sought out ways to strengthen my knee.  I choose to spend several minutes a day doing those exercises that will help make the likelihood of injuring that knee again a bit smaller.

Finally, I realized there’s nothing wrong in being flexible in the timing of when the goal is completed. I’m not a rigid deadline person anyway, but I do sometimes need to let go of disappointment that my timetable needs to be pushed back.

I don’t want to be discouraged.  I don’t want to let this bump in the road stop me for keeps. In a way, I’m glad this incident happened, to help me think through the “why” and “how important” aspects of my black belt journey….  



First Step in TKD


Five weeks into TKD lessons, and Jon and I tested (and passed) our gold belt test. I broke my first board. Talk about a rush! The instructor commented on how much he has seen my balance improve (and he’s right) in these short weeks. I’m finding that in becoming a part of this dojang, we (my son and I) are actually becoming part of a caring, generous-hearted community. Quite the experience!