Friday, July 23, 1999

Recollections: Final Taekwondo Black Belt Test

My Recollections are instances in my life that I fondly recall for any number of reasons and I've written all of them down on or after June 2009, although the events take place over a very wide time span in my lifetime. Everything you see below is an account of my memory, which can be fickle and unreliable, yet often yields the most important life lessons and records those crucial formative instances in one's life story.

My parents were meeting with longtime family friend Mark Whaley, who they dragged along on a special Friday night occasion: I would be testing for my black belt.

Until this test, I hadn't realized how important Taekwondo had been to me and how important it was in my life, as I would now be done with it for the forseable future as I would head off to Arizona in about a month. It distracted and occupied my time in a healthy way, whereas I might otherwise be watching television at home, wallowing in teenage angst and complaining that I wasn't in a better place

I had initially come to Mark Mett's Cordova Martial Arts Studio to get some badly needeed exersize, learn a martial art, and generally be more productive with my time than many of my peers. Taekwondo gave me a set of goals, a productive routine, and filled a void. It turned me from a whiny, pasty, immature, high school freshman into a fit, scrappy fighter, an amateur athlete, and a disciplined, goal oriented go-getter.

I'd made some friends there. Taekwondo had filled an important void in my life while I was in Memphis: a social/physical activity to replace the outdoorsy activities no longer available to me after I moved to Tennessee from Colorado.

As he awarded me my blackbelt, Mark Metts told everyone to look around and see how many folks my age were accomplishing this task. And he was right. All the other black belt candidates that day were either much older, or much younger than I was. I'd managed to accomplish a formidable task at a time when so many other things could have easily distracted me.

Cordova Martial Arts