My son has been taking Tae Kwon Do for the last 6 months or so, and last weekend he completed his yellow belt test. It was a grueling day for him. It started at 10 am with a written test and finished with 5 hours of physical tasks.
I was so very proud of how hard he worked.
This is not something that comes naturally to him. He does a great job intellectually - he knew his paragraphs, he knew the moves. What was missing was "the heart" - a ferocity that just isn't part of his nature. This is something he is going to have to fight for and work on for every belt test in the future.
During one routine, the coaches came out and talked to him about "looking mean." It wasn't about going through the motions, but it was about giving the impression that he was really in a battle with 4 foes. When he went through the routine the next time, I got tears in my eyes because he looked so fierce.
I love the group we chose for these lessons. Even though they prepped him for weeks about being really tough on him, and yelling at him and making things deliberately hard during this test, they were still coaches and teachers first. There were a few times when one would pull him aside and talk one and one about what he was doing or what he needed to be doing. They were a great encouragement to him, which I greatly appreciated.
If I had to make a list of our best parenting decisions, signing him up for these lessons would be high on the list. The confidence I hope he gains from this experience will be a great asset to him in the future.