First off, thank you all for the congratulations! I go back and forth between feeling like I totally don't deserve it, what do I know about martial arts? I just barely started!, and feeling like with all the training and learning I've done so far, it's about time. My belt is folded and put away in my gear bag, but I keep going over to look at it and make sure my name actually IS on it. Gil, one of the guys in haganah whose son is in tkd, asked me today if it had sunken in yet. I don't think it really will until class tomorrow when I have to wear it for the first time. I hope I can tie it correctly! (Mental note to self, the name goes on the left side...)
Sir always says that earning your black belt isn't the end of a journey, it's the beginning of a new one. A black belt just means that you've learned the basics and shown honor, respect, and desire to continue learning. From now on, forms get harder and longer. My new form is going to be 81 moves, almost double what any of my previous forms have been, but I'll have at least a year to learn it. I'll also have weapons forms now, but I don't know which ones yet. Ma'am said usually people start with single ssahng jeol bahngs (single nunchucks), which still don't interest me in the slightest. I'd much rather do single or double bahng mahng ees (fighting sticks) like we've done in instructor class. Bo staff (can't think of the Korean for it) looks cool, too. I guess whatever Sir puts in my hand is what I'm going to start with, though. It will be nice to have a whole year to learn two new forms while reviewing all of the color belt forms, instead of having to learn a new form every two months and trying to remember all of the color belt forms.
There are nine basic haganah self-defenses that we are teaching the black belts now, and you add three for each of the first three dans. Testing for first dan requires three, second dan six (the previous three plus three more), and third requires nine. It was interesting watching Mr. R's self-defense test, and I could recognize and mostly remember all nine. I was getting a little frustrated with Sir during the last couple classes I had with him before my test, because in instructor class and haganah he kept having me do only my three defenses over and over again. I knew them, and he knew I knew them, and I didn't get why he wouldn't let me do anything else for almost two weeks straight, when we usually rotate through them. I came thisclose to complaining "But I can do these in my sleep!" but as soon as I thought that, I realized what he was doing. That was the point. To get me to the point where I didn't have to think about them, I just DID them. Those instructors, they're pretty sly sometimes.
First regular class tomorrow night. I think Sir and Mrs. S are leaving on vacation, but Mr. R said that if I wanted to stay after and go through instructor forms, he'd help me. It will be nice to get back into the rhythm of classes again! During the ceremony, while he was tying on my new belt, Sir leaned over and whispered, "So, you're only here for one class a week huh? Machine..."