I had been waiting months, practicing for my black belt in Taekwondo and today was the day. Was today really the black belt testing date? I was nervous yet I was eager to earn my black belt. Once realization struck me that I was still in my super plushy bed, I hopped out and put on my Taekwondo uniform. I put the finishing touch with my red and black striped belt tipped with colorful plastic strips that signified skills that I had tested and earned over the past several months. I was too excited; I felt like I could blow up with excitement but eventually I calmed myself, barely though. I zoomed out of my room, ran down the hall to my parents’ bedroom, open the door to find my parents already out of bed. I smelled something incredible. It smelled terrific! I zoomed from the master bedroom down the stairs, running like Flash, almost losing my footing on the way. As I neared the kitchen, the smell of the food became stronger, and intensified my hunger. I saw my mom and dad sitting and eating breakfast. I greeted them, “Good morning Dad; good morning Mom!” My dad said, “Eat up son. You’ll need your strength for testing.” On the dinner table was a beautiful presentation of fried eggs, turkey bacon, and other mouthwatering favorites. I immediately sat down and began to devour my breakfast hungrily. I sat silently munching. After several minutes had passed, I let out a victorious cry, as my stomach was satisfied. I wasted no time. I hastily I brought my dishes to the sink.
After the satisfying meal, I asked my mom, “Do you think I am ready? There were two people that failed black belt testing recently.” I had a look about me that screamed, “the world’s about to end”. I went on with my trivial rambling. This might not seem like a big deal that two Taekwon do students didn’t pass, but I was nervous. I needed to figure out how to get rid of all the nonsense and doubt in my head. My mom calmly reassured me that I had been preparing myself for my black belt for months and that I was more than ready. I felt a sense of calmness that came to me.
As I arrived at the Taekwondo studio, it was clear that I was not the only student to be nervousness. We began with bowing to the instructors and the black belts. The black belt testing had officially begun.
Several hours into testing, the other black belt candidates and I were dripping with sweat on the gym mat and exhausted but this was far from being over. The black belt testing ended up being a total of six hours. Yes, six hours. Keep in mind, I was only 10 years old. It was super intense. We did harsh conditioning for hours. I thought my heart and lungs were going to burst. We performed combination kicks. We showcased our Taekwondo forms with precision and high technique. I broke three thick wooden boards, one with an ax kick, another with a hammer fist and the third with a side kick.
The instructors showed mercy by giving us a few minutes to drink our water. My friends and I rushed to grab our bottles. Others filled their empty bottles. I managed to stuff a snack in my mouth to last a few more hours. Before I could finish my last bit, Mr. Abate, one of the instructors told us to put on our sparring gear, quickly. I was dying. Will I be able to finish? I wasn’t so sure.
I thought that the testing would be over by now but no we were only half way through. I saw a huge menacing line of high-ranking black belts teenagers and adults waiting to spar us… without mercy. We would be paired up with two black belts at a time for several minutes before fresh black belts would switch in. I sparred again and again. I lost count of the number of black belts that I had to spar. Did I say no breaks in between. An hour into the non-stop fighting, I started to tear up. I couldn’t help it. Soon I was crying. I’m not going to make it, I thought to myself. With each switch, I became weaker. I got clumsier. My legs became heavy. I could barely breathe with the mouthpiece in my mouth. I was covered with bruises, even with padding and gears. I was dead. I couldn’t do it any more. I thought for sure that I would faint onto the ground. Then I heard “Seven more minutes!” Mr. Abate yelled. Something inside of me lit up. I wasn’t going to give up. No way. I came too far. I worked too hard. A surge of energy came from within. I began to thrash the other black belts around like they were a kicking bag. A round house, back kick, another round house. Combo after combo, I kept attacking. I heard nothing. I was in the zone. Then I heard Mr. Abate scream out, “Stop” calling the sparring to an end. It was over.
I finished six hours of grueling testing. We were instructed to sit down. We all waited anxiously. Did I pass? My mind began to wonder recalling all my mistakes. Then I heard my name called out. “Christian Amyx!” What? Then it hit me that I passed. I was being called up to receive my black belt. I slowly walked up still unsure. Then the headmaster presented me with my new black belt and certificate. I was suddenly filled with joy. I was so nervous up to that point. I was so happy. It was like a dream. I took his hand and shook it. Then I went down the line of instructors and black belts shaking their hands. They shook my hand approvingly. I was filled with happiness. I could see my dad beaming with pride and enthusiasm. I felt great. As I step out of the testing room, he hugged me and congratulated me. I said to my dad, “I did it!” With my new belt and certificate in hand, I headed out as a junior Taekwondo black belt.