West Liberty Dojang
Temporary Black Belt
October 11, 2014
There is always Tae Kwon Do. It is timeless. It is eternal. It exists outside of season. Outside of sports season. Outside of the earth/sun yearly rotation through the heavens. Whether it is football, baseball, basketball, summer, spring or fall, there is always Tae Kwon Do.
It exists in all practitioners at all times. You carry it with you like you do your name, like your spirit. Like your religion. Like your self-esteem and identity. No matter how much you have practiced, even. Whether you dropped out as a 6-year-old Yellow Belt, or are waiting the 8 years to test for your 8th degree Black Belt as a 75-year-old, the amount of Tae Kwon Do energy you have accumulated serves to improve your life by that amount. So stick with it.
Even if it is hard. We have a saying in my home: sometimes it’s hard to get to Tae Kwon Do, but we’re always glad we did. This reminds us that, even if work has been challenging, even if school has been boring, it’s important & good for you to force yourself to put on that Dobok, get out the door, and perfect yourself. Because you only get one self. And one shot at getting that self in shape to succeed in life.
Even if it is repetitive. You may think you know a side-kick as a Green Belt because you broke your board during jump reverse kick on the first try during test. Good job, but don’t stop there. Don’t be lured by the novelty of the hooking kick as a Blue Belt and fail to practice your basic side kick, or jump reverse. There are ever deeper levels of excellence that you can only achieve through focused repetition.
The benefits of Tae Kwon Do are too numerous to mentioned. Since I have begun practicing, I have become more confident, more attuned to my body, and in better shape. I have lost 60 pounds. I have become a Personal Fitness Trainer. I took a 200-hour Yoga Certification Course. I trained for a triathalon. I have gained the physical prowess, discipline and leadership skills to coach multiple youth sports teams. Everyone should do Tae Kwon Do.
I am a Black Belt. And then some. I will continue testing, and practicing until I have harnessed the very life essence, the very Chi, the very Force that joins my Earthly body with the Heavenly forces that lie behind this visible world to such a subtle degree of balance that perfect, endless unity has been reached. I will never, ever give up.
Special thanks for this achievement go to:
Rick Janney for forming, maintaining & inspiring the West Liberty Dojang. Your continued dedication and expertise is an inspiration.
Jen Henderson for diligence, kindness and caring. Your commute to town, and the kindness with which you shepherd wave after wave of new practitioners is truly amazing.
David Bailey for setting the current standard of excellence for Tae Kwon Do practice. Your pure, methodical interpretation of the art is that to which I aspire.
Chance and Charlie Thrasher. Boys, you’ve hardly known a life without TKD. It has become part and parcel of your existence, with good results. It has created mindset for you that has enabled you to achieve in school, other sports, and life. Thank you for sticking with it, with me. I am more proud of you thank you know. I hope you continue far beyond the time when you are in my direct care.
My dear, sweet wife, Katie Thrasher. Your love and support made this all possible. You endured hundreds of evening meals without the boys and I. You wash our doboks, tend to our bruises, drive with us to the main dojang, all at the expense of your own time and desires.