There are moms who sit outside in the rain and hot sun watching their kid kick around a soccer ball. Other moms get up at 5am and sit freezing by a rink of ice. Some moms watch their kids learn dance routines and attend dance recitals. Not me though… I watch my son learn a choreographed fight routine, master impressive kicks where he breaks wooden boards with ease and spar with others his size and earn points by kicking each other.
I am Taekwondo Mom and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a dobok (uniform) washing, belt tying, mouth guard holding (eww), mom who cried big ugly tears the day her kid officially earned his Black Belt. Shawn started training in the 2nd grade and 3 1/2 years later in August 2020, (6 months late due to Covid restrictions) he earned an honor that most who try martial arts don’t get to.
We originally enrolled Shawn at Master Chong’s World Class Taekwondo because he was having problems focusing at school and was extremely fidgety. It worked with our work schedule and we didn’t need to rely on someone else taking him (if we had done soccer or another sport, we wouldn’t have been able to ever attend). Never did we imagine that almost 4 1/2 years later I could be sitting here, typing this out while he’s about a year into earning his 2nd degree black belt.
To say that both Michael and I are proud of him is a total understatement. We aren’t just proud, we are EXTREMELY proud of him! He has trained for a total of 705 days and 529 hours since he began and he’s not slowing down. He’s gone through some hard times when he didn’t move up to the next belt level like he thought he would, or he just didn’t want to “do this anymore”. We have been behind him cheering him on, encouraging him, and sometimes, telling him “Too bad! You committed to this program and you’re going to finish it.” He definitely knows what it’s like to work hard for a goal that doesn’t come easily.
This is my dad’s favorite picture (blurry or not) from the last major tournament that Shawn competed in. He’s competed twice a year for every year that he’s been training. He’s brought home everything from the Gold (1st Place!) to Bronze (3rd Place!) depending on what he’s competing in. Form, and Board Breaking are usually what he does but we make him compete once a year in the Full Contact Sparring events. (Those are his least favorite.) but he tries his best and that’s all that matters.
Now that Shawn is a Black Belt, they no longer move up in belt colors but rather in Levels. As of today, Shawn just tested for his 2nd level and I’m proud to say that he tested well and has moved up in the ranks. Way to go Shawn! We’re super proud of you! He’s got just over 2 more years or so until he should reach his 2nd Degree Black Belt.
Which is crazy to think because by the time he enters high school, he will have earned not just one but TWO black belts! I don’t think I will have to worry too much about bullies – thankfully! I don’t think many people will be messing with him. I joke around with him but he could totally take me down if he wanted to. (Not that he would but we are the same height. lol)