He has been a very eager student at the Dojang, although he had to miss several sessions this quarter due to bad weather. Still, he managed to learn all of the right moves, and he has been practicing with his DVD at home.
Last Wednesday, he tested and did well. Very well. So well that he not only passed to the Purple Belt, but he received an outstanding student award for testing so well. I am really happy for this previously test-avoidant young man!
On Saturday, the Dojang had a graduation ceremony.
In this first picture, he is saying good-bye to the yellow belt. As the kids removed their belts, Master Blackman asked them to think about what work had gone into that belt, and what it meant to them.
And here he is, putting on his new belt.
Again, the Master asked the students to think about what the achievement meant to them, and what kind of dedication they would put into the work toward the next level.
N. seems to be very good at Taekwondo, and he has learned some very important skills there, including the Martial Arts. For one, he has learned a confidence in himself, and he has also been developing leadership skills that have stood him in good stead in other areas of his life. For example, recently, he was challenged to a fight by a rather impulsive boy his age at scouts, and he refused the bait. He knows what he can do, and did not need to prove it. I think that's quite an accomplishment for a kid who several years ago could be easily lured into not so socially acceptable behavior. And of course, his social awkwardness meant that he was the likely one to be caught and blamed.
Here is the happy Purple Belt with Master Blackman, and also his teacher, Mrs. Blackman. We did not catch his other teacher, Mr. Crates, on camera.
It is interesting how as homeschoolers, we choose different curricula, methods and philosophies, not really knowing at first whether they will work out. We have made numerous choices in the past two years, and we have made transitions as necessary. However, the choice of Taekwondo seemed right from the beginning. Placing N. in the Black Belt club was definitely worth the expense, although it seemed like a leap of faith at the time. N. has learned so much more than physical skills.
And, of course, the learning goes on. Tomorrow he will be measured for his sparring gear. And toward the end of this new journey towards orange belt, he will begin breaking boards with his bare hands. I am always impressed by the students I see doing that!
It's so great when a kid finds his passions and strengths, and it is really cool as a parent to watch him grow into himself through them.