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Journal Entry to Myself.. Green Belt essay.

I don't have to write an essay for my Green Belt. Yet, sitting in the dojang, watching the folks test on Friday night, I felt all kinds of thoughts descend upon me. So, here I am, writing this, the night before testing.

I'm not as nervous this time.

I think its something about.. before, i wasn't sure if I was doing this for myself, or for others, or to look good, or to prove something. Perhaps it was all of them. Actually, I know, it was all of them. And having that many reasons jumbled together when I do something... it can be, unclear, as to what my part is.

And so I got to go through several growth experiences. Things where something happened, it felt like it all went south, i did what I could to cope, it all ended up working out, and then I found that I had grown.


Today, at belt testing, I "got" something.

It is not that "there are some who are black belts, and others who are not."

Being a black belt is a "state of being" -- EVERYBODY and ANYBODY is capable of it. We are born God's children, all capable of great things. Some will choose to claim it -- in Tae-Kwon-Do. Some choose to claim it elsewhere. Some choose to claim the title of it, but perhaps do not exist in the state of being that it is. Or, that MY black belt is.

For it is MY black belt. Somebody else's black belt is not the same as mine. MY black belt has ME written all over it. It refers to the things which I could shed to let the belt out. It refers to the hopes of the person that I long to be, and that I am claiming.

Is it ever over? What does the actual black belt signify?

If I'm in a good school, it means that by the time somebody has become a blackbelt.. no, by the time I become a black belt, it means:
- I will know the safe limits of my body.
- I will know how far my body can stretch/strengthen over time if effort is applied.
- (Incidentally, with knowledge comes Choice. Choice is very powerful. Without knowledge, there is only reaction, and no choice. One is not free until knowledge has entered.)
- I will be much more confident in my self-knowledge of how I express each of the tenets -- Courtesy, Honesty, Integrity, Perseverance, and Indomitable Spirit. (I hope i got those right, I keep confusing Courage with Courtesy).
- I will be aware of balance in my life. By getting to a black belt, either I will have tipped the scales entirely towards martial arts, or I will have achieved balance between my life and the arts. The former does not deserve a black belt, and being aware of this, i would be honor bound not to accept one.
- I will be (am already) aware of the process, of the rule.

The rule? What rule?

The rule seems to be something like this: To live as God's child expressing God (as I understand God; feel free to replace with Buddha, Christ, Universe, Spirit, etc) -- i will be living within a certain set of principles.

One set of principles is what I learn from my recovery work. 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, 12 Concepts -- 36 principles of life to work with. I have studied them now for 5 years; I can explain and speak meaningfully to each of them. Of this I am glad.

One set of principles is what I learn from my spiritual path. 5 basic key elements; I have seem them demonstrated in my life many times over. I know them to be truths in my life. I have studied them for 5 years though not as rigorously as the previous 36; I can explain and speak meaningfully to each of them. Of this I am glad.

And now, the 5 Tenets, and 5 C's. (one of which I slightly disagree with the interpretation that some people take of one of the C's, mind.)

If I apply the 5 Tenets to my life -- and they overlap and are compatible with the other 36 and 5 -- my life is harmonious, enjoyable, and productive. Now, the kicker (HA!) is .. TKD's way of applying these tenets is much more hands-on, physical, bodily, than the other 36 + 5. The other 36+5 are much more intellectual, philosophical, spiritual.

If I consider the trio of my body, my mind, and my emotions.. okay, quadro: body, mind, emotions, and spirit -- Each one needs nurturing. And each one can work with the other slightly differently -- body = actions that I take, mind = thoughts that I think, emotions = feelings that I feel, and spirit = divine contact that I keep.

TKD is my application of spiritual truth and harmony to my body, and through my body, supporting my mind, my emotions, and my spirit. My Black Belt is my recognition of these truths come to fruition within myself.


Enough of that. This is NOT a black belt essay. Its supposed to be a Green Belt essay. *refocuses*.

Comparing to my Yellow Belt experience:

The difference this time is that I'm doing this for me. I don't care what the judges think, really. I'm not so worried if I end up doing something with my left hand that I was "supposed" to do with my right. I can glimpse the bigger picture. One big happy family, practising these principles in all our affairs -- and rejoicing in our company. And extending this being to everything that we do. I cry. It feels wonderful. I am so glad I can be a part of it.

As I watched them test tonight, for a moment, I forgot that I currently hold an orange belt rank. I *felt* green, even blue, and under that, deeper inside, I felt the iron-strong weave of black.

My self assessment at the moment is:
- My spin side kicks are fairly wavy, i could really do work on staying tall as I kick, and use stretching to get the height, as opposed to shifting my body weight/leaning. This works my balance.
- My front stance could be deeper, if I get out of my comfort zone. It takes me working on my confidence and assertiveness.
- My endurance could be higher. This has to do with perseverance, but it also has to do with choice -- in order to get my endurance higher, I have to make choices about time. At the moment, endurance does not win except for specific goals, such as tournaments. It is, however given the time of Thursday and Sunday evenings to express and work on itself.
- I get confused in Palgwe 1 when switching into the Knife Hand Guarding blocks. I need to weave the 2 parts (in my being) into a whole.
- I get confused in Palgwe 2 overall. I need to weave the 4 parts (within my being) into a single whole.
- I am aware of how to do many of my techniques better, but it isn't built into body memory yet. Lots of rotation to get more snap and strength. This combats with my sense of perfection, and to remember to take it one day at a time.. progress not perfection.
- I am aware that my balance is worse -- worse than when I was a yellow belt. Not very sure what's going on there. I figure it will pass over time, as my body gets used to its new configurations. It reflects my current emotionally complicated state, as my insides change configurations.

But all in all, I am 100% ready for a green belt. My stay in orange feels done. I have no regrets; I have cherished my time here. But its now time to move on, because I have some growing to do. And *gulp* i'll get to stand in the front line during class a lot. *faints*

Whoever you are, thank you for reading this essay.

Sunny "Sunshine" Gulati,
Green belt.

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Thanks for sharing the very deep awareness you experienced. ::hugs::


Hey Nooshka-Lady, ... you know about the Star Wars/Harry Potter/etc symphonic concert on central campus green tonight (Saturday night) around 7? I'm planning on being there with Noumouas. in case of rain, it'll be in the music building. I would love to hook up with you.. get you out of your domestic isolation. :] *hugs*

Sounds like fun! I think we're going to go! The girls sound surprisingly enthusiastic about seeing the musicians. Oh dear, I hope they're not expecting live action drama or anything. I guess we'll see how they take it, eh? Thanks for the tip!

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