Whether you are a white belt or testing for your black belt, attitude is everything.
One of the great things about Kuk Sool Won is the challenge that it brings. Our martial art involves fitness and flexibility, strength and power, but it also challenges the brain. We practice the correct etiquette. We learn techniques and forms, how to use weapons and as we move through the ranks, we learn Korean.
In Kuk Sool Won, grading takes place every three months. This is our chance to show what we have learned, display our abilities and demonstrate our fitness. Gradings are designed to be difficult – it is up to us to push ourselves – but a focused mind can empower a tired body. It can drive through the exhaustion and enable the same body to push past the physical pain and achieve. Be it push-ups, performing forms on the opposite side or remembering the techniques backwards, master the mind and the body will follow.
We test under the supervision of our school owner and other black belts, but we all test together. Those who are taking gradings have been on the floor in the past and know what it feels like. In our recent grading it was the supportive atmosphere that was most prevalent. White belts and DBNs (black belt candidates) tested together. Brown belts and black belts shared the mats. Everyone was challenged in different ways but the strength of community was there. A look or a comment from a supervising black belt encouraged those grading to keep going. A coloured belt pushing themselves to the limit showed just how much Kuk Sool Won means to them. Instructors testing for their next rank showed focus and determination, and even while testing, they lead by example.
Grading is gruelling and at times everyone feels that it is too difficult. However, the sense of achievement at the end, when you have pushed yourself beyond what you thought your limits were, is incredible. And when you catch sight of the new belt tied around your waist, whatever the colour, you know that you did your best. You proved you could do it. You earned it.
With a new rank comes responsibility. A responsibility to yourself to keep learning, training and trying your best. To continue to show proper etiquette and remember that every time you walk through the door to train, you should train like you are grading. A responsibility to our school, to continue to regularly attend and be open to your instructor. And a responsibility to the World Kuk Sool Association to prove that as a member, you accept everyone and will continue on your journey to becoming the best martial artist you can be. It’s not about being the best but about doing your best.
Kuk Sool Won Glasgow grading results and promotions will be announced at class by KSN Andrew on Friday the 4th August.