And now for something a little different


A post about Taekwondo.

On December 20th, my three daughters and I tested for our third belt, yellow. We started as white belts, did a super-stressful-because-it-was-the-first-one-ever test for orange, then came the yellow belt test–only slightly less stressful.

When it was my turn, I was eager to get it over with, and grateful that we start with our current form–the part I was most nervous about. After that comes our “back form,” the one we learned prior. When I performed this in an earlier class, “Sensei,” (not actually what we call him) nodded and said, “It’s like breathing, isn’t it?” So I knew I had that one down pat. The third part of the test was demonstrating our mastery of three self defense and three street defense moves. No problems there.

The weird thing was, as I did the more difficult current form, my hands were tingling. “This is odd,” I thought. “My hands sort of feel numb, but not quite. It doesn’t hurt, thankfully, but it’s strange. I wonder why that’s happening. Nerves, probably.” And the next thing I knew, I was done. I did the form without thinking, which means I couldn’t second guess or freak myself out. I smiled inwardly. “Thanks, hands! Well done.”

They were no help at the end of the test, however: the Bowing Out Ceremony.

Spoiler alert: We all passed the test and received our yellow belts.

In classes prior, Sensei (He actually goes by Mr. [His Last Name], but I wish we could yell, “Yes, Sensei!” Then again, that’s what the bad guys in Cobra Kai did, so perhaps I shouldn’t.) has instructed me to speak louder during the Bowing Out Ceremony. So, at the end of testing, I said to myself, “Speak loud. Speak loud. Speak loud.” Then I nearly shouted, “Class!” at the same time as the senior student next to me, whose turn it was to speak, said, “Class.” We paused and looked at each other. Her: confused. Me: mortified.

After a moment, she continued: “Recite the tenets of Taekwondo.”

I stood there, thinking about what I had just done. Reviewing in my mind how it had happened. Standing there, silent. As in, not reciting the tenets of Taekwondo. When I finally realized, what did I do next? The logical thing would be to jump in and start reciting along with everyone else.

Did I do that?


I bowed. In the middle of the recitation, aka, not the time to bow.

Flustered, I became vaguely aware of a momentary pause in the recitation and a knowledge that all eyes were on me, though I refused to lift mine from the safety of the floor in front of me.

My daughter whispered, “It’s okay, Mom,” which, of course, meant it wasn’t.

To give you an idea of how bad this was, when I got home, I relayed to my black-belt husband what had happened. He didn’t seem too bothered by me talking out of turn. (Probably used to it.) But when I got to the part about bowing in the middle of the tenets, his eyes widened in horror.

Yep. He knew this was no bueno.

The saving moment of this whole fiasco: when class was over, Sensei happened to cross my path.

“I had to screw something up,” I told him.

“The bowing out is the hardest part of testing,” he quipped.

I smiled, feeling a bit better about it all.

Later that night, I was shaking. Hubby rolled over. “Are you okay?” he asked, concerned I was crying.

“I’m just thinking about the bowing again,” I said.

“Oh,” he rolled over and fell back asleep.

I’m so grateful I’ve reached an age where stuff like this cracks me up rather than embarrasses me.

And that I have blog buddies to share it with. πŸ™‚

Despite all, Hubby appears to be proud of me. He built me a rack to display my belts, all the way up to black. (No pressure.)

Three down, seven to go.

That, or he was less enthused by me tossing my old orange belt over a candle sconce in our bedroom for lack of a better place.

Eh, either way. πŸ˜‰

Yes, I will do a post listing all your brilliant ideas for a potential new blog name. If you still have ideas, feel free to share them in the comments!

86 responses »

  1. Ok, this is something I know nothing about. I admire you for doing this, but have nothing to say about it. Get a belt, don’t get a belt. It’s all in the effort not the reward for me. Embarrass yourself as you will…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha, ha, ha! Love your reflection that you’ve reached the age where it makes you laugh instead of embarrasses you. An important milestone. And congratulations on your yellow belt. The holder is beautiful.

    This great story makes me think your new blog name should be β€œ Speaking out of turn.” πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

  3. amazing and proud of you, in spite of your hiccup, I’m sure it was harder on you, than the rest of them. 2 of my grandsons have been in a martial arts class, I think karate), for a couple of years, and recently earned their first yellow belt, so I had a chance to seeing the bowing ritual on video, and I’ve never been able to attend a class to see how it looks, due to covid.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good that you can later laugh about it. I love that belt board. Very cool! Do the colors have specific meaning, like yellow=courage? Fun to also see you with your adorable crew!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aw, congrats! Great job on the yellow belt! I would have done exactly the same lol momentary mortification then cry-laughing at how ridiculous I might have looked lol… that’s a nice rack your husband built for you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I got a yellow belt once. Well yellow pants, belt and one shoe. I’ll just say I’ve learned to be more careful around paint cans …

    Congratulations on passing the test. We’ll want to see all the spaces filled with belts soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. πŸ˜‚ This was great!

    But seriously, good stuff. And with the title, to me it was a nice little nod to a very similar line in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.


  8. Uhm. Did I miss something from earlier that your husband is a black belt??????

    The nice thing about nerves is….it shows how much it matters.

    During one of our tests (I was an instructor at this point) we had a Master asking students who were standing in formation, a question. One little fella took it upon himself to walk up to the long table all of the judges were sitting behind, lean on the table, put his elbow on the table, rest his head in his hand, cross his feet, and answer the Master’s questions. Personally, I thought it was hilarious. He was one of my students. The little fella hadn’t quite yet comprehended his role and the signs of respect. He was having a conversation (as he saw it) with someone so he made himself comfortable.

    Your bowing during reciting of the tenets surely made someone smile, remembering the nerves of their earlier tests. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Betsy, congratulations! It all sounds nerve-wracking and you’ve done brilliantly – I hope you soon can get past the bowing out episode! The belt hanging rail is very special and what a thoughtful (albeit stressful) present from your husband. It will be full in no time at all! Enjoy and I love that you attend class with your three daughters – what a wonderful shared time together!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: art took over – Touring My Backyard

  11. My absolutely favourite part of your account: Hubby & You – your interaction in the middle of the night (it just shows so much care, concern & humour in your coupleness), and the belt rack (his decision to love & your motivation to the Black). You are such a lovely couple!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. OMG this made me laugh not over your horror, but it’s something I would do! It sounds like you have a comforting team surrounding you and that is the most important thing! Don’t be so hard on yourself, at least you got it out of the way and the next seven attempts, you won’t be doing that again. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congrats to you and the girls on your yellow belts! And that’s a really nice belt rack. Now it needs some Viking purple on it–wait, there is a purple belt, right?

    Clever is still snubbing me, but I like Diana’s suggestions. Can’t wait to see the list! And Andrew is a hoot!

    Hey, you’re going to hang lights on that rack for Christmas, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Two more belts and I’ll have purple! Too bad green will be in between the two. I don’t know what would be the bigger sacrilege, though, not having those two together or putting them out of order. Hmm.

      Christmas lights on the rack… a small strand, tastefully done might be in order.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Crazy with a Green Belt | parentingisfunny

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