As a white belt, I felt awkward. Before getting my uniform I felt even more so, just in gym clothes. I didn’t know what do with my hands and feet. I threw them out there hoping it looked good. I was unsure of how taekwondo would relate to my everyday life. How it would affect how I would see the world and how I wanted to be seen. As a white belt, I felt like the new kid at a school who needed to know all the ins and outs and how to get to where I needed to go. I was still unsure of myself as a person and who I wanted to become felt so far away. I was a follower. I was mentored by my instructors on how to do kicks and punches properly but watching their example. Then I would apply what I learned when sparing with a partner. I was innocent, naïve, and shy.
As a black belt, I felt at ease and confident. I knew how to properly throw and kick or punch, where I wanted it to hit. Where the best opening was when sparring against an opponent. As a black belt, I knew I lead by example, I was a teacher and leader. I knew exactly how to time when to throw a kick to break boards. How to set the pace for teaching a class. I could see I was someone who added value to the community. I felt I could speak without faltering and stand on my own. As a black belt I gave back to those who were still learning the discipline and I want to continue to do so. I felt empowered to make a difference in the world by treating everyone with respect and courtesy. After all, that’s how I wanted to be treated.
From a shy white belt, who felt little and insignificant, I felt I transformed into a spitfire as I promoted to black belt. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly. Transformations are apart of life, to grow, learn and achieve a greater purpose for yourself.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s Kick with the Smile blog!
Keep keeping and smiling!- TJ Banski