A new school year, new MAIB Black Belts
Reflecting on August leaves us at MAIB feeling a little wistful, as all the practice and anticipation finally came to a head with our 2017 Black Belt Test.
That Saturday morning, Instructors arrived early to set up and prepare MAIB for the Candidates and their family/guests. Floors swept - again - and the table set up. There is a almost calming and magical rhythm to it all, shaking the table cloth out and feeling the fabric against one's fingers. Stepping back to see the school's name in gold standing out against the royal purple of the cloth.
Slowly, candidates began to arrive. Their nervousness came off them in waves, reflecting off the Instructors and slowly building. The candidates, despite the weight of it all, started to practice. They held their own against their nerves, running through their requirements and working on their timing.
Time crept forward and suddenly it was almost time to begin the test. Guest masters, Master Raymond Peña, Master Ryan Salame and Grandmaster Martin Kratt, had arrived along with Kwanjanim* Thomas Brown, along with guests and family of the candidates, who had a seat along the back walls of the dojang**.
The Candidates lined up in the hallway for our Black Belt Entrance Ceremony. Months before, the First Dan Candidates had to pick senior belts that would lead them blindfolded onto the mats in a symbolic ritual of trust and leadership. The First Dan Candidates were blindfolded and given to their chosen guides. By having the Senior Belts guide their juniors into the dojang, we are demonstrating the role of the senior belts. They are to guide or lead and set examples for the lower and younger belts in (or out) the classroom; examples of proper etiquette, training ethic, knowledge and upholding the Student Creed and Mental Education Standards recited in class every day.
The junior belts, by holding on to their seniors' shoulders, are demonstrating their faith and trust - not just in their senior belts - but through the higher belts, their trust in MAIB itself. Without the junior, MAIB would not be what it is.
One by one, as Master Childs introduced them, the senior candidates led the junior belts out to the mats and brought them to their appropriate places. Once they were all on the mat, the Bodans turned and took a knee to tie their belt.
And the test began.
Hours later, the candidates stood before the masters, sweaty and tired, and holders of new degrees in the art of Taekwondo. Each candidate demonstrated their requirements beautifully, excellent examples of perseverance and focus.
MAIB is proud to welcome our new black belts and are honored to have them among our students. Once again, congratulations!