As a black belt, one of the privileges I earned was the ability to sit on the test board. For our winter testing, I watched six students test. I graded two of them.
Although we were encouraged to write positive things as well, I found my attention and comments drawn to the negative things. Things we’d been telling them in class over and over. Things we hadn’t really noticed that they’ve been doing. But there were some outstanding moments to write about as well.
And some funny ones. The young black belt “calling” the testing — giving the students instructions — made a memorable gaff, more than once! Instead of telling the students to face the testing board, he kept saying “Taste the–” and he’d turn red and stop. He must have been hungry. It became a running gag.
Afterward, as is our custom, we had a holiday potluck and party. Once we finish eating, we do a white elephant gift exchange: on your turn, take an unwrapped gift or someone else’s. The taekwon-do twist is if the person doesn’t want to surrender the gift, they go onto the floor and do a sudden-death no contact free sparring round to see who wins the gift. The loser then gets to select a gift or challenge someone else. This year, it took quite a while for all the presents to be awarded, but I think it was well worth it!