How to get a black belt in Taekwondo
There are a few simple steps you need to follow to get to black belt in Taekwondo.
1. Enjoy Taekwondo
The first step and most important is to like training in Taekwondo, or even better love Taekwondo. This makes getting to black belt a whole lot easier. Some people like certain aspects of Taekwondo like sparring or patterns or pad work. You must enjoy all aspects if you are going to succeed.
2. Train regularly
You need to dedicate yourself to regular training, only miss training if you absolutely have to and then if you do miss it, try and catch up the lesson you missed at another time. Training regularly will make you fitter, stronger, more knowledgeable and after a while it won't be hard, just routine.
3. Be coachable
If your instructor tells you something is not correct with your technique, write it down! Make a note of it. The last thing you want to do is forget it hoping the grading examiner won't notice if. Even worse, argue with your instructor saying that you can't see the problem and it is fine. Don't take any criticism to heart, it is not the instructor telling you that you are a bad person, they are telling you your stance is too short or your arm is in the wrong place or you need more power, nothing to get upset about.
4. Practice at home
Side kicks, reverse turning kicks, circular blocks are not natural every day movements, people in general cannot do these things without practice. Building up the strength and the motor pathways to repeat the manoeuvre easily. If you train once a week with no practice at home, that is 1 hour of training and 167 hours of no training, you will never improve. You also need to check your technique, in class that is easy by asking your instructor or another student but at home it is you tube, it is filming yourself and checking that all the parts and movements are correct. Without the checking process you could be performing the wrong move over and over getting into a bad habit.
5. Live by the tenets of Taekwondo
Courtesy, in class and outside of class, show that you can be courteous to family, school teachers, friends and strangers. You are much more likely to succeed and receive the admiration of others if you give them respect and are never rude or ungrateful.
Integrity, always do the right thing, don't lie, don't cheat, don't cut corners, turn up to training on time, turn up early, help your instructor with other classes, help your parents out around the home, don't be difficult for anyone, ever, Be honest about your mistakes and things you find difficult, don't try and deceive anyone, you will get a reputation for being dependable and trustworthy.
Perseverance. The road to black belt is long and full of difficulties and rightly so, how else does it obtain a reputation of the being the gold standard of martial arts? Weather the storm, work hard, keep training, recover from set backs, work on the problems with your instructor and friends and get back to it. Day after day, week after week, month after month. Make no mistake it is long and hard but It will be worth it.
Self-Control, don't lose your temper, don't lash out, don't say things you don't mean. Have control of yourself. Imagine what you would be like as a black belt, do you see yourself in a shiny new dobok and belt losing your temper with people, shouting at younger students? Of course not, if you’re prone to losing control, you need to work on that aspect of your life if you are ever to reach your goals.
Indomitable spirit. Life is full of obstacles, things in the road meaning training will be hard to get to this week, you just can't get your side kick right, you can't remember your patterns, your class mates are messing around and having a laugh instead of practicing, a new game is out on the playstation and everyone is playing it, I feel left out. Try and think what is important, what will you care about this time next year, will you be a step closer to black belt or will you be in the same place? Keep going, keep going, make yourself proud.
6. Have fun.
Nothing is worth doing in life unless you enjoy it and gain enjoyment from it. It is fun to workout and get a sweat on and learn new things and show your skills, as soon as something stops being fun, you should stop, because you won't learn anything by doing things you hate. A true black belt won't stop training as soon as they receive the belt, they enjoy it too much for that, they get too much out of it for that.
Best of luck in your road to black belt, I genuinely hope you enjoy it because I love Taekwondo it has saved my life, turned my life from ordinary to extraordinary long before I became a black belt.