Posted by: Mark Amador | May 7, 2008


We recently had a belt testing at Jung SuWon. It is one of the great pleasures in my life to both participate in and watch a belt testing. Not that it is easy! Actually far from it, but the reward is worth the journey.

On testing day, whether or not you are scheduled to test, you are nervous. Worry, anxiety, fear and self-doubt abound. You palms are sweaty and you stomach is doing somersaults. You know your going to be tested and you want to do good, but you don’t have any idea what Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim is going to challenge you with. Indeed, the unknown is the scariest of all.

Even as long as I’ve been training I still get nervous. If I am not testing myself, then my desire as an instructor for the students to succeed gets me nervous. Also having been there, you really feel what they go through. It is terrifying and wonderful all at the same time.

The most exciting part of a test is not so much the forms you do or the boards and bricks you break, but really facing the circumstances that surround all of it. Facing yourself is the most difficult of all. How you handle making mistakes. What you remember to do or not do when the spotlight is on you. How you maintain your good attitude and demonstrate you can rise above your emotions is life changing framework of the martial artists test.

Black belt testings at Jung SuWon are very challenging. The student will spend days alone in the mountains fasting and training to prepare. Away from cars, computers, phones, watches, concrete and steel all of life’s distractions fade away and you are left with only yourself. It is your time for self-discovery and isolating the person you really are apart from all of other material items and emotional influences our senses are bombarded with daily. This time of reflection is essential for you to make lasting positive changes in your life. This is the time when you test yourself.

When you return back to society and are continuing the test in the Do Jang your perspective has forever changed. You can clearly see what is external to you and what you are made of. In a Jung SuWon black belt testing you will face breaking boards, bricks and glass in every imaginable way. You will spare with multiple opponents from all angles while tied up, or dragging weights, or blind folded. You will endlessly do forms until you think you can barely stand then discover how much more is really inside you. You will swing from ropes and find ways to break boards and blocks of ice suspended fifteen feet above you. The testing could be 6 or 8 or 12 hours long. It all depends on the students testing.

But, even when a white belt tests at Jung SuWon it is a transformative journey. You are forever changed by your experience. No one can take it from you. It is your memory forever to recall in future times of challenge. It is a great pleasure to see the tears, shaking hands and bodies frozen with fear become tears of joy, beaming eyes now filled with experience and shouts of victory screaming the Jung SuWon motto “He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me!”

Everyone has challenges. The difference is that a warrior uses them to grow stronger and more positive. I pray that you find within yourself the warrior in your life.

Jung Su!!



  1. nice post! how did you get your photos to display??

  2. Hi Sarah, flickr shows your 3 most recently uploaded photos. I works great and you can comment them. Cool stuff.

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