Our biggest challenge yet…

Miss Latifah and Sherifah Dawodu
1st Degree Boo Sabum

‘there is no such word as can’t, you just have to keep trying and you will succeed’.

Latifah’s point of view
On Saturday 28th September, Sherifah and I left our small town of Cheshunt all the way to Surbiton for our 1st KUP black belt exam.

Chris Blundell, Finlay Blundell, Wendy Lashley, Sherifah Dawodu and myself, Latifah Dawodu were all grading for our black belt first degree and Mr James Home was grading for his fifth degree.

Firstly, when we had all arrived, we started our hour terminology exam. Personally, we felt (felt that the paper was challenging as it really made you use all your knowledge of TAEKWON-DO and apply it to many of the questions. During our written exam, Mr James Home was doing his patterns.

After the paper Master Hogan instructed us black tags to do 50 press ups, 50 sit ups, 50 burpies and 50 squat thrusts. With a total of 200 movements, Sherifah and I were not too exhausted by this as in preparation for this exam we had been building up our stamina.

Thinking we had one of the most difficult parts out the way, it was huge shock when we were told to pair up to do 15 rounds of 3 minute sparring! I felt that this was definitely the most difficult and challenging thing I have ever done! To assist us/ make things more difficult, we were accompanied by many black belt assistant instructors to spar against. These were:  Mr Andy Taylor, Mr Stephen Matthews, Mr Christian Bland, Mr Rowan Shell, Miss Leah McBean-Wellis and Mr John Vernazza. These instructors really pushed our ability to the limit and encouraged us when we felt weak. TAEKWON-DO. To be honest, I do not remember many ‘specific’ rounds as we were in much pain and struggled to differentiate the different rounds. However, we do remember about round 8, Master Hogan said that if we try to ‘cruise’ through we will fail. The determination to get our black belts really encouraged us to keep going. We all did more rounds than a boxer (and a boxer has breaks in-between and does not kick). In this part of the exam, I feel that I was being tested on my physical strength as well as my mental strength- how long would it take for my brain to tell my body to stop moving? For the last two rounds, there was two against one sparring and then three against one sparring. After this excruciating pain with no breaks in between, we all just wanted to fall onto the floor and sleep; but we had three minutes to get our sparring kit off to commence the next part of the exam.

Sherifah’s point of view
We then all formed up and did all our patterns from Chon-Ji to Choong-moo. From what we had previously had to go through, performing our patterns seemed rather simple. But it was hard to remember what your patterns were, the movements and stances after so much sparring. Never the less, we were lucky to remember all our stance and movements and still able to perform our patterns with power.

After this, we had to do two hundred jumping kicks that were a combination of jumping side, jumping turning, jumping back and jumping front snap kick. This was rather difficult as we could barely lift our legs at this point of the grading! We finished the grading with 1 step sparring and self-defence. This was to test if we could still concentrate and remember how to defend ourselves after many aches, pains and lack of energy.

We all formed up and Master Hogan told us that we all passed. I was exhilarated as my sister and I have waited for 5 years for this moment. We were given new Do-Boks and our black belts with our name on. We are also proud to say that we are the first black belt students in Mr Salmon’s Chigwell School of TAE KWON-DO.

This black belt exam was the hardest thing we have ever done. The exam tested our maturity of TAEKWON-DO, imperviousness to darkness, fear and also pain, which is surprisingly what black belt symbolises! No wonder why! For those who are aiming to become a black belt, you must make sure that you can stand in front of Master Hogan and know what you came to achieve. You CAN do it because a teacher once told us when we had our white belts, there is no such word as can’t, you just have to keep trying and you will succeed. You just have to be confident.

We wish all the best of luck for your black belt and other belt exams and you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Latifah and Sherifah

  • Grading Dates 2015

    Coloured Belts

    Black Belts

    New Grading Location
    Tiffin Boys School Kingston
    Queen Elizabeth Rd, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 6RL