Yesterday we had the honor of conducting our fall Black Belt testing. This testing class was small, but excellent. Mr. Chandra Udata from Coastal Canyon Tang Soo Do in Carmel Valley and Mrs. Shakira Robinson from West Coast Dragons Tang Soo Do in Carlsbad showed their incredible Tang Soo spirit, dedication, and martial arts skills during an intense four hour test at the Tang Soo do Karate Institute in Chula Vista.
Under the guidance of Mr. Robert Johnson from Coastal Canyon Tang Soo Do and myself, our youth Black Belts led nearly all the sections of the Black Belt test. I am always impressed by the way our students respond to this situation. Conducting Black Belt testing requires more than physical skill. It takes knowledge and confidence to take charge of a group of candidates to conduct testing in a way that will safely challenge the candidates and bring out their best. We are a small region, so every person conducting the test has a relationship of some sort with nearly if not all the testing candidates. I cannot imagine ever telling my father to get down on the ground and do push ups, but that is exactly what I see sons and daughters do every test cycle.
When a Black Belt is proctoring a portion of the Black Belt test, that person is in charge. They will receive some inputs from the testing panel of Master Instructors, but the proctor makes it all happen. The thought of kids wielding this much power might sound crazy, but the mutual respect shown between the candidates and the proctors is amazing. In my experiences with this process I have never seen a testing proctor abuse that position, and I have never seen a testing candidate treat a test proctor with anything less that the utmost respect. Along this journey our Tang Soo Do students learn that showing humility is a necessary step to becoming a leader.