Saturday, December 09, 2006


Last night was a very special occasion for Shelby.

It was the night she got her black belt. This is after 14 years of training (she moved around a lot and started over each time).

It was also a special night for Kwanjangnim* Scott, the leader of the school, she is this school's first black belt.

We considered not going to the ceremony but were quite glad we did. Why? First of all, while we do not know her well, it gave us a chance to honor Bo-Sabumnim** Shelby as she is now titled. Second, it gave Kyle a chance to see what he would be doing if/when he graduates to black belt level. Third Kyle got to particpate (more later). Fourth, I got to hear more of the faith (Christian) of Scott than I have before.

The ceremony started with a diagram of the Black Belt testing stations and Scott asking Shelby to set up the stations silently according to the diagram. There were 8 bricks set up around a circle with the black belt stretched across the center. On each brick was a tree of candles. A fourth candle tree was set across the black belt. A student or friend was set up at each station around the side. Shelby was then given a word which described a characteristic of a black belt and asked what that word meant to her in relation to her life and in relation to karate. After she explained what it meant the person sitting at that station was asked to blow out the candles in front of them because without that characteristic, the world would be a darker place. The characteristic Kyle blew out the candle for was 'respect'.

The final characteristic was faith. That candle was not blown out. After this was done, Shelby was presented with her black belt.

* Kwanjangnim means Kwan Leader, a Kwan being a martial arts school. (see Taekwando)
** Sabumnim means teacher, the bo in front means baby or beginning.

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