Eli has been practicing Kuk Sool Won for over a year now. He's made his way through the ranks and this past Thursday he tested for his blue belt. He was extremely nervous of one thing...breaking. He broke boards for his yellow belt, but each belt you have to break with a different technique. For his blue belt, he had to break with a side kick and elbow strike. Through his classes, he hadn't practiced a side kick very much. During his class this week, he practiced on a bag. After class, he spent extra time practicing his kick in the back room. He just was not confident at all.
Testing was Thursday. Eli was a bit nervous and practiced his kick again in the back room on a bag when we got to the school. His testing went well for his techniques. His forms were a bit muddled because of him not used to changing directions and he got the 2 mixed up and combined them in the wrong places, but the person grading him knew he knew them and passed him. Finally, it was time for breaking.
Another kid had gone prior to Eli and did the same breaks without a problem. As soon as the first kid was done, Eli made himself so nervous, he was about to cry. He was wiping tears from his eyes when he was called up. His instructor was encouraging him, reminding him he had knocked over a giant bag in class, trying to pump him up. He did a couple practice kicks on the air, then a bag and finally he had to try the break. He focused on the board during his ki cho jaki. He turned and kicked and CRACK!...his foot broke the board! Immediately he got the biggest smile and sigh of relief on his face. He wasn't nervous at all breaking with his elbow. Both strikes he got on the first try.
He was promoted to blue belt. He kept his boards and was excited to show his Mom his new belt and the boards he broke when he got home. After class he took a picture and the instructor told him how proud he was of him and that it was because of situations with kids like him is why he taught martial arts. He was genuinely proud of him over coming his fear to accomplish his goal. It'll be a couple more belts before Eli has to break again, but it'll be interesting to see if he still is as nervous before his next attempt.