Coming Into Her Own

SB often comments that DJ is going to be fun to watch grow up because she really is one of those unique souls that possesses skills and knowledge beyond her own understanding.  The kid knows how to survive in the outdoors in a way most adults don’t.  She knows about subjects that most adults do not and speaks of them intelligently.  And she’s about ready to test for her 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo – a sport where she just keeps getting better rather than plateauing or coasting.

When she was getting prepped for her first black belt test, G tossed out there that if she passed, he would take her to Korea.  She had been doing some tournaments requiring her to be registered with USA Taekwondo, so she would get their quarterly magazine.  In it, there were a number of taekwondo trip packages that were amazing.  The plan was to find a good time to book one and take her.  Plus, G loved the idea they would likely have to fly through Japan where he was born.

She passed her test and got her first degree black belt.

And it was never the right time to take the trip.  Then when it was? Those trip packages were no longer being offered.

The good thing? She used to train with a professor who was visiting from Korea.  This professor was more than happy to hook her up with classes and all – and she did.

This week, DJ has been in Korea training under a 9th degree black belt.  She spends 1.5-2hrs a day training – warm-up, strength, and tweaking her forms and kicks and all.  She is sore but happy.  She feels she is improving.  And that is awesome.

G and DJ had learned that the world headquarters for taekwondo held a performance each night they were there – a form and board breaking demonstration to highlight the sport.  They got tickets to attend, and upon arriving, a nice man starting talking to them.  G is 6ft 4in tall – and DJ is about 5ft 7in tall…..their height combined with other features make them stand out like a sore thumb.  G explained why they were in Korea and why they were there.  Next thing they know, they are being swept away to the stage.  After their planned performance, they invited DJ on stage to break boards with them.  And she did.

DJ and her board breaking gets many people’s attention – and has for many years.  While some of her fellow black belts will go for easy breaks, DJ always picks something spinning that will shatter the board sending the pieces flying.  Her philosophy is that the breaks should be fun – so she has fun doing some complicated things.  I have been approached by many moms at the school commenting that it was a test she did a few years ago that made their daughter want to be a blackbelt.  I even had some adult women comment they aim to be like her.

Yeah, I have some pride in what she puts into her training.

I can just envision her on stage – nervous with excitement – but stepping into it and excelling.

And according to G? That’s exactly what she did.  The few photos that were taken of her with the demo team show a kid who is truly beaming.  And that’s what I thought before I heard the story of her getting invited on stage with the team.  When I asked G if he got video, he admitted he had not.  He was too busy standing off to the side beaming with pride.  “That’s my kid” was his feeling.

We knew this trip would be epic for her.  And it has even before the demonstration they attended.

I knew this trip had hit an even higher level for her when she posted a photo on her snapchat of the ticket with a note that she may have just performed with a professional taekwondo demo team.  She doesn’t share her accomplishments or even her moments like that.  The fact she did in her subtle way? Big deal.

And here I am sitting an ocean away feeling that amazing parental pride that I think we all feel at times.  We feel it when we see our kids come into their own – and demonstrate to the world how awesome we know they are.  And all we can do is stand aside, and smile, knowing we must have done something right.

It’s a nice feeling.

What do you think?

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