Robert Houben

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On August 5th, 2006, Matthew and I tested for our 1st Degree Black Belt and passed! This was one of the most amazing days of my life! When I started, I really had doubts whether I would be able to attain a black belt, but by taking it one test at a time I was able to pass the test.

I started the day by committing the test to the Lord. I believe that everything that I do I do for His glory and for Him to use as he sees fit, and just wanted to reconfirm that the effort I put into this was dedicated to Him.

Next, I went through my patterns and self-defence with Matthew. We also drilled each other on our Korean terms.

Finally, it was time for the actual test. The test was presided over by our Master Kim and by Grand-master Kim, who was the chairman of BC Taekwondo testing.

The test consisted of doing 3 out of the 8 Taeguks randomly selected. We then had to do push-ups. We were required to do a minimum 60 to pass the test. We wound up doing 130!

Next, we did our kicking. Kicks 1-10, with double-jumping back-kicks. First starting with the right leg, then again with the left.

This was followed by our self-defence. We lined up, and in coreographed format, did all 8 self-defence patterns, alternating.

Then we did the sparring. 3-on-1 sparring (this is a blast!) I actually did better at this than regular 1-on-1 sparring.

Finally it was time for breaking. Breaking was broken into two parts. Each person had to select 3 boards that they would break. One break had to be with the fist, elbow, arm or hand. The other two had to be kicks. This was called three-way-breaking. The other breaking was called power-breaking, and involved breaking a brick layed over two cement blocks with the palm of your hand.

For the three-way-breaking, I chose to start with a spinning round-house kick, followed by an axe kick, then I turned and broke the last board with an inside knife-hand-strike. The round-house went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, when it came time to do the axe kick, my first kick was not well aimed, and I think I spooked my target holder. The next few kicks he wasn't holding it very well. Another target holder stepped in and I broke that one. The knife-hand strike worked just fine. Below is both Matthew and I doing our three-way-breaking (I'm first):


Lastly, we did our power breaking. We had brought a few extra boards, and when my turn came the boy who brought my brick up brought two up. I had been toying with breaking two bricks and was certain that I could, so I told Master Kim I could do it. (I vaguely heard my wife shrieking "NO!" in the background.) I broke them on the first attempt. You can see me, then Matthew, doing our power- breaking below:


You can hear Master Kim remarking on Matthew's brick breaking in three pieces. This is considered good luck!

It took a long time to get the official certificates. Our information had to go to Korea, then to Taekwondo Canada. It took over 7 months to get back to us, so I think they must have misplaced them temporarily. Anyways, we are scheduled to get them on April 14th, 2007, so after that we'll have some more pictures to add to this page.

Copyright 2005 © Robert Houben