Is it a taekwondo grading or a lesson in life?

A Taekwondo grading means more than just demonstrating a series of moves in front of an examiner. For children, they must prepare by showing respect to their family, behaving politely, making their beds, cleaning their rooms etc.

I’m not kidding. Out comes my son from his class last Monday clutching his envelope. It gave the time and date of the grading as Saturday at 12pm – as in five days later. You don’t get much warning.

On the front of this envelope is a list of ‘jobs’ that the children are expected to do and you have to tick them off each day. How lovely it would be if every week was a Taekwondo grading week! Is this the answer to perfectly behaved children? You threaten them that they won’t get a new colour/striped belt if they don’t conform.

On top of this, the children have to answer some questions at the grading itself. You find these in the grading hand book. I’m going to tell you the questions my son had to learn and I want you to bear in mind that he is five years old. See what you think:

1. Where does Taekwondo come from?

Answer: Korea

2. What does Taekwondo mean?

Answer: the art of the hand and foot

3. What are the tenets of Taekwondo?

Answer: integrity, self control, perseverance, indomitable spirit, courtesy

4. What is the first line of the student oath?

Answer: I shall observe the tenets of Taekwondo

5. What does courtesy mean?

Answer: to be polite

6. What is a training hall called?

Answer: a dojang

7. When do you bow?

Answer: when you enter and leave the dojang and before and after you speak to the instructor

8. Why do you bow?

Answer: it is polite

9. What are the magic words?

Answer: please, thank you, yes miss/yes sir, no miss/no sir

10. What does it mean to sit still and not move?

Answer: self control

I thought no way can they expect a five year old to learn all these. But learn them he did and by Saturday we were all rattling off the answers!

I was filled with admiration watching my son get up and do this grading. It is a big deal for someone so young. And he nailed it and got all the questions right, so I couldn’t be more proud (he was asked the first four questions, which are tough ones).

What I learned this week – apart from a load of facts about Taekwondo (I wrote all those questions down without having to refer to the book!) – was not to underestimate my children. Yes he’s young and yes he’s my baby, but he is more than capable of holding his own. I can see that now.

So, until the next grading…




20 thoughts on “Is it a taekwondo grading or a lesson in life?

  1. Oh bless him he looks so happy and so proud. I love it. Taekwondo is amazing for kids. Such a disciplined activity that I think is so great for them. My niece and nephew love it. Amazing what they can learn in a short amount of time. Way to go buddy!!! Keep it up. thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme


  2. Impressive! We’ve never tried Taekwondo, but the kids I know that have done it really enjoy it! #sharewithme


  3. Very well done to him! I think I need my kids to take up taekwando if it gets them to help around the house and be nice to their family! I’m not sure I even know what the word ‘tenet’ means!


    1. I know! I have trouble saying ‘indomitable spirit’ so a five year old has no chance. He didn’t know what he was learning, but somehow he managed to reel it off anyway. As for helping around the house, I’ll have to wait for the next grading!


  4. That’s great! My middle boy does tae kwon-do but he doesn’t grade like everyone else currently due to his disability, they’re taking a more gentle path. One day I hope he will be able to grade up just like the others. You must be so proud!


    1. I hope he does get to do it. They go easy on them at the gradings when they are just starting out. And they do the children’s curriculum, which must be a bit more simplified (except maybe the questions – but I haven’t looked at the adult’s questions!).


    1. Taekwondo is good actually. When they area around seven, they get padded up sometimes and do sparring. My two prefer it to doing the wrestling-type martial arts like ju jitsu or judo.


  5. Look at that lovely proud smile in the last photo! You are so right about not underestimating our kids. It’s very easy to do, especially with the youngest. It seems unimaginable that they could learn what integrity or self-control means, but often if you give them the chance they will surprise you.


  6. Can’t believe he is only 5 and they are expected to do so much, but it’s fantastic. He looks so proud of himself, I’m sure you are very proud too.


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