Life is funny sometimes. Just the other day I was raising a stink at home because I found out that another member at the dojang is progressing at an accelerated pace. I don’t have a problem with this in general, my own husband is doing the same. My objection was that it was another MAN getting the opportunity, and I was starting to wonder if Grandmaster was sexist. Well, I had a lesson with him the other day and he threw a whole bunch of stuff at me. First, he wants me to compete in a poomsae competition sometime in the nebulous future. He said when I’m black belt, his daughter said I should do it sooner. This caught me off guard, because while I felt I was competent at my poomsaes (what IS the correct plural of that?) I didn’t think I could be considered good enough to compete. It was kind of a one-two punch. I was pleasantly surprised and I have to say flattered that he thinks I am or can be good enough. However, the thought of competing fills me with dread. On a good day I barely feel like I’m good enough at anything to be passable, and often feel like a fraud. Standing on a mat in front of a table of judges, the audience, and other competitors makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. I have a hard enough time at my belt tests, and that’s in front of people I know and are moderately comfortable with. I would also hate to disappoint Grandmaster, especially when he seems to think I can do well.
Later, before class started, GM pulled me aside and gave me the opportunity to accelerate my progress. This would entail more private lessons, and belt testing every 1-2 months instead of every 3-4. I could only get up to red belt unless I become an assistant leader, then I could progress at least until senior belt (just below black). Becoming an assistant leader is not the main issue I have either. While my ego likes that I have the opportunity, I wonder if I’m going to miss out on something by not doing the same thing over and over for months at a time between belts. I’m concerned that I will become the martial arts equivalent of Jack-of-all Master-of-none. Being an example to other women in the dojang is attractive as well. There aren’t many of us, and fewer that I think will advance to black belt. GM seems to offer acceleration to those he sees potential in, and as far as I know, I would be the first woman to do it. It would require a much higher level of commitment than I have given it thus far. Practicing daily is going to be necessary to learn everything, and now, I barely practice at home at all (we need to make some room). I have the option of going to the dojang during the day (no classes) to use the floor to practice.
I’m leaning toward accepting his offer of accelerating, partly because of ego, and partly because I’d like to at least try. If the pace is too much, I can always go back to the regular pace, but with the knowledge of what I am saying no to. I think part of my hesitation is that I barely feel like I have my shit in order in any area of my life, and to think that I could do it in tae kwon do when I can’t seem to do it any other time seems an impossibility. But maybe some of that is the point, to do what seems impossible.