Saturday, October 26, 2013

Red Belt

It seemed like just yesterday when she asked if she could take after-school Tae Kwon Do lessons in the schoolyard of her Montessori kindergarten.  Click on the link to coo at the cuteness!

She says she's too old to be called cute any longer.  But, she's still taking Tae Kwon Do lessons with the same instructor, Anton Kasabov.  He doesn't believe in progressing kids through the "junior" belts like some TKD schools so that kids can brag about attaining black belts after 2-3 years.  His students earn the same belts as adults when they master the same standards as adults.

I tried to take a video of this kick so you could hear the kick.  But, the camera and lighting were not good enough to catch this high-speed kick.  Just imagine a very loud and solid THWAP!

A year ago, I watched as he taught her a new move where they run towards a punching bag, kick it forwards, then spin around and kick it from behind with the other leg.  I thought that was an impossible thing to ask of her.  She couldn't do it without falling over.

Yet, the red belt students could do the move.  Some of them were even landing the second kick at the target area on the bag while spinning and not looking.  Fast forward a year, and she can do that, too.  It's a testament to the power of practice and training.

After class, he tied the red belt around her waist.  A fellow student is holding her blue belt with one black stripe.  Anton uses the same belt color system as the dojo he belongs to in Korea.  Her plan is to continue studying with him to earn a black stripe on the red belt (as two of her older classmates have already done) and then the black belt before college.
Anton estimates that about 90% of his beginning students are boys, but the majority of his advanced students are girls.  Where have we seen these lopsided statistics before?  He says most boys simply lose interest when they discover how much work and how long it takes to earn a black belt with him.  One HS-aged male student of Anton's earned a black belt this year, and he is one seriously focused kid (in many aspects of his life).  It's a good peer group.

This video, taken just before her 6th birthday party, always makes me smile.

Like many martial arts instructors in Los Angeles, her teacher also works as an actor.  Enjoy his demo reel.


  1. Awesome! Congrats to Iris. I miss martial arts. That will probably be the next thing I add back into my schedule as the kids get older. I did kickboxing before, but maybe I'll try out karate next. With the rise of MMA, it is hard to find a kickboxing studio that has the attitude I want. I keep hoping my girls will get interested enough to pick a martial art for one of their activities, but although they both like hitting the heavy bag I keep in the garage for my workouts, neither is interested in classes. But there is still time. After all, I didn't start kickboxing until I was almost 30!

  2. Big congratulations to her! Inspiring and well-done :)


Comments are open for recent posts, but require moderation for posts older than 14 days.