In the Philippines I have trained in Taekwondo, Aikido and Jeetkunedo. That was way back 1991 to 1996. Those years were the years of my peak performance. Maybe some of you have seen my pictures in Friendster or elsewhere where I’m in a Taekwondo uniform wearing a blackbelt. That was right after a fight in one of the competitions I joined in the Philippines. But I am not a Blackbelt.
In the Philippines, during competitions, everyone is allowed to fight wearing a blackbelt, even if you are a blackbelt or not a blackbelt. As long as you are willing to fight and know you can fight, the only rule in the Philippines is if you are bluebelt and below, you need your instructor’s approval to compete. There are no age categories nor belt categories. Only weight categories. The belts in the Philippines are:
Where each colored belt in between white and black has a high and low ranking. In the Philippines I am high redbelt, but always competes wearing a blackbelt and has won several matches against real blackbelts. But I never reached the finals though in all Philippine competitions I joined.
The colors of the belts in the States, specifically here with the member schools of the San Diego Taekwondo Association are:
Black and Red Stripe
When I got here in the States, I was accepted as a brown stripe belt. Like in the Philippines I was two belts away from blackbelt. So I basically have the same rank.
But one difference here is I never compete against blackbelts here since competitions are by age, by belt and by weight. Which is a good thing for me especially that I am already 31, and the last time I did Taekwondo was in 1996. Until I started Taekwondo again when I came here to the States last July 11, this year.
Today is my promotion test for Red Belt, which is low brownbelt in the Philippines. Promotion test here are different, I do punches and kicks, self-defense techniques, forms and breaking. In the Philippines, promotion test are concentrated on sparring. There is no breaking though in the Philippines, but I am pretty confident I can break the blocks of wood today. Especially the kick I’m going to do for my test is a flying side kick. And a flying side kick has a lot of power in it so breaking should not be hard. Wish me luck!
Although I won 2nd place in the 10th Annual San Diego Taekwondo Championship, Master Min still wanted me to join the California Open which I think I am not prepared for yet because I need to build up my endurance again. But when I said I am not sure I want to join, he has not reminded me to join again. Sergei, one of my friends here at the taekwondo studio wants to join and has been inviting me join too, but I really think I will build up my endurance and is working on a three month program with 24 Hour Fitness to develop peak sports performance level to augment my taekwondo skills.