I Was Trained By Grandmaster Sung-Chon Hong (Number 3 on my Definitive List of Things I'm Thankful For)

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

 3.  Almost became a black belter in Tae-Kwon-Do.

During summer break in my third year of high school, my parents enrolled me in a summer class of Tae-Kwon-Do at the Virramall gym in Greenhills. I was lucky to be under the tutelage of Grandmaster Sung-Chon Hong, the founder of the Philippine Taekwondo Association.

It was fun and I made new friends in the two months of training. But it ended short right after our promotion when we all underwent the proficiency tests. We all got promoted from white belt to yellow belt, some mostly low tier yellow, and some, including me, were lucky to get promoted to high yellow belt status. I also got to witness the beginnings of Monsour Del Rosario, Stephen Fernandez, and gymnast Bea Lucero, where we shared the same training area and taught by Mr. Hong.

When school resumed, I had a choice to continue my Tae-Kwon-Do training on top of my studies or stop. I wanted to continue so I had to bring my Tae-Kwon-Do uniform with me three times a week to school and take a 1 hour commute to my dojo. I continued my training for almost a year and got promoted from yellow, to blue, to red, to brown.  

Being one belt away from being a black belter, I did have my reservations about taking the promotion. And at this stage, I also had to prioritize my studies much more as I was graduating. So I opted to stop training and never did reach the last set of tests as the final promotion to black belt.

Do I have any regrets? It would have been a nice title and achievement to add to my skills but I'm just happy I've reached the brown belt status. The discipline I gained from learning this martial art has proven to be very valuable in different aspects of my life.  Knowledge of self-defense is a bonus.

Chah-ryut, Joon-bee.

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