I began my training in North Carolina in 1984 under the instruction of Mr. Bill Osterholt and his wife Diane Osterholt (See blog post "Origins") I stopped my training at the brown belt level and we moved up north to Pennsylvania shortly afterward.
I started training again in college (1992), but stopped when I switched schools. I was a brown belt. College was tough and I didn't take care of myself, gained a lot of weight and didn't consider training again for many years later. I wanted to get back into it, but I felt I needed to get back in shape first, so I spent about a year doing a lot of hard running (4+ miles per day) and dropped 40 pounds. I had some health problems shortly after this and I didn't think about training again until several years later.
In 2004, I started training again at a local ATA taekwondo school and worked hard to quickly attain again the rank of Brown Belt. I took a break after the birth of my son, but then had a string of injuries, a car wreck and subsequent health problems. I was in a lot of pain and day to day life was very difficult and the thought of training again seemed impossible. I thought I would be stuck as a Brown Belt forever! With the strength and encouragement of my wife to support me, I exercised hard for 3 years, re-built my body, and worked on balance and flexibility.
In 2011, I called the ATA school and talked with the head instructors about returning to train with them. They were very kind and allowed me to continue my Black Belt contract 8 years after leaving the studio. I was there for about a month and hurt my knee pretty bad. I had to stop training for another year while that healed.
In 2012, I returned again, trained hard, endured another string of injuries, and became very involved in the instructor group at the school. I tested for Black Belt last Saturday and passed.
I carry very high expectations for myself and generally fall short of them. This day was exceptional. I performed well and afterwards I was proud of the achievement.
This milestone achievement could not have been accomplished were it not for the support and encouragement of the school, the head instructor and owner, and most importantly my family, who has struggled with me though the whole process. Below are some highlights from the test:
Mr. Frederick Sparring during Black Belt Test
Mr. Frederick Breaks boards during Black Belt Test
Mr. Frederick throws a jump-reverse crescent kick