ONCE IN A WHILE, a grading occurs to determine the different grades. We are led away to another hall, feeling fearful and nervous. We have spent months preparing for this and it all depends on this test. You grab the handbook out of fear that you might forget something important.
Mr. Murphy calls you up and you line up with others of the same grade. You can see the people who look at a spot on the wall, hoping the answer is written there. He tells us to start our pattern. When you are complete, you wait for him to mark you off on the test sheet. He asks you to turn to your partner and we complete the sparring segment. When finished this, we line up again.
He calls your name and you walk up. He asks you the Korean terminology that you were meant to have learnt. I have seen a couple of people look towards the sky, hoping the word is there. He asks you the meaning of the pattern. When complete he writes your result on the page.
The last thing is breaking. It is painful if you miss the board but when you hit it, and hear a satisfying crack it is so gratifying and perfect. You turn to the instructor and he bows to you. You've passed. Then it's a new pattern and more Korean and breaking… for the next grade.