Master Kim’s Lesson

Master Kim was a 9th degree Black belt in Tae Kwon Doe.  A small but powerful Korean man he was graceful, elderly and wise.  He immediately became one of my idols.
The first time I met him he read my palm and asked me directly and forcefully whether I was going to finish this, whether I was going to get my Black Belt.
Of course I said yes and I started Tae Kwan Doe where I had left off with Mr. McDuffy my former Instructor.  (remember to ask about Mr. McDuffy, great instructor)

Now here’s the question. Did he read my palm and see something there, or look at me and see something in me that would cause him to question my ability to finish? Or did he put in my mind what was going to happen? The thought that I wasn’t going to finish. What you focus on is what happens, and from that moment in the back of my mind I always remembered his words and wondered if I was going to finish. Get my Black Belt.


Well I went to Master Kim a Blue Belt and then achieved now Brown Belt black strip, ready to take my Black Belt exam.  (Traditional Tae Kwon Doe belts were/are white, yellow, green, blue, brown and black). I knew all of the Karate moves I needed to know.  I knew all of the forms.  I was good at sparring. I was fully ready, except, I was having trouble learning the Korean words I needed to know.  At the very last minute, the day before the exam I said that I was going to hold off because I didn’t feel I was ready.


The next day I went to the exam and I watched everyone go through all of the moves that I knew.


Then it got to the end and a few kids were asked to step forward and were asked a Korean word.  Not all were even asked. Some knew their word, most didn’t, and the audience would speak up and give it to them.  A real communal effort.  Everyone was rooting for each other and helping each other.
They all passed and got their Black Belts.
I was, and still am today, a Brown Belt.
What if instead he bad looked at my Palm and said “I can see you have great potential.  You will have great success studying here.  I can see it now, you will get your Black Belt.” What if that were the thought in the back of my head?
I did very well at Tae Kwon Do. I won many trophies.
But I never did get my Black Belt.  I even went back to a Karate studio while I lived in Manhattan but didn’t finish it then either.


This inability to finish things then carried into other areas of my life.  I started my Eagle Project for Boy Scouts and you guessed it, I didn’t finish it.  (There’s a story for another time.)


Looking back, I now recognize not seeing things through to completion has been a theme in my life.

Time to break the cycle. Time to go get my Black Belt.


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