Post-Black-Belt-Test Thoughts from Master Eisenstein

To Everyone at Connelly’s Academy:

Thank you to all of you who came out to test and judge during this past Monday’s color belt test. Thank you to those who came to support their friends and training partners. Thank you to all of the senior belts who helped make the test run so smoothly by retrieving the belts the judges needed. Thank you to all of the black belts who held boards and aided our younger students with their board breaks. Thank you to everyone who made Henri and his family feel welcome and like they are part of our truly amazing community.

Unless you have trained outside of Connelly’s Academy, you may not realize how incredible our Taekwon-Do community really is. The thought that Grandmaster Connelly would not be out there leading the test himself, for the entire duration of the test, may not have even crossed your mind. This is a testament to our Grandmaster and the type of instructor he is every day, test or no test.

Henri’s father told me how impressed he was that Grandmaster Connelly led the test himself and that he had never seen a Grandmaster do that before. More often than not, the head of a school will stay behind the judges table and let their senior students lead the Promotion Tests. And, why not? Haven’t they earned their chance to rest? While that may be true, in our community the responsibility our seniors feel for the well-being and development of our juniors drives us to be a constant and present force in their lives. This begins with Grandmaster Connelly.

Henri and his family felt so at home during the test and their visit. Thank you for contributing to that. Thank you for taking Henri in as one of your own. He was overcome with how welcoming and supportive everyone was to not only him, but to each other. I would personally like to thank Mr. Lardner and Mr. Vernon for the way they conducted themselves during the test and for how they aided Henri at times even while they were testing themselves. This demonstration of Integrity and Community Spirit is something that you may have to search very hard to find in another martial arts community, but was very evident throughout the test on Monday.

The Taekwon-Do community Grandmaster Connelly has developed, and I have called home since I was six-years-old, is truly one of a kind. You may already know this, or you may not be fully aware of what I am talking about until you have a chance to leave the community and train elsewhere. There is a reason I wanted Henri to come back to Evanston to test for his first degree and that reason is YOU. Everyone, no matter if you are a white belt or a master, plays an important role in creating, maintaining and strengthening the Connelly’s Academy community and for that, I am deeply thankful.

Master Eisenstein

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