It all begins with a desire. A desire to do something…to be something. A desire to occupy one’s time in a positive and productive manner. A desire to have one’s child accomplish something meaningful at an early age to help set the platform for future success.
As any parent knows all too well, when a child takes up a sport or activity, by default whether literally or supportively, so do the parents of that child. In many cases it is a commitment that lasts from several years to several decades. Years that are filled with hundreds if not thousands of trips to training classes and competitions. Years filled with expenses for uniforms, equipment, registration and class fees, vehicle fuel, and so forth. Not to mention the commitment of time. Time that one will never get back. Time spent driving to and from classes. Time spent cheering the child on and encouraging him or her not to quit. Time spent watching the progress and development of the child, and on occasion, time spent nursing injuries.
For those who stay the course, success is inevitable and success is what was achieved on a rainy afternoon very recently by Xavier Nugent and several of his classmates at the US Taekwondo Center (USTC) in Spring Lake, North Carolina.
Saturday December 14, 2013, was a dark, dreary, cloud filled day with heavy down pours of ice cold rain. It was the kind of day one would enjoy catching up on a bit of sleep or curling up under a warm blanket, by the fireplace to watch a good movie, or to read a good book. However, for approximately half a dozen students at USTC, it was testing day. For anyone who has ever studied any form of martial arts, surely they will understand and can visualize what testing day is all about. And for anyone who is unfamiliar with a martial arts testing day, simply imagine trying to throw a punch or kick until one can no longer lift one’s arm or leg. Or maybe try standing in the middle of a circle surrounded by eight opponents who attack you where you must fend off each opponent using a different self-defense technique. Now, imagine doing all of this during one’s childhood at the age of eight. Yes, Xavier is eight years old! And while he may not be the first or the youngest child to ever earn a black belt, surely he is one of the youngest.
Xavier Nugent is the son of Jamaican-American parents, and he is the first person in the family to attain the rank of black belt. In fact, Xavier actually attained a first degree black belt during his testing. Xavier’s three year journey began at the age of five when his dad signed him up for lessons under the instruction of Grandmaster Myong Sok Namkung Mayes at the USTC.
Grand Master Mayes was the first, and is currently the only female to attain the highest degree black belt in the entire world, 9th dan. Grand Master Mayes is also recognized by the World Taekwondo Federation, following are her accomplishments: four-time Korean National Champion (male and female); 1988 U.S. Olympic Head Coach; U.S. Coach of the Decade and 20 years as President of the North Carolina Taekwondo Association. Grand Master Mayes has even trained soldiers in the U.S. Army from Fort Bragg. Rarely in this life do we get to appreciate individuals who attain such high degree of success and influence while they are still among us, however in Grand Master Mayes’ case, she is considered a “living legend”; here to impart her knowledge, and wisdom of this great art from.
After signing up, Xavier began weekly training. Periodically, Xavier attended board breaking classes which help to build confidence and demonstrate skill level. Xavier also attended classes where he was required to wear protective pads so that he could spar. Sparring is the practice of simulating fighting or self-defense. It is yet another practice to demonstrate proficiency and mastery of skills and techniques. With each promotion Xavier earned a different color belt. His last belt before his black belt promotion was his red high, a red belt with a black line through it. For approximately the last eight weeks Xavier doubled up on his classes, taking his regular class and a second class under the direction of a fifth degree black belt at USTC, Master Shaw.
As referenced by the pictures above, clearly accomplishment and success is a great thing, and it is derived from hard work, consistency, and dedication. Regardless, of one’s age, success can be attained during any stage of life. And more often than not, it is attained through collaboration, team work, and with the support of loving friends and family!
Great job Xavier! And congratulations to all of your classmates too! If ever there was an example of a mother and father who took the time to lovingly support their child to success, it is Xavier’s parents.
Likewise, all of the parents of students at USTC and others parents who support their children’s activities serve as great examples as to what is right with our country! We need more of this in our great nation if we are ever to realize a more productive society…
- Respect the Belt… Respect the Art. (garvis.ca)
- Dec 6: Taekwondo Training Day in Seoul- Black Belt Test Prep (experiencingkorea.com)
- Taekwondo: From Bullies to Black Belts (laurenkayehersey.wordpress.com)
- My journey to Taekwondo Black Belt (joshmanandhar.wordpress.com)
- Belt Order In Karate (mademan.com)