Last week, I had the pleasure of taking pictures for a friend’s daughter who recently earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Don’t let the smile fool you, this girl is tough and can snap your neck in a second!
We were originally planning to take these photos inside Fort Worth’s Japanese Gardens, but that place is HORRIBLE and its employees are DISRESPECTFUL. I am not a professional or commercial photographer, and I refuse to pay a fee and sign ridiculous amounts of paperwork declaring myself as something or someone I am not. I will not return to the city’s facility.
These photos were taken on the campus of Texas Christian University — are there any Frog fans out there?!?!
Kirsten has worked five years to become a first-degree black belt, and that includes taking time off for family moves and injuries. Becoming a tenth-degree black belt, the highest level, can take a lifetime. Kirsten trains under Grandmaster Won Chik Park, a ninth-degree black belt.
While taking these photos, Kirsten gave me a history lesson in Tae Kwon Do. Hundreds, and even thousands of years ago, black belts did not exist. Back then, students only received a white belt and completed all training and competitions outside, thus eventually turning the belt black. While the path to achieve a black belt is somewhat different today, students (martial artists) do not wash their black belts. Some even consider washing their black belt means washing away their knowledge and hard work.
Finally, I am not a professional at photography or photo-editing, but I did manage to try a few skills with one image. The original photo of Kirsten doing a high kick included traffic in the background and an old, not-so-lovely yard sign advertising a campus event. I think this kick looks much better without distractions!