Oh Snap!

Teacher says, "you're going to freak out."

"About what", I reply.

He says, " I want to talk about your next test".

Ironically that's exactly what I wanted to talk about when he asked me to hang out after class for a beer. Although I wasn't really thinking he was going to bring this up. Recently I'd been kind of wondering what was next in the chute. We don't have a formal system of how to determine belt testing so I'd kind of thought maybe I needed to ask what kind of horrible things he had in store for me for my next rank. Only there was a rub.

"I wanted to let you know that I want to test you for your black belt" he said rather straight forwardly.

Internally the hyper ventilating hit a seismic pace. Externally my pupils dilated and I just sputtered. I actually said, "I don't know what to say," which is pretty much what all the cool guys say when faced with an epic life experience. I will say this, I never for a moment said, or even thought, I don't deserve this. In retrospect I kept thinking to myself that I'm not ready for this, but he brought up some very important points.

He said, "it's been 8 years."

He said, "maybe I've been too demanding with my requirements for this." With which I don't agree, but I was still stuttering.

I was going to be a one in a thousand!!!

I think the gist was that he may have thought I might have been good to go earlier, but was coming to terms with a couple of things in his own martial development and realized that I was, indeed, qualified in my own, weird way.

Here's the test:
- beatings
- construct my own kata

Deceptively simple with a ghastly undertone. The beatings will be multiple and exhausting. By this I mean that I will have to have the cardiac fitness to survive the black belts in town and still look like I was conscious about my choices in sparring. Woof! After that I'll have to do a kata (or maybe before, you never know) of my own device. I need to be sure that I make it worthwhile and highlight moves that I'm good at. Dang. This is going to be tough.
Class tonight was awesome. Strangely it started with katas/hyungs. He made us do them at a very slow rate which focused us on the balance and movement. It's not like we hadn't done this before, but today it sunk in kind of deep. Segue ways aren't just a ham-handed conversation migration, they are a way to move from stance to stance.

The second hour was pretty much all fights. We started with the slowest combat analysis and moved on to sparring. I don't think I've seen so many interesting conflicts. Me and Trucker went around for five minutes and I really didn't do a great job, but I was pleased with my ability to make the choices I did. Nothing unplanned. He still rolled me in the end which was met with great delight by the crowds. Oh to be a gladiator.

My second match was with Teacher and it went surprisingly well. In the end I realized I couldn't do anything substantive and went in for a bad trip/bear hug and fell on him. He managed to turn me on the way down and I absorbed the impact for both of us. Ooff. End of class!

Honestly, I don't think I'd ever seen so many great matches. He let us choose who we wanted to spar and in a way it was pretty awesome. The two youngest kids put up an epic fight. I was surprised that there was no blood. Were we showing control? Shocking!!


B said…
Hey congrats on the testing!

You'll do fine on both. I've heard of some martial arts/instructors who make you design your own kata. Interesting.

I really owe you a call - I want to compare notes. Do you have self-defense or one steps? I'm so not familiar with how TSD does things.

The beatings are easy. Designing and demonstrating kata would freak me out. Forms were my weakest link. I was better at sparring, breaking, or demonstrating self-defense steps with a partner. That last point is why I hope aikido will be a good fit.

I'm off to a conference tomorrow. If I get free time I may call. If not July!
Potatoe Fist said…
I think I'll do okay, but the three "judges" are huge on wearing me down before anything even starts - just to confirm fitness and adrenaline control. I can work on fitness, but I still have my brown belt test in mind and how exhausting that was.

TSD is huge on one-step and two-step sparring and we blend a lot of self-defense into our work. Unless Teacher spefifies it our sparring can contain pretty much anything we can squeeze into it. However we are really only supposed to use techniques that we've been taught.

I enjoy kata, but I'm a rote learner. I literally practice the kata for months before I can slow down and work on the different pieces. Teacher knows I like rushing to the end and often forces me to do them slow to see where I fail out.

This morning I tried sorting out what I want to do as the initial sortee and have decided to take some stuff out of my 10th (Nihan Si Kodan). It looks awesome, but he's going to be looking for the rationality of why I did that as well a bunch of other factors. I definitely don't want to dissapoint.

I'm off on vacation till the 10th!

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