Or maybe not.
It's taken me a bit to sit down and write about the test and my feelings around how it went. It's been a week plus now and I have had plenty of time to mull over how it went. But let me jump back to the test first.
Reed, MaryAnn and me got to Yakima with about three hours till testing. We checked in our hotel which was pretty rough as places go, but at least semi-clean. Lesson learned; don't go for the cheapest place you can find.
We drove over to the dojo and they hadn't opened up just yet so we sat around outside socializing while everyone collected. After they opened we went in and changed into our Gis and started warming up. Strangely, I felt very distanced emotionally and not overly nervous or excited.
Olivia and I practiced our bunkai lightly and worked through our kata and just chatted until we were told to line up.
The test seemed to take a long time because we were with some other advanced belts and their parts took a very long time. This gave me ample time to rest which I appreciated. I also had a great view of their bunkai which impressed me greatly. There were a lot of complicated throws which we rarely see in karate.
After we completed we ended up sitting in the lobby for an hour. Apparently, there was a lot to discuss which was intriguing. We found out later that the judges were taking the view point that their style was different that what we were presenting. Reed was politely explaining that our style was what we'd been doing for the last ten years. So they had to come to terms with a lot of theoretical stuff before they could address the results.
The higher ranking folks went into to get their results and it took another hour for just three folks. Finally Olivia, me and another guy that tested for Nidan were ushered in. They gave Olivia her notes first but they said right away that they all passed her. They went into a lot of detail about what they liked and what needed to be fixed, which was minimal. They loved her bunkai because of the way she thrashed me around.
Then it was my turn. They all agreed that I need to come back next quarter and do the test again. I had been fairly hopeful, but it was balanced with everything they had said before and I had a sneaking suspicion that being partnered with Olivia probably wasn't in my best interest. She looked so good that everything that I did looked mediocre - the differences were really emphasized. I mean I really needed to do some things better, but you get the idea. They also didn't like the fact that she was my partner. They thought I needed someone that I could hit and I clearly was holding back on occasion. Although she would say that was untrue because she was really sore.
In the end I got two pages of very detailed notes which makes fixing things way easier when you have a check list. So I'm burying myself in making my basics way better, but the depth of my stances really weighs against me. I'm not totally sure how to make them deeper because it doesn't actually feel like I can. Well shall see.
I have until September 3rd (which is the next test day) to see how far I can go.
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