Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Final Week to Nidan

My wife has been talking to be me about how we as people interpret adrenaline.  Is it fear or is it excitement?  

I've been calling it "a case of the nerves" for years.  In an attempt to frame my upcoming test in the best light possible I'm called it excitement, but tempered with reality.  

For all the practice tests we've been working on we've been given passing grades, but they keep on pointed out that there is a level of precociousness with the judges.  They've identified a few that simply fail people outright with not a lot of reasoning.  Or in the worst case scenarion - no reasoning.  

To put it in the best light- the judge will identify something wrong with the kata and have no way of putting into words that are helpful to the person in the test.  Definitely not helpful and it's occured over the years with no avenue of complaint.  Urgh.  

My fingers are crossed tight that we get some supportive upper ranks to give us objective scoring.  

I leave Friday morning to drive up to Yakima.  Our test is in the evening and isn't surrounded by the normal Kyu level belts or larger ceremony which is a bit of a bummer, but it means we'll be out of there fairly early depending on the amount of testers. Normally, we'd be there till midnight.

During this week we are trying to do as much fine tuning as possible before we take off.  As part of this the regular class time is totally dedicated to test run and bunkai refinement.  In the BB class I ran through the test and noticed all my flaws, but MaryAnn Sensei still thought it was a pass.  Unfortunately, Olivia couldn't be there until the evening class so I ended up going through the test again.  I was completely shot about halfway through which didn't look good with me gasping.  Thankfully I can do one run and look okay, but that stretched me pretty bad.  And then we spent the last 15 minutes working on one bunkai that I'm kinda sketchy on.  No longer!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Two Weeks To Go

Hey all, I apologise for not writing.  I'm sure there is more than enough to talk about, but the test is in two weeks and pretty much the only things I think about are the test and the test.

I kept meaning to write, but composing my thoughts in a cohesive manner has been tough.  I run through the test pretty much every day and last time I wrote I had intense workouts pretty much every day.  I didn't think I could get any more changes or improvements in.  However, last night I was given a few corrections to work on and they seem doable to fix.  A foot there and a fist there and so on.

Probably the biggest deal/change was that we converted the normal bunkai on our last kata into a Oyo.  Oyo is a longer, back and forth demonstration of the techniques in which both sides gets to play at attacking and defending.  The normal bunkai was just a single move and seemed modest compared to the kata; which is very long and complex.

Olivia and me, with the help of Reed and Daniel, contructed an interesting and graphic routine based on 6 self-defense moves.  I don't know about Olivia, but our practice leaves me pretty sore and bruised.  By Saturday of last week I was having problems with my abs and realized that my ribs were bruised.  Nice work Olivia!

Next Friday is the exam and I'll be excited to do it, but I'm a touch nervous because there is always space for failure.  If it occurs I have to wait four to six months for restest, and thankfully don't have repay the test fee.  Each rank goes up another $100.  So my NiDan will be $200.  Poor Daniel is going for his ShiDan which will go for $400.  Ouch.  

If I can get the video practice from Olivia I'll post or link here.  

On a side note, allergy season is here and practicing with a half lung is brutal.  Hopefully things will be clear by next week.  Wheezing at the test will probably be frowned upon.

Monday, April 01, 2019

One Week Straight

The question I pose, is how much karate is too much?  

I've just completed a week of karate.  Normally I try to practice every day, but during the last week I was doing work outs and refinement with other people every day except Friday.  The pinnacle was driving up to Eugene with Sensei's Reed, Daniel, and MaryAnn to meet with Sensei Albert for an intense review.  It ended up lasting 6 hours.  

Both Reed and Albert had Morris Mack as their primary instructor and Reed considers Albert a type of uncle in the complex school relationship.  I think Albert is around my age, but he's been practicing since he's been six.  Unlike many of us,  he never took any time off, so his reserve of information is tremendous.   

Our purpose was to go over our testing material to see what a fresh pair of eyes might see.  At times I thought Albert was skipping looking at basics and just looking at the main areas of interest in each kata, but as time went on he would shift occasionally to pick up errors in my more advanced katas.  This gave me a small sense of pride, assuming that it meant my basics were solid enough to be ignored.  

I left completed wiped out, but no one said that I sucked so bad that I shouldn't test.  In the greater scheme of things I'm only able to fail two Kata to blow the whole test, but I'd rather they all be good/great.  

Perhaps my only area of concern was that I didn't feel any nervousness when I was performing my kata in front of everyone.  I'd rather experience some tension, which would be more like the actual exam.  

I'm looking forward to this week. Only two class nights and time to actually practice on my own.  

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