Sunday, February 08, 2009

Belt Testing

I never did write about my belt test last week so I'll do a quick break down of it now. The boys are outside working on science experiments I think? It's better if I just stay inside and let 'em do what they want. So, about the testing . . .

There were probably 20 of us testing for various belt colors. I was a little nervous, mostly just because I didn't know how the testing would go and didn't know any of the others except for Peter. We lined up according to size and belt color, faced the flags and bowed, faced the masters and bowed and then began the testing - white belt first, then yellow, and so on. I tested with one other person - an 8 or 9 year old boy. We did our 8 hand techniques and then our 2 self defense techniques. Then we knelt down and each had to answer a question. Mine was easy - what is sabumnim (master, mentor, father figure). Then we did our forms and I tried to be really crisp and precise. Then it was on to our falling motion - a back fall from a crouching position. The proper technique for coming out of this fall at the yellow belt level is to tuck the right leg under and roll up to a kneeling position. I can do the chinese get-up which is when your on your back, you roll your legs back behind your head, put your hands on the floor on either side of your head and using the momentum of your legs, you swing yourself up to a standing position. So, instead of rolling up to my knee I did the chinese getup. I didn't quite make it around though and ended up falling back to my back and the instructors yelled "do it again!" and I tried it again but again fell back and they yelled "almost! do it again!" and I tried but still didn't make it so I rolled up to the kneeling position. Master Robie told everyone that it wasn't the way to come out of that falling motion but that if you know how to do something you should try and everyone give her a hand for trying the chinese getup. It was really cool. I had pretty much decided not to attempt it during the test but then at the last second just decided to go for it. Then they went on to the other belt colors and then it was time to break some boards. First they had us line up according to size to do some kicking. After that they lined us up to do our breaking. Yellow and white belts were last because ours were running kicks so we lined up lengthwise in the studio. Peter broke 3 boards at once. My breaking technique for this test was a running, jumping snap kick. The snap kick is the one that the karate kid did in the movie. So you sort of run down the mat, adjusting steps for distance as you go, then up goes the right knee and the left leg snaps up and breaks the board. The person holding my board was about my height and was holding the board at about shoulder level. My master told her to raise it up and she did until he told her to stop when it was over her head. It was at about 5'8 or 5'9. I gave a good loud "HA" and then started down the mat. I brought my knee up and then snapped that left leg up with my toes pulled back so when my foot hit the board it was hitting with the hard part of my foot. I heard the board snap and splinter and saw shards of wood falling all around me. There was a gasp in the studio and then I landed on the mat. I looked at Rosa who had been holding the board and she was sort of ducking her head to avoid splinters. Someone at the judges table remarked "that's how you break a board". I looked at the mat and the board was in three pieces. She picked them up and presented them to me, I bowed and thanked her then approached the judges, presented the pieces, bowed and thanked them. I went over to where Peter was standing and he pointed at the ceiling where a piece of my board had flown up and put a hole in the ceiling tile. There might have been some adrenaline pumping through my veins, right?

After that it was time to spar. There wasn't another girl my size who I could spar with so they paired me up with a guy who was just a couple of inches taller than me who was testing for blue belt. They kept telling him to control his power. Must have said that 3 or 4 times. He was really good and really controlled his power. He landed some good kicks though! Still, I held my own and felt pretty good about it. Especially since I never felt panicked like I had the first time I sparred with Peter. I did get really winded though and now I know I really need to work on my stamina. I haven't been running since I started TKD and I need to incorporate that into my week. Yeah, one more thing to add to my already overflowing plate.

After the sparring, we lined up and knelt down in front of the judges. The kids got stars for excellence at home, in the studio, and at school and then they handed out the trophies. They called my name and said you all know why Kelsi deserves this trophy right? You all saw how she tested today. Let's give her a hand. It was so unexpected that there would be trophies and I need a trophy like I need a hole in my head but it felt so good to get it! I worked so hard and was so prepared, mentally and physically, for that test so it was really nice to be recognized for it. I want to be that prepared for every belt test that I have.

On Monday I was told that I officially promoted to orange belt and then he taught me my new form, new 8 hand techniques, new self defenses, new one step sparrings and new falling motion. Suddenly, I don't know anything again - it's all new and it all feels weird and uncomfortable. Which is exactly the way it's supposed to be.

1 comment:

Daria said...

You are so inspiring!