I've been wanting to write about my belt test since Saturday but just haven't had time to do it. So I'm just going to type it out without thinking about it too much. I just need to get it off my chest!
This was the test for red belt, my last color belt before testing for black. I was the only student testing for this level belt on Saturday. I was also the oldest student testing! I felt really confident and ready for this test. I've been working on this form and self defense techniques since December so I know them really well. Everything went pretty smoothly. My self defense techniques are defenses against knife attacks and I was demonstrating near the parents who were there to watch their kids so that was pretty cool. The kids only go up to 13 self defense techniques but the adults go up to 26 so most of the parents don't get to see the higher level self defense techniques. My first technique involves disarming my attacker and then breaking his neck. Tom and the boys were there and he told me later that it looked really cool. When it was time to do forms, there was one student who was the only blue belt testing so the Master asked if anyone else remembered his form and wanted to do it with him. I'm the only one who knew it so I got up and did it with him. I was so glad that I had run all my forms before going to the studio!
Shortly after that, I did my form alone on the mat. It felt really good and I was really happy with it. Then they had us do our falling motions and they had me do the brown belt and brown stripe falling motion with the brown belts before doing my red belt falling motion. My falling motion was a front flip to a back fall and then a chinese get up (front hand spring) to get up. I nailed it! Then the Grand Master came out on the mat and told me to do my form again on his count. With every move he gave me a note or an adjustment. When he was satisfied that he had given me the cleanups that I needed, he went back to the judges table. I have never seen him pause testing to work with a student. I could have let it throw me. I could have taken it personally - that I had done something wrong, that I wasn't perfect, that I have so much more to learn. But I took it as a great privilege and honor.
Then it was time for sparring. The only other adult there for me to spar with was this guy named Jose who is about 6'2" and made of rubber. He loves, loves, loves to spar and is especially adept at kicking people in the head. I knew going in that I was going to have to keep my hands up to protect my head and I was going to have to move in on him so he wouldn't be able to kick me effectively. I also knew that he'd be vulnerable every time he was on one foot and I could move in with some power and catch him off balance. He had about an 18" reach on me so when I moved in on him, he punched me. Still, he never caught me in the head and most of his kicks were blocked or missed. The only thing he really caught me with was punches and they rarely count in sparring unless they knock you off balance. I just kept moving in and making him move, keeping him on his toes, catching him on his heels. When it was over, I was disappointed because I knew I hadn't landed much but after thinking about it a bit, I realized how much I had done without really thinking about it. I have internalized a lot strategy and I employed it without thinking. So, that's cool!
Ok, that's all for now. I have to go to bed. It was an awesome day. It was my best testing day ever.
Black belt in June.