Sunday, April 1, 2012
I had seen quite a few black belt tests by the time I was preparing for my own shodan grading, so I kinda knew what to expect three years ago. But as I've only seen two other nidan gradings ever - including training partner Ed's test last July (where he hobbled out with a broken finger and a broken toe) - I have much less of a visual reference to go on. Plus, Ed's test was during the grading of about 25 of my under belts and my duties for the day included getting them situated for their tests, which means I only saw his exam in bits and pieces. I don't even know the order of events, sadly.
Three years ago, I also had Ed and my son, Squirrel, to drill and train with because they were prepping to grade, too. This time, it looks like I will be on my own, which truly bites.
The area I need the most work in, I think, is "think on the fly" self-defense - you know the "What would you do if an attacker did THIS?"-type stuff. I dread that with a passion because the scenarios that work so well in my head don't seem to translate very effectively in real time. Really, I'd just rather run the heck away, but I don't think that will be an acceptable solution on grading day. Ed - who is shorter but has bigger hands and rarely gives me anything - offered to drill scenarios with me, which I am grateful for. But then he told me he has been instructed to forget we are friends and "put it on me" during grading kumite, meaning he and the others I'll have to fight - at least six other guys who are all fourth dan and above - will be trying to rip my head off. Just. Great.
I asked my Sensei if there was anything I should be focusing on to prep for the grading. He told me the test would be hard but to "just keep moving forward." What to do with such vague info is a good question.
But move forward, I must. Here goes nothing...