This picture is of my favorite flower, the Tiger Lily. Around these parts, it can be found almost anywhere there's dirt between July and mid-August. I guess that would kind of classify it as a weed, but because it is so colorful and hearty - and it won't grow in my yard, for some strange reason - to me it is has the same WOW factor as an Orchid or a Chrysanthemum.
Sometimes I see my martial arts training the same way. To me what looks all bright and beautiful is really nothing more than a weed. Right now, my pending nidan grading is starting to feel a lot like the weedy end of the spectrum.
The grading is only 11 days away. It seems like there is so much to explore/examine/tighten still that it can't all be done in 11 days. Just last night in class, we worked on tamishiwari - board breaking. We hadn't had the re-breakable boards or the makawari pads out in a while, but I was informed that I should have been conditioning my hands in preparation for the breaking my grading would contain all along. I had no idea there would be breaking because I've never been to a grading at my "new" school, although I always had to break boards at other promotions. So, in addition to the running, lifting, kata, self-defense and weapons training I'm somehow managing to do every day, I'm supposed to condition with the makawai X number of times a day per hand as well. Great.
I specifically asked weeks ago if there was anything I should work on to prep for the grading and makawari conditioning was not mentioned. It really isn't a big deal, but it really is if that makes sense. Eleven days is not a lot of time to condition at all, much less to plan board breaks that are fluid and "logical." I almost feel like I'm being set up to come up short, which isn't cool. Every day there seems to be a new surprise about what will be part of the grading. Last week it was the long line of senior dans that will be lined up for kumite near the end of the test. Honestly, it was beginning to feel more like a hazing instead of a grading. Isn't preparing for a new level supposed to be something that is enjoyed and looked forward to, not something that is dreaded?
I've heard all the arguments about how I wouldn't have been invited to test if my instructors did not feel I was ready, but today, I just don't feel ready. And I don't want to go into the test feeling like I could have used another month or two to refine and prepare. I've trained in some way, shape or form every day for the last seven weeks and frankly, I'm nearing exhaustion. I'm about ready to pick a spot on a map, drive to it and take a vacation from all things martial for a minute. Seriously - I'm THIS.CLOSE to bowing out completely.