My martial arts school tests students all year round, but the black-belt test is only once a year. It’s an all-day affair, and a pretty grueling one. You get locked in before dawn and, with a few hours mid-afternoon to shower and change, go through the banquet that night, where the tests finish, the routines and breaks are performed, and the belts are awarded.
Obviously, I’ve seen what the black belts do at banquet. It’s not new to me. I just didn’t make the connection that that was going to be me now.Â Eek.
We’ve started working on the sketched-out banquet routines and yeah, there are a few things that come with that.
Fear. Not absolute terror anymore, because I trust that they wouldn’t ask anything truly impossible of me. But there’s a healthy dose of startled surprise. Like, “I’m sorry, did you just tell me to do a flying side kick over three people? Have you MET me?”
Aches. The kind that happen when you’re so worried about doing something right that you don’t stop to ask your body if it’s ever done anything remotely like this. Aches are the way it answers, two days later, “NO!”
Amazement. The best thing about martial arts is there’s always more. You never know it all. Specifically, what I’m finding is that there are always more weapons than you knew existed. (And, correspondingly, more ways to whack yourself with them in the learning.)
And maybe, just maybe – despite the fact that I’ve always hated performing – a tiny, tiny bit of excitement.Â Hey, I do have until October, after all.