This is a continuation of an earlier post on the journey to black belt. The grading felt like it was over as soon as it began. One minute we’re warming up, and the next we’re bowing out. I knew it would go quickly, but not that quickly. I mean geeze, I don’t even remember parts of my grading. I’m told I threw knees during sparring, yet I have no recollection of that. I thought I performed four katas, when I really did six. What I do remember is that the warm-up was tough, designed to exhaust you before the grading even began. If you didn’t pace yourself, you were in for a world of hurt. So what else happened at our black belt grading? [...]
I wake up rubbing my eyes, groggy and irritated by the sound of my alarm. Five more minutes. Then I remember: it’s grading day today. Shit, I slept in. Get up, get up!! My wife and I both have our pre-black belt grading today. It’s more intense than the black belt grading itself, because we represent our sensei’s dojo there. Since our performance is a reflection of his, and we’ll be compared to students from other dojos, he tends to… uh, let’s say make sure… his students are ready to handle the challenges of the day. [...]