The Countdown Begins...

It's official. I finally have a set date for my test.

March 8th, 2011.

That's right. My test is in three days.

There's a mixture of emotions that come along with that news. Giddiness, excitement, terror, and nervousness just to name a few. Of course a slight sick feeling too. This test has been built up so much that it's like a towering mountain that's looming over me, daring me to try to scale it.

My instructors announced the date to me after class on Tuesday night. They told me that they were planning on testing me that night, but upon asking if my parents wanted to be present for it, they decided to wait until next week.

I'm actually relieved by that. I don't like surprise "Oh, guess what? You're testing tonight!" tests. Even though I've known that I had this test coming up, I still like having a set date so I can mentally prepare. The only negative thing is that I have this whole week to fight against panicking, nervousness, and imagining myself messing up to the point of failing. I've already had several of these. I know that I should not worry about this, but at the same time, it's human nature to be nervous and imagine the worst.

My instructors told me that at this point it's too late for me to try to fix things in my forms and techniques. It's not going to change anything for the test. I need to do my regular practice at home and not go above and beyond my normal routine. I am working on my cardio though because I've heard all of my instructors say at one point or another that "this is an endurance test." I have a 3 month gym membership and I've been going for about a week now. That should give me an extra boost.

Another thing that's on my mind is that this will be the first time that I will test alone. All other times I've had at least one other person next to me to share in the testing tortur-- I mean experience. According to Mr. G, the class will probably go through a quick warmup, but then it's just me out there on the floor for two hours.

Seeing as red belt tests are an uncommon occurance, more black belts than usual may be present. Mr. G told me the other day that his stepson, the head instructor at our sister class, Mr. RS has requested to be at my test. If he comes, that makes a minimum of five instructors watching and dissecting my every move. Talk about pressure.

The only thing that I am truly concerned about on my test is freezing up when I'm asked a tough question. I'm known for doing that. I'll be asked a question about something technical, and sometimes I'll freeze up, withdraw, get the deer in the headlights look, and end up saying "I don't know." This is an important area on the test, as being able to do the physical is only part of the battle. Thinking under stress, problem solving, and knowing your techniques inside and out are vitally important. There will be anything from philosophical type questions like "Why did you start Tae Kwon Do," technical questions like "How/When would you use this technique?" and situational questions like "If someone were to do ___, how would you respond?" The other material is easier to prep for. I KNOW how to practice my forms, kicks, self defense, etc. Prepping for unknown questions is next to impossible. I have to rely on my training.

After saying all of this, I have to wrap things up on a more positive note. Mrs. C told me this the same night the date was announced and it really stuck with me, "This test wouldn't be coming up if you weren't ready. You are ready."

I guess I need to make that my mantra for the rest of the week. I'll update with a recap of the test on Wednesday. See you then!


SueC said...

You're going to be great Ariel - keep chanting that mantra!

Ariel said...

Thanks Sue!

Marie said...

I'm sure you do great Ariel :) I'll be rooting for you.

With regards the mind blanks. Think of an object you can use to centre your mind. Something that means something to you. When you get that mind blank, before the panic starts to kick in, close your eyes for a moment and centre your thoughts on that object. It's allowing the panic in that hinders your thinking process and it's a slippery slope once that starts. A few deep breaths and focusing on one thing can stave off the panic and keep your thought processes open.