Over the past couple months, there's been some talk about a certain test.
A very big test. . .
My black belt test.
. . . .
Mr. G asked me not too long ago when I thought they could pencil in my black belt test. I froze on the spot, still as a statue, and I'm sure that had my jaw not been stuck firmly in a closed position from pure surprise, I would have gaped at Mr. G as I stared at him. I'm not in any hurry to test. I want to consolidate my knowledge and ability further before even thinking about testing.
He went on to say that I do well with having a goal and setting a tentative test date to work toward is something I need to be thinking about. I agreed, and then he asked me how six months sounded. While the thought of testing has been in the back of my head ever since
my red belt test, I have had it set as a future goal, probably happening
in around a year. I've said "about a year" in my head since my test, but that time line has not changed since March. Hearing "six months" as a possibility changed my thinking from happening in the future to happening soon.
I mention this now, because he brought it up again last week, except this time he was wanting to hear an answer. I considered it and what I have to do to be ready for that test. The major issue that came to my mind was not technique. It's conditioning.
Conditioning is the big one. I need to get in serious shape and drastically improve my stamina. I have good flexibility, but my endurance needs work. I've been to two black belt tests, so I have a good idea of what they're like. First of all, they are intimidating! Not only in the time involved - a minimum 3 hours long. Yes. I said THREE HOURS LONG. That is a seriously long time since I'll be the only one testing and the 9+ black belts who will test me will be staring at every single move I make. The test is just as big of a mental test (if not moreso) as it is a physical one. There are also at least. . . five spars plus a 2 on 1 spar. . . back to back. And I thought my red belt test was long (just over 2 hours). Ha! Endurance is KEY! Not only is endurance part of the conditioning, but I need to be better conditioned to take a punch or
kick. I have been told that being able to deal with a good, solid punch
or kick is part of the test.
Of course the second issue that came up is my technique. I am a perfectionist, so there are so many things that I want and need to improve on before that test. I know all my forms, one steps, kicks, etc. but it's a matter of getting them really, really good and up to black belt level.
My sparring is also an issue. I'm still too defensive when I spar. I need to adapt and not use the same sparring style against everyone, because this will get me beat. Going in straight on an opponent who has greater reach is not the smartest idea. I need to stop thinking so much about what's going on, what the opponent is doing, and just react. Sparring needs to become more second nature than it is currently.
The final area I thought about is my confidence. I am very comfortable when I'm put out there teaching the kids class. I know what I want to teach, how to get it across to my students, and I know what to look for. I'm confident there. I'm not so confident as a student. I second guess myself too often and I need to fix that.
With all these things in mind, I came up with a tentative date. Mr. G approved it and told me that I need to work toward that goal.
My goal for testing for black belt is March 31st, 2012.
That's just under six month, which will put me at a little over a year since my red belt test. I think this is a do-able goal. It gives me something to shoot for, and if it takes me longer, then so be it. But with having a set date, this makes the test real and not "Oh, well, it's sometime in the future." I have a goal and I'm going to work hard on the things I mentioned so I can meet that goal.