I've been to two 1st dan tests before. The first was in 2008 when I was a blue belt, and the second was in 2010 when I was a brown belt. My test is in 2012. It seems as though we're starting a two year trend. Before 2008 though, I'm not sure when the last 1st dan test was. Both the 2008 and 2010 tests were students from our sister school. It's been several years since we've had a black belt test here.
Which also leads me to believe that come Saturday, there's going to be a crowd. Normally, we have between two and six instructors who come to class regularly. I'm guessing there's going to be a minimum of twelve, which includes the grandmaster of the association. Then there's the possibility of more black belts, since the whole organization has been invited.
Plus a few guest black belts from other schools....and students from our kids class and adult class....and students from our sister class.....and quite a few family and friends who I've invited....and of course, the only one who will be out on the floor, having everybody watch her every move like a hawk? That's right. Me.
No pressure, right?
I've known for a while just what the black belt test is like, but no black belt test is the same. Our black belt tests are tailored specifically to the person. You could say that the flavor of each test is different. It's all ice cream, but the flavors are different. One of the black belts is in charge of coming up with the itinerary. Or should I say "The Itinerary from Hell." I know the bare minimum of what's on that itinerary. I will have to demonstrate my forms, kicks, self defense, sparring, 1-steps, and there will be a teaching section and questions (of what nature I don't know).
That's the minimum. Mr. G told me months ago that Ms. J.S. was in charge of the itinerary. A few weeks ago, he comes up to me and tells me that he's seen a copy of it. I waited for further explanation and he told me that "You won't be bored during the test" (that was a given) and "There's a lot of surprises - lots of twists and turns." I think there was an evil smirk thrown in there too. That was the only explanation I received. I didn't like that answer then and I still don't like it now. I don't like surprises. You can't plan for surprises. I am a planner. I like to prepare. Surprises on this test are going to be...interesting. I guess there will be a good bit of me improvising and adapting to the situations as they present themselves.
At Thursday night's class and also at Tuesday's class, Mr. G and the other black belts gave me a lot of advice for the last few days before the test, what to bring to the test, etc. etc. Some of the highlights include:
- Hit with authority. Ie: Make everything count.
- Intensity, intensity, intensity. Give 110% throughout.
- Show attitude. Small mistakes can be forgiven, but going through the test doing forms and techniques like a robot with no personality is not acceptable.
- Be confident in everything you do. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Don't let mistakes get to you. Show your confidence by holding your head up and looking the black belts in the eye as you answer a question.
- Stick to your guns. This has to do with being asked questions. If you're asked a question and you give an answer that you know to be true due to your training and/or convictions, stick with it! The black belts may be trying to make you waver in your answer and doubt yourself to see if you will stick with your line of reasoning.
- Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is a pressure test. A gut check if you will. You will be pushed. Everything is not going to go 100% according to plan. There will be surprises and being able to deal with them and not freezing is an important part of the test.
- Be alert and ready to act at all times. Example 1: It's toward the end of the test. You're tired. Exhausted. Your breathing is labored and sweat is soaking through your gi. Someone comes up and with no warning, throws a punch at your head. Not a slow punch. It's coming, and if you don't react, you're going to be hit hard.
If any of my fellow bloggers have more advice on the prep for the test or during the test itself, please share!