After an eventful weekend, I thought this was an appropriate name for a blog post. The seminar and black belt test can be summed up with one word: AWESOME!! Before the test I enjoyed the 6 hours of training before-hand even though almost all of it was a review. There’s always some little detail to learn and practice even in what seems to be simple, low ranking material. During sparing drills, I had to adjust a little to correct my distance while moving in a zig-zag line instead of a straight one like I was so used to and to not ‘wind up’ the attack when coming up to your target. Once you have just the right distance and at the last second is when you strike, and strike fast. During stance focus, my understanding of pakosae has changed a little. Leaning your weight forward as you drop makes it easier to bounce back upward instead of leaning your weight back. Also after testing, and seeing the black belt stance drills it makes the color belt drills seem so much…well…easier. The plado-chuggums (I probably butchered that spelling) were interesting and getting the chance to incorporate the drawing and sheathing techniques was a lot of fun.

Every test is more of a mental hurdle for me than physical and this last one was no exception. If anything, it was the biggest mental hurdle for me yet. I know I get nervous performing for Master Burns, and even more so when there’s more masters watching. I knew that once I got nervous, the wheels in my head spun too much and prevented me from doing the best I could. So I began meditating before class to try and stay relaxed, More positive and keep my focus. For the most part- it worked. As long as I took a second to take a deep breath, I kept my focus and my nerves down far better than any other test before this. Meditation is something I will keep practicing and I think it will continue to help improve my training and eventually, myself.