It is difficult to imagine, but I am now inside the three week mark. In nineteen days – June 2nd, 2012 – I will be testing for my Second Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo. I have not been blogging as much as I should, so I am going to take this opportunity to review the goals I set down in an article in this space on February 16 (Planning for Success: A fat man’s plan to test for his Second Dan Black Belt).
- Weight Loss. At the time I had lost a few pounds, but as of this morning I have lost 45lbs. It is not quite my goal of 65lbs, but I realized something important (which I knew but did not take into account when I set that goal): Muscle weighs more than fat. In the past three weeks I have not lost a pound… but my clothes are fitting differently now than they did then. Also people who saw me then are telling me that I look like I have lost more weight, even though I haven’t. I suppose all of the other work that I have been doing really has been paying off! That does not mean I can afford to stop dieting – certainly not now, but not in three weeks either. I have had the occasional cheat day (I had one cheat week too) but that is the exception, and I want to lose all the weight before I am through.
- Strength Training. I have not done as much of this as I would have like to, but I have done some. I will make no excuses though; when I test one of two things will happen: I will break through the concrete slabs… or I will (again!) break my hand trying. There is no alternative for me, I WILL break them.
- Pattern Training: I never thought I would do it, but I have learned all five new patterns that are requirements to test for my Second Degree Black Belt. Last night my Master came over and I expressed some doubt about the level of proficiency that I have achieved, he had me perform the patterns… in a chair, without moving. I had to describe to him every step, every move. It took me an hour to do the hardest of them (the other four I have long since ‘mastered’) but I got through it… Pal Ban Moo 1-2-3. Tonight I will do them through and through in the Dojang, and I hope to be as confident as he is.
- Endurance Training. I told myself (and my wife) that when I reached a certain weight I would start jogging again. I have not hit that weight yet, but I broke my word and started jogging last month. I simply made a statement to Theresa that I was going to go for a five mile jog that afternoon, and she told me that I should set realistic goals so as to not disappoint myself. That afternoon I only jogged about 4 miles… but I have done it most days since, and yesterday (Sunday) I jogged 10.5 miles. It took me 2.75 hours so I am not breaking any land-speed records, but I am doing much better than I thought… I even considered running a half marathon earlier in the month, but Theresa (rightly) talked me out of it. That IS still a goal… but after my test.
- Weapons Training: I was planning on performing Nunchuk patterns for the test, but have been told that weapons are not a requirement until the next test, and I have only enough cycles to do what I can. I have not stopped working with them, but I am not planning on including them in my test.
- Sparring: I am not looking forward to sparring, and have not worked on it at all this time around. I do know however that I was pretty good at sparring two years ago, and I know that in my much slimmer condition I am moving a LOT better than I was. If I am asked to spar, I will, and I will win.
- Self-Defense Training: This is the one area that is a requirement that I have not focused on. I know what I need to know, I just haven’t learned the actual moves yet. They are all permutations of things I have known and used for years, and have an appointment with one of the senior instructors to spend an evening learning them this week. I am not worried about that.
- Stretch Training: While I have not done as much of this as I would have liked, I am pleased with my progress, which again is more a result of the weight loss and endurance training than anything else. My kicks are better and higher than they have been in years, and while I will never be doing high side- or roundhouse kicks, I have no problem with high axe- and front- kicks… and my back kick is still lethal!
- Choreography: While I am not saying it cannot happen, I doubt that this will get done, simply because of the three of us who planned to do this together, one is NOT testing, and the other (and I) are going to spend what time is left preparing our actual requirements… when we are in town, because we are both road warriors and will both be on the road for much of the next 2.5 weeks.
- Meditation, Mindset, and Balance: My Master looked at me last night and told me I was ready. He was not simply referring to my patterns. He knows what I have put into this test, both mentally and physically. I am balanced and focused, and ready… in all aspects. I am ready to shut out the distractions, clear the mechanism, and do my best. I can’t do anything more… but I can make sure my best is REALLY my best.
It’s been a long road and it’s not over… but I am confident that while I have slipped along the way I have for the most part stayed the course. When I saw my family physician last week he did a double-take when he looked at my weight loss, and insisted I get back on the scale to confirm. My BP is back to what it was in the army, and I am focused and ready… and on June 2nd when I wreck those two slabs of concrete I will know that it was all worth it!