Seventeen Days Out: The final decision to test or not will be made today.

Black belt, 2nd dan

Black belt, 2nd dan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My journey to the Second Dan Black Belt test in Taekwondo continues.  Today is going to be a key day in my journey to my Second Dan Black Belt.  Of all of the requirements for the test I am solid on most of my patterns (the last one just requires more practice), I know what I have to practice and prepare to get ready to smash the concrete blocks, and I know that if I am going to spar I am reasonably ready for that too.I have to continue to work on my focus – I might be testing alongside other candidates who may do the patterns slightly differently than I do – either slight variations on the moves, but more likely at a different pace.  I cannot be thrown off my game by them – whether they are better or worse than me doesn’t matter, any variation can be a distraction.

To combat this, and to make sure I really know the moves, I am planning on running through all of the patterns blindfolded later in the week.  I will record them and make sure I am doing them to my satisfaction.  Working blindfolded forces me to concentrate on my moves, and not my surroundings.  I actually once did the patterns for my test with my eyes closed, but the GrandMaster called attention to it so I won’t do that again.

This evening I am working with one of the 4th Dan Instructors at the club.  She is one of the experts on the knife defense techniques that I have to memorize, and I am looking forward to that.  I know how to disarm armed attackers, but for the test I have to learn and memorize nine specific methods, and I am only confident that I know four of them.  However they are all still basic Hapkido/Grav Maga, so once I work with Miss Kelly for an hour I will have the rest down pat.  I state this after having already worked with the GrandMaster for 30 minutes the other night, so I am about halfway ready.  Nine complex moves are a lot to learn and memorize in a single night though… I am sure I could do each of them now… but not in order.

I also have to record everything tonight, so I have charged the battery in my video camera so that I can have it all.  I will be spending a lot of nights in hotels and on the road over the next seventeen days, and having them on video to watch will be helpful.

The diet is not going as well as I would like – I am essentially stalled, and that is because I have sort of lost my focus this month.  On Saturday I am taking my family for a very special dinner, and that will be my last ‘cheat’ until the test.  I will then have thirteen days of focused weight loss – I would love to lose another 13lbs between now and the test, and with the right focus and discipline I am not sure that is unreasonable.

I have decided to cut the planned last city before the test out of my travels.  I was supposed to be in Montreal on the 30th and then Ottawa the evening of May 31st, to drive home Friday.  Instead I will drive home from Montreal so that I can spend June 1st in the gym, practicing, meditating, and focusing.  I will not take any meetings that day (I was supposed to be on the road so none are currently scheduled), it will be a day for a long jog, a lot of practice and reflection, and the last opportunity to tweak anything that needs to be tweaked for the next day.

It is getting real… After tonight’s workout I am going to give my Master my final decision that I am testing… or that I am not.  I expect that I am 90% certain that I will though, so as long as nothing interferes I am ready to enter the home stretch.

I hope you are with me!

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