One Week…

Black belt, 2nd dan

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

It was the title of my favourite Barenaked Ladies song, but in this context it is a lot scarier.  I have been working toward my Second Degree Black Belt… well, really since I started Taekwondo in January of 2009, and then since I earned my Black Belt in June of 2010 but in reality I have been ‘it training’ for it since this past January when I sat with Master Dimitrios Beis and we decided that it was possible for me to test for the belt at the mid-year testing.

I have been blogging about my planning and progress since February, and have been counting down since April.  The testing is now one week from today… and more importantly the pre-testing is today.  Today I find out if I will be a Second Dan Black Belt in one week’s time.  Let me explain:

The Black Belt Ceremony is an amazing afternoon… you see Black Belts testing for their next level and Black Belt Candidates testing for their first.  However if you go to the testing you will never see anyone who is not passed.  That is because in the weeks prior to the testing ceremony the Grand Master pre-tests all of the candidates, and decides if they are ready to test.  In other words, if they do not look like they will be ready, they will not be allowed to test.  So while next week is the hype and ceremony and excitement, today is the real test… at least in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong… if I pass today that does not make me a Second Dan Black Belt.  That has to wait until GrandMaster Kim wraps the belt with my name around his waist and then transfers it to me.  THAT makes me a Second Dan.  There are also things that we do during the testing that we do not pre-test for… one of which is the most worrisome part to me right now… the concrete.

Yes, the last thing I will have to do to get my belt is smash two slabs of concrete with a hammer fist.  They do not pre-test you for that, and it is a good thing too… last time, you may recall, I broke my hand doing it.  I know several candidates who have, which would prevent me from being able to test next week.  So that is not pre-tested.

I had a little scare the other day thanks to my friend and training partner Chris Burgess, who is testing for his Third Dan Black Belt next week.  When I got off the plane from Vancouver on Thursday I got an e-mail from him that said that they had found out the previous evening that testing was this Saturday.  I wrote back and asked him that surely he meant NEXT Saturday.  He replied no, it was indeed this week.  I started to panic as I walked aimlessly through the terminal at Pearson International Airport (it was the first time I recall getting lost getting off a plane).  I called Master Beis, who assured me that if that was the case (he did not think so) then I was ready, and I would test on Saturday.

When I finally reached Chris by phone he told me that his auto-correct must have changed PRE-TEST to TEST, and that it was actually the -pre-test that was this Saturday, and the actual testing is still June 2nd.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I don’t know if I really NEED the extra week… but it sure was comforting to know that I have it.

In other news my diet had been going terribly – I have not been disciplined with it for a few weeks, and I am lucky that when I got onto the scale yesterday morning I had only gained back five pounds and not twenty-five.  I fasted yesterday (not fun when you jog 5km, do a 90 minute Taekwondo class at noon in the 85F heat and then another 90 minute class at night in similar heat) and am now back to the weight I was at… I still haven’t lost 50lbs, but I am within a couple of pounds of it, and hope to be there for testing next week.

Chris and I arranged to meet at our home dojang for an hour to train before heading over to the Burlington school for the pre-test, and I am confident that by the pre-test I will be ready.  More importantly, Master Beis feels that I am ready, and when I spoke with the Grand Master last night he did not tell me I might not be ready… which is high praise indeed! Today he will confirm yes or no… and then I have one more week to train and run and lift and perform… and pray that I don’t shatter my hand again! (Think Bill Cosby)

See you after the pre-test…

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