Note, this will not be my best writing ever. Lots of things jumbled up in my head.
Tested for my First Dan (pronounced don) today. Wasn't the hardest test ever. In fact I really enjoyed it. Stretching out before the class, one of the 3rd gups said I looked so relaxed. Truth was, I was. Felt good, in the zone.
I messed up forms, but didn't let it show. I kept going through instead of stopping. I was told if I was going to mess up it would be on the test, and to move through it.
I missed ki-haps, added extra motions, left motions out, and added more, on my bo form. I'm sure my arm wasn't high enough, and I over extended on o-dan and bassai. I almost fell over on Bassai.
The snap of the uniform around me was very distracting. The weight of it, trapped the heat and humidity that my body was generating and soaked up all the water coming out of me.
I rocked the knife and club. I didn't get to use a real knife though. I was really looking forward to it. We got it out, we were set to go. However my partner for it, even though all he was doing was challenging, didn't feel comfortable. He hadn't worked with me much with the real knife, just the rubber ones. But we've worked the club together the most. Mostly he was worried about getting injured and not having insurance (lost his job, after he unionized his store).
Doing the 1 steps, the self defense, the knife and club (After the forms), I was soaked in my uniform. I was also breathing hard. The uniform started off fine, but once the cotton started soaking up the sweat it got heavy and harder to move it.
Actually, one of the masters, when they were giving me my cert said that, that was the best knife and club they've seen on a Dan test in a long time.
Felt sorry for Jason (3rd gup). He hasn't been there for a while, but came just for my test. He's been with the club off and on longer than I have been. He was a Green belt (6th or 5th gup) when I was still a white belt. Anyway, Jason was my partner for 1 steps, take downs and self defense. I threw him around like a rag doll. The only surprise was when we switched to kick 1 steps. I took a round house to the side of the face. Thought it was a side kick, messed up the block completely.
Sparing, pretty much at the start of it, I threw a bad kick (meant to pull the guy down for a punch to the face) that was blocked. the block was between the smallest toe and the one next to it on the right foot. My foot hurts, the toe is swollen and purple.
Sparing was 5 on 1 at one point. Exhausted, dripping sweat from everywhere. Turns were causing the sweat to fling out of my hair. Got in some bad situations, but didn't stop. Figure if one guy is holding me, I don't have to worry about him while I attack everyone else with kicks. :)
I grabbed a few people and threw them back into the groups of 3 that would from coming from one direction when I'd move around the floor. But between the Uniform, sucking air (all the work it took to get the moves going with the weight of the uniform getting heavier with each minute), and just the length of the sparing bit.
Got some of the history wrong. So it goes. Did sparing, then the basic motions, then the history. Like I think I said, the toe was causing problems with my basics. Couldn't even do a front stance with it being the back leg. At the end of the basics I was asked to do a Tornado kick. I can do them from time to time, but not with my toe, ended up on my butt. No biggy.
The breaks... I messed up the first one, I tried to stop / change strike in mid motion. Ended up just tapping the board. Supposed to be a palm, threw a fist. The second strike was clean hammer fist straight through 2 boards. The side kick, the holders moved back with the kick. The second attempt was a jump side kick. No ki-haps, and all the wood fell... Then I had to do the speed break. I've practiced it 2x and never broke. Ki-happed on the speed break, and the board exploded, like it should have. (It was a very nice board. 10 years old or so. Dried out to the point it was starting to crack).
Got my cert, my belt buckle. I'm the 11th person to go from Gup to Dan under our current masters (going back to 1994). But we're a small school, and have a hard time keeping people. It's a cheap class, but people keep leaving for work, school, whatever.
I started as a kid in December of 1985. It took me until May of 2010 (24 1/2 years) to get here.
Along the way, I stopped because I didn't want to be there as a kid. I wanted to play baseball, football, do cub scouts, etc. I swam for 4 years in high school. Looked into going back in 95, but was told the school was no more after Grand Master Ormanian passed away. I was giving bad information.
In 97, I really wanted to go back and at least get a black belt. I felt like I was missing something from my life that the Black Belt should have gave me. I signed up at an expensive school a couple of miles from home. After doing that, I felt nostalgic and drove by the community center the old school was in. Just happened to be the right day. Drove by, there was a master and 2 black belts in there. I actually stopped dead in the middle of the road. I parked, ran in, and talked to them. Found out it was the same school.
After that, I had to keep missing classes because of college (classes were only available on the same night as Tang Soo Do (just like the sports and scouting when I was a kid)). But I always made a point to come back. I got there early most nights and worked with the kids class (because if I didn't I'd have slept through the class, working midnight).
Then in 2002 I got a job working in a bar. Best I could get at the time (only thing I could get at the time). Working the same days and times as the classes. In 2003, I got ran over by a drunk driver. Lost 4 years of training because of that.
Even when I went back to training in 2007, I would still miss months of class at a time, because of work.
They wanted me to test in December, but I knew I wasn't ready. Forms I needed to know, I didn't know. I'm glad I waited. Now my goal is not not take another 25 years to make Master. :)