- Last minute preparations, printing out our essays, our photo ID, etc. etc. UGH.
- Last minute panic: Apollo goes missing! We're all searching for him up and down the street, calling for him, as the time for the physical looms closer and closer. And then we have to leave :(
- Get to TKD almost late, and explain that we had a kitten emergency. Chris goes back home to keep looking. I'm wondering what the heck we're going to do if he's actually missing. Justin, in his "What TKD means to me" essay, concluded with this:
So in summary, TKD has in a never-ending list of ways, helped me deal with bullying at school, helped me in school, has helped me gain a lot more self-confidence, made me overall a more responsible and better kid, has made given me a lot more endurance and perseverance, allowing me to do all sorts of things that I wouldn’t have been able to do without TKD, and finally, it has given me a kitten.
So. What if TKD takes his kitten away because we lost him because we had to go to the physical testing? Justin is going to be crushed. Daniel, who isn't even the kitten's daddy, is highly stressed. Nobody's happy.
- There are 6 people testing for 1st degree (4 kids, 2 adults); 5 people testing for 2nd degree (2 teens, 3 adults); 1 adult testing for 3d degree. There are three testers, and various people there for moral/practical support.
- Write the knowledge part of the test. The first question asks for a list of five and I can only think of two. Bad start.
- The rest is pretty easy. We've got an hour; most of us finish with plenty of time.
- Chris comes back with good news. Our next door neighbours left a note on our door:
We have Apollo! She/he was outside your front door shortly after you left.
I love our neighbours.
- As Chris comes in, one of the black belts, a huge guy who just oozes "I'm a big tough black belt, fear me" with no effort, asks him worriedly, "Did you find the kitten?"
- Written test done, we move on to the physical.
- 3 sets of 2 minutes of skipping, one minute rest in between: done (easily)
50 pushups in one minute, rest one minute, repeat five times: done (slightly painfully in my case, less so for Justin, easily for Daniel)
50 situps in one minute, rest one minute, repeat five times: done (easily)
- We drive down to the nearest high school.
- 3.2 km run, 8 laps around the track for the 1st Dans in 18 minutes. The second Dans get a 6.4km in 36 minutes, and the third Dan basically has to run (fast) for an hour.
Daniel nails it, at 17:30. Justin's is 18:02. I fail, at 21:40, slower than my best time, despite training for five weeks and despite every mental trick and positive visualization I could think of and despite feeling like I was dying from about the second lap onwards, and apparently being ashen enough to worry Chris from about halfway through. Everyone's very nice to me though. One of the black belts says that the point isn't so much the time itself (a couple of the kids got in at 19 minutes) but your perseverance and your dedication to your goal. I have to point out that I was not only 3:40 minutes overtime, but I actually ran slower this time than my mock physical :(
- 200m sprint. We do this one individually, and I ace it. 44 seconds. There's something really, really cool about running to the finish line to the sound of all the other people testing and the testers screaming encouragement and then praising your achievement. I even out-sprinted a couple of the kids :)
- Go to Dick's to celebrate. Three venison burgers, one kangaroo burger, and more ice cream than a regular Dairy Queen serves to an entire family are piled onto each "two scoop" serving for the kids.
- Home. Sit. Pass out.
That's done, then.
This week's agenda: practice our step sparring, self-defence moves including knife self-defence, all nine patterns, sparring techniques, board breaking, and review of the knowledge for the oral testing next Saturday. The black belts will apparently discuss my 3.2km time and see if I am still eligible to do the test itself. Obviously I'm hoping I'll be allowed to, but will certainly understand if I can't. Mostly I'm really, really glad the kids made it through, especially Justin. He'd worked way too hard, and wanted this way too much, to be able to face defeat with equanimity.
And hey, if I don't pass, then I'll just do it in May or June, with Chris. And in the meantime, I'll spend the next months bowing to the kids at the beginning of class :)
Chris: So, pass or fail, are you glad you did it?
Me: I now have no fear of the physical test in May/June.
Chris: Why's that?
Me: Because I know I can do it. I mean, other than the 3.2K. And I'll have until May to do that, and I'll join The Running Room, and work on my strides, and probably watch Chariots of Fire fifteen times...