For the past week and a half I have had the wonderful opportunity to travel back to Virginia for the sole purpose of immersing myself in Kempo Karate with my friends at Mike Petersen’s Kempo Karate School.
If all goes well, I will test for my student black belt on July 26th – just a little over 3 months away. Karate belt testing is no joke – it’s very physically and mentally demanding and lasts for HOURS. All I know about the black belt test is that it makes normal belt testing look like a walk around the block.
It’s very intimidating.
Most people who start training in karate do not make it through to black belt. I made the decision when I started that I would see it through as far as I possibly could.
There have been many obstacles along the way – the largest of which was our relocation to Florida. Of course Deb is a 3rd degree black belt in Kempo and she trains me with the blessings and guidance of our head of school.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement. The advantages are fairly obvious – I get one-on-one instruction and feedback and focus on my material and requirements. The disadvantages may be less obvious, but they have proven to be considerable.
I train with only one person – one body type, one style of attack and defense (even when she tries to mix it up), and I know Deb so well that I can pretty much anticipate what she will do before she does it.
This has been a problem in previous tests – a partner of different size, style, timing, etc., and it rocks my world. The “parts” aren’t where I am used to them being – targeting suffers, timing is off. I know the move well enough, but it comes across sloppy.
It is also very difficult to gain instruction opportunities. Deb does a fine job of mimicking a new student, or a student who has just been promoted and has yet to see their new belt material, or the student who is a week away from their next belt test, or the student who just can’t quite make their body do what their mind wants it to, or the kid with ADHD, but it’s only one at a time – NOTHING can prepare you for instructing a class containing all of the above – other than just DOING it!
So, this trip has allowed for some great training opportunities, some awesome instructional opportunities, and yes, an opportunity for my instructors to evaluate me and see if our system in Florida is working.
Tonight – my last night of classes for this trip – I will receive feedback on where I am, my strengths and weaknesses, and what I need to focus on during the upcoming 3 months. I am very intimidated by the conversation that is coming tonight.
And at the same time, I can’t wait!!
I know I am ahead of the game in some areas and WAY behind in others. It will just be nice to see if my perception is correct or if I’m just way off.