I tested for my green stripe today. Two more color belt tests like this before I test for my black belt.
Not that I'm in a hurry. I like being a color belt.
And I like to test.
Even though it's awful. I come out of it drenched, bruised, sore, and completely spent.
Plus, I went into this one already injured, although I did my best to play it down. "It's just a little toe," I said to anyone who asked. And honestly, once the adrenaline was pumping, it really was just a little toe. I hardly noticed it.
Testing is indeed awful. But it's also wonderful.
Class, kickboxing and sparring are "flow" activities. I am completely in the moment, with all of my resources being spent on the task at hand - which is good for me.
But testing - that's a whole other level. The adrenaline rush alone is something most people just don't get to experience in normal life. It's hard to explain until you've done it, but it feels good to be pushed to your very limit - and survive. It reminds you of how strong you really are.
The rush itself kicked in during the 40 burpees we did to begin our part of the test. I know I can do 30. But those last 10 were something else. I found myself stopping for a second here and there because I was worried about blacking out. I had to talk myself through the last five or so. "You've done 38, you can do 2 more. Just 2 more. Come on..."
The relief I felt as I finished the last one was short-lived. We immediately shifted to 200 punches in a horse stance. Then, when our arms and legs were shaky and we were gasping for breath, we were told to do our newest forms. At this point, I was thankful for the many hours I had spent practicing them, because they needed to be automatic. And strong.
It continued this way - sparring the black belts until we were exhausted, then going right into demonstrating our forms or hapkido techniques. Grappling the black belts, then doing our longstick forms. And so on. Without a break.
The people watching said I did my longstick form (complete with both jumps, I might add) four times. I can't even count how many times I did my two open-hand forms. Hopefully, with all the power and precision I was shooting for.
All in all, it was one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I've had to face.
I came home with a carload of teenage ninjas and crashed for a while. (Middle did not test - he just came out to watch and support me. His next test will be for his black belt.) He and his friends were good about letting me crash for a while - they fully understood the exhaustion I was feeling.
Little and I went back out later to see our young friend perform in a high school production of Willy Wonka. (She was awesome!) It was good to do that, and spend some time decompressing together afterward.
The other thing I love about testing? The bonds that are formed over it. :-)