It's been two and a half weeks since my belt test.
Between earning the stripe and beginning to learn my red belt material, watching Middle prepare for his own black belt test, and all the extra time I'm in the dojang cleaning and practicing after hours - I'm hitting a new level of challenge and commitment.
I'm starting to think of myself as an Advanced Student, and I have the desire to look and feel like one as well. I've been fortunate to have several first and second degree black belts giving me extra help and encouragement as I work to move off my plateau, and it's been great to have them sharing ideas and suggestions with me, practicing with me, and showing me ways to improve without putting me down or discouraging me.
It's been very empowering, and also very humbling.
I find myself wanting to practice more in my free moments. I have mats and a kicking bag in the basement, but what I really find myself needing is a wall-sized mirror so I can see what I'm doing. That's something I can only find at the dojang right now, and it's not often that I get a large section of room to myself there. It has been suggested to me that I should find a peaceful place in the woods to practice, and that's probably true - but for now, I crave mirrors.
Plus, I am in a time crunch. No time to hike anywhere peaceful to practice. Tomorrow I will work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at my two jobs, possibly with a short break to stop at home, but possibly not. I might get a little practice in after my childbirth class, if everyone hasn't already left the dojang for the cafe. Friday, I am giving IQ tests all day, but should hopefully make it to sparring that night. Maybe the group of us will squeeze in a weekend open session, which would be nice.
In the meantime, I have lots to read and I can always practice in my head. I'm being introduced to new approaches and strategies and exercises, and I want to try them all - I just lack the time and space to do so.
Sigh... maybe the lesson for right now is one of patience rather than performance.