First: thoughts on the test(s):
They were both long. I watched Middle's from the front of the room, where I could get some pictures of his face. His father watched from the back, from where most of the pictures were taken. He probably took 500 pictures that day.
We watched the whole test. My parents arrived with Little and the Teen somewhere toward the end. By that point, he had done 185 burpees, gone through all of his actions, forms, hapkido and most of his weapons, had grappled and sparred several partners, and had generally been pushed to the limits of his endurance. It was amazing to see, and we were so proud of him as he was presented with his black belt.
My test was also over 2 hours, but there were three groups of us - beginners, orange and yellows, and green and green/stripes. As the highest group testing, we green stripes had it the hardest. We were pushed to our limits, and definitely felt that we had been well-tested. Much of it consisted of sparring the black belts until we were exhausted, then immediately having to demonstrate our material without a chance to recover and regroup. We defended against and countered random grabs, we grappled, sparred multiple black belts simultaneously, and then demonstrated more material. It was both exhausting and exhilarating.
It amazes me that I only have one more such color belt test before my black belt test. Possibly in September.
I was happy to receive so many compliments afterward; it was hands-down my best test, thanks to all the extra work I had put in preparing for it, and I plan to keep up this forward momentum between now and the fall test. I already have the first of my two open-hand forms down and am working on the second. No longstick yet, but I hope to get it soon, as weapons usually take longer for me to learn than open-hand forms.
As for Middle - he looks good in black. Like other black belts, when he enters the dojang now, everyone stops what they are doing to turn and face the door and bow to show their respect. On the other hand, competition season has begun, and being a black belt means a much tougher field of competitors (including the Master's daughter, a frequent Grand Champion winner). Speaking of which:
|Battle of Harrisburg, 2012|
|He didn't place in weapons, but he was close.|
|Open Hand Forms went better. Third Place.|
|Fighting his equally-skilled teammate. Second Place.|
|And of course, there was good, goofy fun with the best friends any kid (or mom) could hope for.|
|An excellent day overall: 5 Grand Championships, 24 1st places, 13 2nd places, 9 3rd places.|