A few weeks ago, my primary instructor pulled me aside and gave me a sheet of paper after practice. It contained the secrets of the universe.
Not entirely true. It contained a list of movements from multiple positions. A Cheat Sheet.
For the blue belt test on December 8th!
So, for the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve been going over it in my head, staring at it, making odd motions when I’m alone by myself, getting my body ready to respond to anything on the list, in any order. It’s actually much shorter than I had thought it would be. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been intimidating.
My coach told me that I already know everything on this test; it’s just a formality. And, to a degree, I agree. But it’s also a point of culmination from which I cannot go back. If I pass (When I pass), I’ll no longer be a white belt, with no responsibilities on the mat; there will be the obligatory sense of purpose whenever I lace up the blue and tie it at my waist. Regardless of your school’s affiliation, when you put on a belt other than white, people think “oh, he has X amount of knowledge, understands the rules, can help as a training dummy when necessary.”
If I fail (I won’t), it will just be a minor setback. No obligation, no responsibility, but no value either. No respect. I’m not saying that the amount of respect that you get is dictated by the color of the belt around your waist, not completely. Respect is earned. I’ll still help out on the mats, ask dumb-assed questions, work as hard as I can, as often as I can get there.
As a result of all of this internal soliloquy, I haven’t been sleeping well lately. The test is on my mind. I’ve been thinking, not just about the test itself, but about the time it took me to get to this point, what it means to me, how far I’ve come, where I’m going, etc.
Sometimes, in order to move forward you first have to look back, bow in respect and appreciate the hard work put in.
So… I’m testing December 8th. 9:30 am PT. All good vibes appreciated.