It's over! My black belt test is over! I won't know the results until Monday, but I think I did okay. Not stellar, but I don't think I sucked either. Mr. R and I were the only adults testing for rank this time around (Mr. R was testing for his third degree), but it was kind of nice to have a friend who was going through the same thing I was (only worse, really, for him)! Misery loves company and all that, I guess.
Basically, what happened (and I have no photographic evidence of any of this, because me and anyone I would ask to take pics were all kind of busy at the time, so you'll have to take my word for it) was that I arrived around 4:45p (in my Haganah pants and white shirt) and started stretching out while watching the end of the littlest kids' test. At 5:00p precisely, we (myself, Mr. R and Anthony, a kid who also tested for his first degree) started running. 15 really boring minutes later (no, I still don't like running), we were done with that and started in on the rest of our PT: we alternated 4 sets of 25 pushups with the 1-minute each drills of triple knees, triple punches, and triple groin kicks, then alternated our 4 sets of 25 situps with our 4 sets of 20 squats. I was partnered with Mr. R the whole time, and it wasn't too bad. I did have to go to my knees for the last two sets of pushups, but I did make it through the first 50 before my elbow started complaining.
After that, we were dismissed to change into our doboks, and Sir set up a couple of mats outside for Mr. R and I to continue stretching out and keep warm on until it was time for the formal test (mostly because it was boiling hot with all of the bodies starting to pile into the dojahng as the rest of the color belts and their families arrived. It was awesome to have those few minutes of cool breeze and relative quiet to think - I am so glad he did that!!). Finally, Sir calls us all together, introduces the judges (himself, Mrs. S, and Ma'am), introduces Mr. R, myself, and Anthony as testing for rank, bows us in, and we get started.
Forms first, and I think I did pretty darn good on that. I didn't stick one of my kicks (my first reverse hook kick) quite as well as I would have liked, but I think that was my only mistake in that. I did my form the same time as Mr. R did his, and you have to hold your final position until everyone is done with their forms and the judges give the "bahroh" command. Man, the third degree form is LONG! We were sent to get into our sparring gear after that, while the lower color belts went through their forms/one steps and the mid-terming black belts did their weapons forms. (Mr. R and I both went back outside to our mats - again, it was cooler, quieter, and Sir didn't want to take the chance that we would cramp up from sitting down for too long between stages.)
Sparring is still definitely my weakest area. I did two regular matches, one against Mr. R and one against a brown belt, got a short break while Anthony did his marathon spar, then I had to do MY marathon spar. A marathon spar is when basically everyone your age/rank and above lines up and you have to spar them all back to back to back. For me, that was the brown belt again, Jorge (a second degree), Mr. R again, another brown belt, and, thrown in at the last second (literally, I thought I was done and he attacked me), Mr. M. I caught my toe somehow on Mr. M's uniform and thought I had broken it, but after a second the pain went away, so I guess I just jammed it. (My first thought, after registering pain, was "it cannot be broken, because I have to finish this! I'm so tired and this is the last one!") I have a list of things I know I did wrong during the matches, and I intend to talk to Sir to confirm them and get better at it, but *I* thought my matches were decidedly less than stellar. Sir and Mr. R both move really fast, but at least they tend to have more control than Mr. M and Jorge, in general. Sparring either of those two scares me, because the odds of getting hurt go way up. Oddly, while I didn't really have it in me to do anything decent against Sir or Mr. R (not that I could have anyway, either of them could mop the floor with me if he so chose), I would almost have preferred them again. I just trust them more, I guess. I want to spar like them when I grow up (which is going to take a LOT of practice, if today is any indication!). On the other hand, I stayed inside to watch Mr. R's marathon spar, and I'm really glad that it wasn't Sir's face that I saw when I heard "Katie, look out!" and turned to just barely block a kick to the head from Mr. M! I was so bloody tired at that point that I might have cried! Mr. R got the dubious honor of having to spar Sir last in his marathon, but I thought he did a good job. (And I don't think he cried, but everyone was sweating so much at that point, no one would notice.)
We finally got to take our sparring gear off, sat through all of the color belts' board breaks, self-defense, and random PT drill (pushups, in today's case), but for some reason we went right into our self-defense. I had three, a punch, a groin kick, and a static front choke, and got partnered with Ma'am the whole time. Basically, she just kept coming at me with various attacks for I think a minute or a minute thirty. Wasn't really timing it, actually. In a way, I'm glad it was Ma'am, because I always get partnered with her for this in instructor class, and because one of my fears was that I would automatically go for a takedown like we do in Haganah (we don't do takedowns in TKD, not regularly, anyway, we do a push-off and then a kick to the knee or groin), and since she still has a bad knee, I knew I couldn't take her down. (I'd've been interested to see what I would have done against Sir, though.) I know I started getting sloppy towards the end, just out of sheer fatigue, but Ma'am told me afterwards that she thought I did really well on it, so I guess we'll see. I hope they let us know what our scores were in the different categories after Monday.
Finally, finally, we did our board breaks. I went first, two stations, one board each. Get set up, bow in, and my first break, my reverse side kick that I NEVER have problems with, didn't break. Suck it up, blow through the palm heel break easily, but I didn't get that stupid kick break until the third, and final, attempt! I NEVER have problems with that kick! I have blown through it every time I've done it since I learned it. Argh! I think I set it too low the first two times. I'll have to ask. The audience was actually really distracting, too, I'll have to learn to tune that out better next time. It's really cool to have people cheering for you and all, but honestly, I'm already putting enough pressure on myself at that moment!
Finally, around 7:45p (yes, three hours after I arrived), that was the end of it. We bow out, and it's done. Mr. R, Miss G (another black belt, I think she's starting high school now, but she sometimes helps with the little ones and was the floor conductor for the test) and Ma'am all gave me hugs, and several parents that I don't really know very well came up and shook my hand (why? I really don't know them, or honestly, their kids, from Adam!), and I did get invited to go out for pizza afterwards (and trust me, I was STARVING by then), but I really wanted to just have a beer and hang out with Sir, Mrs. S., Ma'am and Mr. R, (and I didn't even really want to think about the test or the results at that point), but the three judges were going to get their own table so they could talk over the final scoring, which is fair and kind of their jobs, Mr. R was going to go out with some friends who came to watch him, and I didn't really feel like sitting with more kids and parents that I sort of know but not really in another really hot and crowded room, so I came home instead.
I'm going to be sore as hell tomorrow, and I technically have the day off from work, but since I left early today to go to the test, I need to go in tomorrow to do the paperwork from today's rehearsal. I might also drop in on Invalid rehearsal and I might go see Heart's Desire tomorrow night. Cute Guy sent me a text last night asking to go out to dinner again soon, so I may do that, too. Haven't decided yet. Rehearsal and the final Godspell performance Sunday night, and then Monday I find out the results from today! Sir usually gives a short speech/intro about people when they earn a ranking belt, and while I'm really curious to know what he would say about me, I'm also afraid I'll cry if he does. Assuming, of course, that my forms, PT, and self-defense scores were good enough to offset the sparring and board breaks, they may not have been. I know there's no sense in worrying about it now, the test is over and I can't go back and fix anything, but it's going to be a long wait until Monday night...