Last night was my Kung Fu test to 2nd degree black belt. I’ve been working for this test for the past two years, since the night I tested into black belt. I wasn’t sure I’d make it.
Sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when you work for something so long. And when you have a 3-year-old, it can be tough to make it to class.
But I managed to find my way, despite the challenges, and I found myself seated before Grandmaster Sin Thursday night. I was really nervous. The room, which had cleared out some from previous tests, was still packed. It was as if everyone wanted to stay to watch the black belts test. I don’t know about you, but I tend to get a little nervous when I have that many people watching me.
The room was nearly silent as Grandmaster Sin opened testing for those going from 1st degree black into 2nd degree. Seven of us were testing at that level, and I was called up in the first group.
We started with the black tigers, and while I didn’t notice it at the time, I realize now that the room melted away. I forgot about everyone who was watching — they didn’t exist. It was just me and the katas.
I felt good. I was breathing heavily, but I felt good. And when we got to the spears, I felt even better. I feel like I did them even better than when I pre-tested — no hiccups.
I had a chance to rest while the next group went, then we were all called up to do Pa Kua – sections 3 through 8. I’ve always felt uneasy about Pa Kua, but I remembered what Sifu Matt told me the night before about my circle and which way my legs should be, and I think I did much better. I ended up on the side of the circle I should have!!
Grandmaster Sin told me at the end that we were fine. He’s such a nice and funny man! And when he laughs at his own jokes, you can’t help but laugh with him.
I had a huge grin on my face as he told us we had passed into 2nd degree black. Awesome… milestone passed, goal achieved.
Before I wrap up this post, I want to comment on some things that really impressed me last night. I had the opportunity to watch the brown belts test, and it was phenomenal to see some many people working hard. I was so proud of the people I knew that were testing.
But there were two people in particular that impressed me — people I don’t know — and it’s not their skills that impressed me, but their attitudes.
There was a little girl there — she was probably 8 or 9 — and she had a smile on her face while bowing in front of the grandmaster that communicated such joy. And it really touched me, because often everyone looks so serious. But here was a person who was joyous, and it really lifted my spirits and helped ease the tension of the evening.
Then, there was a gentleman, testing to black belt, who also had a wonderful smile on his face while going through his katas. He kind of reminded me of my father in the way he moved, and when he made a mistake, he smiled, and moved on. He didn’t get frustrated — he looked like he was enjoying the moment. We later found out that he’s 72. WOW!
There’s something about seeing people really enjoy what they do that inspires me. I hope that I can have that same smile on my face, no matter what I do.
I tested for my 2nd degree black belt on February 25, 2010.