Saturday, March 03, 2007


I have mixed feelings about this test. In January, I'd made it one of my goals to pass my next test on the first try. That didn't happen, but I can tell that I have made a lot of improvement, and its no longer as much a matter of chance that I do well. I feel that I've got more power and better stances while doing my forms, which was lacking last time. And the kicks that I know the right techniques for, I can do well, its just a matter of saying the important points to myself in my head. So on the whole, my feeling is kind of bittersweet.

The white belts tested first. There were about 12 of them. I tested with a group of 7 other yellow belts. The start of the test threw me off a bit. First, my teacher called out our names, and of course completely stumbled on mine. It made me feel kind of bad and alien, I have to say. Yes, its long and unfamiliar looking but its not *that* hard.

We lined up in front of the judges, who sit in a row. I saw my judge take a look and something on my sheet, which had my name and rank, and laugh a bit. He then pointed out something to the person on his left, and smiled and then to the person on the right, and smile a bit again. Weird. I caught my judges eye and looked a but puzzled about what it was. I thought he was pointing out that I'd written my rank as 'yellow belt with green stripe'. Why was that funny? Were they laughing at me or my inexperience? Was I not supposed to write green stripe? Should I just have written yellow belt? I kept asking myself this crap and feeling slightly embarrassed. Finally, the test started. First, a sequence of different punches. Then spin stomp kick (huh!, I wasn't expecting that), sliding side kick, sliding roundhouse, hook kick, spin hook kick and finally a sequence of kicks -- double side kick, back kick, reverse punch.

We then performed out highest form Do San and the lowest, Chon Ji twice each. For sparring, we got paired off and my pair was last, since I was shortest. So I got a bit of time to catch my breath. My sparring match started out well, I managed to roundhouse kick my opponent, and got 2 points (I think for the very first time in a match). After that, I didn't do as well. My opponent would stand and wait a bit, not making the first move. Tired of this, I'd make the first move, and he would quickly move in and punch or kick. This happened a couple of times, and that was the end of that.

The last part of the test was breaking a single board with a back kick (this was our groups very first board break ever). My kick was feeling decent, but I didn't manage to break the board. After my second try, which hit one of the board holders fingers, my teacher said to me, "Well, you're done for today, and so is he." All the other 7 people broke it. So I'll be doing that again while retesting.

Finally, the results of my test were that I have to retest:

* hand combinations, since my hook punches are too wide
* spin stomp kick (! there it is again, it seems this is my nemesis)
* hook kick (my lift is good, but I need to flip it out better)
* spin hook kick (make it faster)
* Do San (Need to lock knees on punches, knifehands at the end shouldn't come over head. Backfists need a little work. Speed and power fine (yay!)).

The comments I received for free sparring were: Be more aggressive with your kicks. Try something other than roundhouse.

Reading over this, I realize I make it sound like everything was negative. I did get some comments on what was good:

* sliding side kick: very nice, could slide a little more
* sliding roundhouse: good, release foot a little sooner

...and that's all folks.

After the yellow belt test, a few blue belts and a brown belt tested for stripes. Then two blue belts tested for their brown belt.

After this we had our sparring seminar, which consisted of everyone who wanted to spar fighting against one of the three people on the team which had come to visit. One of the differences in their style was a lot more punching.

The testing ended with one brown belt testing for his black belt. He was first tested on all the forms. Next, he had to kick with various kicks onto a kick shield which our teacher held from one end of the room to the other and back. Then he sparred with one of the visiting black belts. It was quite vicious, and he had cuts on his face after it. Then more sparring with various people from our school. Next, he broke 4 boards with (I think it was) a side kick. Then broke 2 boards with a flying side kick over a table. Then a test where about 5 pairs of people held boards at various angles, and he had to break them with any kick he liked, all in 15 seconds.

And that incident with the smiling judge? I think I realized what it was. On my sheet with my test comments, 'yellow with green stripe' was crossed out and replaced with '2nd green', which I guess is the term they use in my school for the same thing. So I had gotten flustered over nothing.

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