February 11th, my second dan test. I trained for that day for months. Push ups, and cardio, and sparring, and hours of forms a day. I was going to be ready. But I forgot, the point of the test is to break you, and Master Peterson will push as long as it takes. This time it happened to be about 5 and half hours.
This was only six days after putting Waldo down, after a weekend of sitting on the couch with my sick dog… NOT TRAINING. This test was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m still not really sure why I did it. I guess I just needed a challenge. Logically, I did it because we are moving, and I didn’t want to test under a brand new instructor or curriculum (part of me never wants to, I wish I could stay a Key’s forever, I love it there), but there really was no need to do it now, most people wait much longer than the minimum waiting time, I just barely waited the minimum.
I had to learn and entire set of forms plus my form for my belt PLUS make up a form. I found all this out about 3 months before I tested. The last few months have been pretty hardcore, going to Tae Kwon Do everyday there are classes, going to FIT class 3 days a week, and doing forms every free moment in my living room.
Its interesting being the first one from a young school to test for second dan, I felt like I was a bit of an experiment, but at least it was me and not some kid. We know how it works now and can much better train the next group to test.
The test itself was hard. Extremely hard. Much much harder than my black belt test. The only thing I’ve done that was more exhausting was labor and birth and only because it was 24 hours of regular contractions followed by major surgery. This 5 hours was about as exhausting as that 24. I really don’t remember the order of the test well… but we started with some cardo, basically we jumped a lot, then we did forms. We did all our forms, then did all our forms as fast as possible, then did all our forms in a straight line… then we did tons of kids on paddles while he brought us up one by one to do our high forms. I was doing ok till we started doing jump kicks (this is where Ace got some amazing pictures) that was exhausting!!!
We also did, kicks down the floor, combinations, then made up our own combinations of kicks, combinations of hand techniques, and combinations with both. We did self-defense, sparring, board breaking… and more that I know I’m forgetting. The test ended with us balancing a staff on our thighs while we were squatting. After being totally beaten into the ground (wrenching at one point) we had to squat till our thighs were parallel with the ground not let the staff roll off. Every time it did 25 push ups were added to our total (less that 20 minutes earlier I had finished the last of my 120+ push ups). I dropped it 5 times. We were given a big speech about working together and how we bonded as a group… it basically meant one thing… we were all doing more pushups. Now we all were doing the highest amount of anyone in the group, 175. I gave it everything I had, crying as my left arm kept cramping up and giving out, soon only able to do one at a time, on my knees.
Those helping administer the test came out to help encourage us to finish and it was really encouraging, but that didn’t give my arms strength. I got to 142 when we were told to stop. I was extremely disappointed. We were then told to pose for a picture then dismissed. I cried as a chugged water. I couldn’t do it. But.. that kind of was the point. My instructor said he was proud, and it took me days to believe him. I seriously thought I had failed him and our entire school the whole weekend even though I had passed. Eventually I accepted that I actually did a really good job. Seeing the pictures helped. they are bad ass.
Go like Ace’s Photography page on Facebook to see them all.