Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: How low can you go?

Friday, January 13, 2012

How low can you go?

Over the last couple of months, with the help of my Sensei, I've been working hard to improve my overall form, training four days a week and staying overtime to get every everything I can out of the time left before my grading. In my opinion it has been going really well, and all of this hard work has really helped build my confidence.

Then I went to class last night and my confidence loudly crashed to the floor, rolled away and has found itself an incredibly good hiding place.
How did this happen?
My 'Other' Sensei took the Brown belts through the Shodan grading, and pulled up a chair right in front of me to monitor my preparedness. This didn't bother me at all - after all, I was feeling confident!
We went through most of the test at a decent pace, repeating things here and there. Once it was done, he shared with me his list of comments. Not a long list, but he has a way talking down to you that can suck the confidence and joy right out of you - it's a personality thing - which I don't respond well to.

  • My front stances are too narrow, I need to fix this before my test - this includes in all basics and Kata. So really, not a big deal (sarcasm dripping from that last statement)
  • Watch final hand position in Jion - don't leave thumb out
  • Something about Tekki Nidan made him want to vomit, but I'm not exactly sure what
  • My Mawashi Geri needs work. I tend to bring my knee straight up in front of me to start the kick instead of around the outside as it should be. This is how I was taught for many, many years, and has been difficult for me to change
  • I haven't memorized the grading requirement list in its exact order - apparently, shame on me and I better get it down before grading night. I guess this somehow this affects my skill level, or perhaps it will be a self guided test? Memorizing this list, isn't on the list... so I'm confused.
  • I over-think everything. This I already knew, it is who I am. I've been doing this for 30+ (no need to reveal the + here) years. It is who I am, and I'm afraid this isn't going to change come Feb 24.
I already know I don't respond well to situations where I am under pressure no matter how well prepared I am - I tend to draw complete blanks - I might even forget my own birthdate if asked. Talking down to me and making me feel like an idiot isn't helping. So I've not been looking forward to this upcoming test, actually, I'll say that I am looking forward to it just being over.

This is my low point. Hopefully my confidence reveals itself again soon.

1 comment:

  1. My confidence was seriously dented by my pre-dan grading course because of the criticism I received. In fact I wrote a post about it:

    What I realised was that the preparation I really needed was mental not physical. The minor technical problems I was having with foot/hand positions were not going to fail me but my negative attitude to it all might.

    Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start preparing your'll be fine.