Friday, October 13, 2006

Easiest testing----EVER!!!

Oh yeah, you read that right. I got a MAJOR break tonight in many respects, but even if I had done things conventionally, I think I still would've been okay.

Well, we had a slightly rocky start, as we were going to test/graduate in Pennington ATA instead of our home school, the Princeton ATA. Graduation was at 5:30 PM. We hadn't changed into our uniforms (as Drew wanted to change there), and I'm trying to get JC and Drew out the door, knowing how rush hour traffic is in our area to get out that way. And of course, JC thinks we are going to Princeton, so he doesn't understand, at first, why I'm on the verge of going ballistic on his butt to get out the door. So, fortunately, I was able to steer him through some short cuts which did improve our time to get ourselves to Pennington, and we were only a few minutes late. At least I had Ma'am's cell phone number (which she didn't pick up) and I know the Pennington phone number by heart, and she picked that up, so she knew we'd be late due to traffic. As usual, she was cool about it.

We arrived and rushed into the ladies' bathroom to change quickly. We lined up as best as we could, as it was not laid out the same was as our school. No biggie. I had reminded Drew that being that he was from our school and not this one we were at, he was a high rank, and he had to behave like one. Most of the time, he did behave. And other times, he was still a monkey. I think part of it was that he was excited, and he was in this BIG space (bigger than our school), so he wanted to be able to run and jump and explore, etc. He's a difficult boy to keep down!

Nonetheless, because we were there, we got to be the example for the little tiny tigers along with a few others, namely two kids whom I knew from our school, and Mr. P, Victoria's dad. I've been in class with the two kids before, as their parents also take class with them, and their parents are my age, and they are all just a few belts ahead. They are a nice family. The parents were there, naturally, to root the kids on.

So, Ma'am finished with the little ones, and then she had Drew come up. Now, at age 5, Drew isn't always expected to remember his form, or even half of it, so Ma'am did it with him. She bowed him in, and he remembered what to do except he almost called her "sir", as he's used to declaring "My goal is black belt, Sir!" since in class, his teachers are usually men. But he caught himself and got the Ma'am out. He did a good job overall. I think I was most impressed because he was doing this in front of a lot of people, and other than Ma'am doing it along with him, he was essentially all by himself doing his forms and one steps. He remembered the rhyme that went with one of the one steps ("Hickory Dickory Block", from Songahm #2 for those who know that one), and he did his one step pretty much solo, with minimal help from Ma'am. I was really proud of him.

Then it was my turn. I had to do mine with two white belts, and I don't even know what form they were doing. I wasn't paying attention. I was just doing my own thing. I got caught about three-quarters of the way through when I lost my track of thought, and then when I got the reminder of the next step, then I was fine. How embarrassing! But, I just went with it, because I happen to know that Ma'am knows that I know the form, as she saw me do it just two days ago without any goofs. Diane, the mom of the two kids from our school whom I've taken class with in the past, told me later that she wanted to yell out the next step, as she knew that I would know it. She said that she always notices that I work hard to make the form as perfect as possible when I do it, and other than that slight slip, I did it really well, which was nice of her to say. I also felt pretty decently about my weapons form. Only problem was that I was doing it with those two kids, and we hadn't allotted for enough room, so my Jahng Bong slightly scraped against the mirrors behind me when I did part of my form. But I knew I had to be doing it fairly decently, because I could hear the swishing sounds from the staff whirring by as I manuevered it. ;-)

Then, believe it or not, I was one of the senior ranks there. Not only in belt level, but also collar level. I was being used as an example of the Leadership program, where Ma'am pointed out how she, Mr. P and I had different collar colors to show different levels of instructorship (instructorhood?). So I got to hold boards for the kids, and that was fine. I was also used for a self-defense thing for the little ones who were using other people instead of classmates. Which was fine.

But here was the icing on the cake. Normally, part of achieving rank, especially at my level, is not only doing your form, doing your permission to test board break, and the optional weapons form, but also you must spar. guessed it. We didn't spar! Hooray! I was SOOOOO happy. I thanked Ma'am later. There was another female adult color belt who was part of the Pennington school that I could have sparred, or heck, you could've geared up Drew and I and we would've gone at it. But she told me that with SO many little Tiny Tiger white belts, that their patience levels while we would get geared up and sparred wouldn't be there, so it wasn't worth it. Besides, she knows what I'm capable of, so it's a freebie for this time. OH YEAH!

Hence, this had to be the easiest testing I've done yet. I don't expect it to be this easy again necessarily, but I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, y'know? It also felt kinda good-- and this was something I was trying to impress upon Drew-- that it felt good not to be the bottom rung, but rather a high rank. Even Diane said to me after the whole thing was, "Look at you! You're not at the bottom anymore, but one of the high rank color belts now!". And she's right. I'm so used to being at the bottom of the pecking order, and now I'm closer to the top, at least color belt wise. And even Drew was a high rank for a day, and he held his own, all things considered. JC doesn't think Drew really cares about getting new belts and such. He just likes to go. Eventually it will matter to Drew what rank he is, because he has to eventually get out of the white/orange/yellow cycle and finally do something new when moving up to camo-red levels. I think there may be one cycle when he and I will be doing the same thing, but we'll have to see.

And now...the photos! (I know you were waiting for those...)

Ma'am asking Drew if he knows his one steps.

Yes, the fat marshmellow lady in the middle is me doing my form. White is not a good color on a voluptuous woman, as my husband is kind enough to describe me.

Drew is being called first to show the white belts how to receive your belt. :-)Go Drew! That's me congratulating him at the same time.

Drew with his new Masters' Orange/Yellow belt (aka Yellow Recommended). He might have been promoted, but he's still a monkey boy!

So, all in all, a good night. I am FINALLY a brown belt, and moving out of that intermediate level. I'm past the halfway point with my belts. Being a brown belt will take two cycles, then red will take two cycles, and I believe that red/black will also be two cycles. My guess is that I'll be testing for my black belt in August, just in time for my 39th birthday. Man, and when that happens, the whole school stands and bows to you when you receive your belt, and that's probably gonna make me cry. I predict it now, so we'll see what happens in August.

My next things to worry about is my midterm for Brown belt, and the next tournament, which should be at almost the same time in early December. I know this form will be MUCH easier than what I just did, as it will be a camo level form, aka Songahm #4, which I haven't done. Heck, after doing Chuhng Jung #2, it should be a piece of cake!

Hooray! I'm a brown belt now!


John Vesia said...

In a way, testing (or competing) for forms is tougher than sparring. I know how rough a big test can be, especially the days leading up to it. Anyway, congratulations on being a brown belt! ("Collar level" rank for instructors? Interesting. Don't they wear their ranks on their collars on Star Trek?)

Windsornot said...

Thanks! Heh heh, yes, I think you are right, they do have ranking on collars. Collar colors show what level of instructor training a person in leadership is at. Junior leaders are a red, white and blue stripe. Instructor trainees (like me) are red stripes. After 1st level of certification, you have a red/black, and then a black/red/black, full black, and black/blue/black, etc. Some of it denotes, if you are a school owner, how big a school you have (as in how many students enrolled). So, technically, due to collars, being that I'm a red collar, I could outrank a 3rd degree black belt kid who does not have any color collar. Go figure. ;-) At least, as I mentioned, I'm not a low rank anymore...getting closer all the time to that black belt!