Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My first bootleg rank

Tonight was testing/graduation. Hmm...where to begin? Ah yes, at the beginning. A very good place to start.

It actually started before my actually testing time. The testing before mine was HUGE and running over. SW asked me to come help hold boards for some of the kids breaking for rank. At one point, once little boy was doing a double break, and granted SW said he was a little nervous, and all I said after he did a practice try was, "Is the board where you want it?" or something to that effect, and SW snaps at me and says that only one person should be talking to him. I understand her point, but GAWD. I was only trying to be helpful. All the kid had to say is "no", meaning I didn't have to move it, but HECK, I didn't have to get yelled at. After a little bit, she relieved me of duty, as "I had to break later", like that really mattered. I don't know if she was still pissed at me or what. My reaction in my head was WTF, but of course, around a lot of children, and especially in front of her, I wasn't going to protest. But I wasn't happy.

So, I go off to stretch and everything, and that was fine. Socialize with everyone else while waiting for the other thing to end. Just blow it off, I tell myself. Don't hang onto that anger and getting shook up at being yelled at in front of a whole school. So, our testing was a lot smaller, thankfully. SW asked if anyone else had to go first, as evidentally it's exam week for some of the schools. I raised my hand in an attempt to get done early, even though I'm surely not in high school. It was kind of a joke, but at least I tried! SW caught on, and said, "Um, I don't think so. Nice try, Mrs. V."

I got through my form okay. I semi-blanked, but not enough to have a major stall in the form. I had to do it with a teenager, and I think I was doing it faster than him, but then again, I've done this form before, he hadn't. Got through that, and so that was done.

My weapons form was a joke and a half. I did the double ssahng je bahng (numchakas), and oh my golly it was BAD. I mean, technically, I could've just skipped weapons, as I'm not required to do it until 1st degree recommended. But hey, I've just won a state championship IN weapons, so I figured that I couldn't get away with not doing it at all. Bugger.

So this is how I did my routine (in the best description that I can do):
1) Triangle with release moves, each hand at a time,
2) crossing figure 8s, then the flick out together, then roll both back up,
3) Drill number 1 (double Vs between legs twice), Drill number 2 (same flip, but legs closed and the tucks are under the armpits, twice), and Drill #3 (bring the SJBs together, legs separated and swing together to the left under and back up, same to the right, then separate the SJBs to a V and roll back, and one of Drill #2),
4)momemtarily panic in my head of "what do I do now?", so I do this think like the Drill #2, but the hands are alternating instead of doing the move at the same time, and I walk backwards as I'm doing this (I've seen a similar move done by 2nd degrees who have it in their DSJB form) as I was getting a little too close to those who were sitting on the side awaiting their turn, and it was a means of getting out of the way. I realize that I should be finishing up, so I finally get to
5) a quick jump helicopter move, gather up both to "fold" the SJBs, and stab with one of them.

OH MY GOSH. It was PATHETIC!! But, I did it, it was the last freestyle that I could do for testing for a while, and I got through it.

Sparring was a non event. I went up against ES, who is one of the 50-somethings who takes the Wednesday morning classes with me, and she was getting her 1st degree tonight. I tell you, for a gal who is WAY out of practice with sparring, since it was "non-contact" sparring, I would have whooped her butt, and taken her name! (Man, it's so much more fun to spar Sandy. At least she's feisty and punches like hell!) One thing is for sure though. ES, being that she was going for her black belt, should've theoretically been throwing a lot of combinations at me. Instead, it was me throwing a lot of double and triple kicks combos with a few punches. (Can you tell that I really feel ready to go for my BB?). Victoria was managing the sparring, and when I was done, she told me NOT to unsuit from my gear. I mentioned that I was breaking boards later, and would she be concerned that I would be too tired? RA, fortunately heard, and agreed with me, and told her to use someone else as the extra later, someone who wouldn't be breaking. Got off the hook with that one! Although I think under different circumstances, I could've gone another round.

Finally, it was time for board breaks. Crap. OK, two guys went first, as they were both breaking for rank (2BR and 2BD), so they had to have two boards held together for each station, and fortunately, both broke on first tries. Then ES went with her breaks, and she got them. Then it was my turn. Deep breath. RA goes to get the wood, and I ask him to pick some nice boards, since I couldn't pick them myself. So, I go about setting up the boards. For some reason, most people set up their boards close up to the mirrors, where you are almost on top of other people. Me, I practice far away from the mirrors, to give myself some breathing space! Now, the mats in our do-jahng (dojo) have star stickers every few feet so that the kids know where to stand and be evenly spaced from each other. I parked on top of a star, so I knew where my spot was. I set up for the palm heel break, and RA starts to set up my board from the roundkick in the wrong place, because he forgot that I was doing my kick from the opposite side as everyone else. He also set it up too far away! I mean, I have long legs, but not THAT long. After getting him a little closer and angled better, I just took a deep breath, and without doing a practice really (other than placing the boards), bowed in, took another deep breath, and went for that palm heel break. I'm pretty sure I kihap'd with that one, but oh yeah, it broke. I wasn't worried about that break. And then there was the roundkick break. Since I was pretty sure that I had the positioning right, I just took a very quick moment to remind myself to follow through by aiming at the head of whomever was the farthest away in holding the board. So I did just that. But I did, in taking my brief step back to set up, take another deep breath and kicked. To be honest, I don't know if I kihap'd or not, but BAM! Just like the palm heel break, it broke with a very loud bang, or rather CRRRACK!


OH THE RELIEF! It was over with, I didn't have to worry anymore. I passed on the first try, no re-tries. When I went back to sit on the sidelines, I had my own little cache of groupies that were cheering me, which was really cool. It's nice to know that these are my friends, and that they support me as much as they do. I sat down to high fives and hugs, which was cool. I didn't see that happen with ES as much.

When I was called up to get my belt, it was very cool to have my same cheering section cheering for my new rank, which I did work hard to get, considering that this cycle was all whacked out. When I received my belt, SW asked me, "Okay, so are you going to tell Sandy, or am I?" I told her that I would tell her about the evening. (HI SANDY!! :-P) I returned again with high fives. After we were dismissed, I was greeted by more high fives. RA took extra time to congratulate me, and told me that he knew I could do it. Winnie gave me a hug! Just compliments all around that they were pretty powerful, impressive breaks. I also showed the preliminary break for the next rank to RA, and he said that when I did my kick, it was well above head level, and he said, "Oh yeah, the next one is going to be easy for you." So that's encouraging.

What started on a sour note ended on a high note. So now I'm in what some of the kids call a bootleg rank. On the competition level, I'm still considered a color belt. But in most respects, I am a first degree black belt now-- recommended. I actually get the black belt in hand when I test for "decided" rank, which is not for 2 more cycles, or 4 1/2 more months (October, by my estimations). I am now entitled to go to the black belt classes now on Saturdays instead of those dreaded color belt classes at least! Some perks come with it, at least. And now Sandy doesn't outrank me anymore. (It was only for a week or so, but at least we are now at the same level again.)

Whew! Saturday will be "fun classes", and next week, we begin on the next phase, as most likely I'm competing in July -- as a color belt-- and have to do the form that comes with it, so I have to get cracking. I still remember the first section and some other parts. I think it'll come back to me more quickly than some other forms.

Until then....


Penelope said...


Becky said...

Congratulations! I knew you could do it!

Steve said...