Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sam Dan Test

E Dan Tollyo Cha Ki
Originally uploaded by tommrkr.
Photographed by Adam Petrasek.

This weekend, I had the priviledge of testing for my Sam Dan at the Region 5 Spring Dan test. In addition to the Master Instructors and studio heads of our Region, the test was also attended by Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin and Master Vance Britt of Trenton, NJ.

In general, I feel good about my performance. I did not try to "train" specifically for this test. I did not attempt to get into better shape before the test. In fact, due to a variety of injuries, I've not trained intensely in several months. For me, this test was a reflection of where I was on that particular Friday evening. On many levels, I think that is a healthier way of preparing for a black belt exam. If I'm ready (or not) to test, then working hard for a few weeks (compared to the previous years of experience) will make little difference.

Interestingly, I also shared this experience with 2 of my students who were testing for Cho Dan. While I wasn't able to watch their test, I think that we were able to motivate each other to continue and show not only our best, but our school's best effort as well.

Having students testing for Black Belt the same time as me neatly sums up what I've been adjusting to for the last year: my training is less about me, and much more about my students. As I'm the chief instructor, this should seem obvious, but there's a big difference between being the student in the front right corner to standing in front of the class. Most days, I'm lucky to train for about 5 minutes before assuming my instructor role. For me, mastering the ability to be there for others while continuing to nurture my own growth will be far more challenging than learning Kong Sang Koon.

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