Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Third Black Belt PreCheck

Pictured on the right is National Training Center's Adult Team of Black Belt Candidates for May. Veronica, thanks for the pic (Coach is missing )

Friday  night was the third black belt check. I love these tests. Kyoshi talks through the same routine every time but he has enough conviction and charisma to make it meaningful.  The pressure they apply...makes diamonds.  There are no physical problems, just challenges and there is always an adjustment or a way to continue.  

This time, while I didn't catch the names, he had a posse of very high powered martial artists visiting including another kyoshi (a woman), a SIFU, and a tenth degree black belt from Syracuse. That might be one of very few that I ever meet: I wish I'd caught his name.
I think there are two general types of black belt testing:

  • The single big test which is a make-it-or-break-it-extremely-high-pressure event
  • The marathon test with many hurtles with an emphasis on continued intensity and quality. 
I think our school falls into the marathon category in which you need to be high quality, you need to perform well over an extended period of time, and there's room to fix things if you mess up at some point. Earning the black belt means being a Black Belt Candidate for around eight months. During this period, there are special requirements for participation (four classes per week), for training runs and timed runs, for attending candidate classes, for assistant teaching (SWAT in our vernacular) and in the last four months, there are black belt prechecks. After the three prechecks (if you pass each one), you are up for the big Power Weekend which itself is a mini-marathon of classes, tests, sparring, and board breaking.

Friday night was the third black belt precheck. Five schools, five sets of candidates, five senseis, and Kyoshi.  I figure there were thirty six candidates total, eleven from our school. One for fourth degree (Mr. Edward Mercer), two for third degree (Jake and Michelle, Alex too but he's for November), three from our school for second degree (myself, Coach Boland, Sylvia, Agnes) and  three for first degree (Anthony, Linda & Karen),  What a blast. It was about kata, some drills, and lots of endurance. I performed appreciation form, short two, bookset, chuck form two, and American bo form.  For me, it went fairly smoothly: a few lapses in concentration and despite having become somewhat slick in my bo handling, I somehow tensed up again in the performance.

Onwards and upwards....


Rich Holmes said...

Greg Tearney?

Anonymous said...

What a night indeed! So much energy (and sweat) to share... These pre-check classes get me so pumped up that I usually can't sleep for hours. Can't wait for THE big one!

Mike said...

Yeah, there can't be that many 10th-degrees in Syracuse. I'm guessing the visitors were Greg Tearney and his wife (the Kyoshi) Judy. No idea who the Sifu might have been.

BBat50 said...

Yup, I think the visitors include:

Hanshi Greg Tearney

Kyoshi Judy Modafferi-Tearney