Friday, June 10, 2011

Kung Fu Black Sash Test Results

Right off the bat I have to report the sad news that I did not pass my black sash test.

It wasn't because I wasn't awesome, because I did an amazing job on the test and I was stronger and better than I'd ever been.  All my training strategies kicked in the way I wanted them to and I knew all my stuff and felt amazing during the test.

So, why didn't I pass?

It was on a technicality..

It was that bleepin' sparring gear that did me in.

Here's what happened.  There was a mob of black sash people at the test because some candidates from another school came and were also part of the test.  It was crowded.  Our sparring gear was lined up in black bags ready for the moment when they told us to gear up.

As I explained in another post, we had 3 minutes to get into the gear.  I had been having a little trouble with this. I always seemed to get everything but one piece on each week when we practiced.  One week it would be the mouthpiece.  The next week it would be the helmet.  Another week it would be a glove.

But the past couple of weeks I've been making it all the way within the 3-minute time frame so I thought I was good.  And, in a way I was.

When the time came to gear up tonight, a mob of kids scrambled to their bags which were piled layers deep in front of mine.  I simply could not get through the bodies to my bag.  There was a delay.  I am sure I lost a good 20 seconds at that point.

But I still would have been good.  I put my shoe on, and thought it was on the wrong foot, so I took it off again, but found out it had not been on the wrong foot.  But I think that shoe thing cost me the valuable seconds I needed.  Losing that 20 seconds at the beginning meant that there was no leeway for any mistakes.

When they called time, I still had one glove to go.  I was holding it in my hand.  They called us in to the floor: "Everybody on one knee."  At this point, I thought I could still slip it really quickly, but then Sifu said the fatal words:

"Nobody make a move."

So, there was no way I could slip the glove on without moving, and I felt that I had to obey what he said.

Next he said,

"Anyone who is missing even one piece of equipment, leave the floor.  You cannot participate in the next part."

Very sadly I rose from the floor, walking off fully geared up except for the glove I held in my hand.  "This can't be happening," I thought.  "It's not real.  I have so much energy left even though we've been at this for hours.  I am so ready for some rounds of sparring!"

But, tragically, it was happening.  And it was happening to one other kid too, who also had been prevented from getting to his bag.  He was crying.

I stood there in my gear, looking like a forlorn Kung Fu panda, just watching everyone spar.  It took a long time.  I think I stood there over an hour.  I felt like I was in some surreal movie.  I just stood there in my sparring gear thinking "Maybe he will change his mind and call me over to spar after all."  But it never happened.

Once they got through the sparring, there was just the 5-minute horse stance to get through.  We had now been there for over 4 hours.  I stood with everyone even though I already had been told that I did not get my black sash.  But I did the horse stance anyway, and I felt really strong and springy, like I could have done a 6, 7 or 8 minute horse stance.

So, it's a really weird report I have to make.  I can't really say I failed in my training or plan because it all worked wonderfully.  I can't say that I didn't know my stuff because I did.  I can't say that I choked because of nerves, because I was amazingly calm, in control and having a really great time.  I can't say I didn't have the stamina, because I was going strong after several hours and lots of hard physical work.

The only thing I can say is that I don't have the sash.

It's feels sort of like not getting the T-shirt at the race (although that's never happened to me at a race, but this is how I imagine it would feel.)


Claire said...

Wow! You'd think they could set up the bags a different way!

I am so sorry to hear that...very very sorry :(

Avocational Singer said...

Thank you, Claire. There definitely was a problem with the bag set-up. I had my bag in the exact spot that I always kept it for Saturday morning cycle training. There was even a mob of parents watching the test who were blocking the way between us and our bags. Maybe I'll become an activist for bag set-up reform at the black sash test!

Cynicgirl said...

Failing on such a small thing might seem irritating, but because you know you can get through all the tough stuff easily, next time with a bit of 'bag planning' its going to be a sure thing to get your sash!

Avocational Singer said...

@WalkslikeFox, Sometimes there can be revelations in something that seems "small." I'm planning to write up a little analysis of that "fail" because there is more behind it than meets the eye. Stay tuned.

And you are right, I will be way less unsure of myself for the next test when it comes around again next year.

Thanks for your comment!