You’re looking at a new second stripe! Considering I’ve never tested for any type of martial art before, I was a little more than intimidated. Here’s my account of the nerve-wracking, but wonderfully rewarding experience!
R came over the day before to go over some last minute points for the requirements. We did some movement drills, tumbling, and practiced scissor sweeps until the scabs on my elbows?! broke open again. I seem to be stuck in this endless cycle of healing/recovery when it comes to the variety of mat burns on my body. Anyway, moving on! We drilled briefly so that I wouldn’t be overtired for the test, and got an early night’s rest.
I woke up early on Sunday and after a quick walk with the pup, I headed over the gym. I overestimated my time, so I went to hang out with R for a bit before skipping off to the gym since they’re fairly close by.
A few of the guys were milling about outside the gym doors – which were locked. The blue belts were still testing and we weren’t privy to their testing requirements. Most of the guys that I’ve been drilling with regularly were there, and it was nice just to laugh and joke around for a bit before the test started.
I was the only girl (though not surprising) that was testing and we grouped with a pair of guys that I’ve had the opportunity to roll with for a few classes now. It was relief to test with people you’ve rolled with in class. I’m learning that certain people have particular styles that have strengths and weaknesses in all areas. Our head instructor called our names and rotated through the various requirements. I think I messed up during one of the stack pass drills and quickly settled into guard and tried again. We had the opportunity to do all the requirements a few times, and on both sides. Then, came the fun part!
We were then asked to do ‘positional training’ while we switched partners in 5 minute intervals. I have a poor sense of time when I’m grappling on the mats, so they may have been closer to 2 minutes, but they felt like forever! I rolled with A, and laughed when I almost clipped him in the head with a knee. We have a running joke in class that I seem to aim for his head whenever we roll.
At the end of the test, we lined up and congratulated each other as we were called up and given our stripes. It’s a small step in a much larger journey, but one that I’m proud to say that I’m dedicated to.