Another step along the journey…
Writing 30,000 feet up flying to Amman not knowing if I’ll be able to upload this post when I land. As you may have been able to tell from some of my earlier blog posts when I’m not challenging myself I do love to travel. I believe I’m currently somewhere over the Alps or if not then some equally amazing mountain range.
Last weekend I had my fourth Kung Fu grading. I knew I was ready for it as otherwise my instructor would have not let me go for it. But having done a lot of distance walking and mountain climbing I was aware that I had not put in as much practice as I could have done.
There is always a lesson in the morning before the grading and it is ideal to get in the right frame of mind and as it is run by the Chief Instructor you are open to extra insight and information. Running through combinations of moves for the first half and then our patterns I felt reasonably confident, I knew it would come down to nerves at the end of the day whether I would pass.
Lining up in rows we waited to be called forward. There were a number of students on their first gradings and one on his third before it was my turn so there was time for the nerves to rise. When I was called forward I was trying to think that really this is no different to a lesson and I should be able to do everything asked of me.
The first combination involved a front kick and roundhouse without putting the foot down, and straight away I knew that being at a higher level the difficulty was increased more than I imagined. Or the Chief Instructor was in a playful mood. I believe managed to get through the combinations successfully.
Then it was onto the patterns. From the highest to the lowest. I did the fourth pattern fine, and then on the third I messed up. It is similar to the first and I did this halfway through instead. I then did the second with the improvements that I needed to show, but by the time I got to the first I had to remind myself to breathe.
It is amazing how being put on the spot in this grading situation really changes everything. It really is a test of keeping calm under pressure, more than anything. I didn’t pass this time but came away feeling positive. I had learnt a lot and seen one guy do his thirteenth grading was amazing to watch. Involving both broad sword and staff patterns as well.
I had sort of expected to pass, but in a strange way I am glad I didn’t. As the assistant Chief Instructor reassured me that she had failed many times before and said that the best martial artists always fail along the way. It reminded me that it is just another step in the journey of improvement and now I will shortly be following in the footsteps of history as I shortly land in Amman, Jordan and have a break and time to reflect in the desert. Then to train again and come back stronger ready for the upcoming competition!
…and so to return and blog some of my Jordan experiences as well as the challenges of 2013!