3rd Gup

T’was the morning of grading,
When all through the hall,
Blue belts and red belts
Geared up to maul.

You’re probably sick of these, but if you want to stop reading, feel free to. I graded again today, and alas, double promotion escaped me. I think it’s an unspoken rule that anyone above Blue-2 is not allowed to double promote. Ah well, t’was an excellent day.

On Friday at the end of class, I asked Kwanjangnim Carmella (I’ve decided that, while that’s her formal title, I can never call her that)  if I could buy a red belt. The belt system in Oh Do Kwan is basically White, Yellow, Blue, Red, Black. Each belt has three tiers, 1, 2 and 3, except for black. Black belts have Dan’s. 1st Dan when you first get your bb, 2nd Dan two years later if you’ve earned it, 3rd Dan three years etc. Ross and Carmela both have 7th Dan’s which means they’ve been black belts for 28 years or more. Up until 10:55 this morning, I was Blue-3, aka 4th Gup. So anyway, I ask Kwanjangnim Carmella if I can buy a red belt. She looked puzzled and asked me if I’d graded. I said, No, but I’m about to. She smiled and asked, "What if you fail?" I gave the only answer I could: "I believe I won’t." She smiled and told me the story of a blue belt who had wanted his red belt a day or two early. After giving in and selling it to him, the guy broke his leg the day before grading. Karma, anyone?I will admit, the longer I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I would break my leg before this morning, or maybe during the grading itself, so not only would I break my leg, but I’d fail simultaneously and never have the right to wear a red belt. However, I was fortunate enough to survive the encounter.

My old enemy the Red Board challenged me again. I had trained for that moment. The first time they sprung Mr Red on me, I was not prepared and did not devote myself enough. The next time we faced off, I was over-prepared and stumbled upon myself as I tried to exert too much power. Today I was determined to be single-minded, focused, and strong all at once. Or maybe I just kicked it in the right spot. Either way, I broke the red board with a push kick, and a side kick (yop chagi). I bowed to my shattered opponent  and skipped back to my place quite dreamily.

There were, in all, perhaps 16 blue belts going for grading. 12of them were younger than 8-years-old, two of them were older than 40. That left me with Rebecca, the only person remotely near my height. I take no pride in saying I was better than her. She honestly got scared of me after a little while. I felt very bad and apologised to her after every move (all of which resulted in her lying on the floor with some kind of joint lock). When we were about to start sparring, she said "Please don’t hurt me", and something inside me died. But… Sparring… This was my chance to shine. This was my chance to show how I had mastered the techniques and could apply them. And here was a girl who had asked me not to hurt her. I felt terrible, truly awful, so I did not demolish her, but neither did I take it easy. Later, I asked if she was all right, and she said she was. I hope she forgave me.

All in all, I did all right. Aboubt a 70 point average, which wasn’t spectacular, but I was pleased. I got 80 in my power test (AAAAHAHAHAHA! TAKE THAT MUTHA F-) which was pretty cool, and I’m looking forward to resuming training. What’s that? Mock exams? TEE? Good heavens, you’re right! Better upgrade from three to twelve sessions a week. Okay, maybe not twelve(though that’s how many are available to me), but around  6-8, and an extra 2 if I can still enter that novice tournament (for people who’ve never been in one before) on the 21st… Kickboxing will have to wait until next year… But hey, sure, why not up the ante and train every day. If I were to go to *every* session available to me, it would average about $1.50 per. :D Viva Oh Do Kwan baby.

Anyway, peace out from the red belt!

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