June 26, 2003

Boot To The Head! Nyahhh, Nyahhh!

Okay, I really didn't get booted in the head, but that song by the Frantics, and particularly their catch phrase, has been running through my skull ever since this final week of black belt test preparation got underway.

The training this week is pretty intense, because we're being taught by two of the biggest bigwigs in the martial arts realm who are visiting our school from South Korea. Their presence here in little old Rochester has enticed martial arts practitioners from California, Florida and other states from around the nation. So, it's a pretty big deal or something, I guess. All I know is that I'm sore as all hell and it's only Thursday.

It's. . . interesting. . .training under the watchful eyes of the two Korean masters. They stand in front of the class, chittering away in Korean, because that's the language they speak over there in South Korea. Of course, no one has a flipping clue what they're saying, but we nod when they nod, and we smile when they smile, and we pass gas when they do. It's all very orderly like that.

The one master, I think, is in his 60s, but you would never guess it the way he spins and kicks and punches and could probably break every bone in my body in five different ways should he so please. During the first day of class, he used me to demonstrate a technique, and his technique was so flawless I couldn't have fought him off if I had tried. With a quick twist of my arm, he had my neck exposed for a knife hand strike, and there wasn't anything I could do but offer him my jugular.

Then, just as my awe for the grand master was at its peak, and I was thinking how cool it would be if I was in that great of shape in my 60s, I walk out to my car and find him puffing madly on a Winston. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, seeing as how most of Asia smokes cigarettes the way Americans eat fast food. But, still, his mystique took a hit all the same.

I'm getting more and more nervous as the Sunday test looms ever closer. Granted, the only way to really fail the black belt test at this point is if one of my many checks bounces, but I still want to make a good impression on the masters and come away from the test feeling as if I really, truly, without a shadow of a doubt, earned my black belt.

At this point, I'm more interested in proving myself to myself than anything else, and some people can't understand that. Melissa and my parents wanted to come in on Sunday to watch me test, and I told them, quite frankly, that I don't want them there. This is my accomplishment, and it's something I started, and want to complete, completely and totally on my own. I suppose that seems selfish, and it probably is. But, this is something that is uniquely mine, and it will hopefully be a source of intense pride that I can call on when I need it most. I think everybody needs something like that.

Posted by Ryan at June 26, 2003 10:55 AM
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