One more week to go.. So close I can smell it!

One more week to go.. It’s getting so close now, though it still just doesn’t seem quite real yet. I’ve been blogging about my Journey to Black Belt for over a year now, and with only a week to go the excitement is building.

After seeing my real black belt, waiting for me on the rack at the dojo, it really to sink in. It does exist! Three  and a half years of training, 7 weeks of prep cycle, and now there’s only one week to go.

My Black Belt Awaits

My Black Belt Awaits

The Prep Cycle has been interesting. In some instances it hasn’t been as hard as I expected it to be (some of the normal classes), but at the same time it’s been a draining schedule – especially with all the ‘at home’ training I’ve been doing too.

We’ve had three ‘pre-tests’ during the seven weeks, to potentially weed out any people who really aren’t ready, and to also give feedback for when we need to improve before Black Belt Grading weekend. Happily, I’ve been able to get through all pre-tests unscathed. The group I’m going through with have also made it through the pre-tests (some with more to work on than others), with the exception of one who had to drop out due to health problems. There’s about 15 of us – most of them under 20 or so. There’s only 4 “oldies” – myself and 3 others who are all over 35, one who is 20, and the rest are in their teens.

So the Black Belt Grading weekend.. 24 hours of pain! It starts at around 4pm next Friday, 18th June, with the 5.4km run (must be done in under 30 minutes) followed by 100 pushups, 100 situps and 100 squat kicks (which must all be completed in under 10 minutes). We then head back to the dojo, and train pretty much non-stop until about 3pm on Saturday. I think they allow us maybe 3 hours to sleep, from 3am Saturday morning after the sparring is complete.

I don’t know much else about the weekend at this stage – they deliberately keep us in the dark about it. I just know there’ll be hours of basics, hours of kata, hours of sparring (continuous and point), hours of self-defence, probably an hour or more of arnis, etc. I spoke about the sparring last time – that’s going to be the real killer.

But I feel I’m as ready as I can be. My fitness is good. My body is holding up and so far no injuries. I’ve been fighting off colds pretty much since the start of prep cycle, as my family has all been sick and coughing around me. Luckily I haven’t succumbed. One week to go!

I’m not sure how much of the grading I’ll be able to capture on video or in photos, but I know that there’ll be some floating around on facebook or elsewhere. I’ll update with as much as I can after it’s all over.

And after I’ve slept.

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