It's time for the Friday Confessional party. Confession is good for the soul, so stop by to share all your dirty, little secrets. You'll feel better when you're finished, and we promise not to judge.
I feel like the only thing I have to talk about this week is my black belt exam yesterday. To begin with, I passed. But I confess that I feel the exam could have gone a whole lot better. I was nervous going into it, and I continued to be nervous right up to the end of the exam.
Some of the other black belts in our school said that for them the nerves went away about three techniques into the exam and they got into a "zone" where it didn't matter who was in the room or what else was going on around them.
That wasn't the case for me, I continued to be well aware of anyone coming and going, when the testing panel was consulting with each other and when other people were looking in the door to see what was going on.
I just did my absolute best to push all that to my periphery and focus on my partner (uke) and the caller who was calling my technique and acting as my advocate. I know that on a normal day when I'm training, I get too concerned with looking to my sensei for approval after a performing a technique and that I over think things if I do that enough.
It was important to me that during the exam, that I did not let those mental stumbling blocks get in my way of performing. What I think happened as a result of trying to keep those mental elements at bay, I sacrificed my attention to detail while performing the exam, and it showed in the feedback I got from my exam panel.
I was disappointed that some of the feedback was what it was...not because I disagreed but because I feel that had I been more relaxed and not in an exam environment, then I think that I would have performed better.
It's hard when you hold yourself to a really high standard and don't perform to that level, even if the performance is deemed acceptable. I supposed I need to take the advice that I give to my friends who are training and give myself more grace.
I don't want this confessional to be all about what didn't go right. I can identify several things that I feel went well:
- I didn't have problems remembering or mixing up technique names except for the very last two techniques on the exam.
- I remembered to kiai (verbally express energy) on most of my techniques, and my uke told me afterward that it made a big difference for him, especially with the weapons lists.
- I was able to perform my biggest identified problem technique, and it passed without needing to be repeated.
- There is one list that required bringing your energy way up and maintaining it; I felt that I didn't break concentration the entire list.
Now that I've talked through how I feel with several friends and written about it, I'm going to let go any feelings of disappointment because I passed! Next week, I'll make a list of things that I want to improve as I train. Today, I'm going to celebrate the win.
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