‘Twas the night before Testing and all through the house, there were kiais resounding that would scare a mouse!
We had returned from our refresher class that had replaced our regular sparring class on a Friday. I was hoping that a final review of my techniques before Testing would boost my confidence and ease my nervousness.
This might have worked if I actually managed to remember all my techniques though. I had the unusual privilege of working with my ten year old son and he was thrilled with the opportunity. He particularly enjoyed the techniques where I had to throw him.
We left the dojang for the short walk home carrying our bo staffs. We must have made a rather unusual sight.
Testing day arrived and the nervous energy had the kids awake early. It was great to see how enthusiastic they are! Watching them succeed just ramped up my anxiety levels though as my own Testing was only late afternoon.
Robin and I walked to the dojang and met some of our fellow students at the door. The previous testing session was drawing to a close.
Our session began and we went through the series of kicks, punches, forms, techniques and body conditioning testing. Before our forms Master Saidi reminded us about the 5 critical elements:
1. Mind clear
2. Eyes focussed
3. Stance low
4. Hands fast
5. Kicks high and precise
Then came the moment of truth. Breaking a board with a spin kick. “You’ve got this!” encouraged my hubby, it was nice to have support on the sidelines. KSN Sahar also gave us a quick pep talk before the session and reminded us that martial arts women are strong since they have the courage to face their fears and rise to challenges. We have such great instructors!
It’s daunting enough to have to break your first board but then you’re still in the middle of the dojang by yourself and there’s an audience! No pressure.
“Take your time” said Master Saidi. I did. I could feel my sweaty palms and my fast heart rate and then I took some time to pause and breathe. The dojang faded out and so did everything else around me. It was just me and the board.
It was like doing a depth of field adjustment in Photoshop when I edit my pics. I was determined to break it on the first go, especially because I was told it really starts to hurt if you have try several times.
Spin. Kick. Bam it was broken.
I was overwhelmed with joy as I bowed to my board holder, JKN Rick and said “Kuk Sool!”
My response was however eclipsed by the bounding happy dance performed by my training buddy Vineela. Such unfettered delight was sheer pleasure to observe.
The euphoria was however not only about the thrill of breaking the board but of what it represented to us. It was about being scared but doing it anyway. It was knowing that this was a journey and facing the challenges it presented to us so that we could grow. It was about pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones and experiencing something new.
The three musketeers as we have now been named, Vineela, Ramya and myself congratulated each other heartily after the session. We could sense that this was just the beginning of our board breaking bliss.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Master Saidi or that of the World Kuk Sool Association.