Sunday, 17 April 2016

Barbies Big Adventure: Godan Test

So as I mentioned, for quite a few years now I have studied a martial art.  I love it.  I can't explain why, or how it makes me feel but I really do love it. 

 I recently had the amazing opportunity to go to Japan and train.  It was my first trip over and I was excited, nervous and honestly a little apprehensive.  It was a bucket-list type of trip for me, one I've dreamed of since I started at 17.  My teacher was there for the first few days, he showed me where all the important places were and made sure I was generally settled in. 

This trip gave me the opportunity to take my godan test.  It is one of the few formal tests within the organisation and is the only way to obtain a 5th dan grade. The test itself involves being struck with - or dodging if you're doing it right - a padded sword that is being swung at you from behind.  I arrived on the Friday and made my first attempt that evening.  I think I was too amazed at simply being there to be nervous or as scared of performing badly as I was before my trip.  I and thought that failing would kill my confidence, but surprisingly, when I got hit I was okay about it. Apart from the burning line on my head!...The next day when I finally got up (my teacher had taken us all out and we didn't get home until the early hours of the morning) I realised that I needed to fail on that first attempt.  It taught me the most valuable lesson - what I was supposed to be feeling.

At the Sunday class I tried again, this time knowing what I was looking for and I passed straight away.  I can't tell you what happened, it's honestly a complete blur, all I know was that I knelt, I moved when I felt I should, then there was a shout, some clapping and people congratulating me.

The rest of the trip I attended a large number of training sessions, often getting made to show techniques in front of the class by the teacher as the newest 5th dan in the dojo.  That bit was mortifying but everyone was very nice - I know I looked petrified.  Not as much as I did on the following Friday when the grand master himself pointed at me during class and beckoned me to punch.  I know I looked terrified because people told me so afterwards...but I did it and survived to tell the tale!  Students of my grade wouldn't normally be selected for that so I feel extremely honoured, I'm probably more proud of that experience than I am of getting my grade!

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