Update 12/13/2004:  I won’t know whether i passed or not for another month.  The head sensei wasn’t there, so they videotaped the exam for him.  Not sure if that’s a good thing, since he’ll be able to rewind and watch everyone individually.  =)  I felt that i gave an good representation of my current skill level, which is really all you can ask for during an exam.  The only thing I did that frustrated me was the very first move i did, a simple jab.  My back foot slipped on something on the wooden floor.  Certain spots on the floor can get slippery.  So, it gave me an unwanted boost of adrenaline (I say unwanted, because it was the very beginning, and i had enough adrenaline in my system, and i had another 30 minutes of movements to do).  After the 15 minutes of doing basics, we sat down to let the next wave of students do basics.  My throat hurt so badly.  If i go overboard working out doing something cardio (about once in 2 years or so, this will happen to me) or run in the cold, my throat will get really tight and it hurts to breath and i cough of days.  So, i’m sitting down trying to cough into my Gi so no one can hear me.  No one did, which was good.  For kata, i felt i did a solid performance, and i was able to get my coughing under control for the time being once i started.  I did the best i could with the stationary kicks, which none of the black belt spectators commented on afterwards to me.  All the feedback i got was extremely positive from the spectators.  The only thing i was told by one of the black belt spectators was that when i do the jab, i telegraph it by dropping my hand slightly before throwing the jab.  It’s a bad habit i picked up somewhere, which i hope to break soon enough.  Even the next morning, i was still coughing, so i really went overboard trying to put on the best show possible, especially after slipping on the opening move.

This weekend my karate dojo Washington Shotokan Association had a seminar with Shihan Fuankoshi (a 9th degree black belt) and Kyle Fuankoshi (a 6th degree black belt). Their website is http://www.fska.com. For those of you non-karate people out there, Gichin Fuankoshi founded Shotokan in 1936. It was really cool to have a class taught by the direct descendants of the person who founded my style of karate. Watching Sensei Kyle do kata or basics was watching exactly how the Shotokan style is supposed to be done. It’s one thing to be told how to do something; it’s another to see exactly how it is done.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday night) I’m testing for 2nd Kyu (brown belt). I decided to start over at 3rd Kyu, so I’d have some steps to reach for before I go for Shodan (first degree black belt) next year at this time. I have to say I’m somewhat nervous, since I haven’t tested in a long, long time.  Actually, I feel like I’m testing for the first time ever. But then again, I keep telling myself to think of the exam as a way of getting detailed feedback on my current performance, and not as a pass / fail sort of thing.

After class tonight, someone told me that I didn’t breathe during my entire kata. It was the last kata of the night, and I was pretty tired, but I didn’t realize I was holding my breath the entire time. I was wondering why I had to muscle my way through the last 6 moves and why I was starting to see the white dots. Yeah, breathing while doing cardiovascular activity is kinda important =)

Wish me luck tomorrow night!