Saturday, September 13, 2008

Good Luck!

We have a test scheduled for our next brown belt!

I've been the only brown in our dojo since last December. It's been interesting, but I'm getting a little tired of it. Among other things it costs me learning time - Sensei could not readily scurry off to the side with me to teach me things - who would handle the class? So at best I was getting five or ten minutes stuffed in at the edges of class, and so my progress on learning my black belt material has been very slow. Also, since I've been the only one learning this stuff, I have no one to bounce ideas around with, or to watch me, or for me to watch to just add time-on-floor and familiarity with the new katas and self-defense.

In some ways I think being the sole brown belt for a while has been good for our group dynamics - I started below most of our students in rank and passed them over time, and this gave settling time for everyone to get used to me being senior - a good thing when dealing with hormonal teens (boo, hiss, testosterone!). But by now I think any good that can be derived from being where I am by myself has been long since attained.

So when Sensei announced that T would be testing on Tuesday, it was a definite "Woot!" moment for me. Sensei and I have both been over his stuff with him, and he knows what he's doing. Actually, he's known what he needs to know since March at least. What's been holding him back has been a killer lack of confidence. T is very quiet, and usually determined to get things right. It makes him a little timid and inclined to overthinking in kumite and prone to odd hesitations in kata (though he has generally done excellently in competition). So when Sensei started talking about him being ready for testing back in the spring, you could see the supressed panic in T's face. He plainly didn't believe he was ready - and the way our brown belt test goes, he would probably have been right. Confidence is about 80% of getting through that test.

This last month, however, T has started to gain some confidence that he really does know what he knows, and that it's not going to desert him under pressure. He's still hesitant to teach, but has been willing to go over stuff one-on-one with the other students, and even let himself be talked (well, okay, railroaded) into leading the exercise session once. He still has a ways to go in believing his knowledge gives him any authority, but at least he's trusting that he has the knowledge.

So, best of luck to T! I should be one of the people matching him for kumite at his test, and he'd better chase me out of that ring!

Edited to add: Completely OT - but what coffeem said.

1 comment:

Ikigai said...

Best of luck to him! Lack of confidence is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in the martial arts, yet once it's overcome, can be one of the greatest benefits of training.