We're getting close. Very, very close. I turned in my black belt essay Thursday evening, and am holding my breath waiting for Sensei's opinion on it. I'll post it up here once the test is over, but if anyone would like an advance peek, just let me know, and I can probably e-mail you a copy. I've now gone over all the required bits for my test with Sensei privately on about four separate occasions, so it's pretty clear that I know what to do. The only thing left is to practice, practice, and then practice some more.
I've done three rounds of Sanchin with beatings thus far, and so far so good. Sensei and the other testers have not been hitting as hard as they will on the test (I have no idea who will be beating on me at the test.), but I've also had at least a little room for harder hits in all the rounds so far. I definitely got some interesting looks and questions this last Sunday at church when I wore a sleeveless blouse without thinking much of it, and there were clear fist imprints on both arms. Oops!
I don't know how many people will be there at all. At a minimum we'll have the current students (about eight all told), Rob, Dad Wood & the boys. At a max, we could be adding several people from the TKD studio we shared space with before (they've got the time & place, and several people have said they wanted to come), some of the previous students who know me, and possibly some non-karate friends as well. So it could be a tiny little group, or a fair shindig. We'll be putting down the padded floor, which is good, both for my knees sake, and for the people I'll be dumping on it during the self-defense test. I've long noticed that when I strain my knees doing Kusanku, it's invariably when I'm working on a surface I'm afraid to come down on. So for practice purposes, I currently only go all the way down kneeling when I'm on a soft floor, or when I'm outside - this seems to be working well so far. I haven't had any knee twinges in a couple of months.
The upcoming test is rather eating my life right now. Everything I plan to do seems to start with "After the 21st..." Fortunately the boys don't go back to school until the 26th, so I'll have five days to get them situated for supplies afterwards. Registration is this coming week, though, so I'll have to deal with that.
Robbie earned back his right to wear his yellow belt on Tuesday, and is (rightfully) pleased with himself. He forgot remarkably little for almost three years off. Sensei says he can start on Seisan on Tuesday, which is good, because he's quite bored with the Taikyoko's at this point, and Robbie bored is never good for discipline.
If I remember correctly, though, my brown belt test got almost two months of extra good behavior out of the boys (something about Mommy smashing through concrete). I wonder if this test will have any similar salutory effects?