I wanted to post about my last Kenpo Test.

THose that aren't in martial arts can't truely understand the physical and mental toll testing an take on you. We typically find out a week before testing that we are going to be testing. The group of us that are testing meet on a (usually) Saturday morning and test for anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on the level. The level I'm on now involves about a 4 hour test. By the time I test for black belt it will be 8, possible broken into 4 hours over 2 days, possible all 8 in one day. We never know. Sensei likes to keep us guessing.

I'm no good to anyone for that entire week leading up to testing. All I think about are my katas and stances, and can I remeber what a mantis strike is? Are my feet pointing in the rigt direction? Do I have enough power? What's my face doing? Byt he time testing day comes I'm just so relived that it is here and I can get this over with.

During my last test, the one for my red belt. I was so emotionally drained that I nearly cried.

I got there at 9am. We did a short stretching session and them started the cardio. Sensei had us go outside and run around the block twice. That ends up being about 3/4 mile. Everyone had to stay together which means the stronger runners have to slow down for the weaker ones and the weaker ones need to kick it up some to catch up with the stronger. I am a weaker runner.

As soon as we got back in teh building it was quickly take your shoes off and back on the floor. We immediatly went into stances and blocks and strikes. After that we lined up against the sideof the wall in belt order lowerst to hightest. We would alternate stances….deep horse stance with arms out holding a bo staff across our arms, crane stance, deep cat stance, while everyone did thier katas. Starting with the lower belts and going upwards. I was one of the higher belts testing that day.

After katas came sparring. I had to go 4 on 1, the 1 being me. It's basically 30 secs of evasion. I was wiped. Physically and emotionally. After my 30 secs was up and I went to the wall for a breath, I was leaned over catching my breath and could feel the tears coming up. I wanted to just cry and let it all out. Then my inner voice said "No! You are the only girl here, you are doing the same test the guys are doing and you are doing well. You will not be a girl and cry. You can do this". I took just a moment and compased myself and went right back out on the floor. This time I was one of the 4. It felt good to get through that.

It's one of the things that I love about martial arts. There aren't different requirements for males and females. We are all on equal ground. A female black belt went through the same ordeals and tests that her male counterpart did. And there is respect for that. In other areas, women will be required to do less. If a man has to do 50 push ups, the women will have to do 25. Not in martial arts. 50 push ups is 50 push ups no matter what. Sometimes it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. THat's what makes it worth it. If it were easy, everyone would be a black belt