Sunday, April 05, 2009

Dan Test Prep

Life continues on its busy, busy track. With the dan test approaching (8 weeks and counting) I've upped the number of hours I'm devoting to training considerably (class 3 nights per eweek, plus Saturday morning family class) and I also find I spend a lot of time just thinking about Tang Soo Do - running forms and one-steps in my head, visualizing techiques and reciting them in Korean, or just thinking back on the past three and a half years and explorng the effects that training has had on my life.

Perhaps the most significant impact of this run-up to the test, though, has been the introduction of the dan test prep sessions we participate in on Sunday afternoons. For two hours each Sunday afternoon Master Nunan leads a fairly intensive training session specifically for folks that will be testing in the upcoming dan test. The goals are multiple: increase stamina, sharpen technique, ready ourselves mentally for the rigors of test day, and get our testing group working as a functional unit in order to look our best on test day.

The biggest benefit I feel so far has been the sense of unity we're building as a group. We have a fairly large group testing -- 9 so far, though that number may increase to 11 or 12 depending on whether a couple of folks show up today or not. Plus we have another 4 students from Belton testing with us, along with about 4 or 5 from New Braunfels. There's a lot of ground to cover on test day and it's important that we work as a group, staying in sync on line drills and forms (especially on forms), and working well with our partners, whoever they may be. These extra hours with our peers are really helping to tighten things up.

The biggest concern I've got right now is getting our forms synchronized and paced properly. For those unfamiliar with how forms are performed on our tests, the basic idea is to stay synchronized, and to peform the form at the pace that is set by the most senior student who ios testing. We're about evenly split between kids and teens/adults on this test, and kids in general tend to go WAY too fast on forms. So, getting them to stay at the same pace as the adults is already a challenge.

An additional complication we've just encountered, though, is that we just found out that we have a different senior on this test than we'd expected. Prior to last week we thought that either me (since I've been training a few months longer than almost all of the folks testing, and I'm older than the other folks that have been training the same amount of time) or my mother (who will be the oldest person testing for cho dan on test day and will be the senior dan of our dan classing) would be the senior, and would therefore set the pace. This would have been nice, because our students make up more than half the total number of people testing, and as we've all been training together for years we are already pretty good at keeping to a familiar workable pace on our forms as a group.

But last Sunday we found out that we have a gentleman from another school cross-ranking to cho dan in our organization. He's been training in another style for 20+ years and currently holds a black belt, so obviously he is now the presumed senior on this test. He's dedicated and serious, so I'm sure that he'll be a great senior on the test, but it also presents some additional challenges for all of us. Most notably, his pacing on several of our forms is very different from the manner in which we do them, largely due to differences in the way he's learned them over the years. It's vital that we get our forms solidly in sync, so now we just have to hope that he's able to make it down for as many of our prep sessions as possible so that we can hammer things out adequately. So, this makes things interesting. Regardless, I'm sure we'll make it work.

So, now I just need to get this busy Sunday rolling. Shopping, cooking, training, and the Springsteen show tonight! Not a bad plan for a Sunday.

Mood: Eager
Now Playing: Gershwin, "Rhapsody in Blue"