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Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Mr Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
The Karate Kid
before the test
Prepare seriously. Make sure you know the curriculum. Practise often. Especially for your first test try to remember the names of the techniques.
the day of the test
Try to stay as calm and quiet as your life lets you. If you can, leave a clear buffer of time before the test. Go for a walk or sit down and have a hot drink. Try to avoid distractions.
Go to the dojo as early as you can. If you clean the mats before training in your dojo try to get there in time to do that - if you get there very early do it on your own.
Change into your gi slowly and deliberately. Many professional sports players have rituals they try not to vary. It's like preparing for battle.
When you enter the dojo bow slowly and formally with a feeling of gratitude. Look at the dojo. This place is where you are going to do a great test. This is your space.
Warm up thoroughly. Do some ukemi. Get your blood flowing and get rid of any stiffness or lethargy. Now you're ready to do a great test.
If you have to wait while other people are testing occasionally move your legs and ankles and feet and toes. It's not cool to fall over when you stand up.
Use the adrenalin as a help to peak at the right moment.
Be sharp. Now is not the time to be slow and thoughtful.
Finish all your techniques clearly and decisively with zanshin - remaining mind.
If you make a mistake in a technique don't panic. It's probably best to continue to the end and then do it again correctly. Most teachers are not looking for an excuse to fail you. They are looking at your overall attitude and approach and all of your training.
Listen carefully to the instructions. If you don't understand something ask.
Breathe! Try to control your breathing and keep it as slow as you can.
after the test
If you have a chance after the test ask for some feedback while your teacher's memory is fresh and so is yours. That gives you something specific to work on for the future.
Work on it.
I was going to add good luck but In Japan there isn't the same concept of luck or chance for a test. You do it all with your own effort. You don't need luck. So fight. Gambatte kudasai.