I test for 5th Kyu on Saturday. I should have done it six months ago but due to injury-travel, I wasn't around during testing or could not.
I have never done a rank test before or any test in front of a bunch a people where everyone is going to know if I pass or fail. I am about 98% sure I will pass- or at least I was up until Monday night where everything started to fall apart. In some aspects, I am starting to wonder if I "overtrained" for my test. It can happen in other sports or even in a school exam. I usually don't crack open my textbooks the night before a test. Either I know it or I don't at that point and staying up all night to be tired for my exam just doesn't work. Anyway, techniques that I was doing two weeks ago with confidence and effectiveness are falling apart now. The mudansha will give it to me when I practice with them- the yudansha will not. I have been practicing almost exclusively with yudansha the last two weeks for my test and they are not dropping like flies when I do stuff to them (as they shouldn't but its kinda funny). Now my confidence is starting to wain because I know Sensei will pounce on me in front of everyone if I screw up. I'm okay with that, I understand that. I just don't want to screw up.
I had a goal to be elegant and precise when I took my test. Right now, I'll be lucky if actually drop people. There are a few people who I know if they take ukemi from me will make me look pro. I don't want that though. I want to make sure I am doing it right and effectively. The test is more than just if I "kinda-sorta" have the idea to me. I want to be able to say "yeah, I know this well enough that I can help you with it when you need to learn it too". Mind you- this isn't saying that I am an expert. I'm not. But to me, it means I've gained enough mastery over it that where maybe I don't do something 100% of the time correct, I should be able to feel/see where I did it wrong now. I should be able to see/feel what is wrong when someone does it to me.
When I practiced this past Monday, my uke decided to throw me in the middle of the technique. I was properly chastised. I appreciated it. A lot of people there know I am there to LEARN it... not just socialize, not just be part of a community, but to attain the skill. I know that is why sometimes some people in the dojo are a bit harder on me, I think they can see the desire to learn and learn correctly. But it is frustrating that less than a week before my test, I now feel like I am doing everything 20 times worse than I was two weeks ago. My will is very strong. I am very strong, but will and brute strength is not the reason why I am here. If I were, I'd be better served lifting weights in the gym. What was proven to me this week is that my technique really still is sucking.
I'm pretty certain I'll pass, but its going to be really ugly. I've got three days now to try to clean it up.
I was pretty nervous about testing in front of so many people but I've had a few "test" runs in front of the class now. Once you start to get going, all I can focus on at that point is uke and listening to whatever Sensei is asking/telling me in the background. I start to sweat, I get tired, but I know I have to keep going. I can feel the eyes on me, but I know that I need to stay focused because I know that Sensei will know if I start worrying about the people looking at me. Still, I'm starting to get a few heebee-geebess now when I had none before just because of how bad my practice was on Monday night. That's not the kind of performance I want to display in front of my dojo and all of our invited guests that we will be having on Saturday (it's a big day for us- all kyus except 1st have a test, we have a few dan tests and its also the day of our big holiday party. We will have all kinds of people there that day who aren't normally in the dojo who will be watching so the pressure is on).
I will do my best. My uniform will be pressed and cleaned, and I will focus... but geesh... I go back to my Clydesdale in a herd of deer analogy.
Ah well, I guess someone has to provide the comic relief on Saturday.