Examination day – 6/7/08 – I finally did MY Karate at the exam.

Today was my Karate examination. I tested for 2nd Kyu and even though I will not know my results until Tuesday, I had the best exam ever.

This was the first time that I was able to do my own Karate. As soon as I stepped out on the floor, everything felt right. I did every movement the best that I could, without the normal nervous pressure that I usually feel at my exams. I went out there and just did “it” for the first time for my eight test in four years. The feeling today was different than any other exam because my mind was not about what could happen or what happened in the past, it was about the moment. Nothing else mattered except what I was doing at that moment in time.

Sensie Cieplik said that once you let it go and just do it, your Karate will be good. I am not sure what my examiners felt but I could not have done any better than I did tonight. My movements felt extremely strong, stronger than ever before and my punches and kicks were connected. I knew that if someone was to walk in front of me, they would not be walking after I hit them. The room almost went dark and I didn’t notice anyone around me for almost the entire test. I was also very happy that I didn’t gas out like I have at exams before. The training, the new diet and dropping 25 pounds of fat over the last five months seems to have made a big difference.

I had Sensei Cieplik as one of my examiners and he was right in front of me while I did all of my kihon. I focused on two crossing lines on the wall just above and behind him. I didn’t want to focus on my examiners and looking at that part of the wall really kept my mind on the task at hand.

I also felt that Pass, keri or fail, I did my absolute best Karate for that moment in time and I will be happy with the result. Going into the exam with this attitude changed me in such a positive way that I am going to try and use the same focus in my training.

Over the last few months, Sensei Noia, Sensei Cieplik, Sensei Plocharczyk and Sensei Gatch have been complementing me on certain movements. There was even one class when Sensei Noia and Sensei Plocharczyk said that I threw the best front punch during Jion that they ever saw me throw. Tonight I went into each movement trying to capture that same mindset and I feel that I succeeded.

I was also very excited and honored having Sensei Cieplik as one of my examiners. I was happy that I was able to show him, at my exam, that I am doing things that he has shared with me over the past two years of taking his class.

I also feel that not worrying about getting that next rank has helped. I still have my goal of getting my black belt one day but when I do, I want to make sure that I truly deserve it where as before I was more worried just about getting it.

I was watching some old video tapes from my past tournaments a couple weeks ago and I am so happy that I can see how I have improved over the last four years. Just seeing and feeling better than before is reward enough and I believe that this marks a turning point in my Karate going forward.

I guess I should also mention that I can hardly walk now because my hips and hamstrings feel like they were rolled over by a bus from squeezing the floor so hard but that’s a small price to pay for how I feel mentally.

Win, loose or draw, this is certainly the exam where I did my best and my own Karate.

About doug

Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..


3 Responses to “Examination day – 6/7/08 – I finally did MY Karate at the exam.”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on a good test.

    How do you handle seeing someone pass when they clearly should not?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congrats on a great test! I’m sure you passed. You are very focused and put so much effort into it – I’m sure the examiners noticed.

  3. doug says:

    Thanks very much to both of you!

    Both my wife and I recieved 2nd kyu keri which, from how I understand it, is equal to a half rank. We are both considered 2nd kyu but we have areas that we need to improve. I hope to find out from Sensei Cieplik on Thursday what he saw at the exam and find out what my wife and I need to work on to improve. I am satisfied with the result and if anything, I will end up training even harder over the next six months.

    As far as, “How do you handle seeing someone pass when they clearly should not?”

    It really doesn’t bother me. I am more concerned about improving myself and if someone gets ahead of me or does better than I feel they should, there might be some circumstances that I do not know about. I have been told from the begining that we are graded against ourselves and if the person next to us or others at the test are better or worse, it doesn’t effect our own results. I know that there are people who are clearly better or worse than me but my main concern is my own Karate.

    I am in Karate for the long haul. I am not sure if I really want my Shodan as much as I did before. I have seen too many people get their black belts and then quit or only come to class once every few weeks. I truly enjoy my training and all of the people that I train with. I used to think that getting the next higher rank would allow me to work on more kata’s but I came to the realization that I can do other kata’s no matter what rank I am. If I want to do Empi or some other advanced kata, I can work on it as long as I make sure that I don’t neglect my current and past kata’s.

    This test really marked a milestone for me, not in the result but my attitude toward Karate and rank in general. I went into this test with a whole different mindset.

    In the past, I was so worried about moving up through the ranks as quickly as I can but after many talks with Sensei Cieplik and Sensei Noia, I now understand that moving up to fast might make me miss some of the fundamentals that I should spent more time on. For instance, I never felt that my Heian kata’s were too good until now. They are by no means perfect but still practicing them often, even though I my not need them for exams, they have improved a great deal and are starting to get polished just because I have done them so many times. I do not feel that my Jion or Tekki Shodan are anywhere near as good as my Heian kata’s and I really think the reason is because I do not have a time in the game yet. I have done Heian Shodan many thousands of times now and it feels very solid. I think my best, more advanced, Heian kata is Heian Yondan because I have done it so many times and it just feels right when I do it. I am almost certain that if I do Jion and Tekki Shodan enough times those will begin to feel right too but I just need to put the time in and do them a few thousand of times instead of just a a few hundred times like I did over the last six to twelve months.

    “Congrats on a great test! I’m sure you passed. You are very focused and put so much effort into it – I’m sure the examiners noticed.”

    Thanks again.

    I really had a different mindset this time and I think it need to really spend more time working on training in class with the focus that I had at the test. I just recently learned that I should be squeezing the floor when doing my stances. It isn’t that I wasn’t told to do that from the start, I just didn’t understand it until a month or two ago. I spent close to four years just stepping through my kata’s instead of squeezing the leg muscles when moving. This is a very basic fundamental that I have only been working on for a short time now and it seems at this level it is expected not optional.

    Being able to focus on a point on the wall is something that I was never able to do for any length of time until this exam. I need to have that same focus in class and not keep looking at the Sensei’s or those around me.

    These are two important things that I didn’t start using until just recently and now I need to do them often enough to make them automatic.

    Thanks again to both you for the very kind words.


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