I’m fairly certain I couldn’t find a spot on me that doesn’t hurt right now even if my life depended on it.
Having problems deciding what I want to say and how I want to say it, so please bear with me. I’m tempted to walk away and ignore this for a few days but I promised updates after each phase and I’m going to stick to that.
First up are a couple of hard truths for me to face. I went into this thinking I was ready for it. Not that it would be easy, never that, but that it was going to be like a 3 hour long class. A hard class, sure, but nothing I couldn’t handle. One of the benefits of having gone through the FIST program and being an instructor is getting more insight into the workings of things than the average student gets. I thought I knew what was coming. I was wrong. So very wrong. And while we’re going with the naked truth – if I had known… if I had be completely cognizant… if I had truly understood what it was going to be like… I would have declined the invitation and given myself another year to prepare.
I’m tempted to give a play by play breakdown of the day. I’m also tempted to work very hard at forgetting the day. 16 hours after the fact the only thing I can say with certainty is that I survived it. All of us who were testing patted each other on the back and said we did awesome, and I meant it every time I said it to one of the others. But I don’t feel it. I survived. That’s not the same as doing great or even good. I did everything that I needed to do, but I can’t say I did it well enough to be sure of getting invited to the next phase.
I can say that I’m proud of my time on the mile run. Even with the chest cold I managed to pull it off in 9 minutes and 9 seconds. The push ups and sit ups I’m disgusted with myself for. Doing sit ups when breathing is taking up almost as much energy as the sit ups themselves sucks. Falling so far behind while doing them that everyone else has to do another 50 “for solidarity” makes me feel like an ass.
The following 45 minutes wasn’t too bad. Think extreme cardio kickboxing class on heavy bags/partners with focus pads/partners with kicking shields. Was coughing pretty hard through it, but I still feel okay about my performance during that.
Okay, this play by play is making me feel a little better. Next up was the beginner forms. Wasn’t expecting any forms to show up this phase. But hey, there’s always room for surprises and I love the forms so I’m not going to complain. So they had us do each form a couple of times, followed up with performing one move from the form done as a self defence. As tired as I was at this point I feel really good about this part. I may not have been as sharp as should have been, but I remembered the one adjustment Mr. M had suggested a few weeks ago about keeping my shoulders back further and opening my chest, so I focused on making sure I was doing that.
After that came two rounds of self defences. For the life of me I can not remember which order they happened in. I know one was every variation of choke defences… from the front, from behind, from the side, from the front and behind against a wall, and front and behind while seated. At some point during the chokes, one of my uke left a really nice pair of deep scratches in my neck. Sweat, check. Blood, check. Don’t worry, the tears make an appearance a little later. The other was a string of defences against a straight punch. It’s strange, being able to rock multiple defences against a straight punch, and yet still having my ass handed to me on a silver platter during sparring later….
The next bit is a little fuzzy in my head. It was all sparring for the better part of an hour. At first it was 30 second and 10 second rounds against constantly changing black belt partners. That wasn’t so bad. I was able to pound on some, hold my own against some, got pounded on by others. Was a lot like free sparring during a normal class. It ended with the dreaded round robin.
After a round in one of the other candidate’s robin I made my way over to the ring that mine was going to be in. The organizer that was collecting people for that ring looked at me and said “I’m so sorry” then showed me the list of people I was going to be fighting. Sticking with the naked truth again… I wanted to walk away before it even started. I was already exhausted, completely drained physically and emotionally. And I knew I was in for a world of pain. Tears, check. The first two fights were against two of the best fighters the school has produced in the last decade. The third was against someone who was a student that hasn’t been around in while that had tooled on me pretty hard during the 30/10 second rounds. Fourth on the list was one of the other candidates. The fifth and final round was against someone whose skills I respect and hits like a Mack Truck. Side note for anyone who hasn’t done this… The candidates don’t get a break between matches. Already past the point of exhaustion, 5 fights in a row, no resting, against opponents that are fresh. Well, okay, 4 fresh opponents in this case, with 1 as exhausted as you.
First round I took a side kick to the face. It rung my bell so hard that the powers that be were worried about letting me drive myself home afterwards. I can’t say with any certainty that I actually landed a hit during that match. Second round I did land a few solid blows. I remember this because I’ve sparred with this particular person quite a few times and have never been able to tag him in the past. Frustrate him, yes. Jam him up on occasion certainly. But land a solid hit? Not until yesterday. Third match was embarrassing for me. Half way through the round he dropped his guard completely and started yelling at me to hit him. It took a few times of me doing exactly that before he was satisfied and started tooling on me again. Fourth round I was able to catch my breath. Mrs G has less than half my body mass, and was as exhausted as I was. There were lots of hits exchanged, but it was more of a matter of don’t stop moving than it was OMG I’M GOING TO DIE. I don’t remember anything from the last fight except knowing that it had to stop, it has to stop, I can’t do this anymore, please god let it end.
And then it ended. All in all, it took 3 hours. Felt more like 3 days.
There were many things said by Mr.M that I didn’t hear/understand. We were bowed out. There was some back patting and atta-boys… Somehow I had gotten to the staff office out back, changed out of my uniform and sat down in one of the chairs. I don’t remember doing this either. I do remember feeling like I should close and lock the door so that I could have an uninterrupted complete meltdown. I remember Mr. L coming in and telling him that all I wanted to do was crawl under the desk and cry for a few hours and him saying that was perfectly normal. It took me about half an hour to pull myself together enough that I felt safe to drive home. I was checked on a few times by a pair of instructors so that they were satisfied that I wasn’t concussed and was capable of driving myself home. I stopped at BK on the way for food. I had ramen for breakfast and skipped lunch. I was ravenous. I also made the mistake of ordering 2 of their new chicken burgers. I do not suggest it. They’re horrible. I ate them anyway, but they really were nasty.
I feel bad about last night. I got home and practically ignored my wife for two hours while I showered and decompressed after giving her a brief rundown of what happened during the testing. She swears that it’s okay and she understands, but I still feel bad. Did manage to get in about an hour of cuddle time while watching Elementary and eating dinner. Fell asleep at 9. Woke up at 4:30 this morning unable to fall back asleep. There will be a nap today. And lots and lots of karate candy (pronounced Motrin). I do feel a little better about how it went after writing this. Apparently I did do more than “just survived” it. So now I wait to receive my results, see how my instructors feel about my performance, see if I get to move on to Phase 2.
There was a correction made in this post, thanks to Mrs P for catching it. The third person I faced in the ring was in fact a student from our school. He just hasn’t been around since before I signed up.