Monday, May 28, 2012
It's not a bad thing to test one's limits, especially in the 'controlled' environment of the black belt tests.
However, at every test I've seen, I get angry at the leaders. They let testosterone and an overdose of sadism and control rule over common sense. They are in charge; they will allow no dissenting voices.
They do not take into account the willingness of those testing to do ALL that is asked of them - whether it is in their own long-term best interests or not; especially those getting their first black belt. Needless injuries happen. I've spent months healing from my own tests. Those testing get caught in the fervor and spirit of the moment. They are on an adrenaline high, and pain comes to the fore only later.
The leaders, who have all been through the tests, should know this, and should be watching those testing - to push them to their limits, but not beyond. Instead, they push them for the sake of pushing. They push the fittest to their limits, which is well and good - but in doing so, they carry along the older, the previously injured, the not-so-fit, and those good people push themselves to the point of injury so as not to seem weak.
As my instructor once said, "The contortions people will go through, to get a four-foot strip of black cloth with their name on it, is amazing."
This morning, while my knees ache in sympathy with those I saw barely staggering out of the gym Saturday morning, my heart is proud of my son.
He was doing the pre-test for his 4th degree belt. For 4th, this is the hard part - the actual test will be in Colorado next week, and will be easier than Saturday's ordeal. The test started at 9, and ended at 1:30. He was moving almost constantly that whole time - and he did it! He approached the activities with the same stolid endurance he learned as a construction laborer. Don't reflect on what's done, or try to look to the end - you'll only be distracted. Focus only task required of you now. Time will pass, the test can only last so long.
If you'll excuse a moment of parental pride, Joe was among the fittest. He looked good. Once he got home and showered, the natural high carried him through the rest of the day; the remains of it still linger this morning. He earned that high.