This had to be the most emotionally draining test for me. I attended my first high belt level sparring seminar. And I got my ass whooped. It was in NYC and I was there for about 5 hours. It certainly brought me down a few pegs, and watching these super young people moving in ways I didn’t think were possible for a human to move, I felt defeated. On top of the severity of pain I endured, getting kicked in the face, arm, legs, chest (you name it). And the sheer exhaustion of it all. I just let it all out and cried my face off in the locker room once it was over.
I didn’t leave proud. I left angry at myself and disappointed with how out of shape I was. It took weeks and many people to convince me that these people I trained with, were beyond a caliber I had ever trained with before and the fact I got to spar with them for a day proved I had some cajones. It was humbling to say the least. But I was in a weird head space about TKD for a while. I cried a lot. During and after each practice I went to from January to March. It really got to me. But they were an amazing group of athletes and I was lucky to have the opportunity.
How was I to overcome this head space? I talked to a few people I look up to in my dojang, and they inspired me. So I was ready to take on the test. I practiced at home. I practiced at the dojang, I stayed after for help. But there was just something I wasn’t grasping and I felt it. I took tips from instructors, I stayed for extra classes for stamina. But taking the steps to be allowed to test, was pretty brutal for me to handle. I was having personal issues outside the dojang, and I had a feeling I was bringing them in. I was still upset about my crushed spirit from the NYC seminar and I knew it was just a mental game I was playing with myself. I felt as if I was being singled out(even though I KNOW that wasn’t true). I couldn’t get over this hurdle.
And two weeks before the test, I rolled my ankle. Great. An injury. Exactly what I needed. It made practicing that much harder.
Test day came, and it wasn’t my strongest. I wasn’t proud of it and I got some criticism (which is always welcomed) after the test and just knowing you didn’t do your best and being called out on it, oooooooh weeeeee. That is a tough pill to swallow. I could’ve kicked myself for every practice I couldn’t focus and for every spare moment I didn’t take advantage of . I did pass. I did well enough. But not well enough to get over this mental hurdle.
I also hurt myself during the test.
Yup, that is just a big swollen ankle. And the shin bruise above it turned into a giant hematoma. I went to one more practice after with the injury, thinking it was just a dinger. One of my instructors actually took me to the ER at the next practice to make sure I didn’t break anything. Luckily, nothing broken. But just a bad sprain and a big ole painful lump that made it difficult and uncomfortable to walk. But I should rest for at least two weeks.
That’s probably one of the worst things to be told for an athlete. Rest. It’s a terrifying word. After I thought I was ready to jump over this hurdle, and get a head start on practicing on my Red Belt test… I get injured. I have only been to practice once in over a month, and I’m dying. I’ve gained weight. I’ve gotten jiggly and I can already see my stamina and flexibility decrease. And I hate it. I hate it more than crying in the locker room during the seminar. Or crying in my car after a hard practice. Or crying in the morning because I can barely stand on my feet.
I’ve never believed that things happen for a reason. Things happen because shit happens. But, what you CAN control, is how you choose to perceive your bad luck. Even though I needed so desperately to get over my mental hurdle, perhaps this physical hurdle is a “blessing”. It’s amazing once you lose something, you realize how much you really need it (that pertains to many many things). Without full use of my body, I feel like my head is ready to push my body. To heal, to get better, to get stronger.
However, I do believe anything worth having is worth fighting (hard) for. And that is what I plan on doing. I will use this lesson to do the same in other areas of my life. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I guess that will be a later post. My first tournament for the year is June 9th and my Red Belt test is June 23rd.
I was ready to go back to class yesterday. But of course, I got completely sick and can barely breathe and my whole body aches. I thought, ‘maybe thursday’? But no, I woke up this morning and I pulled my neck getting DRESSED. At this rate, I’ll be lucky if I can even stand on two feet by June.