Pine Tree Challenge
Hanshi tells me that before I can test for Yonkyu (purple belt), I need to pass the Pine Tree Test. I’ve been working toward this on a small scale for about a year. But with Hanshi’s suggestion that I take (and hopefully pass) the test before my 7/30 departure date for Washington and Alaska, I’m entering summer with the bar set high.
I timed myself on Part 2 of the test this Saturday after class. I completed 500 front kicks, 200 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, 50 sit ups, 75 punches w/ 10 lbs., 75 upper blocks w/ 10 lbs., and 40 Thai-style kicks in 26 minutes. The 4 minutes to “spare” would be used for 5 pull-ups (assisted, using the bar at the dojo) and 2 minutes freestyle on the bag, plus any lag time between events.
This afternoon, I timed myself on Part 1 of the test, a three-mile run, which I completed in 33 minutes. In other words: not fast enough.
I have approximately one month to not only speed up both parts of this physical challenge, but also train my body to perform them back-to-back. I know I can use interval training on the stationary bike at home to help me speed up my running time without adding to the impact on my knees. And if my wrist cooperates, I can pump more iron so that my push-ups, punches, and blocks are faster (thus buying me some time). Any chance I have any readers who are personal trainers? Suggestions are welcome, as the clock is ticking!
If there is a saving grace in all of this it is perhaps the fact there is a seven-minute drive from the run in town (on flat land, paralleling the creek) to the dojo up the holler. Although the test isn’t designed with a break in it, Hanshi concedes he has no other choice and says I will test with the run in town first, then be driven to the dojo to complete the rest of my test.
There is also Part 3 of the Pine Tree test, and that is the un-timed, written portion. Hanshi says I can take this in advance or take it after Parts 1 & 2, whichever I prefer. The written test includes a list of the 23 identifiable characteristics of the Shuri Ryu system, 8 performance categories and their principles, and all the meanings of the symbols on the Pine Tree patch.
I’ll be posting regular reports of my times and running speeds for Parts 1 & 2. Wish me luck!