Testing for Sankyu (Part 2)
[Continued from yesterday]
Now who knew what the next hour would bring…
It didn’t bring stretching, studying, or snacking—that’s for sure. We moved right into review of all the one-steps I know on both sides of the body. That’s 60 sequences total and sometimes one sequence has as many as 7 moves. I performed fairly well on these, confusing only a few and being asked to repeat only a few as well.
Moving into kata review, I began with Wunsu (missed my hands on the circle round), moved into Anaku (stepping properly but failing to have a perfect shuto block), next to Empi-Sho (apparently fucked up the block series), on to Nai Hanchi Sho (he said nothing here and I felt as though it was my worst rendition of the form in weeks), and finally Bassai Dai (in which I missed my hand on the swinging kick, didn’t make my side kicks snap like I know they’re supposed to, and hesitated one too many times between sequences of movements).
Two katas to go and those would be kobudo, my work with ancient martial weapons. I began with sai form. Let me just get to the point: I dropped the sai. My friends, dropping the weapon during kata and during a TEST is akin to a competition ice skater failing to land the triple-sow-cow. In other words, it becomes the mark of your entire form and there’s no recovering after such a blunder.
“You dropped your sai,” Hanshi said to me after I bowed to complete the form.
“I know, Sir.”
“Do you know what that means?” he asked.
“No Sir, I don’t, because I’ve never dropped it in kata before.”
“Ordinarily it means twenty push ups, but let’s move on.”
At this juncture, a tremendously obnoxious, pouting voice welled up inside my mind and threw a fit: Move on? It seemed the ultimate insult. I had dropped my weapon and now wouldn’t even have the chance to make up for it. Talk about a mindfuck. Top it off with the fact that my hands were sweating so profusely from all the work, that the slick, steal weapon had literally slipped from my grasp. No time for excuses, though—not during a test and not in this dojo, ever. I proceeded with Suishi No Kon, my one and only bo form, and managed to receive approval for this.
By now I guessed it must be about 6:30pm. Technically, I hadn’t even known I’d be starting by this time, but all of that was beside the point. Cue slogan: When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. I needed a mental grip on the situation and found myself getting emotional. My spirit was low, my confidence wavering, and my trust in the process at an all time slump. In other words, I’d spent almost two hours starting, teaching, stopping, and starting again and the only thing I felt certain of now was that I didn’t know what was coming next.