When my friends Katy and Anna got their notification of the date they were scheduled to take the black belt test, I was dying to get the same test date. A couple of days later I got my test notification paper. I was scheduled to take my 1st degree black belt test On October 30th with my friends Katy and Anna. I was so excited because I’ve been taking karate classes for 4 years and have been working really hard for this. The test notification paper explained that I should not expect to pass the test. I had paid $225 to take the test, but I was told the money would be refunded if I didn’t pass.
Before the test I had to write a 2-page essay on what it means to be a black belt. I was very nervous for the test; the night before I barely got any sleep. There were five people from my dojo taking the test together. (A dojo is a school or practice hall where karate, judo, or other martial arts are taught.)
When I got to the test Katy and Anna were there, and we were supposed to stretch before the test started. When it did start my sensei gave the first workout. (A sensei is a karate or judo instructor.)
There were five senseis who gave workouts; each workout was 20 to 30 minutes long. The entire workout was 2 hours long. I was almost dead at the end. The hardest part was when we had to roll to the right or left then do a few push-ups.
After that we got into groups of about four to go around to stations and do our moves. I was with Katy and Anna and one other girl.
Our first station was doing our Kempos (specific karate moves). Next we did our basics with Grandmaster, the highest rank in Kempo. Then we went to do our grabs, followed by our combinations. After that we did our forms. Finally, we went around and did it again.
Next we did our staff forms in the middle in the same groups we were in before. The staff forms we had to do were jo-staff 1, 2, and 3 and also traditional.
Then we did our club moves on a partner also in the middle of the room. There was a lot of pressure doing it in the middle of the room, with the sensei and the grand master watching. I was super nervous!
Next, we had to (hold on because this was my least favorite part) Spar! I was already so exhausted and sweating and now I had to put on all of my gear; including hand pads, footpads, a chest protector, headgear, a mouthpiece, and a face shield.
My friends, Katy, Anna and I were last so since there were 3 of us and each round was 2 minutes, Anna and I sparred for a minute, then Katy and Anna and finally, Katy and I. I was super hot and exhausted.
When the sparring was over the instructors had everyone go into the tiny waiting room (We were skwooshed!)
They called us in one by one, I was second to last.
When they called me in, the Grandmaster asked me to show him combination 26, so I did it. Then he asked me to show him combination 27 but I didn’t have it so I said “I don’t have that one sir.”
Then he said “So what does that mean.”
I said “It’s at black belt.”
So he said “So what will you do?”
I said “I will learn it.”
Then he told me to sit down with everyone else.
Finally, we lined up again but the instructors told us to face a different direction. Then the instructors called in the parents and we had the belt ceremony. The kids from my dojo were called up first.
When they called us up you had to do the black belt handshake with all the instructors and when you got up to your sensei you had to try and yank the belt out of the sensei’s hands and then go back to your spot.
I was very excited. I had passed!