My bi-monthly hapkido test is coming up on Saturday morning. I feel very confident. No nerves, my technique is sound, all the self defence moves practiced and honed over the last few weeks. There is no fear at all of not passing. How well I do in the test is another matter. I have reached the stage where I want to look good in the test. I don't want a pass, I want an unequivocal pass and one where I can pull off all the moves I attempt.
Deep down I also want some kind of recognition from the judges who attend my dojangs tests - four or five awards are given out at each test and I believe I came close last time only to be beaten by a boy who is young enough to be my son - humbling indignation! Being the only foreigner at my dojang I kind of represent not just myself but other countries as well and I feel it's important to prove that not just Koreans can do well at this martial art.
Day after day I practice a series of moves that I will 'perform' in the test. I hope adrenalin will push me to some kind of success. Niggling doubts remain on my actual ability but month by month I improve. This is not a feeling. It is borne out by being able to do things I couldn't previously. Hopefully I can show some of my progression this weekend. The tests starts in the morning and I am expecting mine to take place at maybe 12 or 12:30 in the afternoon. Hopefully there will be a nice nights rest for me on Friday.
Anyway, this test, should I pass will put me at a level described by one of my Korean trainers as 'almost 2nd degree'. After some talking on the progression I am going through I finally found out that it looks like (this is not set in stone but it is my understanding) that in September I will take the test to become a 2nd degree hapkido black belt. Finally some news that I have been waiting on for almost a year. This has been keeping me going at times in Korea, the prospect of getting that belt.
Later on I found out that it is supposed to take three more years to become a 3rd degree hapkido black belt. So unless something totally insane and unpredictable such as the exchange rate becoming outrageously good for me happens then that will be a ceiling on how high I can go at hapkido. Depending on how I feel it could be that I stop taking classes around March time next year. We'll see. Some big decisions in store for me after the turn of the year. If this weekend's test goes well I'll post it on this blog.