It's never easy to describe in fine detail or provide a universal comprehension to others on a personal journey or experience that changes your direction in life in the setting of past, present, and future. One that has made such a deep impact and although labouring, rewarding beyond what you ever thought possible. Journeys of this type are never easy, there is no short cut, there is no easy way, and there is no app for that. Everyones perceptions are unique and we all kind of speak our own languages. So I will do my best to tell you about a day, (in short form), that had a very profound and permanent impact on me. This day where it all seemed right, a day where I was ready to take on the world and win. This day, where I was running on full determination, narrowed focus, and prepared to push my body, mind, and spirit to the point of destruction if needed. A time where emotions were not part of the component. A day where I opened it all up and showed what I was made of, the day I showed heart.....the day I graded for the rank of Black Belt..... November 19, 2016.
I woke up Saturday morning with the first feeling of content until I fully awakened and stood up to get out of bed. Dizzy and not feeling right. Perfect, now I'm sick. Whatever, let's go princess. I had breakfast, mentally prepared, and continued to hydrate, then, more mental prepare. Reminiscing and then quickly removing those memories from my thoughts. That was then, this is now.
Walking into the Kwoon at times can be incredibly intimidating, this was one of those times. Changed, hydrated, cleared my thoughts and was ready to grade. I was invited in and assessed the environment and the people in it. Calmed the mind and headed over to my fellow candidates. I wonder how they are doing? It doesn't matter, although we are each on our own journey, we're together and our shared vision will create the setting and work towards the final outcome. There is my training partner, I wonder how he's doing? Once again, it doesn't matter at this point. I believe we are ready, we worked hard and the goal is the same. To succeed just as we planned. I am confident.
The grading began and I pushed myself as hard as I could. All my years of training were brought to the table and the focus was steel. Sweat burning the eyes, moments of wanting to pass out, muscles burning beyond belief. I was not giving up or relaxing for nothing, I will be carried out on a stretcher before I yield. I felt good and although tired and numb at times, I felt strong and ready for more. Mentally the goal was clear and the focus narrowed on all that was required. I felt as though my thoughts were on a hair trigger, but the response relaxed and controlled. Maintaining calm and ejecting immediately what was unwanted. The mind must run clean. At times the focus was so narrow, I was the only one in the room and the task at hand. I was ready for this, even though you have no idea really what your ready for. A brisk run and the test was complete.
Tired and exhausted at the end of it all, not thinking I had anything left and staying awake on the drive home was the question. I began to re-energize once again. The day and it's effect on me mentally and physically were amazing. I had such internal energy... I can't even explain it or where it came from. I got home and thought I could sleep. I couldn't until well past 12:30 and even then I tossed and turned all night and wide awake at 6:30 a.m. I just don't know, but what a pump man!
Once again reflecting on the previous day, I thought of everyone there. My fellow candidates that did awesome and how I am not only proud of them, but I'm proud to know them and what they accomplished. My very first Sifu was there that inspired me to continue, along with my second that trained me through a belt completion and two more promotions. All Sifus' that remained all had a huge impact on my training and were a major component of what took place on my behalf. My training partner performed extremely well and unconditionally sacrificed his time to help me put my mental creativity to physical reality. For all of this I am grateful and it made me feel like I gave something back to those that have given me so much by showing up and attempting to grade. I did my best and I gave it my all. I prepared and was ready to grade and in the process I busted through internal walls and never allowed my focus to be diverted. I put my heart into it. I did it, I graded for the rank of Black Belt. Still a long ways to go yet, but as a result of reaching this point, my life has changed. See you at the Kwoon.