Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Pushed A Car

(This is part two of a four part series on my black belt test.  For part one, go here.)


Saturday morning wake-up came much too early.  Mostly because it took me so long to wind down from the Friday night session that I didn't get to sleep until almost 11 and then my alarm went off at 3:45.  I had decided I would treat this just like I would a distance run and hydrate and fuel accordingly.  I got up and had some coffee then around 4:30 forced a bowl of oatmeal as well as 16 oz. of Nuun water down my throat.  At the time, I had no idea, just how smart this would be.

When we got to the dojo, the first thing I wanted to do was stretch out because the morning session has been traditionally when the 2 mile timed run took place.  I'm not going to lie, I felt old and tired!

When we were finally marched into the main room, the jumping jacks, shoulder touches started all over again.  The Shihan was no where to be seen which worried me a bit...

Around 6:20 he arrived saying he'd had to go and check things out for safety sake. Here's my team waiting to hear what he was going to say...

What he said was, Get you shoes and socks on and whatever else you might want.  If you have a coat, you might want to bring it for the end.  You're going to run down the road about a half mile and stop at the parking lot.  You'll be given instructions there.  Then you're going to run another 1 1/2 miles to Bluff Point (a local beach area) where we will gather and you'll be given further instructions.  By the way you have 35 minutes to be at Bluff Point.  If you're not there, you'll be sent back and will not continue with the test.

Having no idea what the parking lot stop would consist of we all dashed as fast as we could to get our shoes on.  We had to stay and start with our team and then at Bluff Point the captain had to account for everyone in the team before we were considered in.

At the parking lot, we had to do five sprints of the full length before we could continue on.  I had a jacket tied around my waist - thankfully Mr. Helen was able to take it from me.

Once our team regathered, we took off for the point. Yes, it was cold and dark, and as you can see, no fancy wicking running clothes - just a Gi (although I did think to put a wicking shirt and shorts on underneath - yay me!)

Once there, we started with our teams but then were separated by height into groups of 5 or 6.  I don't think I can adequately describe to you what happened over the next hour and a half.  We did drills in the dirt, showcased our material, and yes, indeed, I pushed a car!


When all of this was over, we were told to get back to the dojo.  And no, we were not allowed to ride with our loved ones who had followed us over there in cars - we had to run and we had 25 minutes to get back, where we were told to line up on the sidewalk.

I'll just admit, I was terrified that once we got back, we were going to be forced to do the knuckle pushups on the sidewalk cement again.  But I was more afraid that if I didn't get back, I'd be failed, so run I did.  I was really pleased with my run too, especially after all that hard work at the beach.  I started out slowly and just kept running and the next thing you know, I was picking people off one by one.  While I wasn't the fastest runner in, I most definitely was not the slowest and was very, very proud of myself.

When we were all once again assembled, the Shihan told us that we should be back by 1:00 for photos and as soon as we had our picture taken we were to put on full sparring gear.

My team then assembled for a quick meeting to discuss what we would do for our show that afternoon.  We also did about a 2 minute rehearsal so we could figure out how we would rotate our karate and Muay Thai candidates back and forth.

As Mr. Helen and I drove away for a few hours break, I kept thinking, "sparring?"   I was tired, but  I wasn't broken, not quite yet...


  1. I can't tell you how impressed I am with you Helen. I don't think I could do this to be honest and I'm so proud of you that you did. Totally 200% deserved that black belt.

  2. That look on your face in the second-to-last picture says it all!

  3. Ha - Shelley beat me to it - I love that second to last picture too! Go Helen!!

  4. I do love that same expression mentioned before! You were running! That is awesome!


  5. I love these photos showing how POWERFUL you and the group are :)

  6. You are amazing Helen! Congrats on such success so soon after recovering from your injury.