Seven black belt candidate training sessions remain, including Extreme Day and the Qualification Test.
Like in the show Survivor, candidates are dropping like flies. I began with 5 other adults. We're down to 3 adults--my partner dropped out after the first night and the other 2 adults are paired off testing for a 2nd degree belt so I now partner with whichever assistant instructor is handy. This meant Mr. K last Saturday and Ms. B Friday night. To their credit, they are incredibly kind to me.
Friday night's session was a test of endurance since we went over combinations (jab-punch, offensive side kick-punch, triple tornado kick, back leg front kick-back leg round kick-spin kick-drop punch) for almost the entire 2 hours. Most of the kids look really sloppy so the repetitive work has been equal parts boring and strenuous. We ended the fun with forms and self-defense work.
Saturday began with the 3-mile run which I completed in under 32 minutes, beating last week's time (32:57 I think) by a healthy margin. I didn't feel too shabby afterwards either, the new disco tunes on my ipod shuffle definitely helped. Nothing like Donna Summer's Last Dance to keep a girl moving for that last half mile. I'm not built for speed, I'm just happy I complete the 3 miles without stopping to walk.
Then the punishment began. One kid forgot her belt and her training manual. Several kids forgot everything we reviewed Friday night. There were tears. A few kids were bawling. One goes into a panic-induced asthma attack every time we're asked to ante up the effort. (I'm not dismissing his condition--I've had asthma my entire life and keep my inhaler by my water bottle, but hysterically crying doesn't help you breathe any better.) These kids are soft and I'm wondering why their parents did such a crappy job preparing them for this experience. When Mr. T trained, we had him running ahead of time and spent time at home going over the manual--and this was in the spring when he had school and there was snow and ice on the ground. Clearly these kids and their parents did NOT take advantage of 3 months of summer vacation to get ready. I've run 3 miles every week since the beginning of June in preparation for this fall. We also cleared our calendar of everything BUT candidate training. One kid explained to us Friday night that he "can't review the manual because I'm sleeping over at a friend's house and have flag football tomorrow morning." Again, what parent taking this serious says it's okay to go on an overnight between training sessions? Sending your sleep-deprived child back on Saturday is a recipe for disaster. He was one of the bawlers.
Anyway, we ran sprints, punched hand targets, reviewed the damn combos again, reviewed how to kick again, parked out in plank pose (see image below to fully comprehend that form of torture) for minutes on end and did plenty of push ups. Five of us got waived from the final round of torture in recognition for our effort up to that point.
We were dismissed with a promise that there will be individual evaluations next Friday and a few people will be uninvited from candidate training because they're not cutting it. I went home and performed my post-training therapy: hot shower, chamomille tea, Advil and good book.