One of the worst parts about getting a black belt of any degree is the Demonstration. It's not enough just to perform the required moves and show your instructor you've mastered the knowledge. No, you have to DEMONSTRATE your skills in front of a live audience. To music. In public. Did I mention that this demonstration is performed to music? It's like some kind of sharp-edged pom and dance routine executed in snazzy karate uniforms instead of the more Fredrick's of Hollywood-inspired dance team uniforms. Oh the horror.
We'll agree right now that the latter uniform would make this experience even more humiliating for me, so I am thankful to wear the former.
Let's dig into the psychology behind why I dread Saturday night when I'll finally FINALLY get my brand new 2nd degree black belt: I am the only adult in my group. I hate performing in public. I feel stupid. I know I'll look like a total dweeb. It's one thing to do karate in the dojo for fun and fitness, it's another to do it in sync with a tune by Big Time Rush. Yet the Demonstration is part of the karate world in which I circulate.
As it happens, I'm also a bit quiet about the karate stuff IRL. Let's face it, the geek factor is pretty huge and while I'm not normally prone to giving a crap what other people think about me or my interests, I also don't go grocery shopping wearing a t-shirt that says "Ninja Princess."
I'm supposed to be a good face for the school, for martial arts. As the only adult in this graduation, I'm supposed to inspire other grown ups, be a great role model for the kids, promote the school, be proud of my own achievements. Mr. O expressed a bit of disappointment when he learned that I haven't invited all my friends and family to come watch me. This also made me feel a little bad, but it doesn't erase the fact that I don't want to do the Demonstration.
Here's where the funny part comes in. I'm in the back of the stage for most of this business, I planned to blend in and keep a low profile. This is mostly working out except for in Weapons Demonstration where I am to begin the whole thing solo, doing some XMA stuff with a sword.
Solo. Sword. Performance.
But wait! There's more!
As the grand finale to this little XMA combo, I have to THROW the sword into the AIR and then CATCH IT.
To this end I've been tutored by Mr. K, the XMA guru at the school. He's loaned me his gorgeous sword (so light! shiny! sharp!) to use. I brought it home Saturday and Team Testosterone went wild with weapon lust, each taking a turn holding it and admiring its beauty.
Then I began practicing. Throw. Catch. Throw. Catch. Throw. Drop. Curse. Throw. Throw. Catch. Throw. Drop. Curse.
Reader, one of two things is going to happen Saturday night. Either I will look like a bitchin' karate goddess, slicing, dicing, spinning, throwing and catching the sword OR I will look like a complete moron slicing, dicing, spinning, throwing and dropping the sword.
I keep telling myself, Chin up, buttercup. Just do your best.
And now, dear reader, I'm off to throw a sword into the air 100 times.
On a bright note, the weapons demo is to a song of my choosing: Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz.