Monday, May 4, 2009

Black Belt Worries

My black belt test is less than two weeks away, and I'm concerned.

I basically have to do three things: 1) 50 pushups in excellent form. 2) 50 situps in a minute. 3) Show I can attack and defend in two 4-minute grappling matches.

I'm worried about the standards I will face for pushups and grappling.

I can do 50 pushups. But I do them with my hands wider than my shoulders. If the standard is to get my chest down to the floor--some judges want that, some don't--I probably won't pass. My shoulders don't move that way. If I had spent several years doing pushups with my hands right next to my torso, it would be easier to get my chest down to the floor, but that's not how I've been training.

I am not a natural grappler. I can't bend my knees as much as I need to really sit on my heels in the guard; I have difficulty remembering and instantly putting into action all the various moves, or even enough of the various moves. I just don't think like a grappler. I'm a much better grappler, I believe, than when I tested two and a half years ago. But again, it depends on the standard of the judges I'll be with.

Tonight, my sensei was telling me many things I need to do better at grappling--sit up in the guard, get out of the guard quickly, move back and push the legs to the side if his feet are in my hips, etc., etc.

The other thing looming over me is that I don't know when I'll be able to test again. I can't keep this pace up. I have, at 52, the most demanding job I've ever had. I am missing classes taking my daughter to visit colleges. I have another child generating a lot of worries for me. My wife misses seeing me because I'm either working or training.

So this feels a bit like a last chance to try for the black belt, for now at least.


Michele said...


Best of luck with your black belt testing. Remember how far you have come since your ACL injury and how hard you have trained to prepare for the test.

Good luck!


BobSpar said...

Thanks, Michele, I'll focus on that!

Elizabeth said...

You are already a black belt in YOU! I am so proud to know you. Picture it and own it. You deserve it all.

Littlefair said...

Good luck Bob!

BobSpar said...

Thanks for the support, Elizabeth--I appreciate it.

And thanks also Littlefair.

Jennifer said...

I just came across your blog today, and wanted to offer my encouragement as well. Think of all you've accomplished in the past two years! It is difficult enough for anyone to get as far as you did, and to have to do it all over again -- in only two years -- is amazing. I'm still slowly picking myself up from a leg injury 1.5 years ago. Press on, keep training; you will make it.


Blackbeltmama said...

I'll be thinking about you Bob. Best of luck to you! I know you'll do great. After making it through ACL surgery, what's a little black belt test right?

BobSpar said...

Thanks, Jennifer; great point, BBM, what's a little bb test after ACL?

ronsan60 said...

Good luck with your bb Test I am 49 and understand much about training at a "mature" age, you can do it.....

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Anonymous said...

hi bob,i'm a red belt at tsk in bayridge brooklyn.i am a 45 year old woman and i've been training for a year and a half and i am hooked! i just wanted to write you to give you some encouragement for your black belt test this weekend! remember,the nerves you are feeling will snap your mind into sharp focus during the test,and your muscle memory is probably better under those conditions too.just breathe,stay relaxed and let your mind and body do what they have been trained to do! if you don't make it this time,test again in 6 months,you can't predict the future. i know i don't know you,hope i don't come off too bossy,but hey,i am a martial artist.non quitting spirit bob! show me and all the other middle agers at tsk how to do this!!!! OSU!! i'll be looking for you in the results!!!!

BobSpar said...

Hi, ronsan60 and redbelt in bayridge; the good news is I did get my black belt! Thanks for the encouragement.