Sunday, November 30, 2008

Power Week

The flight home after the New York Marathon was uneventful. But, on the bus to the long-term parking there was another Gator who had also run in NY. We started chatting and it turns out I had read about him (Josh) in the Gator Alumni magazine. He had founded Miami Feet, a running club, and also Medal Memories, which are boxes to store and display your running medals. Pretty cool!

I got home around 3:30. My legs were feeling okay. There was a tiny bit of soreness if I stayed still. So, I kept moving around because I had to go to karate that night. Yes, one day after running a marathon, I was back at karate. No down time for me! And why was I punishing myself like this? Well, this was "Power Week".

Power Week is the actual exam for my 2nd degree black belt. Friday night would test our drills, katas and weapons. Saturday was self-defense and sparring. That meant I had 4 days to get in my classes, my SWATs, my runs (yes, I had to get in runs for karate!), plus get ready for the testing!

The week went by in a blur! And all of a sudden, it's Friday night. It's Showtime!! The testing was very similar to our pre-checks #1 and #2. We started with a good warmup (more running!). We did some boxing and MMA drills. And then we went into katas. I was a bit nervous. I had a slight brain fart with Short 2 (purple belt kata) but I quickly got back into focus. I felt really good with bookset and XMA form 2.

Next it was on to weapons. We did XMA Chuck form 1. My performance was ok, but I think I could have been more "fierce"! But then, we had to do it again and I rocked it the 2nd time. After chucks, it was time for kamas. Lastly, the black belts performed American Bo Form. The group's timing and energy was awesome. And, I think it was my best bo performance ever!!!

The night finished off with board breaking. First was the high-reds (going for their 1st degree black belt). The juniors went first and then the adults. The high reds broke 1 board. Next, it was time for the black belts. We had to break 2 boards. The 1st board was a hand (palm) break. I felt good because when I went for my 1st degree, I broke it the 1st time. But I was thinking ahead to the kick board and didn't focus enough. My punch didn't break the board. Ouch. But, I wasn't the only one to "miss". And surprisingly, I didn't lose my cool for "failing". I re-focused and threw my right palm and the board split!.

For the 2nd board, we could choose the kick, side or front. I decided to throw the front. I was kind of nervous because on other exams, I had seen many people miss on their 1st kick. And, after missing my 1st board, I was determined to do the kick on the first try. So, deep breath in, focus my energy, tuck the right leg, extend the kick and my foot went through the board like butter! Wow!!!!

And then, exam #1 was over. I was halfway to becoming a 2nd degree. But the second half would be the hardest for me, sparring.

Saturday morning came quickly. We started exam #2 with our usual warmup. We did some drills and then went into self-defense. We started off in circles of about 8 people each. One person was in the center and then the others took turns and did an attack. Then, we lined up and performed. I was really happy. My "attacker" chose good attacks that I was able to do good finished on (eg. take downs, guillitines, etc.).

Then it was time to put on the sparring gear. I sparred with Denay from LHP, Patty from CC, and Alex and Jen from NTC. The sparring went quickly; I though we would have more rounds. But I'm not complaining!!! It was one of my better sparring days.

After sparring, it was time to put on the running clothes. For my 1st degree, we did a team 4-mile run. I was hoping for that! But today, we all went to the field by Florinada Elementary. We ran a few laps. And then it was time for some drills. Suicide runs; run and pass the medicine ball, sprints, bear crawls, and more. Then it was time for our push up pyramid (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5) with horse stance blocks in between each "set" of push-ups.

Power Week was over. We had passed our exam and were now black belts, and 2nd degrees, and one 3rd degree. We were cheering, taking group pictures, hugging each other. Now we start preparing for the "Black Belt Spectacular" on December 6th. The fun begins!!!

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