Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Dress Rehearsal

Like most people I get a little nervous before important events in life.

Job interviews; a date with a pretty lady; phoning up to find out why NPower have increased my direct debit by £86 and never told me.**

For the last 2 or 3 weeks I’ve felt nervous about my upcoming grading for Practitioner level 4.

I’ve talked about private lessons with one of the instructors. I’ve been attending KMM sessions 3 or 4 times per week at different venues. I’ve rationalised with an abacus and a slide rule and a magic ball that “mixing it up” is a good idea so I deliberately go to venues with different instructors (we have 3). I have been practicing in front of a mirror in my bedroom with my laptop on the bed, while Zeev Cohen and Eyal Yanilov demonstrate the moves for P4 on the official DVD.

Today we had the Pre-Grading Workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon. This was planned as an opportunity to “iron out” any wrinkles in our skill sets and set us up for next week.

Two of our three instructors oversaw this and to my immense delight it turned out to be just what I needed.

We split into various groups, according to grade, on the mats and got to work with the various moves and techniques that would have to be demonstrated at an actual grading. Behind a curtain in the other side of the sports hall were about 200 kids and their parents. A Tae Kwon Do (sp?) tournament for little ‘uns was going on and a few of them came over for a look. One parent seemed overly unimpressed, simply watching us work out with a poker face the entire time. However two little boys thought the stick disarms that me and the other P4 candidates were performing were “well cool.”

I also got distracted during choke releases by the endearing and unbelievably cute (but hysterical) sight of a 7 year old in a kimono, helmet and boxing gloves SKIPPING past us with her mother.

Working through our techniques built a LOT of reassurance into the training. I’d seriously been thinking of canning my grading till October if I wasn’t ready the week before but as the training wore on, I felt more and more self-assured and I know my training buddy Graham felt the same way.

Biggest arse ache for me in the last few weeks was Scissor Kick. Designed for when you want to run at and kick someone who is running at you, it means leaping off the floor and then kicking with the same foot you launched with. Finally cracked this one today which, along with the Stick Disarms, really boosted my confidence.

The forward rolls for this level include doing a combo of Forward> Backward but without getting up or stopping (i.e. roll,  twist, roll again). I had this nailed when we were confronted by two separate piles of strike pads and told to roll over them. The first was high, the second was long. After a few fumbles and knocking the first pile over a couple of times I got it.

At the end the groups had combat scenarios appropriate to their level with Ps 1 and 2 doing ground-based fighting (i.e. wrestling) and us plus P3 having the delightful joys of “3 against 1” for a minute each as a stand up fight with 16 oz boxing gloves or MMA mitts on.

After it was all over I personally felt 70% more in charge of my destiny than I had before we started. Revision is the key in gradings and this crash course had done its work for me and the others.

A great day of prep, and also great to see members from the other classes that KMM runs (Solihull, Coventry, Birmingham, Banbury, Rugby and Leamington Spa as well as Stratford-upon-Avon).

Counting down to the grading with relish now.


** Reason = Coz NPower are twats.

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