I was surprised to have done so well though, as I'd been very nervous about it beforehand -- not only is it apparently a difficult grade to pass (it's the point where you move from kohigh to dohigh status, i.e. you're regarded as a more advanced student; there's an awful lot of syllabus to learn for it) but also we were in a different location from usual (Walthamstow rather than Winchcombe -- no complaints about that!), with a much smaller group of people (only the people from the London and Cambridge dojos, rather than people from all over the country as usual), so I didn't quite know what to expect in some ways. It always makes me more worried about things when I can't visualise them in advance.
The afternoon was exhausting: four hours of training/grading, and they made it clear that the training session (which takes place in parallel with the grading) was just as much part of the grading -- so no slacking at any point! I'd already been training for over an hour and a half when I was called for the actual grading. Fortunately they didn't actually ask to see one of the techniques I was really worried about; though they did ask for 40 press-ups (a set number of press-ups is a grading requirement, but they don't often ask for them). To be honest I didn't even know I could do them until I had to.
When the grading was over I wasn't even sure I'd passed (did "you may go now" mean that I'd done it, or just that they couldn't bear to see any more?) -- I just had to go and carry on with the training. By the end of the afternoon I ached in places I didn't even know it was possible to ache, and I'd been shouting so much (they're very keen on kiai) that my throat felt like it'd been scrubbed with a brillo pad.
After the grading we had time to chill out for a while before the Christmas meal (held at The Grove, a pub in Walthamstow). It was good to have a chance to talk to the people from the London dojo, and for that matter to talk to the people from Cambridge -- I don't often get a chance to do much more than bow to them and say hello briefly between lessons. The food was great, though the pub itself was less so -- fortunately we had the upstairs room booked privately for the actual meal, but afterwards we adjourned to the main bar, which was smoky, loud, quite unable to serve a decent pint of Greene King IPA (the only 'real' beer available), and full of some girl's 21st birthday party (complete with cheesy 80s disco). Eurgh.
And finally, a LJ quiz which is actually relevant for a change!
Duty and Loyalty: You serve your purpose and do
what you must do. People would consider you
someone to rely on, and one who keeps his/her
word when he/she gives it.
Which Characteristic From the Samurai Code Matches You Best? (You may find out your best trait)
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I know it's only a silly quiz, but I was still rather pleased to get this one, as it's one of the three cardinal virtues of our martial arts school.