I feel like my outer protective covering is sloughing away.
One of the things that has astounded me while training for my blackbelt back in 1996 and again now as I prepare for another test, is the emotional impact of training. The training can be pretty tough and sometimes strips me of the normal defense mechanisms I use to make it through the day.
I am just starting to train for my Nidan and I feel this emotional exhaustion and I've yet to really begin the most intense part of the process. I think this new "naked" self is a generally positive thing. With my mom's cancer, my stress over medical school waitlists, and Steph's hope for a new job, there are very few things I can control the outcome of. The quality of my performance at the test in August feels like the only locus of control I have. So there is a sense of purpose to my training, only if to escape the tortures of the waiting game that is the rest of my life.
But there are other benefits too. I am very...proud of karate. Not "my karate" but the tradition I carry on, this living antique I carry with me. Reivigorating my training is like polishing the antique. I am taking care of my posession so it can be passed onto others, shared and disseminated, continuing the chain of knowledge that stretches back to those unknown and forward to those unthoguht of.
I am also excited to see my own personal growth. I am coming into my own identity. Second degree in my school is really the first step to cementing your martial identity. It is the last true test we face in our school. So in this case, the stakes are higher than ever. The outcome of this test impacts my self-perception, my ability to establish further links in the chain as I move to Philly, and my lasting impact on my martial family.
The first layers of protection, my 10 years of floating in the school and my inconsisteny in training are being beaten off of me. I am raw. I am obsessed. Excited. Scared. And it's going to get worse. Six months of hard work ahead.
Beatings will continue until morale improves.
It'll be a bumpy ride till August... let's see what happens.