WITH MOST OF MY TRAINING THIS YEAR FOCUSED ON MY RUNNING AND CYCLING GOALS, I reluctantly had to put Aikido on the back burner. I continued to sign up for twice-weekly classes, but for various reasons was unable to attend as regularly as I usually do. And while I have tested for advancement in rank at least twice per year since 2007, it looked like I wouldn’t be testing at all in 2011. That changed Monday night, when I turned in my commitment to test for 2nd Kyu on December 8.
Given that I have yet to complete some of my running and cycling goals, adding another commitment at this time seems kind of nuts, especially one I haven’t been regularly studying and practicing for. And yet I feel like I made the right decision. A large motivator was that the testing techniques will change in January, so the work I put into learning and practicing this year’s techniques, while by no means wasted, wouldn’t help me pass a test in 2012. It also helped that another student in my club decided to test for 2nd Kyu, so we can practice together with the same goals.
Yet for all that, I was still on the proverbial fence when I arrived for class on Monday. At some point during the first hour, a phrase from a past class came to mind: Trust your training. Why I suddenly remembered it I don’t know, but it reminded me that I have been studying and practicing these techniques throughout the year, and that I have felt more poised and aware on the mat than in years past. So perhaps it was the convergence of fortuitous events, or perhaps my subconscious mind just gave my (at times) worrywart conscious mind a swift kick in its figurative rear end. In any event, it did the job.
I don’t know what my chances are of passing, but that’s no change from previous tests. And failing wouldn’t be so tragic; my instructor told the class once that he hoped that each of us would “experience the blessing of failing a test” because one often learns and improves more that way than by passing every test. At the moment, however, I’d prefer to take his word for it and continue to pass. We shall see.