Here we go, my orange belt test.
To begin with – I was incredibly nervous, I did not want to fail. Everybody was sharing their stories about how hard and horrible the test was which did not help my anxiety. I tried to train for it, Jon helped me to get my conditioning up but then I got injured, I strained a muscle in my hip. Very annoying location for that. So I rested but after a week or so I picked up training again. I tried to train more days to make up for what I missed but that wasn’t the greatest idea either. I felt really bummed out that I struggled so hard physically. Yes, I’m not in my twenties anymore but still, come on you old corpse! Well, yelling at myself also didn’t work.
I also did some trial runs in the gym to familiarize myself with the “circle of death“. Let’s face it – I sucked at it!
Editors Note: The “the circle of death” as some affectionately call it is a component of both the Orange and Green Belt tests and is common in Krav Maga testing.
With all these things on mind, the days before the test were hard on me. I doubted myself, I didn’t want to fail and I spiralled down into the black hole that so far I was able to avoid.
Andrew (Fellow Assistant Instructor Candidate) helped me a lot during those days, we trained together, worked our way through the curriculum for white and yellow, and talked. What would be the worst case scenario?
I could fail. Working on becoming an assistant instructor failure was not an option for me. I didn’t want to lose students’ respect. I also didn’t want to disappoint people – Jon, Andrew, Karch, myself …
At the end – I made it, and I was incredibly relieved and I felt I really earned that orange belt!
During the last part of the test, the sparring – whenever I hit my opponent and people cheered – that was a first for me and I enjoyed it a lot. So thank you to all of you who were there that day!
For people who are going for their yellow or orange belt – make sure you know the curriculum (I know, it is mostly about pushing through and not to give up, but knowing the curriculum helped me a lot, at least one section of the test I felt confident), read the UTKM blog and work on your conditioning. For the test itself, energy control is crucial. Know yourself and your body, know your limits. But also understand that your body is telling you to give up way before your energy reserves are empty. That is the mental part – telling yourself to keep going, to not give up. It always sounds so easy when people say that but in reality, it is hard. It is a roadblock in your head and fighting your own brain is tough. And it is ok to fail – we (including myself) tend to forget that. Sometimes the way how you deal with failure says a lot more than winning. And it is ok to ask for help. If you are unsure about a technique or just want to go over it again – ask the person you feel most comfortable with.
In Judo we always say there is no shame in falling, only if you don’t get up again.
Editors Note: When It comes to testing sometimes we really aren’t sure with who will struggle and who will make it look easy, often we are quite surprised as to who does what on both ends of the spectrum. Leading up to the test we can assure you Petra was having a hard time both physically and mentally and it was definitely a low point for Petra (“A fall”). But when it came test day her performance was almost flawless. It was clearly difficult for her but in true Krav Maga and warrior fashion she sucked it up for the duration of the test. Petra is an inspiration to not just women but all Krav Maga practitioners. Difficult, does not mean impossible. And falling either mentally or physically should always be a learning experience. For those who do not get up again are doomed to fail, but those who brush themselves off and keep going to learn and grow will always continue to succeed.