Last night, my Kung Fu SiFu (Master) mentioned to me that he’s planning on scheduling my black belt pretest for January.
This is huge.
The pretest is a private display of all your skills and knowledge. While seen from the outside as a start of the black belt process, it’s really the single most important step. Once you prove yourself at the black belt pretest, the remaining time and effort is more symbolic and ceremonious – sure, it takes continued dedication and effort, but you can release a lot of the stress associated with pointed criticism, constructive though it may be. I would imagine that the pretest is somewhat analogous to a private dissertation defense. The public defense immediately following is far more visible, but much less traumatic.
Typically the formal ceremonious black belt test takes place 3-6 months after the pretest.
After the final test, there will be a mighty mighty party.