(this is a continuation of part I, found here.)
There are two parts of the black belt test process that are especially intimidating: the sparring and the board breaking. This is because the pretest, which determines your eligibility (and basic readiness) for the black belt test, does not include either of these activities.
For black belt candidates, there are two sparring events and four breaking tasks. The sparring includes a one on one fight and a two on one fight.
For my one on one fight, I faced Sihing Steve. Sihing Steve is an extremely advanced fighter. He’s exceptionally fast and often instructs our sparring classes. He is quite possibly the best fighter at our academy.
While Sihing Steve clearly dominated the fight, I’m extremely proud of my ability to keep up at his level pace and ferocity.
That’s Sihing Steve in black on the right and me in white on the left.
Both the one on one and two on one matches last for about a minute. It is utterly exhausting because sparring requires full energy exertion for the entire match.
For the two on one match, I was paired up against Sihing Steve and Sihing Roland. Roland is a close friend in that we both climbed the belt ladder together. He received his black belt about a year ago and stands next to Sihing Steve as one of the most talented fighters of the school. Just to add to the intimidation, they wore matching black uniforms.
I was extremely relieved at the conclusion of the sparring. Next up, the candidates relaxed from the mayhem of fighting and took turns breaking boards.
I had four breaking tasks. I had to break a board with an elbow, a palm strike, a side kick, and a jumping back kick.
Bam. Just like that.
Tomorrow: Conditioning trials and the ceremony!
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