Saturday, February 27, 2010

Countdown to Nidan Exam

I have sent in my shinsa application, so now everything is set for me to take the nidan exam in a few weeks.  I had been thinking about this moment for the past year since I got my shodan, and doing what I could to make sure I was ready for it once the day finally arrived.  If I were taking this test tomorrow, I'm honestly not too sure how well I'd do.  On one hand, I feel like I've got a handle on the copious amounts of advice I have been given for the past year.  But, on the other hand, putting them into practice is a different thing while under various amounts and types of stress.  In the end, I think that, as long as I can keep my mind calm, I would be able to give my best performance to show that I am ready for the next rank.  But, as with anything in life, my best could always be better.  The following is a short rundown of the major things I feel I need to work on.

  • I feel I have a good handle on the kata.  There isn't an issue with knowing what to do.  But I could use a little more practice with nanahonme.  My main fear is falling over myself if I am stuck with the shidachi position as evidenced with practice a few weeks ago.  The floor was very slippery, but you never know.  Better safe than sorry.
  • I need to put more thought into my fighting.  During general practice, it's pretty simple to achieve as the stress levels are much lower and different compared to a shiai or shinsa.  So I really need to get to the point of being able to look for openings and respond to attacks to the point where I am constantly in control of myself and the fight.  Various people have told me this, so I know this is probably something they will really be looking for when it's my turn to go.
  • While I need to work on being more calm, I also feel I should have a better handle of balancing that with aggressiveness.  I can't just stand there and wait for the person to attack me, I need to actively try to make them attack and even launch one or two of my own attacks once I see something.  I also need to be able to move forward to make sure I get the hit, but make it difficult for the other person to hit as well.  Of course, I can't really be too aggressive to the point where I'm just attacking and hoping that I can hit something.  I've been dinged for that many times before so I should know all too well about that.
Of course, the list can go on and on as far as things that I need to fix, whether or not they are big or small.  What I want to be careful of is thinking about too many things at once, which will only increase my stress levels.  I already have an idea of what they are looking for from me so I really need to just think about those major points and brush up on those until the time of my test.  I can easily succumb to pressure so I need to do whatever I can to mitigate the issues associated with that.
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