Test Stories

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Test Stories

Postby Jason Bernard » Sat Nov 14, 1998 2:30 am

You know you are in a rough style when ...

this was during the first advanced Kyokushin test I ever observed. It was for 2nd Kyu and
the test was hard. He was near the end and
it was the fighting/sparring component. He
has to do nine 2 minute matches and by the
8th he was pretty far gone. He was fighting one of the black belts and at about the one minute mark that was it, he collapsed to his knees unable to continue. The black belt reached down and helped him to his feet. I thought he was being nice ... until he started to knee him.

The best part was that being under "attack"
again the guy reached deep down and found
somemore strength to make it through that
match and his 9th to pass. That is the
spirit of Osu!

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Test Stories

Postby Bill Glasheen » Sun Nov 15, 1998 3:44 am

I don't know if you could call these "funny". Perhaps they fall more under the category of "ironic".

My shodan exam was a small but memorable event in 1977. David Finkelstein and Vince Pillari arranged a small event in northern New Jersey for students of theirs and of Wayne Weikel (you are really fossils if you know all of these folks). I had traveled up by bus for the event (I was a poor student back then and it was too cold to do the trip by motorcycle).

I remember Sam Finnerman and Kenny Elter warning me about this one student from one of the dojos (will remain nameless). Apparently they had a reputation of being a little out of control in this school. Supposedly on one occasion they kneed a guy in the face in the seisan bunkai. Well I got the opportunity to face this guy in sparring. Before the match, they guy came up to me and told me he had just gotten his two front teeth reattached. Allegedly his instructor hit him in the mouth and they just dropped out. Modern dentistry gave him the smile back. Well I assured him that I just liked to have fun during sparring and that everything would be cool.

Well guess what happened? I was in the midst of a flurry with this guy in the match, and my right foot just sorta came forward with a high yoko geri (side thrust kick). If nothing had been done, it probably would have been placed right in the guy's neck with good control. Well he spastically threw his arm up, my foot hit his arm, and his hand flew into his mouth. Fortunately his teeth survived, but we did see a bit of blood from where they bit into his upper lip.

Fast forward to my yondan test at Bobby Bethony's dojo in Brockton. Bobby was the judge in the sparring session and I had been paired up with some guy from Nova Scotia. The test had been going pretty well up until then. Well my partner turns to me and says "You DO have control, don't you?" I thought it an odd question at first, but I mindlessly replied "Yea, when I can help it." My reply just came out. It was as wierd as the question.

Well the match started a minute later, and this fellow places the most beautiful sokusen (pointed toe kick) dead into my solar plexus in the first second of the match. I was sucking wind, but I didn't want to show it. I just glared at him, gave a fierce dragon breath, and I was over the reaction.

Well let's just say that we were having a bit of fun. It was obvious that this guy wasn't born yesterday, and that he was a very competitive fighter. I personally love it when someone can make ME rise to another level. At one point we did a throw/counterthrow and both were on the floor. Well about 3/4 the way through the match the guy charges me, and next thing I know I was watching him fly backwards as my hand was recoiling. Oooops....I hit him dead on the nose. Within a minute, dark circles started to show up under his eyes. Ooooops! And I didn't even MEAN to punch. It just happened.

I turned around (disgusted with myself) and sat in seiza as Bobby inspected the damage. He seemed to be tending to him for an interminable period of time. I was convinced I had failed because of my lack of control. Then suddely from the side I hear Jimmy Malone yell "better not give him too much attention or he'll be expecting it at home!" The comment broke the tension and a number of people in the audience chuckled.

By the way, we both received an ovation from those sitting in the balconly at the end of the match.

Moral of the story? I dunno. How about - Don't tempt fate!

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 11-18-98).]
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Test Stories

Postby Greg » Wed Nov 18, 1998 5:33 am

Well, it didn't seem particularly *funny* at the time... but anyway

My test for shodan started off with me and a couple of friends sitting in the parking lot at Bethony sensei's dojo, having gotten there much too early and with way too much time on our hands. We had driven down together, ostensibly for mutual support, but, of course all we did was proceed to worry the s__t out of one another during the course of the drive. Now waiting in the lot, we got to see the other candidates as they drove up. One of my friends, a serious weight lifter himself, commented on one of the guys who had just gotten out of his car "good god, look at that guy, his calves are the size of my thighs!"

After completing most of the test, it was time for sparring (why do the "funniest" stories always end up here?) segment. I lined up, and got paired off with a guy who was about my size. We talked for a bit, and I began to relax - neither of us was out for blood - we just wanted to look good, and pass! Just before we started, Bethony sensei said "no, no, no, you two can't spar, you work out together all the time!" Two things occured to me in short order: First, that the only way sensei could know this was if they were his students (noted for being fierce competitors), and second, that although my current partner was standing to my right, standing to my left was the behemoth - one of sensei's students! After we were rearranged to sensei's liking, I of course was matched up with the giant, although the match was memorable only in the fact that afterward, my friends said comforting things like "wow, I'm surprised you're still alive..."

All this however was not the most memorable piece for me. At the end of the test, we all lined up. Absent was one of my friends - he had been "tapped" on the shoulder and was now in the back room hearing that he had failed. Bethony sensei now began reading off the names, and one at a time, students began to go up and be congratulated. I stood and waited for my name to be called, and waited, and waited. I thought "maybe they're not going alphabetically," then "maybe they forgot to pull me aside," and finally even "could I possibly have made 'best of test'" (the last candidate announced). Well they announced best of test, everyone had a final round of applause, and bowed out. I was stunned. I found Paul Giella (sempai in my dojo, and a test board member), and asked "Did I fail?" He said, no, and proceeded to talk with Bethony sensei, who, as everyone was leaving, loudly announced "oh, also, Greg Postal, shodan." Better late then never! (But man was I sweating!)

The other, "funnier" test experience I had was at my nidan test, also in Brockton. Again, we had finished everything but the sparring, when Canna sensei made an impassioned speech about karate, the importance of sparring etc. What made the biggest impression on me at the time, (sorry, sensei) was the story he told about the fact that most of the fatalities in car accidents he had investigated resulted from ruptured bladders spilling toxins into the bloodstream. He concluded this by saying, "so what I'm trying to get at is: make sure you always use the bathroom before you spar." After everyone had a chuckle over that, there was, predictably, a mass exodus toward the bathroom. Unfortunately, the joke was on us as Bethony sensei shouted, "Okay everyone, gear up! let's go, right now, we want to get out of here today!" Maybe someone got to get to the john before they sparred, but I didn't, although you can be damn sure I thought about it throughout my match that day!

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Test Stories

Postby evanpantazi » Wed Nov 18, 1998 1:05 pm

This is a personal story from my Shodan test in Kenpo, which now is humorous, it's amazing what time does to distort your thinking.

After a 1 1/2 hour advanced class twelve of us were instructed to step outside the back of this strip mall Dojo (Southern California) into the noon day sun. We were then told to kneel on the pavement and mentally prepare for our Black Belt Test. During this time the Senior Black Belts, which we didn't see in the class, started to emerge from the Dojo and there were just as many of them as us. This was as I remember one of those more stressfull moments.

We were then instructed to run through our Kata, (14 of them), then ushered through a set technique portion as a required testing procedure. This lasted about 2 hours, we were all hot, the pavement was hot, the gravel we were taken down on was hot, the black gis we wore were hot, the attitudes of the candidates was hot... At that point one of the seniors instructed us to run through a car wash at another strip mall across the Boulevard. As we lined up in single order and jogged the distance (amusing traffic all they way) we came to the entrance of the car wash that was operated by non english speaking Mexicans. After a breif time of non communication and a lot of pointing as we kept the jogging in place going, (Seniors could see us from the rear of the Dojo), we ran through. Now as refreshing as the average person would imagine, let me say that the car washes of old were not "all cloth". It occured to me that it was a marvel that these did not peel the finish off the cars, the water stung and was hot, the brushes luckily did not meet in the middle and there was enough room to squeak through without there punishment, (except one guy who slipped a little and later found the welts on his arm. Now the attendents really were having a great time we surmised especially when we saw the "Hot Caranuba Wax" sign light up. Well we got through it and went back to the testing.

The Hot steamy gis freshly waxed were now rather intolerable, but smelled much better, making every motion very difficult and annoying, (I won't get into details here). The test lasted another 3 hours of spontaneous reactions, sparring, group attacks, weapon defenses, more sparring, more everything. One guy fell from dehydration, one twisted his ankle and had to leave the test, and one guy caught an elbow to the mouth putting out a front tooth. There is more but it's not humorous so I'll end with saying that as demanding, annoying, scary and painful as it was (I found gravel in places I never knew it could get to), time has reduced this event to a joke for me and a great memory.

Ow, (no Os)
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Test Stories

Postby Kevin Mackie » Thu Nov 19, 1998 5:18 am

Of all the parts of the my Shodan test, I was most comfortable with the sparring portion for several reasons, one the kata , bunkais, and kumites were behind me and I was warmed up and feeling confident. The second was that I knew who I was fighting and knew he never trained in a certain Norwood dojo! We were given one simple instruction, lose control and you fail!

The importance of reading the opponent and breaking his concentration was clear immediately. We were physically matched in size and strength, (he was up for Nidan) but what made the difference was gaining the psychological advantage. I hit first quickly and backed off, when he countered, I jammed him and returned fire. This apparently threw his train of thought off the tracks. Feigning punches and low kicks and coming up with high kicks was something he had no experience with. He asked me after the match where I learned those moves. I just smiled.

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