Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another Step to the Third Degree

Of course, in this case, the "Third Degree" to which I'm referring is my next Black Belt. Conceivably, this Fall I will be earning my third degree (or third dan) from Keith Hafner's Karate. To prepare for this, my teacher, Professor Hafner, has started training and testing us (my friend Peter Gluck and I are both eligible). Each month we are to perform in front of the school a demonstration of the Professor's choosing.

The first month we had to show two of our advanced forms (or kata). I don't mind doing this at all. I'm kind of a big ham, so performing in front of a group is fun for me and it gets me pretty juiced up.

This month was more of a challenge.

This test was to perform a "multiple break". This means that we have to break five single boards in succession using different moves on each one. The challenge isn't so much the act of breaking a board, but rather maintaining the mental focus necessary to aim the techniques accurately. Ordinarily in a break you take one or two practice swings to make sure that your aim is good before you put your full strength into actually striking the target. With the multiple break, you only get that opportunity on the first board. After that it is all about targeting on the fly and maintaining your focus.

The fact that Lisa and I didn't have to visit the emergency room afterward should tell you that the break was a success. The funny thing is, from the moment my foot left the floor for the first kick, the process blurred entirely. Watching the video, I know the crowd was cheering, but I didn't hear a thing.

Every time I do a break, I experience much the same thing. The focus is so complete that I don't even notice the passage of time. Of course, now that I know that I have such an ability within me, I want to discover how I can apply that to my everyday life.

Maybe that will be one of my future tests!

So, have you ever made a break? If so, what was your experience like?

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