God help me, I’m an Associate Master.
The strangest things happen when you’re a pushover…
A few months ago, things were marching along at the martial arts school. Lots of big changes in the curriculum afoot, which were taking up a big part of everyone’s attention Myself I was doing fine, though having doubts about the coming test cycle. Black belt testing is only done once a year. Among many other things, one of the conditions for testing is a certain amount of time since the last test. On that condition alone, I was technically eligible for two ranks (one in Hapkido and one in Taekwondo) The normal course of things is to deal with tests one at a time, and which one to deal with this year had been a point of some debate and ambiguity throughout the year.
Here comes the pitch: other people were testing for both of the same ranks (one of which sufficiently high to make this a rare event) Obviously it would be so much easier with the other peole taking up some of the testing board’s attention. I swear, I’ve got to get a will some time.
Shear and utter madness.
I did realize my mistake eventually. Comforting to know, instead of just feeling uneasy, but discomforting to be sure it was a mistake. There is another theory of easy and hard – it’s easy when you are prepared and hard when you aren’t. (Guess where I was, with little more than a month to go.)
I paid dearly for my error. For that last month or so, virtually every other concern fell away as I was either in class, or at home organizing my notes and grappling with advanced material. It pretty much ate my life, and debts remain; some of the people who assisted me had expressed an interest in private lessons, and I now have outstanding vouchers.
The beginning of the post has given away the end of the story; I passed, and did quite well to hear people talk; of course people tend to say nice things at events like this. A certain degree of shortfall is written into the beginning of such an overambitious enterprise. Parts of me actually wanted to brush it off and make a lackluster performance as a kind of silent protest. In the end, however, that would have been rather rude, and other parts of me require a certain level of quality.
Of course, that isn’t the entirety of the insanity.
At our school, black belt rank in multiple arts can be added together, up to a point, to create higher level titles (I’d already been a benefactor of this rule, as ‘Sr. Instructor’) By those rules, I am now titled Assoc. Master. I may have also benefited from some changes in the title system; a much higher ranked student, formally titled Assoc. Master, was upgraded to Professor, even though she didn’t test this year.
Doesn’t make having master in the title any less scary, though.