The Hardest Test

Last night I took the yellow belt test, and it was the hardest test I have ever taken.  I finally have experienced a test that was harder to deal with than the Praxis test I took when I was a student teacher.  That day, as I pulled into the parking lot at Dieruff High School, I almost blacked out.  Then, I almost threw up.  Waiting in line to get into the classroom, I thought about going home, coming back another day, and burying my head in the mulch in our front yard.  I made it through the test, however, by sheer force of will.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done until that point in my life.  Even giving birth to my son was easier, thanks to the epidural man.  Last night, I experienced something more difficult than the Praxis test.  I almost failed myself…almost.  Fortunately for me, the people I train with would not allow me to fail.  I wanted to get up and run away.  They would not let me.  I am so grateful to them for that.

Therefore, I would like to thank everyone who was in class last night, especially Sensei Steve Jr., Sensei Bausch, Sensei Kristie, Sensei Jason, and Sensei Steven.  Steven said it best when he said that everyone who trains with us only wants to see everyone else succeed.  They really do.  The folks I just mentioned have been training at that school for many, many years, and have accepted responsibility for teaching and supporting others even as they continue to develop their skills.

Sensei Steve Jr. said something very important when we spoke after the class, that goes to show just how good a teacher he is.  He said that teaching is not about him, or his agenda.  Instead, it’s about all of us who take his classes.  I said to him, “You know someone is a good teacher when it’s about the students shining and progressing, not about the teacher’s ego.”  It’s not just Steve who seems to think that way; everyone who teaches there leaves their ego at the door and focuses on the students.  In a word, it’s awesome.

That being said, I barely slept last night, as I kept thinking about all the things I could have done better or differently.  I could have NOT panicked, for instance.  I still can’t believe I did that.  I actually heard myself say that I would come back another time and do the test, but it felt like someone else was saying it.  While I was on the ground, I couldn’t breathe.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack right then and there.  Like I said before, however, they would not let me give up.  On the wall of that dojo are the words, “Never say die.”  I will remember that for the rest of my life, I think, and will try to remember what I have learned and put it to use, not only while training, but in other parts of my life as well.

Bausch nailed it when he said that of the seven selves we learn about, self-confidence is probably one that I need to work on the most.  No kidding.  If you know me, you know that is my Achilles heel.  It never seems to matter how much I accomplish, because I always think I just got lucky that time.  My husband, Douglas, tries to teach me that I make my own luck.  My son Lucas seems to accept that fact naturally.  Perhaps this experience will finally help me realize that it is up to me to successfully complete something, or pull back and let the opportunity pass, and that I make my way always on my terms.  Do you think that will happen?  Considering how I feel today, it is probable.

I feel resolved today to continue my training, to acknowledge my strengths and work to mitigate my weaknesses, and to really enjoy the journey.

Thank you for reading this.


PS: Those who read this blog (all two of you) know that in December I made some New Year’s resolutions regarding my martial arts training.  Well, I’m happy to report that I have learned how to do a proper break-fall and a forward roll, and I’ll continue working on the resolution to run a mile.  🙂


  1. Congratulations Honey! I know how much you worked for this and I’m very proud of you!


  2. Nicole Evans says:



  3. Congrats!
    Aidan takes his yellow belt test on Sat.


  4. Sue Edick says:



  5. Congratulations. .I loved karate years ago but my back wouldn’t allow me to continue. I was 2 belts away from blackbelt!!


  6. Debbie , I’m really sorry you could not continue. However, if you should want to give it a try again, I have a great school for you! Most of the senseis know about various injuries and will tell you to just do what you can. They are very supportive.


  7. Thanks Heather. Would love to but knee replacement is coming in August. UGHHH! Falling apart!!!


  8. Debbie , I feel for you! Good luck. From what I hear, you’ll feel like a new person afterward.


  9. I sure hope so..Aug 10th I’m scheduled for


  10. Heather I am so proud of you.


  11. Debbie, I was a long term sub for a teacher who had a knee replacement. When he returned to school, he told me he felt like he had years before. Watching him go up and down steps was amazing! The difference from before surgery was remarkable. You’ll feel great; I just know it.


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