The day of my 3rd Dan Grading arrived. I’m incredibly nervous even though I feel well prepared. I’ve had a ‘Tapering’ week with plenty of carbs and water to try and keep my body fueled for the big day. There are two of us going for our 3rd and it feels like a big achievement, that throughout the whole of the country there are only two of us at this stage, but it puts a bit more pressure on me to give my best.
We’re asked to do a series of exercises demonstrating the whole range of kicks and punches, first on pads and kick-shields to show power and technique. We were also asked to demonstrate several kicks in slow motion to show control and muscle strength before donning head guards and gum shields for sparring.
In this part of the exam, it isn’t about winning each fight, but showing that we can fight, and more importantly defend ourselves. Sparring is a big fitness test and completely exhausting, so this section is always positioned at the end of the exam, when we’re already shattered. The examiner is looking at our ability to concentrate and think on your feet at this stage. You need to be fully focused to fight, to be able to defend yourself effectively and be able to spot the opportunities to get a few good shots off at your sparring partner.
My exam lasted almost 5 ½ hours and the whole thing was scrutinized by our chief examiner Mike Haig who introduced Kickboxing to the UK in the 70’s. It increases the pressure knowing your every move is being watched by the expert, but I feel confident that I’ve done as well as I can, my fitness didn’t let me down and I feel my technique was good throughout.
I have a nervous wait for the results to arrive in the post in a couple of weeks’ time and I’m desperate to pass, so I don’t have to go through it all again, but in a weird way I’ve really enjoyed it. The early starts to get enough exercise into the day, the early nights to ensure I’m well rested, hours of exercise, bruises, drilling techniques over and over, a change in diet, nutrition and whole lifestyle routine over the last few weeks to ensure I’m as prepared as I can be.
I feel very proud of what I’ve achieved regardless of the outcome but the real icing on the cake will be that extra stripe on my belt.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support the Health Interlink has given me through this process, the nutritional advice and supplements they provided have held me together and ensured my body was fit enough to take on the challenge. The fact I made it through my training program with no injuries is down to the quality of support I’ve been given. I can’t thank you enough.