Thursday, July 28, 2011

Black Belt Test

Tonight Clint starts his black belt test!  I say "starts" because the entire test takes four days.  At 6:00 this evening, all of the black belt candidates will leave for the mountains.  At this point it's hard to say what will happen once they are up there, because all of the black belts who took this test in the past were sworn to secrecy.  But this is what we do know:
  • There is very little--to no--food (I think they get one energy bar a day).
  • The black-belt candidates wear ONE karate uniform for the entire four days, and are not allowed to bring a change of clothes (not even an extra pair of underwear).  The only article of clothing they are allowed to bring is one extra pair of socks.
  • At least one part of the test involves swimming.
  • At least one part of the test involves crawling around in the dark (they were required to pack a head-lamp).
  • If they bring anything that isn't on the approved list, it gets thrown in the trash.
  • They will be sleeping on the ground.  A "pillow" is NOT on the list.
  • Last year's black belts came back from the test blindfolded, filthy, and exhausted.
The irony is Clint just opened up a fortune cookie yesterday that said, "Get away from home awhile to restore your energies."  I'm not sure, but I'm thinking this getaway sounds like the exact opposite of "restorative." 

On my end, having Clint gone for four days is nothing out of the ordinary, but the fact that we can't communicate the entire time is something new.  He's not allowed to bring his cell-phone, so I will be left in complete mystery as to how he is holding up.

On Sunday, at 6:00 p.m., Clint and the other guys will arrive back to the dojo for the Black Belt Promotion Ceremony (and no, they do not get to shower first).  At this time, all of the candidates who passed the test officially receive their black belt, and then they are required to take a punch in the stomach from every sensei in the dojo, which can range anywhere from a dozen to twenty.  The ceremony concludes with family and friends enjoying a potluck.

I told Clint this morning that "Today is your day.  Anything you want to do, we'll do it."  He's laughing because he says I'm treating him like he's about to die.  At any rate, "Clinton's Special Day" includes World of Warcraft, Chinese food, and ice-cream, so I better get my butt moving.