I told her: "Not really. Why should I be nervous? I've been training for a long time, I have the complete support of my teachers and the people I train with, I'm healthy, and, well, I'm just ready."
In other words, I lied.
Hell yes I'm nervous! I'm confident. Resolved. Determined. But definitely nervous. Woke me up several times last night, in fact. Nothing like waking up dreaming about kaiten-nage. Very disorienting.
I know that test day is seldom anyone's best day. I know I'm going to screw up, and I know that I'll be largely evaluated on how I do under that kind of stress. I know that I'm expected to know the techniques -- not perhaps perfectly (whatever that means), but to a high level of proficiency and confidence. I know that, most of all, I'll be evaluated on how I handle myself -- attitude, composure, physical and mental posture.
So what do I have going through my head? What mantra am I chanting continuously?
- You. Can't. Go. Too. SSSllloooow. No matter how fact Uke attacks, slow down the technique during the blend. Take the air out of it. Drain the adrenaline. Control the pace of the whole test.
- Extend the blend. Move, relax, breathe.
- Hip to hip. Don't overshoot the blend. Don't be tempted to work on the outside.
- Welcome the screwups. Means it's real. If you ain't fallin' down, you ain't tryin'.
You can do anything for 2-3 hours. Just stay focused.