Kung Fu: Yellow Sash

November 13, 2012 was the best day of my Kung Fu life.

I’d spent almost nine months as a white sash and watched several other students who started after me advance to yellow. In particular there was this one girl who started about two months after I did and she made her yellow sash in under five months. It killed me. [1]

She had three stripes on her yellow belt before I even tested for yellow. She was a beast! [2] She was my competition! [3] I had to somehow catch up!

Then November 13th happened and I was a yellow sash. I had color around my waist. I felt like a serious martial artist. My instructor was on board with my insane plan to get through the green sash requirements [4] and test by March 2013.

There were some hiccups [5] along the way but I had all three stripes by the second week of January. I also won the school’s Battle of the Bulge Competition, in which during the month of January the instructors awarded points for each class attended. Extra private lessons were awarded to the top five adult students.

I came in Second despite missing the last week of January because I was sick.

Every week I felt my Kung Fu getting better. Yellow Sash was a completely different game. I can do things with my body that I never thought I’d be able to do. It wasn’t just More White Sash techniques with a slight increase in difficulty, these techniques were Yellow Sash Difficulty! They required Real and Hard Work and I loved it.

I despaired catching up to my competition. I watched her in our yellow sash class and knew she was still better than me. I ultra despaired when she told me her test date was the last week in February.

Then she got sick and had to push her test to March 13–the anniversary of my fourth month as a yellow sash. I watched her test and she was awesome. She clearly had the experience and training that six to seven months gave her. She became a very happy Green Sash that night.

No wonder, I thought, my instructor hasn’t given me a test date yet. I probably just need time. It’s only been four months and I’m having some blood sugar problems that are preventing me from having a good format. [6]

An hour later after doing my hardest, bestest practice format yet, he gave me a test date. “Because,” he said, “You’re ready. Each time we do this, you get better and better. Practice hard this week so you don’t lose it.”

So, next Wednesday, I’ll stand before my Sifu, perform my techniques, forms, and kicks [7] and catch up to my competition. We’re in the same age bracket so we’ll compete against each other at tournament. It’s very exciting!

March 20, 2013: Here I come!


[1] None of my legitimate reasons soothed my soul. After all, she was a solo student, I was in a partnership. She had a lesson every week, we were going every other week. It was simple math but I was jealous.
[2] Actually, she’s a perfectly lovely person.  Well, until you get her sparring. Then she’s a beast again.
[3] Sometimes I have secret competitions with people that they know nothing about. I never tell them if they’re winning or losing.
[4] Nineteen new techniques, a new handform, seven new kicks, five old kicks, and sparring an opponent continuously for 2 minutes in full gear.
[5] Food Poisoning. The Flu. Sparring.
[6] And Sparring problems. Unmade. Every. Freaking. Time.
[7] After some discussion with my instructors and Sifu, they are making an exception for me. I’ll spar at my next belt level or I won’t advance to Blue. I plan to work to get so I can spar at the 2014 tournament.

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