Yesterday I tested for my high brown belt. Once again, I was the only adult testing, due to other obligations (work, a class that couldn't be gotten out of). I'm kind of used to it by now, although Amy did actually test with the group the last couple of times. This time around it wasn't so bad; when we did stuff with partners the kid I ended up facing was at least roughly my size.
We started with warm-ups, then basic skills (kicks, strikes, blocks) and somehow that ended up taking half an hour. Mister L., who does our testing, spent a lot of time talking for some reason, and over the course of the hour (which ended up being closer to an hour and ten, fifteen minutes) we probably lost ten to fifteen minutes to that.
A lot of it was having the younger kids get up, then sit down, then get back up, because they were slow and didn't say 'yes, sir' (which granted Master Paul doesn't enforce, like, at all in regular classes, so I tend to be the only one who says it) and whined when they were told to do something they didn't want to do (push-ups).
Which actually led to an interesting moment, where Mister L., who had been talking about saying 'yes sir' added, "Or 'yes ma'am' for a female instructor," to which one of the kids commented that we don't have any. Mister L. said, "Not yet," and then looked over to the side of the room where the higher ranks were sitting and said, "There are future female instructors here," meaning, presumably, me, Danielle, and Audrey, who are three of the four brown belts. (I guess it's a good thing that I've figured out how to tie other people's belts as well as my own. One of our littlest guys only had his belt wrapped around him once, so the ends were hanging way down. Master Paul was busy with his brother, so I went over and said, "Let's fix that," and managed to get it right. You wouldn't think it, but it's a lot different doing it on someone else than on yourself.)
Luckily, my group (which was four brown belts and a red belt) were better about getting up quickly, remembering to say 'yes sir' and generally treating it like testing instead of like fun time. So we mostly just had to sit through the lectures... or sometimes stand in ready/fighting stance for extended periods of time while he talked. And in my case, I got to be called a 'big stinky pumpkinhead' repeatedly (because he knew I wouldn't get upset) while he discussed how being told that you were not doing something well is just an opportunity for improvement and not to take it personally. At least I think that was the point of that particular tangent.
We did a little (very little) step-sparring (for the higher ranked students) and self-defense (for the lower-ranked students), and then we did our forms. He had the brown belts also do the yellow belt form, since next time around we'll need to know all of the forms when we test for our black belts.
From the way he was talking, it sounds like he actually expects us to be testing for black in the next testing cycle. I had honestly expected that it would take six months, and we would test in June, but that might not end up being the case. I'm pretty sure I can be ready by March anyway, but I'm not as confident about two of my beltmates. (Danielle will be fine; she knows the forms better than I do, although she's not as solid on step-sparring and self-defense all the time.) Audrey and Alan don't train as often, and are younger, and I'm less sure they'll be ready. But we'll see.
He had Master Paul, along with his son (who had apparently decided this morning that he wanted to come along with his dad for the testing, resulting in Mister L. having to cut down one of his old black belts to make it short enough for his son to wear; his own belt was at the school) do one of the black belt forms, and then he had Master Paul do one that we've actually never seen before, and holy shit... It seems impossible now that I'll ever be able to remember anything like that, because there was a lot of moves. (It was called Banya or something like that.)
After testing was over, Mister L. shook my hand and said something about how I wasn't upset by being called a pumpkinhead, right? To which I responded of course I wasn't. He's such a nice guy, there's pretty much no way to take anything he says (especially something that silly) personally.
He also asked about knife defense, and I said that Danielle and I knew 1-6. He said that maybe he would have us do it next testing, but sometimes it made parents nervous. Juniors don't do knife defense, only the adult class, so it's not as if they have to worry about their precious darlings wielding plastic knives at each other... but I can kind of see why it might make people nervous in general, because in addition to their being weapons involved, several of them involve takedowns, and are just generally violent overall. (Which is kind of why I love it... the more dramatic a thing is, the more I tend to like it.)
Overall, it was probably one of the easiest testing sessions that we've had, at least for the higher ranks, because so much focus was placed on managing the behavior of the lower ranks. Some of them just aren't used to the process, but others really should know better. But like I said before, Master Paul doesn't really enforce the responding to commands with 'yes sir' and all of that, so that's part of it. I really wonder if some of the behavior that happens would be tolerated at all in another school. It got to a point where it was embarrassing to me that these were the students of my school. Hopefully next time they'll be better behaved.