I used to fear Friday night class. Truly. Thoroughly. Fear it.
I never knew until I was already there what the night’s regimen was going to consist of; so I had all day long to think about it and worry:
How many rows of wheel hands would we have to do? How many kicking combinations? Would we do ten full forms in singles or doubles? After how many rotations of practicing sections?
How would my knees hold up? My back? How much pain would I find at the end of the two-hour, invitation-only session that a black sash candidate was required to attend? Would I get the dreaded cramp in my calf again, the one from empty stances, the one that awakened me in the middle of the night? No stretch or massage ever relieved it. I just had to wait, powerless, for long, long minutes, until it released me.
I hated Friday night.
For six months of black sash testing, I wondered, as I entered class on the last day of the work week, if I could execute all I was told to that night without needing to cry or stopping to pray. By the end of it all, I could. In the final weeks, I could even smile – before I left the building, not just in the car on the way home.
The joy of Fridays has returned to me. It returned with the presentation of the final sash. And I use that joy to bake cupcakes, watch a movie, and rejuvenate for training of my own making. I use it to do whatever I want to do.
I’m still invited to Friday class and sometimes I go. But not this week and not last. I’m not sure when I’ll go again…and I’m not worried about it.