As requested by my instructor, I showed up Thursday to help out with the level one test. They had 22 people testing for thai shorts. In my test for thai shorts there were only four. The gym is moving up.
Several things were apparent. The most conspicuous one to me was the people that kept coming up to me and congratulating me on my test and orange sash. After about the sixth person I asked what the hell was going on. Apparently the instructor is bragging me up around the gym to the other students - and he said that I had the best test in the advanced class. I was terribly flattered but a little blindsided by all of the (good) attention. It is very strange - people think that I am a bad ass now, something I am definitely not used to. I have routinely considered myself eighth or ninth best out of the ten regulars in the advanced class but maybe I am underestimating myself. I will continue to think humbly though and to work hard.
The test started as they always do and I was paired to hold pads with a 37 year old woman. The level of skills from there to here was amazing. You have to remember that I have been sparring and holding pads for the very best guys in the gym including the instructors and things move very quickly and powerfully in those sessions. The first time I broke out the focus mitts and started to catch some punches for this woman I was sort of freaking out - it was like I had just started Muay Thai. What I mean is that the level I have been playing at is at an IMMENSELY higher plane than the one I was dealing with last night. I really needed to crank it down big time but it was extremely difficult for me.
We went into a clench drill and I realized quickly that I was annihilating this poor woman and I immediately softened the drill up for her. She gave me many thanks. A few times I thought she was going to puke, and she started to cry a few times. I told her NO CRYING and NO QUITTING. She made it and gave me a huge hug and thanks after she received her shorts at the end.
Some of the beginners were very good. I think that the class I was in back then was better, but I think everyone would probably say that. In addition, I think my test was tougher. Part of this has to do with the small amount of people in my test. The other guys from my advanced class who showed up agreed on that point. As the gym gets larger and larger I think they will maybe have to segregate levels a bit better, but that isn't my business.
An interesting side note that I just thought of. I am the only one of the four in my class that got thai shorts who is advancing in rank at the gym. I have only seen one other guy from that class around and he has been only attending once in a while. Strange.
I stuck around afterwards and clapped for each person when they got their shorts - I remembered what a great day it was for me and wanted them to see that I supported them. I can't wait for classes to start up again - I need my fix.