So I did it...I got my blue belt yesterday with my brother Roger. The whole time leading up was nuts. I totally thought I was ready for the test (technique wise), but I had no clue what it would feel like to roll with Mr. Harris. I had heard stories from my older brother Jay and Mike about how he just lays across your side and doesn't do much but control you and squeeze the oxygen out of your lungs. You sit there on your back helpless. He squeezes you to the point that you're ready to tap (let me emphasize the fact that he's not going for a submission, just applying PRESSURE) and then let's you go. It's a simple test of heart and will.
The test is two parts. The first part is all technique, where Mr. Harris asks you to demonstrate key movements that are essential. The second part is sparring where you roll with your partner and then Mr. Harris.
The test was set for 9:30am at Mr. Harris' Academy and here's a timeline of what happened.
5:20am - Wake up to my damn alarm clock feeling like shiet knowing what was ahead of me. To top it all off the carne asada fries from the night before isn't really sitting too well.
5:30am - Sitting on the shitter trying to get it all out...now I'm not so sure if it's the carne asada or just nerves.
5:45am - Pack up my gear and look at my white belt hoping today will be the last day I put that thing on.
6:15am - Arrive at Mike's gym and sit around for a bit.
6:40am - Roger and I run through the test one more time.
7:40am - Go down to get some acai and start grubbing. My stomach finally starts feeling better...which makes me realize it's the nerves. The whole time I'm eating I keep thinking about what higher belts have told me. "Be prepared to be laying on your back and having the life sucked out of you" or "You'll be making noises you never thought you could make" Such a wonderful feeling knowing you're going to get smashed for 8 minutes straight.
8:25am - Back on the shitter. At this point I'm worried Mr. Harris is going to put so much pressure on me that I'm literally going to shit my pants.
8:40am - Play a quick game of Halo 3 with Roger, Mike and Anthony. This seems to calm me down.
9:30am - Arrive at the gym to see my brother Jay and Mr. Harris waiting.
9:50am - Test starts. Roger is partnered with Jay and I'm partnered with Anthony. As expected and outlined we start with the technique. I'm feeling good especially since Mr. Harris drops a "looks like these guys have been ready for some time now" comment. I know each movement he's going to ask of me and I'm running right through them. Unfortunately I'm sort of going too fast and Anthony notices that I'm spazzing out a bit and warns me to relax and take my time or else I'm gonna burn out by the time I get to Mr. Harris.
10:15am - Now the rolling begins. He has the two of us go at the same time with our partner. I'm rolling with Anthony and I know this guy could just smash me but we go at a good pace but the nerves are getting the best of me and my breathing is all out of wack.
10:20am - We have to roll with one another. So Roger and I start. Stupid me, I kinda go hard and burn myself out even more.
10:25am - Mr. Harris asks who wants to go first. When he asked I was walking to get some water and it was understood that I was gonna go first but Roger steps up and says he'll go. Not sure how I should feel about this cause now I have to watch what it looks like to roll with Mr. Harris.
10:26am - I start shitting my pants. Roger looks like he's in pain and gasping for air right off the bat. Not a good feeling sitting there knowing that's about to happen to you.
10:29am - Half way point of Roger's time with Mr. Harris and I think he's going to pass out.
10:33am - Roger finishes up and he is spent.
10:35am - My turn. Mr. Harris tries to pull me into his guard and I'm working my ass off to pass then all of the sudden I'm on my back. He gets side control and I finally feel it. Now I've had 200 plus pound people across my chest before but Mr. Harris made it seem like I had a car parked across my chest. Right there and then I knew I was in deep doo doo.
10:36am - I've already thought about tapping. Can't do it or else I'm screwed.
10:38am - I'm there with Mr. Harris across my side and I'm thinking to myself, "I'm never going to get out of this"
10:39am - Mr. Harris pulls himself off of me. What the hell just happened? He just failed me...why else would he stop. I look up and he's adjusting his pants.
10:40am -I start thinking what would happen if I passed out? Would he still give me my belt?
10:41am - I hear Jay and Mike telling me to bridge and roll. All they get out of me are noises coming out of my mouth that I never thought I could make.
10:42am - I got side mount. Jay and Mike tell me to show Mr. Harris what pressure really feels like. I think Mr. Harris gets a kick out of it cause he flips me over and smashes me for the 30th time.
10:43am - It's over. I can barely move.
10:50am - Mr. Harris ties blue belts around my waist. Nuts! I can't believe it. I can't believe I was able to put myself physically and mentally through that.
The rest of the day was spent relaxing. I was so dead tired from 8 minutes of rolling. I'm 100 times more exhausted than I was when I ran the AFC half marathon and that was just under 2 hours in the blazing heat. In fact I'm still exhausted today!
Jay said it best. I'm at the bullseye belt...white belts want to kill me and purple belts want to put me in check. GREAT! I'm so stoked though...so much to work on to get my game to the next level.