Monday, August 11, 2008

Stage Fright

What is it about talking in front of a bunch of people that causes your heart to race, your palms to get sweaty, and your mind to draw a complete blank? Ok, the answer is adrenaline but what causes the adrenaline to kick into overdrive in the first place?

In one word: Fear.

Every class, the first person in the far right corner of the room does the bow-in procedure. I've done this a few times such that I get it right w/o having to think too much about it.

The procedure...spelled phonetically to the best of my ability

Chery-ut : attention
Kuki-day-hi-oh : face the flag
Kyung-yay : this means bow but we put our hand over our hearts
Buh-ro: (Usually spelled barrot) Return to attention
Kuki-day-hi-oh Kyo-sa-nim kay: Face the Instructor
Kyung-yah: bow to the instructor and everyone yells out "Courtesy....Tae Kwon!" with right arm up in an "L" position with a fist, left arm at their side in a "cocked" position.

Note that if the instructor is a Master, Kyo-sa-nim is replaced with Sah-bum-nim. If a Grand Master, Kwan-ja-nim.

Tonight,we had Kwan-ja-nim Lee as our instructor. I made it through the bow-in perfectly fine but then panic struck. He looked at me and asked me to lead the warm-up exercises. It was the first time I've done this. 99.99% of the time, an upper level student leads the class in the warmups. I've only seen one other student of our belt level lead the class in warmups. The look of terror must have been in my eyes because he looked at me and encouraged me to get up there. "There's always a first time. You can do it." It was a bit of a blur. I spent the whole time going over in my head what we had done in the past and what we should be doing next. At one point in time, I forgot how to say the number 2 in Korean. I was thankful when it was over and I think I did actually go over everything we normally do.

The rest of the class, we focused on items for our upcoming test. Kwan-ja-nim Lee is great at working on the details of our technique in both demonstrating proper form and in encouraging us to do it correctly without making us feel bad. I've got a handle on the items for our upcoming test already. I just need to make sure I can perform everything with proper form AND with the correct attitude.

There are days where I wonder about what life will be like after I have my black belt. I have this idea in my head that by that time, I will be up in front of the class instructing without any fear. It's a long step from today though.