I passed!! :boing2: The day didnt start out well. I had a hard sparring session with both my instructors on thursday, felt fine that night and woke up in agony! My hip had gone (i have a bit of a dodgy hip anyway) and all the surrounding muscles had spasmed! i could barely walk on friday without serious pain. went to my chiropractor and he snapped me back into shape and this morning i just did plenty of stretches, various hot pads, cold pads, inflammation reducing creams etc.. and lots of painkillers and off i went.. the day started out with a 4 hour course where the black belt syllabus was broken down and gone through for the benefit of us grading and those of lower belts hoping to get a leg up in their training. i was in a bad way.. my hip was so painful i almost thought it was going to give out a number of times and trying to put any power into my techniques was murder. i told our chief instructor when i first arrived and he agreed to go easy until the grading, dont lock any techniques.. so anyway.. i get through it.. just.. pop a few more pills, give my hip a good going over with the cold spray and off to the grading! firstly we went upstairs and got given a written test to go through.. basic karate questions like 'what does kumite mean?' or 'whats the 3rd line of the dojo kun' etc.. plus a few 'what is this stance' questions with pictures.. muddled my way through it although i was a bit annoyed as a lot of the questions werent in my little 'grading pack' my sensei made up for me so i either knew it or had no idea. still.. got it done. then downstairs and went through the basics.. in pain! in pain! not good.. then onto kumite sets. adrenaline is kicking in by this point so the pain is lessening, thank god.. i wanted to get it done so i jumped in the middle and volunteered to go first. got that out of the way and then we were asked to leave the hall and were called in one by one to perform kanku-dai in front of the panel. i wanted to go out there first but they were calling names out so i had to wait and it felt like forever.. constantly trying to keep warm, keep my hip loose.. i realised by kneading the surrounding muscles i could really loosen it up which felt great! pain subsiding... got called out and off i go.. i get halfway through and my brain rebels 'you forgot something!!!' i stupidly listen to it, stop and apologise but i think i forgot something and could i start again? our chief instructor said fine and off i went again. i get to the same point and realise i hadnt missed anything and i was just being stupid!! :/ but anyway.. did it all fine and left a bit annoyed with myself but at least i HADNT actually forgotten something.. more waiting whilst others were called then finally all back in the hall. we did ji'in and wankan our other 2 grading kata's and then basically did every single other kata up to them bar one. (hein yondan) pains pretty much gone in normal movement now.. did a bit of bunkai to hein nidan, and then onto some free sparring. on with the box, mitts and gum shield and off we go! had about 6 sparring sessions with different partners and during my 2nd i made the mistake of blocking a kick with an open hand and essentially got my thumb kicked. its rather sore now but nothing more. actually got commented on my good sparring technique which was nice and thankfully everyone else remembered technique and it didnt end up in a :slapfight: finally sent out again so they could judge and mark us and eventually got called back in for the results. 4 hours and then 2.5 hours later i find out i passed 'even though i've been in the wars' was the comment from our chief instructor, hehe so.. now im home, fed and watered and about to jump in a nice hot bath and rest my aching bones.. man its gonna hurt tomorrow! but i dont care!!