Testing nerves?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Dinkus Mayhem, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Dinkus Mayhem

    Dinkus Mayhem White Belt

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    Anyone else suffer from this?

    I have tested 4 times so far (going for my blue belt in 2 weeks), and each time it seems that regardless of how prepared I am for the test....I get really nervous and sometimes will go blank.

    I know that I am prepared, and can pass my test....I just let my mind get the better of me.

    So....the real question is this, how do I overcome it? Any tips or thoughts would be appreciated. :)
     
  2. Stac3y

    Stac3y Master Black Belt

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    I do. Testing makes me very nervous--even participating in someone else's test when I'm not the one being graded gives me butterflies.

    To combat this, I do several things:

    1. I practice my butt off (sounds like you already do this one)
    2. I make sure I bring everything I might possibly need--extra water, Gu (in case my blood sugar drops), elastic supports for the various recurring injuries and pains I have, etc.
    3. I iron my gi. Makes me feel I've attended to every detail.
    4. I pretend it's a tournament. Since I do a lot of these, this helps me depersonalize the anxiety. In tests, I'm anxious about being judged by people I know and having them think badly of me; in tournaments, the judges are not usually people I know or care about, so if I mess up, it's not as upsetting. So that helps me.

    Good luck!
     
  3. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    Yes, be even more prepared. You say you are prepared but then when in front of the judges you tend to go blank at times. Well to me that means you are not prepared. The material should be so well known that even if you go blank the moves and or questions should just be natural. If you think you are prepared but still go blank then you are not prepared in my opinion.

    If under the most extream pressure I asked you your name I bet you could give it to me. If I asked you what was 2 + 2, I bet you could give me that too. That is because with those questions you are prepared and know the answers because you have answered them so many times that you don't have to think about them. That is how prepared you need to be when testing.

    What I tend to find is that students are not a prepared as they think they are. Just because you can do your form with minimal to no mistakes does not mean that you can do your from under pressure, if you have to think about even one move. It must be as natural as walking or saying your name. No thought at all. Then you are prepared.

    So I would suggest to you to use every spare moment until you can do what will be on the test without thinking. At least the basic should be this way, your kicks, punches, and any patterns. Also any questions also for you belt level should be able to be answered without thought also.

    When you can do the above then you can say you are prepared. But as it stands now you are not prepared.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Dinkus Mayhem

    Dinkus Mayhem White Belt

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    ATC: I do suppose that makes perfect sense, though I haven't thought of my being nervous in that way before.

    What strikes me as odd though is that when I show up to do a warm-up for the test and run through the stuff with a black belt I get it all right with no errors. My pattern is good, I know my oral portion, and I can run through the rest of my material without any hitches.

    But when I am standing before the Grand Master or Master, all bets are off.

    Study my butt off even more? Yes, I can definately do that....and will. With some extra effort maybe I will be a bit more confident in myself and it will show during my tests.

    Thank you for the different perspective Sir.

    That is a good idea to incorporate with Mr. ATC's thoughts about putting time in for additional practice. I do well in tournaments, reasonably well at any rate, and don't seem to be as nervous as during testing.

    The thought has occured to me that if my family wasn't watching, maybe I would be less scared of screwing up, though if Mr. ATC is correct the idea of screwing up should never enter my mind in the first place.

    Looks like I have much to think about, as well as some more hours of training.

    Thanks again to both of you. :)
     
  5. Allen a.k.a. Destroyer

    Allen a.k.a. Destroyer Yellow Belt

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    I used to get nervous too. Now I'm getting ready for second degree and my only concern is making that third brick snap clean in half. (I started breaking bricks after blue.)

    As with the proceeding advice: Spend EVERY moment you can spare getting ready for that test. Go over previous forms as well. If you're riding or driving, try to spend that time thinking about your forms and material as well. Of course, keep your eyes on the road if you're driving, but use what thoughts you can towards mental practice.

    A tip for going "blank": Clear your mind. Sound counter-intuitive? Maybe because you're still thinking about the whole form as you do it. It should become almost natural and flow easily from you if you practice relentlessly as was said before. Two weeks is plenty of time to get in gear to test.

    Also, since you're coming up out of the mid ranks, you may have missed this, but...
    Ever feel your back tense up? Your shoulders get tight?
    Relax!
    Drop your arms and let the tension melt off. Take some slow, even, deep breaths until you feel yourself loosen up. Tension makes forms look bad* and makes you work too hard against your own body when it isn't necessary. *(except on tension blocks where it should be)

    Hope that helps. Good luck with your practice and testing!
     
  6. d1jinx

    d1jinx Master Black Belt

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    I am a 5th Dan, and I still get nervous. Most people are affraid of public speaking and performing infront of large crowds.
    The only real way to get used to it is to continue to do it. But you cant test everyweekend right! Between the military and school, I have had to do alot of public speaking and addressing large groups. Giving class presentations and teaching. Over time I have become more comfortable ( I still dont like it) with standing in front of large groups and performing (whether it be speaking or TKD).
    The one thing I can say to try to help you is.... breathe. Try to concentrate on relaxing. We get nervous and want it over with ASAP so we rush and make mistakes. Take your time and relax.

    Good luck.
     
  7. sfs982000

    sfs982000 Master Black Belt

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    Nervousness is only natural and I'm sure that I'm not speaking solely for myself, but I find that I tend to focus alot more on the little details when there is pressure/nervousness involved. It seems there is that comfort level during the normal training that is done in the dojang, but testing is a whole other animal, as it should be. I would concur with the breathing to help you relax, I tend to find that during testing I will take as many opportunities to catch a few deep, relaxing breaths as I can.
     
  8. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    At one of my past gradings I got so nervous, I thought I was going to throw up.

    Actually for no apparent reason. I got myself a big hug from a friend and remembered to breath.

    I think I am pretty self centered, I don't mind being in front of other people, doing my stuff, not even messing up, in any shape or form. I don't think a split Gi could bother me (I wear full coverage undies)

    What I don't do is watching other people do their forms. I mean, I usually sit through the green and blue belt tests, yes, I watch them, but not my own rank (not my son) I think I have the attention span of a gnat, and tend to focus on the wrong things at times.

    While adrenalin is good to give you an edge on performance, too much makes you do weird things. So try not to think too much about the test, find a balance of activity and rest (for the brain)

    Listening to music that calms your mind (not necessarily soothing music, you get my drift), read (and not the newest installment or Black Belt) or keep your mind otherwise busy: Sudoku, Crossword puzzles, embroidery...

    Or meditate.
     
  9. NPTKD

    NPTKD Brown Belt

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    Practice like it is a testing, and test like it is a practice! Someone told me that one time. I have done it ever since.
     
  10. KELLYG

    KELLYG 2nd Black Belt

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    I like most people get real nervous before testing. One of the things that seemed to help me a lot, other than what was mentioned before, is to visualize the entire test from start to finish. Visualize the environment, the people, the Masters, and visualize completing every portion and picture being successful at each. Take a minute before the test and relax, meditate, ie just get your crap together.
     
  11. goingd

    goingd Purple Belt

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    I always got that way for testing, and I'm already getting like that with my 3rd Dan test coming next month. I worry about too many little things - I'll trip during poomse, I'll get an asthma attack and embarrass myself during sparring, my kihap will be weak, etc. But if you go in with the mindset that you own the test, you will be more than fine. Good luck. ^_^
     
  12. Marginal

    Marginal Senior Master

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    Try viewing it as a demo. Have some fun.
     
  13. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    yes, FUN!

    Isn't that why we do this?!
     
  14. wade

    wade Black Belt

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    My favorite picture of me testing was for my 6th Dan. It showed me asleep under a table while every one else was out going through their requirements. Some of the people testing with me were GM Leon Preston, GM Scott Rhor and GM Hong Choi. We all passed. So, my suggestion is, first, work your *** off to be prepared for your test and then, relax, because what will happen will happen and that's a fact. Just be you and show what you can do. My last test for 7th Dan was in front of 7 8th Dans and above and lasted 3 & 1/2 hours. Other than my wife was worried I was going to have a heart attack, I'm not as young as I used to be, everything went well. My testers, two of which were SGM JP Choi and SGM Hong Kong Kim gave me a 95%. So, once more, be prepared and then relax..............it will all work out.
     
  15. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I get so nervous that I actually shake and go very close to vomitting. I am now a black belt and my nerves are no better. The harder I train and more prepared I am the more nervous I get as I feel I have done too much and am so prepared that failure would just be unacceptable. The only time I ever graded and had little nerves was actually at blue belt and I had been busy with work and had not prepared well enough , because of this I was almost prepared to fail and did not expect to pass. As it turned out I did the best I have ever done because I placed no pressure on myself.
     
  16. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    There you go: work more! ;)
     
  17. Dinkus Mayhem

    Dinkus Mayhem White Belt

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    You know what? You people rock. There is a lot of good advice being given in this thread, what I need to do now is go through it and find what will be most beneficial to me.

    During practice last night I did great, we ran through the entire test....not in order either....picking random stuff here and there....when I got home I visualized myself preforming my material and had very few hangups there as well.

    Now I just need to get my mind ready....and practice more to polish up the rough edges.

    This community is great because all of you seem to have at one point or another been in the exact place that I am now, the common bond of TKD students is our strength, and I am very appreciative to all those who shared their experiences and what helped them.

    Also, thank you for all the wishes of luck in my test. :)

    ~bows~
     
  18. xfighter88

    xfighter88 Blue Belt

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    If the forms are what are tripping you up then I would suggest performing them in front of your family and/or friends before the test. When you perform them in front of people in a non dojo setting it feels akward and simulates the uneasiness of testing. At least that's how I get rid of my jitters.
     
  19. Allen a.k.a. Destroyer

    Allen a.k.a. Destroyer Yellow Belt

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    One other thing... this is something my Master says all the time:

    You're already ready, just do what we do in class. It's not anything different, is it? Don't worry about who's up there watching just do what we do.

    Clear your mind of any thoughts of passing or failing.

    I just went to a tournament and while i was waiting for my turn I was starting to get worried... then just before I went up there I remembered something I read that Bruce Lee wrote:
    "Forget about winning and losing, forget about pride and pain."
    Once I stood up, I just poured everything into the form.

    Long story short: I placed in a large and tough division.
     
  20. garrisons2

    garrisons2 Orange Belt

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    I agree with your perspective. Today was one of those days...sufferring from a painful back injury, dead tired, and spaced out, still managed to do Koryo reasonably well. Only because Ive done it hundreds of times before. Kind of like driving a car, you don't really think about all that goes into it anymore123
     

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