I numbered my blogs incorrectly and apparently have two of #8 on here. Last night's phase testing was a challenge. I felt reasonably confident in the curriculum when I arrived but am still behind on blogs and have lots of work to do on my open form. Then when we got to Bassai I switched in to Palgae 7 during the nine punches. I think I recovered on the outside but I definitely let it get to my head more that I should have. Then Bsbn GSam and I were demonstrating the wrong thing in knives. I felt like I struggled to get my head in the right place the entire time. Kjn's talk about us feeling proud enough to wear our belts really hit me hard. I have struggled throughout this test to feel like I am achieving my goals and my goals have changed throughout, but the biggest one has stayed the same which is balance. I have spent a lot of time out of town with family and in Indonesia this summer and have loved every minute of it. (Indonesia blogs are still to come, I am still wrapping my head around the experience that I had and have struggled to put it into words.) This has meant that this test has been significantly different from Forged. I physically pushed myself in Forged differently, but I also let many relationships suffer because I did not make time for anything or anyone other than working out. I want to be able to be satisfied with my physical shape without it affecting my life in a negative way and I feel in someways that the pendulum has swung the opposite way. A three mile run is not 'easy' anymore and I continue to compare myself to what I was like during Forged, when I trained for the half marathon. I miss being in that kind of shape, but I have spent time doing other things that are also very important to me.I think that the most important thing is going to be to change my self talk and be okay with the way that I have decided to train for this. I am extremely hard on myself and realized how much that stress has affected me. Last night when I was leaving the studio I was completely broken down. I sat in my car for a very long time because I wanted to pull myself together before seeing my roommate (a fellow AH student.) I kept thinking that it was important for her to not see me in my broken down, disappointed state. Today I realize that by hiding how hard this is from her I am not helping her at all. It is important to demonstrate strength and skill and represent leadership, but also to be real about how much testing affects your entire life. There will be tears, doubts, and frustrations but there will also be joy, challenges, teamwork, support and a sense of confidence to handle the tough stuff that life throws at you. These are things that unite us as martial artists and make our theme of Ethos so real.