Went to taekwondo class last night and discovered that the next high belt test has been scheduled for Saturday, August 23rd.
My participation in this test is not "official" yet--I still need two stripes--but the instructor told me to expect to be looked at for those next week. The seven stripes I have now are for techniques, self-defenses, forms and sparring; the remaining two are the board-breaking stripe and the final red stripe that signifies that I know all my material and am ready to move up a belt level.
This is a big deal, y'all. Red is considered a high belt (albeit the lowest of the high belts.) For perspective, in our system a black belt is the 12th belt you earn, and red is number 8. The expectations for execution and performance and fitness become higher from red up and the tests become longer and more difficult (hence the Saturday test rather than the weekday evening schedule for lower belts)--effectively, this is the big leagues.
I've known for a while that I would most likely be invited to the next high-belt test, which is why I've been ramping up my out-of-class cardio and lifting, but hearing a date for it was actually chilling! I have a lot of work to do over the next three weeks, that's for sure. These tests are only held on an as-needed basis, when there are a sufficient number of high belts ready to move up a level. I will be one of the lowest belts testing, and I believe the highest ranking students will be testing for their black belts. The expectations for me will not be as high as they are for the black belt candidates, but for me their test will serve as a preview of coming attractions.
Assuming, of course, that I don't have a fatal attack of nerves between now and then. Wish me luck!