1.5 weeks into the new year and I managed to cross out one of my goals. I passed my 5th kyu grading exams with flying colours. To the point, head SenseiHakim, who was the judge, described my performance as outstanding.
Being the slowest and tail end student in the class, it took me 3 years to actually qualify for my 5th Kyu exam, which is the second most basic stage in aikido.
On the day of the exam, I was reading ayatul kursyi all the way from home to BukitJelutong in ShahAlam, which was the exam venue. The whole procedure of having a crowd watching me go up there and ‘fight’, plus the two senpais whose blood I’ve sucked dry while they were teaching the ‘difficult to focus’ me, plus the head sensei of the aikido school I’m studying in–were all too overwhelming.
I was like Sudin when he had to go for his audition at the Jln Ampas studio, under the watchful eyes of director Ahmad Nisfu and manager Kemat Hassan. I was afraid that I would eventually turn out like Sudin, –“Ko tau tak sudah berapa kali aku sudah terkucil?!” But alas… I didn’t. The ayatul kursyi worked wonders. I was calm when I went into the mat, heard my name called for the ‘rei’ to Sensei before exam began. I felt so relaxed, probably because I blocked out all the image of the audience outside the mats, I blocked out the fact that head Sensei was staring at me executing my moves, I blocked out everything and simply focused on the attacks from my sparring partner.
The next thing I knew, exam was over and I was called to the final bow. It felt like I was just awakened from an eventful dream.