Belt testing is always an interesting experience. Hercules was well-prepared but visibly nervous that morning. But he did great when his turn came around. His instructors praised his pattern and that gave him a real boost. At the end when it was time for breaking (as in the breaking of wood), that's when Hercules really had his chance to shine. Even though they never actually practice breaking in his class (because the younger kids aren't required to pass this part of the test), everyone gets a chance to try it during the test. Everyone ahead of Hercules had a hard time with their break, and a couple of kids weren't able to do it. Keep in mind that they were older but also of a higher belt rank, so the kick they were expected to use for their break was a difficult one. Anyway, when it came around to Hercules' turn, he got up to do a sidekick. As he was setting up his position for the kick, the instructor came around from the judges' table and asked Herc to face the class so they could all see his form - which was perfect. Then the instructor said, "Watch, he'll get it on the first try." And SNAP! He did!
I tried to get a photo but Hercules was too fast and it was all over before I could even click the shutter.
He also made me very proud during the step-sparring portion of the test. For this part, two students face off for a specific series of kicks and punches which are supposed to demonstrate form and control - no contact or force. Hercules had practiced this a lot in class and did a great job. In class his sparring partner is a girl that's older and taller than he is, but during the test he was paired with some younger and smaller boys that had the same belt rank. They're also in a different class for younger kids (Herc's old class) and I don't think they had practiced as much. So when they messed up, Hercules would very patiently correct their form or show them the proper sequence. I found that very endearing:)
Congratulations to Hercules the Yellow Belt!