My 2nd kyu exam is coming up in two weeks. Today a friend sent me my own advice, from my email to her before her first exam, a while back. If you are an aikidoka, you might hear echos of Robert Nadeau Shihan, via George Leonard Sensei’s book “The Way of Aikido”. If you are a horseperson, you might recognize the teachings of Olympic Dressage Coach, Jane Savoie. I try to train this way, and it’s always good to be reminded:
“Meanwhile, between now and your test (especially if you are getting stressed out), visualize the situation (dojo, Sensei, fellow students, etc.), and practice being calm, happy, and deliberate.
Worry/anxiety is just negative visualization – rehearsing in your mind all the things that could go wrong. When you catch yourself doing that, stop, take a breath, and rehearse in your mind everything going beautifully. :-) Breathe, smile, stand up straight and feel your feet rooted in the ground.
Try on the feeling of saying, in your mind "For the next few minutes, this is my mat. Get ready, because you’re about to see an inspiring test!” :-) And be prepared, if anything during your test should throw you off momentarily (getting dizzy, doing a different technique from the one Sensei asked for, or whatever), to simply re-center, take a breath, and keep moving forward with your test, calmly. Just let it go (“Oh well. Next!”) and keep going.
It’ll be fun. :-)“