"Aaron, could you come here for a minute?"
I hate hearing those words. They very rarely are portents of anything good.
I went over to see Clint and hear the fateful words.
"You didn't make it this time."
I like to be flip about it and say that it would have taken a miracle to pass that exam, and that I'd rather save that miracle for my silver cord or my gold cord.
I like to look at the positives, which was that my wrestling, which was my weakest point in my last exam, was my strongest point in this exam.
I like to make excuses too. I spent all summer in knight camp, I hadn't trained in months, I was thinking about getting to work on time, I spent too long trying to check my form in the mirror, and a great many others.
But the simple fact was that I wasn't ready.
The biggest piece of feedback that I got was that my sword moved in a two foot wide circle, and that it needs to move in a three inch circle.
I waited a few days for the feedback form, and was more than a little crushed when I got it. There are three grades listed on the feedback for each section:
1. Exceeded Expectations (EE)
2. Met Expectation (ME)
3. Did Not Meet Expectations (DME)
I exceeded expectations on my wrestling, and didn't meet the expectations on anything else. The feedback pointed out what was wrong, and to my frustration, there was a lot that I had been working on in the feedback that still hadn't improved. The feedback is necessary to my growth within the Academie, within the art, and as a swordsman.
The last lesson I could take away was a fairly important one. Failure is good. It keeps me humble, and reminds me that I have a standard to live up to; that I need to continue my training; that I need to keep chasing that dream.