It was an honor and a privilege to be able to participate this weekend in USSD events during the Shaolin Monk's visit to the USA. The Head Abbot of the Shaolin Temple came and spoke to us, and as I explain to friends, this is sort of equivalent to a visit from the Pope (or other head of any major religion.) It was pretty exciting.
The first half of Saturday was the USSD studen'ts workshops, were we were able to work with the monks themselves. It is AMAZING to watch these guys and their abilities - they make everything look easy, but that ease is earned through years and years of hard physical training. I can only hope to someday get that low in my stances :)
Saturday afternoon was part 2 of my belt test, and let me tell you, when they said the second half would be the easy one, I think I was misled :D Anyway, I made it through, with my knee grinding and my Achilles screaming, and didn't suck too badly I hope. I couldn't hear a word any of the instructors were saying at the front of the room, 'cause it was incredibly noisy, so I always seemed to be half a beat behind on whatever was being barked out. I was not the only one. At the end of the day I was grateful to be awarded my green belt - for this one, I've worked hard.
Sunday, we had a promotion ceremony - our new ranks recognized by Professor Matterra and Headmaster DeMasco, and our photo taken with the Head Abbot, monks, and ranking USSD instructors. This took awhile because we were brought to the stage in large groups. The green belts alone had over ninety people. Then, Sunday afternoon, we saw the Shaolin Monks in performance, where they do their martial arts demonstrations. It is a VERY cool show and if you ever get a chance to see it, you definitely need to go :)