My aikido test went as close to perfect as one could reasonably expect--just a couple of details, and a curious (to me) gushing of compliments from the examining panel. But I essentially did everything right. So go me!

In the training after the test, we did punches to the face, working up to really, really fast punches to the face that get pulled back after the strike (which, if you have any clue how to punch, is how you'd punch in real life, to hurt somebody). I trained with this one guy I know decently well, who is really, really fast, and he wasn't holding back much...a punch to the face is thoroughly different from a punch to the stomach (our normal attack), for both attacker and defender: the face is where we place our personality and the personality of others. To us the face is that person in a way that the torso clearly is not, and so sending a destructive attack at it can be psychologically difficult; on the receiving end, most of us are well aware that actually getting hit in the face hurts a whole lot more than getting hit in the stomach, so we're much more likely to freeze or panic. I did fine, though, and it's so nice to push myself for physical demonstrations that my training has made a difference.

It's nice to find something so good for me.