I earned the first stripe on my yellow belt a couple weeks ago. I've been working pretty hard toward it. The belt progression is even my exponential and nonlinear than I expected. I can't imagine all I'll need to do and know to get to my orange belt.
But I digress. One of my biggest fears is falling. From any height. I despise the feeling of free-falling, either from tripping, or from jumping off the Screamer at Hume Lake. We had to practice falling in kenpo class several weeks back. The idea is that if ever in a fight, we very likely may fall and need to be prepared for it so that it doesn't shock us to where we stop defending ourselves. A key point of it is kee-aye'ing (sp?) as we make contact with the ground, forcefully exhaling all our air so it doesn't get knocked out of us and leave us dazed. The exercises were very low-level falls, like from a crouching position almost jumping backward onto our backs. It was still a pretty tough one for me.
But last Thursday we were doing a circle-attack exercise, where we'd one-at-a-time enter a circle of everyone else in the class and have to defend against any attack a class member would throw, emphasizing both control and speedy reaction time. When our sensei went into the circle, I grabbed him in a bear hug, the technique he'd just taught me on Tuesday. Obviously, he had no trouble throwing me to the ground. He even complimented me later on my kee-aye as I landed. Granted, it wasn't intentional like it should have been. But I didn't have the panicky feeling that normally comes from falling. That was a pretty cool revelation. Progress.