7th May 2016.
How can six months have gone by already since the last grading? Yet I knew it would go quickly; life seems to do that these days. I feel like I have come a long way since I reflected: “It’s not easy being green”, and I will admit that it became easier being green as I ventured further into the “Purple Haze”, and further along the path to 4th kyu. However, I have always maintained that when you are becoming comfortable somewhere, it’s time to take a step outside that comfort zone. This has kept me motivated and determined.
I am now a week off grading. I know the syllabus backwards. I have practised everything….a lot. I haven’t missed a class. (No, not even one). I have written copious notes on absolutely everything we have covered in class, and have gone back and re read them. I feel like I take my study of Karate way more seriously than I ever took my University Studies. Perhaps this is because it’s so much bigger than just one part of my life.
I do feel ready, or at least much readier than I dared to dream I would ever be, when I contemplated the “mountain” before me back in November. I know I am not perfect, but I know I can do everything I need to be able to do. This is somewhat of a pleasant surprise, as I remember thinking something along the lines of: “How am I ever going to be able to do all this?”, when looking at things like Empi (A sequence of elbow strikes / blocks), various airborne kicks, and new strikes, and kata.
I may have doubted myself, but noone else seemed to doubt me, not for a minute. When the people around you, the people you care about, believe in you and care about you, you start to let yourself believe in yourself. I feel so proud that I will be going to my first panel grading flanked by the very same 5 people I graded to green belt with in November. We have all helped each other out, and supported each other along the journey, picked each other up off the floor, and dusted each other off when that was needed, (sometimes even literally). The fact that noone from “team green” has quit, is probably at least partly a testament to the fact that they are all determined, but, I believe, also due to that support and positive, caring atmosphere.
My Facebook feed which gives me a daily “memories” reminder, today told me today that I had posted a year ago about dojo kun. At that time I was preparing to grade for the first time at my home dojo, and they had just welcomed me to the club even though I hadn’t officially joined and was still “just” cross training (and cross grading) there.
When I look at that post and look back over the year, I can see how “green” (not in belt) I was; how naive and oblivious to things that now seem obvious and second nature. I really didn’t know that it was (let alone why it was), not the done thing for kyu ranks to cross train or cross grade. I only really found that out after the fact! I didn’t really even consider any implications that my doing so might have had on anyone teaching me, so wrapped up was I in sorting everything into little boxes in my head. I didn’t realise how much my concept of the dojo kun, or indeed of myself, would change in the space of a year.
It took some special people to make all this happen, and it also took me, to let those special people in, and let it happen. Although I feel like I have left some of the haze behind me, and travelled a little further down the road, I still have a lot of distance to cover. It’s good to know that I will have excellent company for the journey.
14th May 2016
Wow! What a day it has been. Congratulations everyone. A bit sad that Team Green is no longer but happy to be on the next part of the road with you all. Osu.