Sunday, March 20, 2011
When my partner and I started preparing in earnest for our black belt test several months ago, I guess I thought it would be all work and no play. In reality, this is the most fun I've had in martial arts. No small bit of that is due to my partner Toni, who made it an exceptional experience. We laughed as much as we sweated, and that's saying something.
Of course, it wouldn't be a ROBIN moment if something didn't go wrong (remember in 2010 when I was getting ready to test and I broke my arm? And I broke my hand in 2009? ) This time it was nothing near that traumatic, but a big splinter that embedded itself in my foot a couple weeks ago provided just enough pain to make the test just that much more "special". I spent a couple of hours after Friday night's test waiting around an ER on a full moon night (not recommended) so they could dig it out, but eventually gave up and went home. Today I finally got it removed.
Other than that, our test went off without a hitch. Our extra brain cells cheered from the sidelines as us black-belt wannabes went through our paces. After it was all over, the black belts clumped together to deliberate our fate, while they had us occupied with sets of pushups, squats, situps, etc. until they were done talking. Luckily, we got to hear our results on Friday night so we could actually sleep!
Saturday morning was the test for the rest of the belt levels, and the presentation of black belts. You think I could smile any bigger? I can't really describe how it feels, but if you've ever done something that required 100% of your effort, dedication, perseverance, and courage to accomplish, you'll know what it was like to put on that black belt for the first time.
I am SO proud of them and all they've accomplished in karate. They are each on the same journey and it's exciting to see them getting stronger in their art. What's not to be proud of when I look at these photos? Mackenzie's stance is so strong, his fist straight and true, his focus is absolute. Asa has a great "cat stance" here and her double-knife hand block is spot on, mouth opened in a "courage breath". Every day we train at the dojo, I am thankful for the first day we walked through the doors.
When I talked with my dad on the phone yesterday, I asked him to say a big thank you to my first Sensei, who he still sees from time to time. At age 15, I got a love for the martial arts, and today I have reached the first of many big milestones. I hope to continue my practice for years to come.