Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Black Belt Promotion

Last Thursday afternoon I got some very exciting news. I found out that I was being promoted to Sho-Dan, first level black belt, that night. I have been studying Isshinryu karate and Half-Circle jujitsu since February 2006. Over the last few weeks I have been doing the testing for Sho-Dan in Isshinryu. Usually when they do a black belt promotion in the dojo, they do a ceremony called a kamisa. They promote students from Ik-Kyu, first level brown belt, to Sho-Dan, first level black belt. They also promote black belts to higher levels of black belt. This time they did not do the full kamisa. I suspect that was because there were five brown belts in the process of doing the testing for Sho-Dan, as well as four black belts preparing to promote up. The people being promoted can invite family and friends to the kamisa. If we had nine people being promoted, and they all invited friends and relatives, that would be a lot of people. I guess Sensei Stanley felt that would be too much, so he's just promoting the students as they finish the tests, rather than wait until we're all ready and promoting us at the same time. I am the only one of the five brown belts who has promoted up so far. I think the others are still doing the testing.

Four of the black belts promoted up to another level of black belt that evening. Sensei Donald, Sensei Christopher, and Sensei Sam all promoted from Sho-Dan to ni-Dan (second level black belt). Sensei Justin was a junior black belt, which is what you promote to if you reach black belt before you are in the adult class (13 and up). He should have promoted to adult Sho-Dan quite a while ago, but things got mixed up and his promotion kept getting delayed, so instead of promoting him to Sho-Dan, Sensei Stanley promoted him to Ni-Dan.

These are some pictures my dad took of me being promoted.

In these pictures: Me (white gi), and from the right; Sensei Stanley, Sensei Ricky, Sensei Daryn, Sensei Taylor, Sensei Donald, Sensei Christopher, Sensei Sam, Sensei Justin (he promoted from junior black belt to adult black belt, and thus to "sensei" that night), and Sensei Robby.

The black belts talked a little about my training so far; how I come to class on a regular basis. always come to class ready to learn, and that I've continued training even though I injured my right shoulder shortly after starting the class. Sensei Ricky talked about how I ask a lot of questions. I knew that was going to come up, LOL. He said that out of all of those black belts in that line up, he'd never had one who asks as many questions as I do, and that it used to drive him nuts because I sometimes asked questions that he couldn't answer. He would have to tell me, "I don't know, I'll have to look it up." Actually, he doesn't really mind that I ask a lot of questions. The instructors encourage the students to ask questions.

I take my brown belt off and hand it to Sensei Ricky, who folds it...

...and Sensei Stanley ties on my black belt.

I bow as Sensei Stanley congratulates me.

A picture of all of the black belts who were present that evening.

And a picture of me with Sensei Stanley.

I was very excited about promoting to black belt, and I still am excited. I look forward to continuing my martial arts training and promoting to higher levels of black belt. I am now an advanced beginner. as Sensei Stanley often says: "A black belt is a white belt who never stopped training." My journey as a martial artist has only just begun.