Dec 1, 2012: Black Belt Testing

hakamaSo today my dojo’s annual black belt testing was held at noon. I unfortunately wasn’t able to go because of work at my retail job, but I knew of the 3 candidates that went up and when I got back from work an hour ago I saw on Facebook that all 3 had pasted.

In particular I was cheering for the sole girl who was going up for her black belt. It’s funny how things transpired between the two of us. I guess it was the history; we had dated briefly but had went our separate ways. Two years later we were embroiled into the scandal that exiled me from the dojo. She had played a benign part in the whole ordeal but all in all we still got along. For two years we never talked to each other – mainly because I had become such a dick to her (which I now regret).

Seeing her picture on Facebook made me proud of her – she certainly deserved it. When she came to the dojo my sensei immediately started her at 2nd Kyu, that was how good she was I suppose. When I say “I suppose” I mean that was my sensei’s feel, not mine at that time.

The other two candidates I’ve trained with immensely since I joined the dojo a little over 4 years ago.


Am I jealous of their victory? I dunno if I’d call it that – I have to honest to myself. I can surely say that I wish was up there testing!

But why am I abstaining? Why did I not ask my Sensei to be included in this group of newly minted Shodans? I certainly had the chance to: many of my fellow practitioners at the dojo have told me throughout the months after I got my 1st Kyu that I should go for my black belt, that I was black belt material.

My reasons for not pushing to be included  in this shodan group are these:

– My exile from the dojo a year ago made me realize that getting the black belt would only be superficial since at that time (and still now) I have many personal and professional issues to work through.

– My priority in life is not a black belt, but rather the general success and excellence in my emotional and professional areas of my life that I have been missing throughout my years prior.

– Am I ready? Technically speaking no; I’ve always been bad with memorizing the names of the techniques! But skill wise I feel I have the ability to pass a black belt test.


I want to pursue something different in life. Something more…martial? More complete? Inside I may feel like I should get the black belt just because it’s available to me now, but I feel that I need to pursue something more grand if that means anything at all. I want to – I need to obtain my inner black belt. 

There we go! I need to obtain my “inner” black belt. And long ago I’ve come tot he conclusion that no physical black belt can ever fulfill that place inside of me.

So that is the main reason why I abstained from asking my Sensei to include me in this year’s black belt testing. My life outside the dojo grew too important I reckoned. I just hope this was the wisest decision to follow through.


One thought on “Dec 1, 2012: Black Belt Testing

  1. “If you understand real practice, then archery or other activities can be zen. If you don’t understand how to practice archery in its true sense, then even though you practice very hard, what you acquire is just technique. It won’t help you through and through. Perhaps you can hit the mark without trying, but without a bow and arrow you cannot do anything. If you understand the point of practice, then even without a bow and arrow the archery will help you. How you get that kind of power or ability is only through right practice.”
    ― Shunryu Suzuki

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