Testing for Black Belt, Pt. 2

celebrations-wallpaper-1440x900Since receiving the permission to test for black belt, I’ve taken the news with personal enthusiasm. I guess I don’t show emotion very much nowadays; I’m just glad that I’m able to test!

Which brings me to something I’d like to admit regarding my journey in Aikido up to this point.

I love this dojo; not so much for the people or the art itself, but the journey that has happened to me on a personally and emotional basis since 2008. Back in that year, I would not have imagined who I would be this year.

Back in that year, I was lost. I had just came back from Los Angeles after a humiliating firing from a teller position at a bank there. Dazed and confused, I had not known why I had been released – other than the fact that I had been! Stumbling to and from here and LA, I (after some furious internal debating) finally moved back home with my tail tucked between my legs and a sense of shame coming back home – a place where I had wanted to leave behind in the first place (more on that later).

I started training at a local community college until I had heard about my Sensei’s dojo. From a shodan of his, I heard of how he was a very “honest” sensei and had the reputation of leaving “no stone unturned” when it comes to critiquing his students.

Code word for he’ll physically let you know that you’ve made a mistake, like letting his punches hit you if you are to stand there (more on this in a future post).

That was August of 2008. In February of 2009 the realization came to me that “Aikido will change my life”.

I don’t know that extent of that, but so far it’s been good. I’m still without a “real” job, or a career for that matter and I’m still living with my parents (a complicated risky decision back in 2008).

I’m come to call these past 5 years as my “therapy” stage where the dojo was the place where I had learned about myself (still am!) in good company.

So when this test comes and goes, I will go onto the next stage in my life.


5 thoughts on “Testing for Black Belt, Pt. 2

  1. Very intesting read here. It’s got me thinking about the situation I’m in right now. I moved house recently and I had to quit my aikido club which was very disappointing, so I have been researching clubs in the local area and there is only one that is close enough to be convenient. Now, I found several videos online of this club, including several videos from various student’s gradings and although I am hardly one to be able to critisize, I found the standard that the students were held to to be rather low. These people were supposedly several grades higher than me but were making mistakes that my Sensei would not find acceptable in us and these guys were passing. Now I really want somewhere to train and improve but I’m not sure this is the best place. What are your thoughts?

  2. Rick – Indeed I believe so. Now if only other sectors of my life could flower as well!
    Bob – I suspect it as well!
    Itsbecauseican – I’d say consider training in a different art. In the long run it’s not the art that matters it’s the instructor and the dojo/dojang/kwon/school environment. I know that if and when I do move out of my area I will most likely be moving to a different art. The stuff that I’m learning in this dojo is not taught in any other dojo and will not have be at the level of quality that is found here.

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