Reality is starting to set in

One of the little girls in the dojo asked me today if after my test I will be a Sensei. That was such a weird feeling – to hear that question. My first thought of course was no, that title belongs to someone else and has for as long as I have known him. I am now and will forever be a student of karate. And I’m happy to be that. So many things all jumbled around in my head that I’ve never thought about it that way.

Yes, I’ve been in training to teach for quite some time now but to be a real instructor, that’s just so hard to fathom. I have so much to learn and learning is a lifelong task. I watch myself in the mirror when I train and see things to work on, things to improve, things I want to do better.

And you know what? I am so glad that I do. Becoming lazy and complacent, not growing as a karate student, those are the things that would make me sad. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. Just staying on the path towards a goal can be hard enough but I realize how hard I’ve had to work (hey, let’s face it I’m not 16 or 21 anymore) and the changes that karate has made in me and I’m even happier. I didn’t give up when it got tough. I had to quit for a long while due to work and family but I never gave up – I always knew I’d go back and become a black belt.

That moment when I finally ring the bell after my dan exam is going to be one of the sweetest moments. I just know that I’m going to ring it with tears streaming down my face. Not sure I even care right now if I don’t look ‘tough’. Is it okay for a black belt to cry? I hope so because I know one that is going to be shedding some real tears of joy as she thanks her family for always supporting her and her instructors for pushing her to become someone she only dreamed that she could be one day.

I plan on making sure that this Friday is the day that a certain tear-stained mom of five is ringing that bell like it has never been rung before.

Right Around the Corner

Yeah, I’ve been pretty bad about posting lately but for a very good reason. I have been working out morning, noon and night. For various reasons my test didn’t happen in February and then March slid by without a date set, well most of March anyway. Right at the end of the month I got the official word as to when I would step on the mat and test for my black belt.

I got the date and its right around the corner. I’m thinking less time to dwell on the date is best since it will give me less time to get nervous. And I’m nervous enough already. A week from tonight, April 8th, by this time I should know if I’ve passed my exam. Next Friday will be here before I know it. The time will fly by, I’m sure of it. I must admit that I am really glad that I didn’t test in February. Sometime around the tenth of last month (March) I had this sudden realization about just how much I didn’t know. Following that I trained even harder, applying myself physically and mentally to the task at hand. I honestly think it was mental readjustment that made the biggest difference. I literally decided that I was going to change a few things and did.

For the past week or so I have been feeling awesome about my karate. I’ve been really happy with the progress that I’ve been making. That was until about Wednesday of last week. Suddenly I felt like I was getting worse – like I was back to my old self. I talked to my instructor about it, asking if that should happen and he told me yes. That’s all he said. And he told me that I was doing great and he was really happy with what I was doing. That confused me – not at all what my perception of the situation was. I thought about it for a while and maybe I’ve figured it out.

Perhaps it is like I’ve said all along. The more I know, the more I realize I have to learn. My huge breakthrough in moving forward just showed me how much more there is that should be done – that can be done.

I’m training harder now. I don’t ever intend to quit learning.