look over yondan

Tonight, it begins……

At 7pm tonight, I begin a journey that, if all goes well, will end on Sunday morning with a fourth stripe on my black belt, and I will be a yondan, with the title of “Sensei.”

To get there, I have five days of stuff. Tonight we do basics, “we” in this case meaning my fellow yondan candidate Charles, shodan candidate Gordy, and I. Tomorrow, Charles and I will go on an all-day hike over the Appalachian Trail through Bear Mountain, West Mountain, and Black Mountain. Friday night, all three of us go over kata and self-defense. Saturday night, Charles and I have an all-night session in the dojo with Shuseki Shihan Paul. Then Sunday morning is sparring for all three of us where bunches of black belts will take turns fighting us.

I feel ready for this, except for those occasional moments when I’m scared stiff. Still, I’m fairly certain I can do this. So is Shuseki, since he wouldn’t have asked me to do this if he didn’t think I was ready. Charles and I have done several practice hikes, so I’m feeling pretty good about that, and I’ve been fine with every stamina test I’ve given myself lately.

The time I’m not spending doing karate stuff the next five days will probably be spent sleeping, so I may not be on here or other social media that much.

Traditionally, in Japanese martial arts, you don’t wish somebody luck, you say, “Ganbatte,” which means “try your best.” So please, keep me in your thoughts with the hope that I will, indeed, try my best.

Osu!

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