I’m a few days into my new rank and already I’m thinking ahead to the next belt test. As of September 29th, 2016 I am 4th kyu. This means I have taken seven tests and have four more tests to pass before I tie on a black belt. 4th kyu is significant in our system because preparation for the 3rd kyu test will require a lot from me. I’ll be training more intensively because the tests from here on out will be significantly harder. Yes, the seven tests I’ve already taken were challenging, but for the next test I take things will be kicked up to a whole ‘nother level. It’s going to take time, dedication, and a whole lot of hard work to build up my skills and my stamina.
I’ve blogged about the intensive training I did over the summer. I didn’t go to USA Karate Nationals this year, but I trained alongside those who did. Since then, I’ve continued a lot of the same calisthenic and cardio work. I’ve even built myself up from where I was at the end of Nationals training.
The biggest thing for me to continue the calisthenic and cardio work was to pick a time that I have every day, and stick with it. My dog and I hit the road jogging at 5:20 AM. Yes, my life is that busy and my Karate class schedule is that wacky.
I need times to practice Karate, too. This was easy in the summertime when I didn’t have to see anyone off to school. There was ample daylight early in the morning, the weather was nice, and I had any number of outdoor places to go. But now – it’s not so easy. My day is more fragmented now that I have to drop off and pick up. The daylight hours are rapidly dwindling. The weather is getting cool and often rainy. Winter is around the corner. Practicing karate on days when I don’t have class is going to become more and more challenging.
I’m glad I decided to clean out the craft room. I wasn’t doing much in the way of crafts even before Karate. I pared everything down to what would fit in a little alcove and closet within the room. The main part of the room is just big enough to do any given sequence from a kata, but not a whole kata. It will have to do. Now I have to pick a time and stick with it.
I will always be a beginner because there will always be more things to learn. But at the same time, I’ve just taken the last “easy” belt test. I will need to go out of state to the Hombu Dojo for all further tests. The next test will be significantly more difficult. What will be required of me is more than a little daunting. It almost feels like I’m starting to leave childhood behind.
This weekend I will be making my yearly trip to watch black belt candidates test for their next tests. Included in the day’s events will be color belt testing. I might get to see someone my rank test. You bet I will be paying very close attention. I will be tweaking my exercise and practice as needed after watching these tests.
As I prepare over the course of the next few months, year, or year plus, I will have to trust my Sensei, my training, and myself more than ever.