The day I got my 2nd Dan Black Belt in Budokan Karate can be considered as second most grueling day of my life(the other one was when I got the 1st Dan). Well, for one thing, the grading was conducted in summer and the temperature was close to 40 degree Celsius! And, there was a certain lack of practice as I had some other exams relating to my career at the same time as well!
The grading started at 9:30 A.M which was conducted by our Chief Instructor (Black Belt 8th Dan). He is a real tough task master and has an eye like an eagle. One student doesn’t do the said task right and the poor person has to do it again! As all of us were fighting dehydration, one thing I realized was getting a Black Belt was no joke. “You really got to earn the right to wear it around your waist”.
First, there is a non-stop exercises for around 2 hours(felt like 5) without any water break. These exercises in such heat usually will get us thinking that attend the grading was a bad decision. Well, dehydration can make you think in such a way.
After the tiring exercises, come the kicks where we have to hold the kicking position for 2o seconds and the height of the kick has to be above the belt level. Later, we are asked to perform some techniques and all the Katas. By the end of this it was already 1 P.M. And then comes the time for a sparring session. A sparring session after three and a half hours of grading and all of us were thinking of a vacation for a week at least.
Finally, it was done!
What I realized after the grading was that, Black Belt level is no joke. It needs a lot of practice and perseverance. A Black Belt holder earns a lot of respect because of that too. An instance to explain the previous sentence would be, when a kid(around 6 years old) came up to me and asked me if he could just touch my Belt once! But the people don’t realize that Black Belt signifies that we are advanced beginners and not experts. We are far from being experts. We are still learning and have a lot left to be learnt!
I had just learnt the some Katas. I get my 2nd Dan, and i have to learn some more new Katas. They are obviously at a higher difficulty level and much difficult to understand the meaning. So, while we are the Black Belt holders, we are still learning. So much more to learn and the best way to learn it is by not being blinded by the fact that we are Black Belts.
Ceaseless studying is the key to the ultimate understanding of the treasures that the art hides in itself. The treasure is right in front of your eyes, but hard to see if you are blinded by the belief that you know it all!