As my son would say, “Lello!”.

by Ryan Gregory, February 22nd, 2012

There was a white belt grading last Saturday and several of my fellow students took part. Tonight was the new belt awarding ceremony, and I was very happy to see some of my fellow students move up. What I didn’t expect was that Sensei decided to also promote me tonight, so I am no longer wearing a white belt. I took part in the senior belt class on Sunday, which Sensei described tonight as a “mini grading”. Fair enough! I think the approach is that once I have demonstrated that I have caught up and can perform the kata and drills at a particular level, Sensei is comfortable letting me wear that rank. This suits me very well and inspires me to work even harder while also ensuring that I develop a solid foundation throughout.

Two things I had forgotten about getting a new belt. One, how nice it feels. I was already enjoying the promotions of the other students vicariously, with a vague recollection of the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with a promotion in kyu rank. But then I also got presented with a new belt, and a lot of feelings came rushing back. By the time I stopped training the first time, I had already been a brown belt for about 9 months, and a blue belt for 8 months before that. Add on 15 years in between, and I barely remembered the feeling of putting on a new belt for the first time.

The second thing is that the class after new belts are awarded is usually brutal. Tonight was no exception, as it was a “leg workout” class. I have been getting into better shape and am generally not stiff anymore after class, but I suspect that tomorrow I will be feeling it.

Obviously, tying on my yellow belt (or, as my 1 year old son says “lello”) is a long way from where I was before, but it feels like a significant step and it is a feeling that I am enjoying again for the first time in a long time.

And to my fellow yellow belts who are experiencing their very first promotion: congrats, and keep up the good work!

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