Last Friday has come and gone and apart from the joyous occasion of seeing my child blob in its full black and white ultrasound glory, the other highlight to come out of the day was my successful grading for blue belt under the Funakoshi style.
Lack of a hired venue meant that come Friday evening, I stepped onto the dojo floor (albeit a dojo lined with chairs along either side and headed off by a judging table), dressed in my dogi, a little stiff and sore from a week’s worth of weights training, but absolutely ready for what was about to come.
The new increased length of grading sessions thanks to the increased syllabus items required to be preformed in order to gain a pass meant that the day had to be staggered and when the first batch of seniors’ chance finally arrived, I found myself standing next to buddies Ian (green belt) and Gerhard (blue belt), ready to address Sensei Birgitt and the rest of the Black Belt judging panel and hopefully advance to the next level in our martial arts journey.
As luck would have it, there was nowhere to hide as I was called up first, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t exactly get off to the greatest of starts, completely unable to hold my balance during my four-way kicking demonstration. Thankfully though I could recover my composure and went on to give a pretty okay Grading Form 4A and Grading Form 4B (Ren-geri) performance, before going on to deliver a pretty good (apart from one small annoying misstep when I lost concentration for a split second) Kata 4.
At this stage my stamina was already beginning to give a little and I was breathing like a runaway ox, but I transitioned well into the Kamae Katas and moving basics, performing all three movement sets to great effect.
With the final pre-set parts of my grading behind me, I was beckoned to step off the stage and then sat down to watch Ian tackle his routine, before being called back up again where I squared off against Ian and we put together a great example of moving, choreographed kumite set.
As we stepped off, Gerhard stepped up, and worked his way through his slightly longer grading sequence, before I was again called up to partner up with him for his kumite set.
And that was that. The judges broke into a huddle to confer, we stepped forward, and with applause from all, received our passing certificates – plus that all important new stamp in our Funakoshi Karate International record book!
So now I’m a blue – and proud of it! Osu! :)