On Saturday morning I successfully graded for my Green belt in Funakoshi Karate, the nicest grading I’ve undertaken yet, simply because Chantelle took the time to come and support me at karate, the very first time she has done so since I’ve returned to the sport following my knee blow-out all that while ago.

Since our split from Funakoshi South Africa to join up with Funakoshi International, naturally our numbers are looking pretty thin at the moment and as such we found ourselves grading in the considerably smaller than normal venue, Masonic Hall in Strand come Saturday morning, 10:00 am sharp. Of course this impacted heavily on the amount of space available for spectators and participants alike, but it did force everyone closer together and this added a nice community-like spirit to the day’s proceedings, so it actually make for quite a lekker grading get together.

Naturally there were far fewer karateka taking part in the grading and so I didn’t have too much time to blink before we finished the last of the orange belts and I got the call up to strut my stuff. Now at this point in time I need to admit that this was the very first grading where I wasn’t crystal clear on either the grading form or kata that I needed to perform, so much so that I actually had to sneak out of the hall and put in a few practice rounds just to get everything right in my head! (So in other words, the three weeks away from karate practice thanks to wedding and honeymoon really did come back to haunt me after all!)

Anyway, in the end everything went pretty okay, my kiba-dachi 1 grading form ran fairly smoothly and my kata 2 went okay – though I was properly pissed off with myself at starting it off figuratively on the wrong foot by forgetting to focus in the correct direction right at the start of the sequence, thus putting me off my stride just that little and unfortunately making me race through the steps a little faster and a lot more untidy than what I had hoped to do.

But it was good enough, Chantelle was suitable impressed (though she is quite bemused at how the rather varied levels of competency on display all managed to pass the same test) and I’m now the proud owner of a Green rank in the Funakoshi Karate style.

One step closer to the true starting line in other words! :)


Some of the karateka making up Funakoshi Gordon's Bay