I sit down at the dining room table together with my wife and friends, our laptops open in front of us. We’re at my friend’s parent’s country home for the weekend, and we’re there to work. Each of us has a written package to put together as part of our (shodan) black belt submission. [...]
I wake up rubbing my eyes, groggy and irritated by the sound of my alarm. Five more minutes. Then I remember: it’s grading day today. Shit, I slept in. Get up, get up!!
My wife and I both have our pre-black belt grading today. It’s more intense than the black belt grading itself, because we represent our sensei’s dojo there. Since our performance is a reflection of his, and we’ll be compared to students from other dojos, he tends to… uh, let’s say make sure… his students are ready to handle the challenges of the day. [...]
It’s a broad question with no single, definitive answer. What does a black belt really mean? What is its value? I’ve been thinking long and hard about this lately, especially as I prepare for my own black belt grading. [...]