Friday, October 06, 2006

Shhh - Don't Tell!

We've come up with the perfect gift for Sensei. He is eligeable for his go-dan (recieved his notification about two months ago), but the process to get his belt costs a couple of hundred dollars and he can not afford it. Really can not afford it. As poor as we currently are, we're rolling in the dough comparatively speaking, because our problem is the recent excessive outgo, rather than sheer lack of income. Left to himself and his own income, Sensei would never get that next rank, since even if he had the money, he'd undoubtably find a better use for it - something for his family, or something for his students.

So we're all contributing to get together the money to get him his go-dan for Christmas. This involves some serious sneaking around. We have to find out the exact amount (getting ahold of some of the other upper-level black belts to find this out), and contact Master Shimabuku in Okinawa to see if we can do it direct, or if we just have to give Sensei the money and sit on him to make sure he uses it for his promotion.

I feel all conspiratorial :-D

In other news, both of our brown belts have left recently. One joined the Army, the other had just recently returned after a long hiatus, and now has left again for reasons unknown (at least to me). I assume she talked to Sensei about it since a) he seems quite clear that she's not going to around regularly, and b) he's not particularly upset about it, which he definitely was when she quit the first time and didn't talk to him about it. Sensei will forgive about anything except leaving him out of the loop.

As a result of this, Sensei told me straight out the other night, that I will probably be his first black belt. This feels a bit weird. At the moment I'm only a fairly recent green. I still have purple, brown 1, and brown 2 to go through. Plus I'm not the senior student, I'm third in seniority. I have to agree with his assessment, our most senior student is only 12, so isn't eligeable for black for four more years, while the #2 senior student is a practicing physician with three small kids. Her practice time is limited, so her progression through the ranks tends to be slow. She was an orange belt when I joined, now we're both greens, with me about a month behind her in seniority.

Still it feels awkward to be the subject of Sensei's somewhat ambitious regard. He's been teaching for about eight years, he's itching to have a black belt of his own, and would have had several by now but for circumstances. I have no idea what it would be like to be a black belt under him, I'd be breaking in the position, which also means I'd be setting all the precedents. Ground-breaking is not generally my preferred occupation.

On the other hand, I have between 18 months and 2 years at a minimum before I'm ready to test for black. I suppose I shouldn't get ahead of myself.

Most black belt candidates (that I've talked to anyway) feel unready. I guess I just get to feel that way somewhat longer than most.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I definitely felt unready! Even after the test, I still feel like I don't know enough to be a black belt! It is normal to feel this way.

I thought I had another year before my test, then sensei sprang it on me!

I am sensei's second black belt, but the first femals and the first to progress through the regular classes. His first black belt was in more of a one on one tutoring situation.

PerpetualBeginner said...

At least my Sensei can't surprise me that way straight off! I have to at least get to brown before he can start handing out test dates for black.

Right now I'm torn between feeling I don't know near enough for my next belt test (purple), and realizing that realisticly, other than learning the ending of Wansu, I'm actually much more comfortable with most of the material than the boy who just tested last night.

Miss Chris said...

I think that's a great gift idea! It's kinda fun to be sneaky, isn't it.

[Mat] said...

Hey, it's a great gift idea!
Wow! Go-dan. (big comtemplative eyes here)

Too bad about the brown belts... Happens.

Ground-breaking. I know how that feels, believe me. When I came in Sensei's classes, there were two orange belts, one brown. The brown belt was coming from shotokan, the orange too. A year later, the brown belt is gone, the orange belt is now green and so am I.

There's noone to help me with kumite. There's no one to help me with kata or bunkai. (Except Sensei, of course). So... it's : learn by yourself. It's hard, but rewarding. At the same time, there is some jealousy around all that. I contribute lots of time to Sensei, his school and events. Maybe I'll be his first black belt. maybe I won't get there. who knows...

"Still it feels awkward to be the subject of Sensei's somewhat ambitious regard."
Appreciate it. I've said that countless times. Appreciate it!
In my mind, there are... 2things that are priceless

1-love of the art. what more do you want
2-Finding a good dojo and good Sensei

You seem to have one and two. If you can have his approval too. Appreciate it.

-Feeling unready-
I used to look at green belts and tell myself : woah, they're really good. I hope I can make it there. Now that I'm one, I look at the higher levels and tell myself the same thing. Woah, they're really good... I look at Sensei and I go. Woah, I'll never make it there. He probably looks at the higher belts with the same feeling.

It's too long a journey to stop at belts and ranks.


Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with being a "ground breaker". Somebody's got to be the first black belt in your school, right? I was one of the first black belts in my first school which I eventually left. The next school I ended up at had 6 or 7 black belts there who were all my senior. Everything's relative.