I am preparing for my 1st Kyu test in Aikido. This is the last test before black belt.
In December it will have been eight years since I started. That seems like a long time, but it’s a hard art to learn, and we don’t give the belts away or “sell” them. When I hear about someone earning a black belt in an art in a few years, I now laugh.
Anyway, this is a pretty long test. I lost 3 weeks of prep due to a case of poison ivy, but now I’m in the groove and feel pretty good about it. I have 2.5 weeks to finish preparing myself. There’s nothing on this test I’ve not done before, but more is expected of me. More flow. More centered. More finesse.
The longer I practice, the more I realize what they say is true. Black belt is a beginner’s belt. When you get black belt, it means you have enough knowledge to really start learning.
Our lead instructor has now been practicing for 30 years. He is a 4th degree black belt. Our other teachers, 2nd and 1st black belts, have been practicing for 16 years each. We are lucky to have them. Each presents aikido in his own particular way – each fantastic, sharing a common core, but emphasizing different aspects.
It’s a long road, but I like it.
Sometimes I feel that if I’d started this when I was younger it would be easier. That is possible. But I also think that by starting at 42 it has forced me to learn a more efficient aikido, not so reliant on muscle and brawn.