It's been a while since I got my brown belt in Yoshinkan Aikido but I finally upgraded it to black
The grading was actually a few weeks ago but the instructor likes to make students wait before giving out results and I only picked up my new belt this afternoon. My feeling is pretty much the same as it was when I got my brown belt: it's nice to have but it's not really what it's about. Much more important is what I've learned, am able to do and how I've trained to get to this point. Having said that, I must confess to looking seriously cool in the mirror while training today
Shodan (first degree black belt) actually means "beginning step" and contrary to popular belief, doesn't mean you're an expert martial artist but in fact, the complete opposite. It's like a high school diploma; you've learnt the basics and are now prepared to start the real task of studying the art. I remember my instructor once saying that he didn't bother to really teach students until they had got their black belt
If you're interested, check out this documentary on Yoshinkan Aikido, filmed at my dojo in Australia. And this is an insanely cool clip of my instructor, Joe Thambu Sensei, demonstrating at the 50th All Japan Yoshinkan Aikido Demonstration where he won the Tokubetsu Embu Sho (prize for best demonstration)
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