Yellow Belt

The shihan (master instructor) at my karate dojo promoted me to san ju ichi kyu this evening (white belt, four yellow stripes), and told me that I am ready to test for san ju kyu (yellow belt) next Saturday.  Our ranking system has 35 kyu ranks — which are the ranks below black belt arranged in groups of five according to color — and I have been promoted to 31st in preparation for 30th.  After attaining a yellow belt, the proper schedule is to increase one kyu rank each month until, at ichi kyu (first kyu), a student is ready to test for the black belt.  The sequence is white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, black — and it takes a disciplined student about three years to go from white to black, with formal testing every five kyu (changes in belt color).

I am a bit surprised with myself at the degree to which I have really engaged with my martial-arts study.  I’m spending about four nights per week at the dojo, usually followed by a trip to the gym to run on the treadmills.  I have never been healthier in my life!  Walking into East West Karate was something of a whimsical decision, but I’m glad I did it, and I’m in it for the long haul.

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1 comment

  1. This may sound really strange, but my advice is to focus less on gaining rank but on feeling comfortable with what you learn and how well you feel you have learned it.

    I think it’s great what you’re doing, and it will help you get in wonderful shape. But the focusing on belt levels can turn into a stress all of its own if you let it.

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