Getting ready for a 1st Kyu grading is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Firstly that feeling of nervous anticipation as the car makes its slow, inexorable journey upwards (training week after week), then the mounting nerves as you see the brow of the track emerge (grading day). Suddenly you are over the top, free-falling, twisting and turning, your world upside-down, knuckles white and breath gone – and before you know it you are safely back at the station, relieved, mostly intact and exhilarated. You realise the ride (or your grading) is over, and that you are a little more confident about ‘riding the rollercoaster’ again.
In practical terms I stepped up my training at the start of the year – making sure I got to the gym 3 times a week, conditioning class, syllabus class and as many other karate classes as family commitments and my body would allow.
Many people helped me – my instructors in class, black belts with personal sparring advice, my partner Elka who didn’t bat an eye at learning 3 different versions of my ippons, and my family, who got used to me running out the door just before dinnertime. So a big thank you to all those people.
Lastly thank you to all those present last Saturday. Despite what is happening physically, you really can hear all the support. The encouragement was a huge help, and a reminder of what a special place the Seido dojo is. How lucky I am to be a part of it.