The Littlest Shodan-ho Enters the Inner Circle

I started up with karate again last week: my first time back since the seminar in Okinawa. As with the previous surgery, I’m not up to full speed, but even just getting to move around is a good thing.

It also paid an unexpected dividend. As shodan-ho — a term which means “probationary black belt” — I’m on the border between “black belt” and “not a black belt,” neither fish nor fowl. I was the only shodan-ho at the seminar (most of the other dojo in our organization apparently don’t use that ranking), so when Shihan said “black belts do X; lower belts do Y,” I had to ask which group I ought to go with. He initially sent me down with the lower belts, but then changed his mind and moved me to the other group, which is how I ended up learning kusanku way earlier than I expected to.

At home, my liminal state puts me in an ambiguous position where classes are concerned. I had told myself I wouldn’t ask until I was out of the ankle brace and more or less recovered . . . but as it turns out, I didn’t have to. On Monday, I was informed that I am now permitted to attend the Thursday class — the black belt class.

Sadly, I won’t be able to make it this week, because I already have plans for Thursday night. 😛 But it’s official! I count as a black belt! It really does feel momentous, even though I’ve been to the Thursday class during the vacation periods where it’s open to all belts, so I know it isn’t actually anything special. And I’m glad that it happened this way, with Shihan telling me, rather than me asking. There’s an element of etiquette to how these things get handled; me being patient and not pushing is the way it’s supposed to go.

Presuming I can avoid any other surgeries or suchlike, I should be able to test for the next degree of shodan-ho at the beginning of December. Then it’s sixty classes (minimum) to becoming a Real True Black Belt, with no ambiguity. Five or six months, but probably longer given that there are holidays and I miss classes and so forth. But it is entirely plausible that I’ll be shodan before 2015 is out.

I’m looking forward to it. 😀

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