Last night was my promotion to first brown belt in Sanchin-Ryu. This is the last of the kyu ranks, meaning next up is black belt. (At which point I shall finally learn the much-feared “Boot to the Head” technique.)
Naturally, this was the night my uniform was still in the laundry, so I did my promotion while wearing a Superman T-shirt. I kind of like that, actually.
Sanchin-Ryu is different from other styles I’ve done in that there’s no formal test. Or, as Master Cataline puts it, your test is going on every time you come to class. When he decides you’re ready, you get the paper form for the next rank. I received that last week, sent it in, and then last night was promotion time.
By “promotion” I mean Jim gets out in front of the class and performs various forms while several of the black belts demonstrate another advanced technique known as “messing with me.” I did the wrong CBA[1. Combination Basic Advanced.] at one point … but better to do something than to stand there doing nothing while you try to figure it out. Then came the fun part, where I got to square off against three higher ranking black belts at once.
How did that go? Well, I’m still alive. They say when you kumite[2. Controlled practice fight, essentially.], you regress three ranks. I can testify to this. But all things considered, I’m satisfied with how I did. Though this is the second promotion in a row where I’ve used a quick groin kick against one particular master … I suspect if I try that move on him a third time, he’s going to take my foot off 🙂
The next time I’m in class, I want to ask whether they have any suggestions for handling adrenaline. During the three-on-one, I ended up striking one master in the face with more force than I intended. That started the adrenaline pumping, like speed injected directly into the veins. This … is not helpful.
(If you’re curious about the punch, I spoke to the master afterwards to apologize for my lack of control. He said it was his responsibility too. He had been told to attack one particular part of my body, and was focusing on that, so ended up stepping into my punch.)
Overall, I feel pretty good about it. I’ve still got an awful lot to learn … in fact, now that I’ve reached this rank, I feel like I’m finally starting to realize just how much I have to learn. (Once again, Sanchin-Ryu reminds me a lot of writing…)
But I enjoy learning, and while it’s not all bunnies and rainbows, I’m having fun and feeling good about my study. And the best part of my style? According to Sensei Jonathon, all promotions must be celebrated with ice cream.