Fail…One of the Best Lessons I have ever had”
I decided to challenge myself this "Urban Jungle (3/16)"Urban Jungle (3/16)"Urban Jungle (3/16)"Urban Jungle (3/16)"Urban Jungle (3/16)"Urban Jungle (3/16)year and attempt the coveted Black
Belt from The Gi Yu Kyo Kai Dojo.
I learned more in that hour about myself, than I had in years.
Ironically, I have been learning about myself every time I come to this
dojo…week in, week out.
On "failing". We all know that there is no guarantee in passing a rank
promotion at our dojo. The higher the Kyu rank, the greater are the
expectations regarding precision, timing, smoothness, proper distance
from the opponent, taijutsu, and the "give and take " element of our
I had the opportunity to challenge the Shodan or first degree black
belt promotion. Clearly the expectations run to a significantly higher
level for a number of reasons. I did not pass the test. I did pass the
written test and survived the randori. After some self reflection, I
lacked in several areas including smoothness, showcasing the crucial
elements of the kata and targeting with receiving the attack and with
execution of my strikes and overall taijutsu. I also felt I did poorly
with the "give and take" or kaki heki parts of the kata. Part of the
challenge was doing all of this with an uke I had not trained much with
during preparation and a real size and agility mismatch. These are
challenges, NOT excuses. For Shodan, the expectation is to adapt to any
opponent. That takes all the methods of perfecting techniques that
Sensei and our Dan level teachers repeatedly encourage us to do. I went
in to the challenge knowing that I did not feel prepared enough for the
kata. I went through the challenge anyway. Why you would ask? 1. I said
I would, so I did, I kept my word to myself and others
2. To be uke for my testing partner
3. To challenge "test anxiety "
4. The challenge itself is part of training 5. The written and verbal
feedback, which is invaluable. And through this I reaffirmed what I
already knew about this dojo and about these warriors…I rediscovered
that the encouragement after the test was amazing! Including several
higher Dan level Sempai offering to specifically work on the kata with
me. To help me achieve and help me grow.
In conclusion, this experience is like no other. Many other schools
hold back brutally honest feedback to palliate the ego, likely driven
by fear of losing paying students. Another possible reason could be the
skill level of the leaders may be lacking, thus diluting precise
feedback. All I know is The Gi Yu Dojo was the best thing I could have
found for myself 4 years ago. I plan on obtaining my objectives and
ultimately train in this warrior art for my entire life.
I would rather fail a test challenge at The Gi Yu Dojo than obtain a
black belt anywhere else.