Belting Ceremonies and Other Stuff

I didn’t know belting ceremonies could be so inspiring, especially for me.  I’ve been taking Aikido classes for three months now, and I’ve long set my sights on a yellow belt.  Sensei says I’ll take my exams some time in February, and already I’m too excited to finally get rid of my white belt – which I’ve had for, like, seven or eight years now.  Of course I’ve grown quite attached to it, but sometimes you just have to move on.

It’s not that I’m too slow or anything, it’s just that in the rules of Aikido (or in the rules of our dojo, that is), you’d have to complete six months worth of continuous training in order to be eligible for to take an exam for the next belt.  In my case, I’d only taken self-defense classes as a summer pastime when I was in high school so I never got to complete my six months.  Now, of course, it’s an entirely different story.  There’s no more schoolwork, I earn my own living, and I’ve got tons of time and energy in my hands.

I cannot find the right adjectives to describe it, but moving would be rather close.  It was so moving to see my classmates have their belts changed, to see them receive their certificates and IDs, and to listen to their inspiring words.  It moved me so much I wanted to get up there and be presented a belt myself.  But not to worry, it’ll be my turn soon.

One of our Senseis –  and my constant training partner when I was in high school and he was still a blue-belt – mentioned some very eye-opening words in his closing message.  He said that in fact our real enemy is not our neighbor, not the suspicious-looking guy in the corner, not anyone else, but ourselves.  Once we conquer the sloth within and commit to constant practice of the art to the point of near-perfection, then we conquer that enemy.  Every belt is a symbol of a certain part of us that we have to overcome.  He said that we should use this metaphor as a form of motivation to keep working for the next belt, and then the next, and the next, and the next.  As for me, I’ve got my eyes set on that yellow one over there.

I’ve been planning to go back to school next year to earn a Master’s degree.  It’s one of the things I’ve been looking forward to since the idea came to my head.  I just hope and pray that my schedule won’t conflict with my Aikido classes.  I want to go on and keep practicing and never stop, even if it means I’d have to juggle it with Nursing school.  Then again, it’s best not to worry, because God will put everything in order.  Maybe, if He knows it’s good for me, He’ll arrange my schedule so that in two years I’ll have earned my Master’s and a brown belt at the same time!  Right now I’m thinking I’m gonna practice harder and just enjoy the moment, because we never know what’s waiting around the corner.  And unless we keep moving forward, we’re never gonna get there.

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