My Journey to Black Belt
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My Journey to Black Belt

It all started 2 ½ years ago, in July 2000.  Mr. Dollof came up with an idea to get more students, and he was offering a new black Gi to any student who could sign up another student.  Alex decided that I should be that student!  I knew that I needed to get into better shape, and disliked exercise just for exercise’s sake, so I thought it’d be fun.  So I signed up for my month of free lessons.

After only 2 weeks, I earned my first stripe on my White belt!  I’d learned Jai Yu during that first two weeks!  After my month of free lessons, it was time to sign Alex up for Master’s Club.  At that time, Mr. Dollof made me an attractive offer if I’d sign up for regular lessons too, so I went ahead and signed on the dotted line (and on the credit card slip!).


Watching Alex and the other students during his previous years of lessons (he was a Black Belt candidate by now), I figured that I could stick it out until I was a Green or maybe a Blue belt.  By that time, I thought I’d be at my limits, and I wasn’t really interested in sparring.


In the fall of 2000, Master Greg Silva visited the school for a 1-day special training session, and it was great fun to learn from a master.  As part of the instruction, he taught Arnis – Philippine stick fighting!  This was REALLY fun, and shortly after, Mr. Dollof started an Arnis club, which I eagerly joined.  I thought I’d found something I was really good at.  Unfortunately family health factors kept me from attending the Arnis club, and eventually it disbanded. To this day, enjoy whenever we get out the Arnis sticks. 

Well, the Green belt came and went, as did the blue.  I was having fun and getting in better shape at the same time.  The instructors were great people to deal with, and my fellow students were supportive and becoming good friends.

Purple and Red belts came, and I and Eric joined the Demo club as the only adults!  As part of the club, I got my second Gi, a red and black combination.  We demo’d at a couple of belt graduations, but then Eric dropped out for family reasons, and I wasn’t interested in being the ONLY adult on the team.

 I moved up to Brown, and then one day, I received my Red/Black Black Belt Candidate’s belt!  It looked really good on my Demo Team Gi!  This is when it really struck me that I could actually become a Black Belt!  I joined the Master’s Club to get in even more training (and to hopefully get to my Black Belt sooner), so I was now training for 1 ½ hours twice a week! 

 Another year of training (it seemed to take forever), and Mr. Pahanish told me that I’d be testing for my Black Belt!  The day finally came, and I my arms just about gave out during the push-ups (5 then 10 then 15, 20, 25, 20, 15, 10 and then 5 more)!  Then, it was time for 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes!  I don’t think I made it in 2 minutes (the fastest I’d done it at home was 3 ½ minutes), but I made it through these too.  Next we had to perform 2 forms that we’d learned during our years.  I chose Jai Yu (the very first form I’d learned!) and Teng Gu (the second form) out of the 9 I’d rehearsed for the test.

Then came the sparring!  I never was very interested in sparring, but as long as I could defend myself, I seemed to do OK.   I must admit that 45 minutes of straight sparring is pretty tiring.  I’d go 5-10 minutes with one person, then they’d swap out with another, and we’d go another 5-10 minutes.  This kept on for about 8-9 cycles, and then I sparred with Taylor – the teenager who was also testing for her Black Belt.  After her, it was back to other students and Mr. Wright, one of the instructors, while Taylor sparred with Mr. Pahanish, Head Instructor.



Now, it was my turn with Mr. Pahanish!  Even after 40 minutes of sparring, I managed to block many of his kicks and punches.  I even managed to get him on the ground once by catching one of his kicks (of course, me having 6 inches of height and probably 50 pounds on him didn’t hurt).  I managed to hold my own until the last 5 minutes or so when I was getting really tired, and he managed quite a few kicks on me.  I kept in there, and I guess I did OK, because I finally got my Black Belt!


Now, if my muscles will just loosen up again, and my thigh stops hurting where Logan landed 2 or 3 side kicks, I’ll be ready for my next class as a Black Belt.

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Last modified Sunday, August 12, 2007 08:16:17 PM