My Shodan Test
April Robinson, Shodan
1st Degree Black Belt
Tracy's Kenpo Karate
To Master Munk and the Georgia Kenpo Club
When I traveled to Virginia last weekend for my Shodan test, I was pretty nervous. I wish I could say that my mind was occupied with some meditative Zen principle, but the truth is a lot different. I was actually thinking about things like, "don't forget that inward block in the Long 1 Kata", and "remember to bend your support leg for the transition in the #6 Kata", and "don't forget the difference between the double Spear and Double Asp techniques", and so on. I couldn't really think of anything else but preparing for the test.
After the test and the belt ceremony, I had about two minutes before the seminar started. So there really wasn't time for the weight of my accomplishment to really sink in. After the seminar, I had about an hour to shower up, call my Mom, change and rush out to dinner. Then after dinner, I just collapsed asleep.
On the way home from Virginia, I thought about all the things I didn't do right on my test. I thought about how I didn't do very good kicks. I didn't verbally explain some of the techniques very well. I didn't remember that Spear of Jade isn't Two Headed Serpent. I thought about all the things I didn't do instead of about what I DID do, until I got home.
I opened up my gym bag, dumped it out on my bed and started putting things away. I was running around my room when I turned and saw lying there, neatly folded, my Instructor's own black belt. That's when it really started to sink in. I remembered watching him kneeling there and passing his own belt to me. I remembered the surreal feeling of putting that belt around my waist. And I finally realized the significance of my accomplishment.
I won't go into the details about all the things, physical and psychological, that I had to overcome to get to this point. Let's just say it's been a very difficult journey. The rank of black belt is only the beginning for a life-long martial artists. But what it means to me to have achieved this goal is overwhelming. And this achievement was made all the more awesome when my instructor showed me just how much it means to him.
Over the years, I've put in a lot of hard, and often painful, work to reach this goal. But it was Master Munk who guided me here. I can think of no better instructor than the one who sincerely wants you to succeed. And I can tell you beyond a doubt that if you give Master Munk your best effort, he will make you the best fighter you can be.
The knowledge, skill, dedication, determination and sheer outright guts represented by this belt are priceless. These are the things that Master Munk has helped me to acquire. All the money on earth can't buy what is represented by that belt and I'm grateful beyond words.
When I met Master Munk years ago, he looked at me and didn't see just a silly girl or a halfhearted customer. He saw me for what I really am - a fighter. He set me on a path and never gave up on me. I would like to say "thank you" to Master Munk. And I would like to say thanks to all of you who I have been training with over the years. You also contributed to my success. And I know that there will be more accomplishments in the future. Because I have absolutely no intention of ever giving up my training. I've only just gotten started.