As I’m writing this, the exam was already six years ago. Recently I had a training day at my new martial arts school where I did an exam in Hontai Samurai Jui Jitsu and passed. It reminded me of my black belt exam for Ashihara Karate. So here’s a post about that.
For me this exam was one my single greatest achievements in my life up to now. (still enough that can change) This was actually the second time I took this exam failing the first time. After that I spent a year training a lot of extra hours. Including regular trips to another school in Groningen for extra training.
In Ashihara Karate at some point you can only do an exam during training camps, usually around 4th kyu (kyus go from 10 to 1). So obviously for a Black Belt exam it had to be at a camp.
The pictures I have are only of the second part of the exam. It was split into a technical exam on a saturday and the kumite (or sparring) on sunday at the end of the camp. In Ashihara Karate this means 30 rounds of 2 minutes against constantly fresh fighters, most of which are also black belts.
After this I trained for another year or so before I moved to a different city. An hour and a half travel for training was a bit too much. But the itch practice martial arts was still there. I tried a few different schools including Aikido and Wing Chun. Neither were to my liking.
I did do Kung Fu for about a year and a half but in the end found it too exam oriented. These days I practice various forms of martial arts at a single school KC Weerbaarheid. Among them Samurai Jui Jitsu, Taijutsu and Historical European Martial Arts. Quite different from Karate but still tons of fun.
I still look back at my karate experience fondly. It taught me that my limits weren’t where I thought they were. It wasn’t about going over my limits, but learning that where I mentally thought they were, wasn’t necesarily where they really were.
This second part of the exam might seem crazy, but as I said, I failed my first exam. They had decided I wasn’t ready yet and I really wasn’t. This is something I prepared for. And since it’s entirely a personal victory it’s also something no one can take away from me.
And before I end this rather long post I have to share this hilarious anecdote from the exam.
My dad was there to support me and take pictures. A woman asked him if it didn’t bother him to see me getting beat up like that. His response: “Are you kidding me? This saves me from having to do it at home.”
(disclaimer: since this is the internet, he was joking, he has never hit me)