Black Belt Exam 5/7/16 (pt 1 of 3)
This past weekend we conducted our third examination for black belt (1st dan), it was also our first examination for one of our students testing for 2nd dan. It was a small test with only two students testing for black belt ranks and two testing for brown belt, so it was attended by only a few parents and friends to watch the students move up in rank. My instructor; sensei Proctor and I were the only board members to attend the exam and to grade the students.
Sensei Proctor has attended every one of our previous black belt exams, and it is fitting because he drove down to Waco when I was teaching my first karate classes for the technical college I was attending. I, as a brown belt, didn’t have the proper rank to promote my students so at the appointed time sensei Proctor along with another instructor, drove a couple of hours to put all of my students through a two hour Orange belt exam. Over dinner after this last black belt exam we reminisced about how far we’ve come over the last 32 years since that first test. My wife reminded us how sensei Proctor had the biggest guy (my friend and roommate) in the class attack my girlfriend (now my wife) with a rear bear hug (her only instructions were to defeat him) and she ended up breaking his hold on her and then hip throwing him and dumping him on the wood floor. Things haven’t changed that much in the past 32 years.
Kimberly who tested for 1st dan Saturday has always been the smallest and youngest student in her classes. Which also helped make her the one of the toughest and scrappiest students as well. Kimberly in 2015 started attending the AKATO Kobudo program again as the youngest and smallest student and as I was told by both sensei proctor and Sensei Yates she has power and hits as hard as the adult women in the program.
|Bryce and Kimberly demonstrating aerial kicks|
Bryce who tested for 2nd dan had already been through a black belt exam before and he had grown and matured a lot in the two years since that test, and he just turned 16 so he is in the prime of youth. In these two years since his exam he has really grown up and now kicks and hits like a mule.
Olivia and Kaitlyn both tested for brown belt and went through the nerve racking ordeal of having to stand in front of a high ranking visiting instructor and demonstrate their skills. Knowing that they were being put under the microscope per say with every flaw being revealed.
After the students demonstrated their basics which includes all of their blocks, kicks, punches, stances etc. etc. they then had to demonstrate the techniques in combinations that were randomly called out by me (the head instructor). All of this was meant to not only show off their skill and what they have learned but also to ramp up the pressure on them. After this came their kata which again tired them out but kept the pressure on as they knew every time that they made a mistake and they knew we (sensei Proctor and I) knew it as well.
|Kimberly with the opening moves of Bassai kata|