Last night marked my one-year shodan anniversary. How did I spend it? At a karate grading, of course - the very same one I was a participant in last year.
This time I only helped grade self-defense techniques and tamishiwara. I also sparred a little as well, but the main reason I was there was to cheer on some of my training partners. For the last four months or so, I've had the pleasure of training with my alma mater's Goju Karate Club after my Monday evening class on campus. Mostly students and recent alum, the karateka ranged in rank from seventh all the way to first kyu. Many nights I was asked by the lead instructor to work with the underbelts on kata. I think I learned way more from them than they learned from me because their enthusiasm was absolutely infectious.
Six of them earned their green belts last night, two moved to fourth kyu, two others to first kyu (official shodan candidates!!) and one - a tri-athlete and water polo player who stopped training as a fourth kyu years ago and returned to the dojo a while back in his purple obi - earned a crisp, new black belt. They all did an amazing job...
Here they are donning their new belts and certificates (their Sensei - another Sensei S - is kneeling in front). Congratulations!