One year from now, I hope to be writing from the perspective of a black belt. This year, I stand humbled before my dojo's distinguished class of 2014.
The part of the test that we were allowed to watch was grueling. It pushed every student to the limit of their mental toughness and physical endurance. We could see the pain and strain in their faces, and we cheered for them when we could feel their spirits tiring. Nobody quit. Nobody surrendered. All nine who survived to test day (out of 30 who were eligible) pushed through to the bitter end.
I sat watching, taking mental notes, photos and shouting encouragement until I was hoarse. These are my classmates, my sensei, my extended family. They will cheer for me when my turn comes, and I know I will need their voices urging me forward.
For the next year, as I prepare for my time, I will share what I am thinking about and learning, both about karate and about myself. If it provides someone else with that extra push forward, I will be grateful.